The champions of England and Spain will meet in the LC. “Man City is the favorite, but Atletico will offer trademark passion
The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the playoffs up to the final looks promising, but the pairs formed at this stage are completely different in essence. “Liverpool against Benfica and Bayern against Villarreal are classic battles between heavy favorites and feisty underdogs. The Real Madrid and Chelsea matches look like the main course on the quarterfinal menu, and predictions are basically irrelevant here.
“Manchester City vs. Atletico is something in between the two extremes. On the one hand, this pairing has City as the favorite, but the opponents are not upstarts, but an experienced team with a charismatic coach who has had more success in the Champions League in the last 10 years. Yes, Atletico suffered a crisis of style during the season, but Simeone has rectified the situation, and the success against Manchester United in the 1/8th of the Champions League has emboldened the Spurs. It looks like they are ready to gnaw on the ground again for the dream.
Important things to know about Manchester City
- we are dealing with the reigning champions of England, and in general the best English team of recent years: the “citizens” under the leadership of Josep Guardiola have won 3 out of the last 4 APL draws, losing the title to Liverpool only in the 2019/20 season. In the current campaign, City are again in contention to win the Premier League.
- Last season, Manchester City were closer than ever to winning the Champions League for the first time in history, but the fate of the final match against Chelsea was decided by Kai Havertz’s only goal, 1-0 in favor of the Blues. Josep Guardiola overdid the scheme and the squad, Tuchel scored a coaching victory in the English final.
- “Manchester City and Atletico have not met in official matches before, but Guardiola and Simeone have a rather poor history of coaching duels: only three matches, two wins for Josep, one success for Diego. All victories were strictly by one goal, with Guardiola winning against Barcelona and Bayern 2-1 and Simeone winning 1-0 against Pepa’s Munich team. In the 2015/16 Champions League semifinals, Atlético passed Bayern thanks to the away goal rule, which has not been in effect since this season.
- The person who links Manchester City and Atletico tightly is Sergio Agüero. Before becoming an English club legend (260 goals in 390 games), the Argentine scored 101 goals in 234 games for Atletico. And now midfielder Rodri, who moved from Madrid in 2019 for 70 million euros, plays for City.
- According to Transfermarkt, Manchester City now has the most expensive squad in world soccer at €959.3 million. “Atletico is valued at €660.5 million (9th place in the world).
Important to know about Atletico
- England’s best team is facing Spain’s reigning champion. In the 2020/21 season, Atletico finished above Real Madrid and Barcelona, winning their 11th Primera title and second under Diego Simeone.
- Diego Simeone led Atletico to the Champions League finals twice (2014 and 2016), both times the Mariners lost to Real Madrid and began to fly lower in the following seasons. In the four previous draws, Atletico had reached the quarterfinals at best, and last season, Madrid failed to get past the first round of the playoffs, losing to Chelsea. Thus, Man City and Atletico share a common offense.
- In the 1/8 finals Atletico were stronger than Manchester United (1-1; 1-0), and since the return leg of that encounter took place at Old Trafford, the Spurs will play their second consecutive Champions League game away to Manchester today. A rare occasion for the tournament, perhaps even unique.
- “Atletico” was enough 9 goals scored to enter the eighth strongest teams in the Champions League 2021/22. This is the worst result among the quarterfinalists. “Manchester City scored 23 goals, second only to Bayern (30).
- “Atletico came to the first match against Manchester City with a six-match winning streak and the last defeat for the Spurs was on February 16 against Levante (0-1).