Atletico Madrid will look to get back on track in the UEFA Champions League when they welcome Club Brugge to the Wanda Metropolitano this Wednesday.
Venue: Metropolitano Stadium (Madrid)
Atletico Madrid have not lost a home game in the UEFA Champions League to a team outside Europe’s top-five domestic leagues.
They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their home games this season.
They have lost three of their last five games.
Club Brugge have kept three clean sheets in their last five away games.
The visitors have not conceded a goal in the UCL group stage this season, while they have scored seven times.
They have a dismal away record against Spanish opposition across the past 50 years (D5, L8).
Four of Atletico’s last five games, and four of Brugge’s last five games, have all seen the eventual winner lead at half-time.
Head to head
In the last six meetings between both sides, Club Brugge have two wins while Atletico also have two wins.
Latest performances in all competitions
Atletico Madrid: W-L-W-L-L
Club Brugge: L-W-W-L-W
After being drawn into a fairly easy group that featured an out-of-form Bayer Leverkusen, FC Porto and perennial UCL strugglers Club Brugge, Atletico Madrid were expected to finish top of the table, or at least enjoy a fairly easy ride through the group.
But after three games, the host’s experience has been far from smooth as they have been beaten twice while winning just once. Their only win came in the opening round–a narrow 2-1 win over FC Porto. Since then, they have been beaten by Leverkusen (2-0) and Club Brugge (2-0) in their last outing.
And so, they come into this round sitting bottom of the table, and with the fight for qualification now or never. Four points from the final three Group B matchdays will be needed for Atlético to match the seven points that scraped second place last year. But that may not be enough to guarantee them a place in the next round of the UCL this campaign.
And so they must win this game to stand a chance of qualifying from this group. Defeat in this game seems truly unthinkable, especially when considering that September 2015 still marks their most recent UCL home loss to a team outside Europe’s top-five domestic leagues.
Given that they will be backed by a mass of nearly 70,000 Rojiblancos fans once again, Diego Simeone’s men are expected to go all out for vengeance in order to avoid only a second group-stage UCL elimination across the past decade.
Possible Atletico Madrid starting line-up
Jan Oblak; Nahuel Molina, Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez, Reinildo Mandava; Angel Correa, Axel Witsel, Koke, Yannick Carrasco; Matheus Cunha, Antoine Greizmann.
Injured: Felipe Monteiro, Marcos Llorente
Among all the teams drawn in Group B in the UCL this season, Club Brugge were the lowest ranked and were expected to struggle.
But three rounds into the tournament, the Belgian club sit top of the table having taken maximum points from their opening three games. They have outperformed bigger names in the competition and come into this tie as one of two teams yet to concede a goal in the UCL group round this season (alongside Bayern Munich).
Despite their impressive start, they are not yet guaranteed a place in the next round of the UCL and can only book their place in the next round if they do not lose this game. Should they achieve that, it will be the first time they will be playing the UCL knockout rounds after ten attempts spread over 30 years of frustration.
They will also be targeting a win, guaranteeing that they finish the group as group leaders. But their last outing saw them fall to a 2-0 loss to Westerlo in the Belgian Pro League, showing that they also have bad days.
Possible Club Brugge starting line-up
Simon Mignolet; Denis Odoi, Brandon Mechele, Abakar Sylla, Bjorn Meijer; Raphael Onyedika, Casper Nielsen, Hans Vanaken; Tajlon Buchanan, Kamal Sowah, Ferran Jutgla.
Injured: Mats Rits, Dedryck Boyota
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Club Brugge