Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid – Wednesday 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Estadio Vicente Calderón – Madrid.
After a great first leg, it all looks very familiar for the champions in white. Can Real go on to make the final and, potentially, history? Or will Atlético Madrid hand out their history making performance inside the Vicente Calderón, one last time, and achieve the biggest comeback since Liverpool’s remarkable turnaround against AC Milan in Istanbul 2005?
To say Atlético have a mountain to climb in this fixture would be an understatement. After the worst possible start to this two-legged fixture, they find themselves 3:0 down on aggregate after being swept aside in the Bernabéu seven days ago. If they have any ambitions of being in the Welsh capital in early June to contest this competition’s final they will have to make history. No side has ever overturned a two-goal semi-final deficit before, let alone a three-goal shortfall. However, with this being the last European game to be played at the Vicente Calderón before Atléti take up new residence in the brand new Wanda Metropolitano next season, this old magical arena could have one final massive goodbye. A narrow victory on La Liga’s Matchday 36 against SD Eibar will have done little to quell the nerves going into this game. Saúl Ñíguez the goal scorer on the weekend, as he was during Los Rojiblancos’ last European away game at the Leicester City Stadium—how the Red and Whites could do with him scoring away from home again this coming Wednesday.
Los Blancos 28th European Cup semi-final could not have started any better, a 3:0 aggregate lead against their close rivals was the material in which dreams are made of. A stunning Ronaldo hat-trick has all but guaranteed a return to the biggest final in world club football and with it a chance to make history. They made light work of Granada CF over the weekend, a 0:4 victory. More importantly, they were able to rest key players such as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese star was even left out of Zidane’s matchday squad, such is the strength in depth of the resources available to the World Cup winner now turned manager. Should Real prevail and reach the final in Cardiff they will stand on the cusp of history. No team has successfully defended the European Cup since AC Milan, who won it back to back during the seasons of 1988/89 and 1989/90 – with no team ever defending the trophy since the competition was officially renamed to the UEFA Champions League in 1993.
Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid – Players to look out for:
Antoine Griezmann #7 – Atlético Madrid
With Los Rojiblancos on the wrong side of hiding in the Bernabéu last Matchday, they will look, even more so, to their 26-year-old French international to dig them out of the mire. With a goal, every 172 minutes his worth to this Atlético side should not be underestimated. In 11 Champions League games this season, he has five goals and two assists—overall for 2016/17 he currently sits on 25 goals and 11 assists over 50 games. Adept at holding up the ball, or laying off quickly, he combines well with those around him. He is for many the perfect striker
Cristiano Ronaldo #7 – Real Madrid
After a perfect hat-trick in last week’s first leg tie, there can only be one player to look out for in the white of Real Madrid—four time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Not content with being one of the best dribblers of all time, Ronaldo has a dead ball speciality that can turn games in a heartbeat as Atletico found out to their demise last Matchday. The 32-year-old Portuguese winger has 35 goals and 12 assists in 41 games this season for Los Blancos. Once again he showed the watching world last week just how much he loves playing in this competition, in the ten games Ronaldo has played in this season’s competition he has ten goals and six assists, a phenomenal ratio that sees him find the net every 102 minutes.
Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid – Match Stats
- Real lead 3:0 after a stunning Ronaldo hat-trick in 1st leg
- No side has overcome a two-goal deficit in a Champions League semi-final before, let alone a three-goal burden.
- This will be the last ever European game at the Vicente Calderón
- Atlético have won 29 out of 35 European fixtures at the Calderón
- Real Madrid are aiming to become the first back-to-back winners of the trophy since the competition was reformatted to the Champions League in 1993.
Prediction: Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid – 2:1
Oblak – Juanfran, Godín, Savić, Filipe Luís – Koke, Gabi, Ñiguez, Carrasco – Griezmann, Gameiro
Coach: Diego Simeone
Navas – Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo – Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić – Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo
Coach: Zinédine Zidane