The stylists of City vs. the predators of Atlético: clash of two worlds

City coach Guardiola hastened to say that Atlético ‘wrongly’ has the image of a defensively oriented team. “They play more offensively than people want to see. Simeone does not let his team take any risks in the build-up, but Atlético is very good in the opponent’s half. It is a misconception to say that Atlético plays defensively.”

But as much as Guardiola tries not to push Atletico into the underdog role, the numbers speak for themselves. And they are certainly not flattering for the Spaniards.

having the ball

In terms of pass accuracy, Simeone’s team is in 28th place in the Champions League ranking this season with 77.8 percent. Lower than the already eliminated teams Club Brugge, Malmö, Besiktas, Young Boys and Dynamo Kiev.

In terms of possession, Atlético is also 28th with 42.9 percent, behind, for example, Salzburg, VfL Wolfsburg, Zenit Saint Petersburg, OSC Lille and Shakhtar Donetsk.

It’s not a big secret either: Atlético don’t necessarily have the ball. They award it to the opponent and then wait for a mistake to get out of it at lightning speed. Everyone has their own style, everyone has their favorite game. It’s just a bit boring what the Simeone team shows in general.


This is also apparent from the numbers. Atlético scored just seven goals in the group stage. The fewest of all numbers two in the groups of the Champions League this season. The club finished eleven (!) points behind group winners Liverpool.

But they can fight. Just when Atlético seems defeated, Simeone’s fighting machine often sets itself up. Atlético won three times this season on the billion-dollar ball and all three times that happened in an away game. The Spaniards won at AC Milan (1-2), Porto (1-3) and Manchester United (0-1), when all hopes were already gone.

Yet Atletico falters more often than in other years. The seven defeats in the Spanish league are already three more than in all of last season.

The club has also conceded 37 goals in La Liga: the most of all clubs in the top eight in Spain. In comparison: last season there were only 25 goals against.

But there is a turning point: Atlético has been unbeaten since February 16. Manchester City will therefore meet the Spaniards at their most dangerous.

Manchester City are in great shape. The club is the leader in the Premier League, has already scored 70 times in the English competition and lost only one of their last nine matches in the knockout phase of the Champions League. That was just the final against Chelsea last season: 0-1.

But it doesn’t stop there. Since Guardiola’s first season as manager of City (2016-17), the club has achieved the highest win percentage in duels after the group stage: 64 percent. 14 of the 22 group matches were won. In addition, City has been unbeaten in Europe for 3.5 years in its own stadium and has already scored 23 times in the Champions League this season. Only Bayern Munich produced more goals: 30.

watch out

However, there is a big ‘but’. City also conceded ten goals in the group stage of the Champions League: the most of all group winners.

Guardiola knows that too and watches out for exactly where the danger lies. The Spanish coach can already draw the doom scenario in his head. What is the chance that his City will soon put off one great attack after another against Atlético, play beautiful football, but don’t pay attention once? A predator strikes when the doe looks just the other way.

Then leave it to the carnivores of Simeone to take advantage of the opportunity that every opponent gets from the Citizens.

Manchester City – Atlético Madrid can be seen LIVE on Tuesday from 8 p.m. on RTL 7.