A huge footballing fixture is just around the corner.The intense battle between gladiators from both the sides would be worth watching.
This is your guide to know all about the clash between the two giant clubs of the Spanish Football.
On 2nd of this month Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will battle it out once again for the 215th time at the Santiago Bernabeu. Over the years Atletico have always been under the shadow of Real Madrid but in the recent past Atletico under the leadership of Diego Pablo Simeone has done wonders.
Under Simeone Atletico have won the Europa League, Copa del Rey and more importantly LaLiga in 2014 dramatically on the last day of season by drawing against European Giants Barcelona. It was Atleticos first league title since 1996. They also qualified for the Champions League Final in the same season but unfortunately they lost to their city rivals Real Madrid.
Real Madrid ended their 12 year wait for the European Cup (UCL) in the most dramatic of ways in 2014 when Ramos scored an injury time equalizer against Atletico. After that Real dominated and won the European Cup for the 10th time.
In the past 5 seasons (including this season) Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have faced each other 10 times(obviously). Atletico have the upper hand with 4 wins and 3 draws in the league.
This clearly show the impact of Simeone on Atletico Madrid. After years of turmoil they are now finally a force in Europe.
But in Europe the Los Blancos have defeated Atletico in two finals in the past 3 years and also knocked them out in the 2014/15 season from the Quarter Finals.
Although the rivalry between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is over a 100 years and since then it has only grown in stature.
Real Madrid have always been defined as club of royalty. This is the team in Europe with most success and finance. They have dominated the whole of Europe in football while the other half of city the Los Colchoneros watched it painfully.
The contrasting nature of the two clubs adds another flavor to the rivalry. The Royal Whites with all their star players can beat anyone but the hard working Atletico Madrid wont make it easy for them.
The Atletico fans or media portrays themselves as people who are not rich but belong to the middle class and who have done ever so well to compete with the Galacticos of Real Madrid. This is what the players of Atletico Madrid believe and this is what their managers tells them. This mentality of being inferior to the Los Blancos has motivated them and helped them to compete with their arch city rivals in the recent past.
STYLE OF PLAY
The most important part of their play is that they play as team. They fight for each other, willing to cover each others mistake and determined to give their all.
One thing is for sure they wont concede many goals. This season again they have proved that they have one of the best defenses in Europe.
In the early stages of Simeone’s managerial career his team used to defend more often but know they play some very good attacking football. The likes of Griezmann, Gameiro and Carrasco have added a new dimension to their style of play.
Now they have some very good ball players and they can pass the ball around and have more control. A prime example can be this year’s UCL final where Atletico after conceding the first goal almost dominated the midfield and had more possession. Although some say Real Madrid allowed them to have the ball and relied on hitting them on the counter.
So all in all Atletico are solid looking team with a great defense solid midfield and an attack which has some of the finest talents in Europe.
Real Madrid always had some of the finest talents in their teams. The likes of Di Stefano, Puskas, Gento and many others shows how lucky they have been to be able to have such great player in their team.
Over the past few years Real Madrid have been one of the best counter attacking sides. Although they have quality players in midfield who can control the tempo of the game and keep possession but the real threat to opponents is when they are counter attacked. The current front three of Madrid can score a goals within seconds even if they are in their own half.
Their ability on the ball is second to none. The likes of Modric and Kroos can hold their own against any team in the world.
The influence of Zidane on team spirit is evident but we are yet to see another tactical masterclass from him barring the game against Barcelona last season and the away match in the league vs Atleico.
Every manager who have coached Madrid in the past has tried to minimize the defenses frailties but still it is a major weakness of Real Madrid. They may have some of the best defender in the world but they are prone to errors which often harms Madrid.
Zidane has tried his best solve this problem and may be succeeded as he played Casemiro instead of Isco and James to provide more balance to the team. If Casemiro is injured Real Madrid suffers although now many people beleive Casemiro is too aggressive and its time now to give Kovacic a chance.
Note: Real Madrid will be without Bale and Pepe as both are injured.
To sum things up Real Madrid can play possession football, counter attack brilliantly but have problems in defense.
IMPORTANCE OF THE DERBY
Win against rivals is always sweet but even more so when something big is on the line. This time its a semi final instead of a final. Both teams know each other well and it will be fascinating to see how both coaches use thei players.
For Atletico revenge is what they are after while the Los Blancos are once again hoping to assert their dominance in the European game by making it to another final by beating their arch rivals and become the first team ever in the modern era to win 2 Champions League consecutively.
Real Madrid’s squad for the match.
Isco is likely to start for injured Bale.
Atletico Madrid are facing injury concerns with doubts looming over Carrasco’s fitness.
Also Jose Gimenez and Juanfran are out because of injuries. Simeone must now shuffle and find a solution to all these injury problems.
On current form and performances it is very difficult who will emerge as victorious. It will surely be a test of nerves for both teams.
It will also be a test of Zidane’s managerial skills. As far as Atletico is considered they will compete for every ball and wont make it easy for their opponents.
Whatever happens it will be a fascinating match and hopefully Real Madrid comes out on top.