Real Madrid take on Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu in a high-profile Champions League semi-final. And it is slated to be one of the best matches of this season.
Both teams are different in a lot of ways. Different in how they play and how they line up. Different in how they approach the game basically. Quite simply because they are managed by two individual geniuses who are poles apart, strategically at least.
Simeone: A man of his defense
At one end is Diego Simeone, a man who has virtually made a career out of defensive strategies. Tell him that you have to defend a game or scoreline and you might not see a happier man on the face of this planet. He absolutely relishes the challenge. Defending is right up his alley. And he has been blessed with players who can replicate his drawing board formations exactly on the pitch. Along the years he has created a squad who can soak up pressure better than a sponge dealing with water. Just give them a lead, and they will defend it as if their life depended on it.
That is exactly why they have conceded just 5 goals in the whole Champions League campaign. And Simeone will be going to the Bernabeu hoping that his team can get an early away goal. And then he has faith that his boys will bring back that lead intact.
Having praised all that defensive artwork, Atletico boasts of a pretty decent forward line. Leading the charge is Antoine Griezmann, a player who is frantically being chased by Manchester United. And if he eventually does decide to move to England then he will want to gift Atletico the title before he catches the flight.
Zidane’s attacking mentality:
On the opposite dugout, Simeone’s counterpart is a man of totally different tactics. Zinedine Zidane is a coach who has built his reputation on fast paced attacking football. And just like Simeone, he too has players who can replicate his strategies. Zizou’s biggest weapon will definitely be Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has so far netted seven goals in this current competition and has also clocked up five assists. Zidane will definitely miss the services of Gareth Bale, due to an injury. But he has ample bench strength to fulfill the Welshman’s absence.
But a bit cause of concern for Zidane will definitely be his defensive line. His defenders have conceded fifteen goals in the current UCL campaign. And he knows that Atletico will definitely look to exploit that.
This game is pitched to be an absolute cracker. Its the ultimate duel of attack versus defense and we just can’t wait for it to get started.