Luis Enrique have won the last 6 matches against Simeone's team
FC Barcelona will face Atlético Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. Simeone's team are not one of the main favorite teams, but one of the most complicated to beat, especially in terms of defense, one of the best teams in Europe in this aspect.
Over the last years, they have had great performance in the Champions League and in the 2013/14 season they were able to reach the final; they lost vs Real Madrid after knocking out Barça and Chelsea in the previous rounds. Last year they lost against Real Madrid in quarterfinals. This season they are second in La Liga and we'll see how they tackle the great amount of minutes of competition.
These are the 5 keys of Barça - Atlético Madrid
1. The best defense in Europe
Atlético Madrid is the team which have conceded less goals in the 5 big European leagues. With 12 goals in 29 rounds, Simeone built a wall which is difficult to break, even in Champions League. Only 3 goals conceded in 8 matches, the same numbers as PSG and Madrid. They didn't concede any goal against PSV and in the group stage they only got three goals by Benfica.
2. Dependence on Griezmann
The French is the leader of Atlético Madrid. He is a player with class. It's difficult to stop due to his speed and he is active in the offensive stage. However, he is a little bit irregular as for scoring and Atlético suffer it, since they don't have any reference striker like when they had Diego Costa. Torres, Vietto or Correa have not won a place in the XI.
3. Godín's physical condition
"The only player I would not let go is Godín." This is Simeone's sentence that shows how important for him this player is. The center-back represents the spirit of this competitive and intense Atlético and their strong personality. He is also the key player in the set-pieces actions, one of their main danger. However, Godín will be three weeks out due to an injury and we'll see if he is ready to play against Barça or not.
4. 6 consecutive defeats vs Luis Enrique
Simeone's Atlético have lost the last 6 matches against Luis Enrique's Barça. Since the arrival of the Asturian, the streak changed, because Tata Martino was unable to win them in La Liga or in Champions League. Last season, 4 wins (2 in La Liga and 2 in Champions League). This season, two more wins in La Liga with suffering (1-2 and 2-1,) so it won't be easy to beat them.
5. Line-up with few doubts
Simeone's XI is usually the same. After a season of adaptation, Oblak is the indisputable goalkeeper. In the defense, Juanfran and Filipe Luis are two strong full-backs with a good attack. With the departure of Miranda, Giménez became the perfect pair for Godín. The severe injury of Tiago has been covered by Augusto, who came from Celta during winter market, but he is really adapted to Simeone's system, alongside Gabi. Koke and Saúl, two products of the academy, are in charge of helping in the midfield both when attacking and defending. They have talent and combine good with Griezmann, the offensive reference. The other striker is the only piece Simeone often changes. Carrasco is doing a great season, despite he is not a striker and prefers to play on the side. Torres, Vietto or Correa are the other options to complete a team based on defensive sacrifice, fast transitions and set-pieces.