Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have met in the later stages of the Champions League for the last four seasons. Two of which were in the big final. Both have consistently finished in the top 3 for years now. Till 2013, Real Madrid had not lost to Atletico Madrid since 1999. After a defeat in the Copa Del Rey Final, Las Blancos have only won 1 game in the league against their city rivals. Its hard to argue against the fact that the Madrid Derby is the hottest derby in the world at the moment. The poor start to the season of two teams only increases the importance of this encounter. As a blessing in disguise, both teams’ struggling has wonderfully set up things for the first ever Madrid Derby at Atletico’s new stadium, Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico Madrid – D,D,W,D,W
Real Madrid- W, W, W, L, W
While Real Madrid’s form card might sound better, the team’s start to the season has been equally poor. Both the sides are tied at 23 points, eight points behind Barcelona in the table. The Champions League gives another reflection of the poor form the two Madrid sides are in. Atletico Madrid is yet to win a match in Europe including draws home and away to minnows Qarabag and find themselves on the verge of elimination. On the other hand, double-defending champions Real Madrid stand second on the group after failing to beat Tottenham Hotspur home and away.
The poor form and standing on the tables makes this match all the more important. Firstly, a victory in this match could be just the morale boost the two teams are looking for. More importantly, anything but a win could virtually make the difference between Barcelona for losing side virtually unreachable.
It was less than a year ago when Cristiano Ronaldo and Antonie Griezmann were standing on the podium of FIFA Best Player’s award. While Ronaldo’s achievements in football need no elaboration, Griezmann has been one of the best in the mortals. Uncharacteristically, both find themselves in a barren run of form. Ronaldo has only scored one goal in the league so far, whereas Griezmann is on his longest ever goal drought in La Liga. Both are undoubtedly the talisman of their sides and their performances would be vital in deciding the game.
Diego Simeone has always been known for making his sides solid and hard to break down. Under him, Atletico has never been a flashy side. But of late, one has got the feeling that the Los RajBlanchos have been too negative for anyone’s liking. If not evidently his tactics have been caught out. Either way, it will be interesting to see whether he opts for a change of way to turn things around.
The match will kick off at 1:15 am IST on Sunday 19th November. (Saturday in local time)