Atletico Madrid vs Milan Preview and Lineups – UCL Round 5

Group B whipping boys Milan head to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid in a ‘make or break’ Champions League fixture. With both sides sitting below the top two in this group, neither can afford a slip-up here.

Despite entering this season’s Champions League as the reigning La Liga holders, Los Colchoners have failed to live up to their household status in European football so far. An unfathomable record of a single win from their opening four Champions League games leaves the Spanish powerhouse vulnerable to an unexpected early elimination.

While they’re sitting atop the Serie A standings, level on points with Napoli, the Rossoneri cannot catch a break in Europe. After amassing a measly one point from their inaugural four Champions League fixtures this season, Milan will be looking to maintain some dignity in this handsomely-looking encounter in Madrid.

Atletico Madrid vs Milan Head-to-Head

Atletico Madrid pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Milan in the reverse fixture at the San Siro under controversial circumstances. The Italians hit the front early in the game through Rafael Leao, but Franck Kessie’s questionable expulsion on the half-hour mark changed the dynamic of the match.

Despite facing numerical inferiority, Stefano Pioli’s men kept the Spanish visitors goalless for an hour of play before homecoming star Antoine Griezmann drew Atletico level in the 84th minute. Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir once again took center stage, handing Diego Simeone’s side a late penalty, with Luis Suarez completing the turnaround from the spot.

As a result, Los Colchoneros now boast a 100% record against Milan in the Champions League, having won all three previous H2Hs in the competition. But with two of those triumphs yielding a narrow one-goal margin, the Rossoneri fanbase will believe their side can put up a fight in Madrid. 

Atletico Madrid Form Preview

Since Parma’s golden generation won in Madrid in the late ’90s, no Italian side have beaten Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital across major European competitions – one draw and six defeats for Serie A sides in such match-ups since. Wanda Metropolitano has been a stronghold for outsiders this calendar year, with Los Rojiblancos suffering just one loss in their last 16 competitive matches here (W10, D5).

However, Simeone’s men have performed well beyond expectations in the Champions League this term. Barring a hard-earned win at Milan on Matchday 2, they have failed to win any of their remaining three Group B fixtures (D1, L2), including a brace of defeats at the hands of Liverpool in the last two matchdays.

Much of Atleti’s European success under Simeone has to be pinned on a rock-solid defense. The Spaniards have conceded only 19 goals in 40 Champions League home matches under the Argentine boss. Among coaches with 20+ Champions League home games under their belt, Simeone boasts the lowest average of 0.48 goals conceded per home game in the competition history.

Milan Form Preview

While hitting the ground running in Serie A this season, Milan have experienced contrasting fortunes in the Champions League. The Rossoneri are winless in their four Group B games so far (D1, L3), as they take the field nailed to the bottom of the section with the faintest of hopes of making a late comeback. 

Though Milan’s chances of making it out of the group stage look far-fetched, Pioli’s men can ill-afford to roll over and concede another underwhelming result. All except victory in Madrid would see the seven-time champions of Europe go winless in five games in a row across a single Champions League campaign for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

But to upset the odds and pull off their first win over Atleti, Milan will have to defy their embarrassing recent record against Spanish clubs. The Rossoneri have tallied just one victory across their last 16 Champions League away match-ups with La Liga adversaries (D6, L9), courtesy of a 2-0 home over Barcelona in the 2012/13 last-16.

Atletico Madrid vs Milan Predicted Lineups

Atletico Madrid (3-4-2-1): Jan Oblak; Stefan Savic, Jose Maria Gimenez, Mario Hermoso; Sime Vrsaljko, Koke, Rodrigo De Paul, Yannick Carrasco; Thomas Lemar, Matheus Cunha; Luis Suarez.

Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Alessandro Florenzi, Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer; Alexis Saelemaekers, Rade Krunic, Rafael Leao; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.