UEFA Champions League Semi Final Preview: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Will Los Blancos’ capital domination continue?

1 May 2017 | 7:55 pm

UEFA Champions League Semi Final Preview: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Will Los Blancos’ capital domination continue?

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Real Madrid will look to take one more step toward making UEFA Champions League history, in becoming the first side to retain their European crown, as city rivals Atletico Madrid roll up to the Santiago Bernabeu in their Semi-final first leg on Tuesday night.

Los Blancos are just 180 minutes away from another European Cup final, but standing between them and a place in Cardiff later this month lie Diego Simeone‘s men.

European dominance

In recent years Los Coloncheros have began to bridge the gap to their more illustrious neighbours across the Spanish capital domestically, but in European competition, Real still exert an authority over their opponents.

The defending champions were taken to penalties by Atletico in last season’s showpiece final in Milan, however once again it was Zinedine Zidane‘s men that edged out their foes, victorious 5-3 on penalties.

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Indeed, Real have won all four of their previous meetings in European club football’s biggest tournament, with Atletico scoring just twice.

Simeone desperate

In what will be the fifth time the duo have met in the competition, visiting boss Simeone will be desperate to reverse the fortunes of his side who have been eliminated by Los Merengues the last three seasons running – losing in the final twice.

Real Madrid convincingly beat Atletico 3-0 at Estadio Vicente Calderon back in November, but were held 1-1 at home less than a month ago in La Liga.

In fact, Atletico have not suffered defeat at the Bernabeu in the league since 2012, toppling Real 1-0 last February, courtesy of Antoine Griezmann’s 53rd minute strike – the club’s third-straight Madrid derby victory in La Liga.

Defence vs. attack?

With Atletico keen to be in the contest with the return to Arganzuela next week, Diego Simeone may be set to put men behind the ball to frustrate Cristiano Ronaldo and co.

Defence continues to be the hallmark of Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone. This season in Europe has been no exception, conceding just five goals this term.

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Coming into the game, both sides fresh on the back on league wins at the weekend, with Tuesday’s visitors hammering Las Palmas five nil away from home.

Team News

Both sides will be without key men for the clash on Tuesday.

Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale with a calf injury, whilst Diego Simeone is missing full-back Juanfran with a groin injury.

Croatian international Sime Vrsaljko could step in to deputise.

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