17 March 2019
Rocked by a shock Champions League elimination to Juventus, Atletico Madrid head to the Estadio San Mames looking to bounce back after a nightmarish midweek’s performance.
In spite of the slow start to the season, Los Leones still have a chance to qualify for the Europa League, as they currently sit six points adrift of sixth-placed Sevilla. But, beating Atletico Madrid in the Basque Country has become a taboo for the hosts, considering they’ve lost five of their previous six H2H meetings here (D1, L5). Gaizka Garitano could still be pleased by the fact his players haven’t lost at home in La Liga since October, pulling off four triumphs in their previous nine games here (W4, D5). Athletic Bilbao’s recent home success is closely related to the impressive defensive displays that have seen them preserve a clean slate in five of their last seven LL home outings while restricting their opponents to a maximum of one goal per match in the remaining two. A potential problem, however, could be the fact Los Rojiblancos have scored one goal or less in all four of their previous LL home fixtures.
Currently sitting seven points adrift of league leaders Barcelona, the visitors can’t afford a failure if looking to overthrow the reigning holders. Although they’ve racked up a four-game LL winning run, Los Colchoneros go into this meeting off the back of a disappointing 3-0 loss to Juventus in the Champions League that has seen them drop a 2-goal lead from the first leg. Nonetheless, Diego Simeone’s men have drastically improved their away form in the recent period, securing three wins on their last four LL road trips (W3, L1), beating their rivals to nil each time. No team has conceded fewer goals on the road than Atletico (10), with Los Indos keeping five clean sheets in 13 LL road encounters. As a result of Simeone’s defensive-minded football philosophy, just 15% of Atletico’s LL road games have produced over 2.5 goals, with Griezmann and Co. scoring 2+ match goals barely four times along the way.
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