Created on 03-05-2016 at 08:45 AM
Diego Simeone usually gesticulates from the coaching zone, bouncing up and down as if he himself wanted to play. But on the eve of the Champions League semi-final return the Atlético coach was cool as a cucumber. His left arm resting on his thigh, he silently listened to his captain Gabi and forward Fernando Torres answer questions in the Allianz Arena press centre. The Volcano has not erupted (yet). But that is about to change tonight at 20.45 CET.
“He's always able to communicate to the team how he wants them to play. We spend a lot of time with each other and understand each other perfectly,” Gabi commented on the coach, who has to watch his team from the stands in La Liga due to a touchline ban. In the Champions League however, the emotional Simeone is up close to the action. “You have a good overview from the stands, but on the touchline you can really take part in the match,” the 46-year-old Argentinian explained.
'We can beat anyone'
A draw would be sufficient for Atlético to go through to the final, as they did in 2014. However, Simeone announced: “We want to win. We'll stick to our style of play. We'll be ourselves.” In the first leg the Spaniards posed a tough challenge with pressing and a very compact formation. At the Allianz Arena Atlético aim to pick up where they left off. “We put them under pressure, we tried to quickly recover possession and be strong in tackles. Our play reflected how we felt: good.”
Torres agreed, stressing that the Rojiblancos will stay true to their philosophy: “As a team we can beat anyone. We die for each other, everyone fights for his team-mates. We'll prove it once more tomorrow.” Gabi added: “You have to beat the best teams to go to Milan, and Bayern are among the best. But we'll have our chances.” Simeone listened attentively before indicating his passion: “I'm nervous before every single match. You can imagine how I'm feeling before this one.”
Godin set to return
Atlético travelled to Munich with their entire squad including Diego Godin. The defensive pillar missed the last three matches due to a thigh injury, but has recovered and completed the final training session at the Allianz Arena. “Diego's presence on the pitch is crucial,” Simeone commented, but declined to reveal whether the defender would play.
Atlético squad to face Bayern:
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moyá, Bernabé
Defence: Filipe Luis, Savic, Gámez, Lucas, Giménez, Godín, Juanfran
Midfield: Koke, Kranevitter, Óliver, Augusto, Gabi, Saúl, Carrasco, Thomas, Tiago
Attack: Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Correa, Vietto