UEFA : Atlético v Bayern: reaction and analysis
Bayern München have lost against Spanish opposition at this stage in the past two years, with Josep Guardiola calling Atlético Madrid a “special side” as he looks to make it third time lucky.
Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach
We have seen what kind of a special side Atlético are – they have a strong defence and strong attack. They have a great heart. For me, Barcelona remain the best team in Europe, regardless of whether they are in the semi-finals or not, but in recent years Atlético twice managed to beat them. That shows how difficult this will be.
Atlético know exactly what they have to do in defence. If they do not play to their best on a certain day, they are still solid. They have conceded so few goals in recent years because their structure is so good. They press aggressively and if they do not win the ball back, they retreat deep and play very compact. The atmosphere in the Vicente Calderón is the best in Europe.
Xabi Alonso, Bayern midfielder
We are coming up against strong opponents. Under Diego Simeone, Atlético have been very strong and well prepared for every match. But we know them well already and will analyse them further. Atlético concede few goals and they have a fantastic atmosphere at home. But if we play well, the atmosphere shouldn’t be a problem. We need to focus on what happens on the pitch.
@ChampionsLeague both games are hard to call, but I think it will be a @realmadrid v @FCBayern final as they have more experience #UCLDraw
We’re up against one of the most successful clubs in Europe, who are used to being in the semi-finals. It will be a difficult tie, but we’ll compete the best we can, as we always do.
Clemente Villaverde, Atlético director
It’s a privilege to be able to play a semi-final against a team of Bayern’s quality. Atlético have demonstrated they have the ability to come through games like these. I hope we can maintain that now. They are two very open semi-finals and are good for Spanish football, because I hope we can have another all-Spanish final [like 2014].
UEFA.com expert view
Joe Walker, Atlético Madrid reporter (@UEFAcomJoeW)
After overcoming Barcelona, Diego Simeone will be cursing the fact his team now have to face Bayern – probably the side he would have most liked to avoid – in the last four. The added spice with this one is the fact Guardiola returns to Spain and is approaching the end of his tenure in Bavaria, determined to win the Champions League before he leaves. However, the Rojiblancos will no doubt feel they can take on all comers following their brilliant victory in midweek. Should they go on to lift the trophy, nobody could accuse them of doing it the easy way.
Philip Röber, Bayern München reporter (@UEFAcomPhilipR)
A lot of people consider this the worst possible draw for Bayern, as they prefer playing against teams that also take the initiative from time to time. Barcelona struggled to unlock the defence of Simeone’s industrious team, and Bayern will have to find better solutions. Accuracy from diagonal balls will be required not only to create space for wingers and full-backs, but also to avoid allowing counterattacks. In-form Arturo Vidal will be a key player to counter Atlético’s aggressiveness, and count on Thomas ‘Space Investigator’ Müller to find gaps where there are none.
Facts and figures
• Atlético and Bayern have met only twice – both in the 1974 European Cup final. The Spanish side were seconds away from taking the trophy before Georg Schwarzenbeck’s 120th-minute equaliser gave Bayern a 1-1 draw; two days later, the German club won the replay 4-0 to take the trophy for the first time.
• Atlético are unbeaten in their last five home matches against German clubs (W4 D1) going back to a 1-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the 1996/97 group stage.
Atlético have lost just one of their last seven games against German clubs. Their record as a whole is: P34 W16 D6 L12 F48 A39.
• Bayern have lost in Spain in the semi-finals in each of the last two seasons, going down 1-0 at Real Madrid in 2013/14 (0-5 aggregate) and 3-0 at Barcelona last year (3-5 aggregate).
• The German club have won only two of their last 12 trips to Spain, losing eight. Their record as a whole is P49 W23 D12 L14 F77 A65.
• Atlético’s European Cup semi-final record is W2 L2; Bayern’s is W10 L7.
Atlético are unbeaten in their last five home matches against German clubs.#UCLdrawpic.twitter.com/7rGjygixVR