Atletico Madrid are treating Tuesday’s Champions League game at Bayern Munich as a very important challenge even though the two teams have already qualified for the round of 16.
The Spanish outfit, who beat Bayern 1-0 in Madrid int he first clash, are the only side to have won all five games in this season’s competition and have clinched top spot in Group D.
“There are times when pride matters much more than points and tomorrow is one of those days,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone told a news conference on the eve of the match.
“Bayern are a very complicated rival and have very important players. They now propose something different to what they did under (their former coach Pep) Guardiola but the final aim remains the same, to win titles.”
Bayern dominated domestic competition in their three seasons under Guardiola but did not win the Champions League, something they are aiming to do with his successor Carlo Ancelotti.
“Ancelotti has arrived at the club and I have no doubt that he will fight for what the club wants, which is the Champions League,” Simeone added.
Atletico drew 0-0 at home to Espanyol in La Liga at the weekend and missed the chance to reduce the nine-point deficit to leaders Real Madrid, who drew 1-1 at Barcelona.
Simeone’s team did keep a clean sheet for a fourth consecutive game and the Argentine coach says much of the credit belongs to their Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
“He is growing year after year,” he said. “He worked hard to earn a starting place, he waited for the opportunity and he has consolidated himself.”