Tactics to the fore at a simmering Calderón
Champions League semi-final preview: Atlético Madrid v Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid v Bayern Munich has the makings of a fascinating tactical battle, with Pep Guardiola’s side likely to ask lots of questions of Diego Simeone’s La Liga title hopefuls.
Having knocked out Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Atlético will be confident of causing another upset, while Guardiola will be determined to win his first Champions League at Bayern Munich before leaving the club to join Manchester City at the end of the season.
Bayern will start as favourites, but Atlético cannot be written off. What should daily fantasy football players be looking out for in Wednesday’s semi-final?
Guardiola is looking forward to visiting Vicente Calderón, which he described as having the best atmosphere in Europe.
“We have seen what kind of a special side Atlético are – they have a strong defence and strong attack. Atlético know exactly what they have to do in defence,” Guardiola said.
“They have conceded so few goals in recent years because their structure is so good. They press aggressively and if they do not win the ball back, they retreat deep and play very compact.”
Simeone is looking forward to seeing how his side copes against a Bayern side that have run away with the Bundesliga this season despite Borussia Dortmund’s outstanding performances.
“I don’t see that [Atlético are the team to avoid],” Simeone said. “We always try to respect every opinion. The only thing we can say is that it is a very nice opportunity for us without a doubt, and a huge challenge.”
Head to head
Bayern have only played Atlético twice before and those meetings were both in the 1974 European Cup final. Georg Schwarzenbeck’s 120th-minute equaliser earned a replay and Bayern won the second match easily with a 4-0 victory.
However, Atlético are unbeaten in their last five home matches against German clubs, while Bayern have lost in Spain in the Champions League semi-finals two years in a row, going out to Barcelona last season and Real Madrid 12 months previously.
Atlético have been in the semi-finals four times, winning twice and losing twice, while Bayern have gone out at this stage seven times, progressing to the final on 10 occasions.
Fantasy players to watch: Atlético Madrid
Antoine Griezmann is Atlético’s top goalscorer in Europe this season, scoring six goals for his side in what has been a breakthrough season for a player who could light up Euro 2016 for France. Having scored 29 goals in all competitions, there is no doubt Griezmann is Atleti’s biggest threat and hhe can be picked up for just $5,900 on DraftKings.
Bayern will also have to watch out for Fernando Torres, who has been in tremendous form in recent weeks despite being sent off in the first leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona. Torres has scored four goals in four games and has a superb partnership with Koke, who has 14 assists in all competitions this season, as well as scoring five goals.
Atleti’s defence is also incredibly strong and Diego Godín would normally be a popular fantasy football selection among players who are backing Simeone’s men to keep Bayern out on Wednesday but he’s picked up a hamstring injury which will almost certainly rule him out.
Fantasy players to watch: Bayern Munich
Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller have both scored eight goals in this season’s Champions League, while the return to fitness of Franck Ribéry adds another dimension to one of the most versatile and destructive attacks in world football.
Kingsley Coman might well start on the bench – with Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa also competing for selection in wide areas – but the young Frenchman has been a revelation, scoring twice and providing five assists in the Champions League from just six appearances.
Thiago Alcántara makes Bayern tick and he is another important daily fantasy football player, with his four assists in seven starts earning him a superb competition rating of 8.15 from WhoScored.
His midfield partner is likely to be Arturo Vidal, who scored in both legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Benfica, while Mario Götze adds stardust from the bench.
Antoine Griezmann is available at $5,900 in Tuesday’s Champions League contests on DraftKings UK (vs Bayern, $50K Budget)