It’s been just over two months since Manchester United were drawn to play Atletico Madrid in the Champions League for the first time in history.
The Reds have never met with the Spanish club in European football’s elite club competition, but now that we’re in the midst of February and the tournament’s knockout stage has kicked off over the last few days, that is about to change.
The two sides will duel for the first time since 1991/92 next Wednesday evening in the last-16 first leg at the modern Wanda Metropolitano home. And with the clash now just around the corner, it seems like an apt time to take a closer look at how Diego Simeone’s side are shaping up for a historic meeting…
HOW DID THEY GET ON LAST TIME OUT?
Just like United, Atletico have also been in league action over the course of this midweek.
A day after the Reds overcame Brighton 2-0 in the Premier League, they were narrowly edged out 1-0 at home to the bottom side in La Liga, Levante.
Athletico went behind to a 53rd-minute opener from visiting midfielder Gonzalo Melero before thinking they had salvaged a point deep into stoppage time via top-scorer Angel Correa’s impressive overhead kick, but it was to be disallowed for a foul in the build-up.
It meant a first home defeat since early December for our upcoming opponents, who now occupy fifth place in the table, sitting outside of the Champions League places on goal difference.
HOW ARE THEY DOING THIS SEASON?
The Spanish side have been renowned across Europe in recent years under Simeone for the defensive nature in which they approach games that can often lead to low-scoring results.
However, their recent record suggests that there could be goals in store during next week’s tie.
Their 1-0 loss on Wednesday is actually the anomaly of their last five league outings, with at least four goals combined in each of the previous four.
Last weekend, they overcame Getafe 4-3 off the back of a 4-2 loss to Barcelona, a 3-2 victory over Valencia and a 2-2 draw in Villarreal.