Two of the best teams in Spain – and at this point, two of the top sides in the world as well – will collide in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in a contest that should give another chapter into what has been a heated rivalry this year.
FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – second and first in La Liga respectively – are in a hard fight to decide who will be the new champion in Spain. But before they match up to decide who will take home the title, they will have to face each other in the Champions League quarterfinal round. Both teams come into the game with their morale up top and an argument could be made for either side to be considered the favorite.
In Atletico’s case, however, the first leg will be key to decide the chances they will have to move on to the semifinals. The first game will be played at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, and if Diego Simeone’s team wants to have a realistic opportunity to advance into the next round, they need to get some kind of advantage in front of their fans.
Atletico Madrid has enough talent on their roster to match up with Los Blaugranas, a team that’s clearly not the worldwide powerhouse that used to be a few years ago, and the loss of key players like Victor Valdes could hurt their chances against a potent attack that features the likes of Diego Costa and David Villa. It remains to be seen how the action will unfold, but one thing is clear for Los Colchoneros: They have to play at their best if they want to create a difference in the first match against Lionel Messi and company.
The only thing left for them now is to play according to the standards everybody expects. And that’s the toughest part against a team like Barcelona.