Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid: UCL Preview and Prediction
Defending Champions League winners Bayern Munich faces a stern test first up as they welcome Diego Simeone led Atletico Madrid to the Allianz Arena.
There is no doubt in calling Bayern Munich as the best club in the world after their last season heroics as they completed their second treble, equalling Barcelona’s record.
Bayern were phenomenal in the league, dominant in the Champions League, while they did not take the DFB-Pokal lightly too.
Bundesliga winners last season were not on the top throughout the campaign. They were first trailing and trying to catch Julian Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig while they also slipped in between causing trouble to themselves as it reduced the gap for the other teams, especially Borussia Dortmund.
However, the best thing about the team was how they did not give up until the end and kept fighting back from all the problems that were thrown at them.
Bayern Munich were drawn to Chelsea in the UCL Round of 16 and managed to win the first by a handsome margin. The second-leg at Stamford Bridge was played after the pandemic and Bayern tasted victory there too.
They went on to defeat Barcelona, Lyon, and then PSG to win the Champions League and completed their treble. As far as their opponents this week are concerned, the Rojiblancos have not been at their best for a while now.
Last season Atletico Madrid finished third in La Liga and were 12 parts adrift Barcelona who finished second and 17 off champions Real Madrid.
In the Champions League, hopes were high for them as they managed to defeat Liverpool at Anfield to go through but they stumbled against RB Leipzig.
With Luis Suarez now in their arsenal, Diego Simeone would look to win at least some silverware this season.
Bayern Munich are currently second in the league, just one point behind RB Leipzig. They have already scored 17 goals in the league in four games but have leaked eight too. Currently ahead on goal difference, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to increase problems for them as the season progresses.
Atletico Madrid on the other hand, are yet to taste defeat in the league this season. They are currently eighth, having two games in hand and wins in both will see them go on the top. Another eye-catching part of Atletico’s season till now is the fact that they have only conceded once, while managed to fire eight.
Ex-Catalan Luis Suarez is currently their top-scorer with three goals to his name while Angel Correa has three goal contributions too.
Bayern Munich have lost just once in their last five games in all competitions, including a Super Cup win against Borussia Dortmund, while their loss came against Hoffenheim who made the treble winners look meak as they lost 4-1.
Atletico Madrid have also lost only once in their last five games. However, their only loss was against RB Leipzig in the Champions League quarter-final last season.
For Bayern Munich, Jerome Boateng will be a doubt as he has ligament damage in his thumb. Leroy Sane is sidelined too due to a knee injury he sustained in September.
Apart from him, Bayern Munich have plenty of options in almost every position. However, Flick will look to kick-off his team’s UCL season strongly as their group also comprises of RB Salzburg and Lokomotiv, who are teams that can do anything on their day.
Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule are expected to start while it will depend on how Flick chooses the other members of the Bayern backline. Lucas Hernandez is also in contention after his impressive performance against Arminia Bielefeld last weekend.
Atletico Madrid have several casualties and one of the more confirmed ones is Diego Costa who has a thigh injury. Apart from him, the Rojiblancos are without Sime Vrsaljiko, Jose Gimenez, and Renan Lodi at the back while their midfield only misses Saul Niguez.
Lucas Torreira may play his first Champions League as an Atletico Madrid player alongside Koke depending on how Simeone decides to set up his team.
Robert Lewandowski vs Felipe
Lewandowski has not let any kind of break affect his form. The Polish is Bayern’s top scorer this season already with seven goals to his name.
Last season’s UCL top scorer will give his best to achieve something big this season too as they face a defensively stronger unit.
Felipe has been phenomenal this season so far and Atletico’s excellent defensive record makes it more evident. He will be against one of the best strikers in the world and the head-to-head will not just be a technical one but it would also involve two physically robust players.
Both are aerially brilliant and the competitiveness between the two will make the battle more intriguing.
Thomas Muller vs Koke
After Germany’s victory in the 2014 World Cup, Muller faced a tough time as he had a drop in form and was sidelined due to injuries. People anticipated that the player is finished but even after six years from then, he is going strong.
Muller is simply one of the most intelligent minds in the game and his vision and skills with the ball only make it worse for his opponents.
He assisted 21 goals for Bayern Munich last season in Bundesliga and was one of the common assisters to Lewandowski. This season too, the German has already bagged four assists along with three goals and that shows how good he is offensively.
He will be against Koke, one of Atletico’s most crucial and experienced players. Koke has been part of all the league games till now and is also going to start in the Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
Stopping Muller won’t be easy but if there’s one man who can do it comfortably, it will be Koke.
Considering the kind of form both teams are in, the game will be a thrilling one. Bayern are instinctively very offensive while Atletico are brilliant in soaking up pressure and bouncing back.
Both teams are expected to field their best players as a tough game is expected. Costa’s presence could’ve alleviated Simeone’s attacking concerns but with Luis Suarez, who has a decent record against Bayern Munich and a young Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid will not back down.
The tempo of the game may be a little slow in the beginning but things will surely heat up as the game progresses.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Atletico Madrid