Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola believes that Atletico Madrid have done very well to be considered at the same level as La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

 

Over the last few years, Atletico have won La Liga and even reached the final of the Champions League, only to lose out to cross town rivals Real Madrid.

Their rise under Simeone has continued this season, with the capital club challenging for the Spanish league and qualifying for the semi-final of the Champions League at the expense of Barcelona.

Bayern boss Pep Guardiola believes that the Rojiblancos have done very well to emerge as the biggest challenger to the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly in Spain.

“Atletico’s achievement is being compared with Madrid and Barcelona,” Guardiola was quoted as saying in Marca. “That is Simeone’s trophy.”

With Bayern Munich preparing to face Atletico at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday, Guardiola acknowledged the fact that Simeone’s men had more about them than merely a strong defence.

“We expect a very tough and complex tie, and we’ll try to play well to reach the final,” said Guardiola. “They do much more than defend.”

The Spanish tactician went on to explain how Atletico use attacking midfielder Koke as the focal point to turn defence into swift counter-attacks.

“Koke is a great example of their strategy, with a good defensive structure, closing down well, and quick on the counter,” continued Guardiola. “They’ve spent three or four years fighting for cups, competing in the league, and reaching European finals.”

Bayern a similar challenge for Atletico?

Bayern Munich press conferenceNobody would have given Atletico Madrid a chance in their quarter-final fixture against Barcelona. However, they expertly showed that they can overcome challenges posed by the best teams in Europe. Of course, they used an ultra-defensive tactics against the Blaugrana, but very few teams have actually been able to register positive results against the Catalan, even with deep-lying defences.

In Bayern Munich, Atletico face a team that is similar in terms of focus on possession, but perhaps more versatile given the variety of players in midfield. Guardiola himself is a wily tactician and is bound to come up with a different ploy to deal with the Rojiblancos.

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