Atletico Madrid travel to the home of their fierce city rivals Real Madrid for a heavyweight La Liga clash on Sunday evening.
Diego Simeone’s side started Wednesday night bottom of a tightly contested Champions League Group B yet, after a frenzied 3-1 win away to Porto – which encompassed three red cards and as many goals in the 90th minute and beyond – Atletico scraped and scrapped their way into the last 16.
They will hope to use the momentum generated in that victory to overcome a Real side they have rarely got the better of since they were promoted back to the top flight at the turn of the century.
Here’s the XI Simeone may select from his battered and bruised squad to get the job done.
Jan Oblak (GK) – The man fondly dubbed ‘Super Jan’ for his otherworldly performances between the sticks was instrumental to Atletico‘s title tilt last term, yet his slump this season explains a lot of their defensive regression.
Felipe (CB) – Spared the fiery chaos in midweek – which would only be intensified for a former Porto player – Felipe is poised for a swift return to the side.
Geoffrey Kondogba (CB) – Drafted back from midfield given the raft of injuries honing in on Atletico’s centre backs.
Mario Hermoso (CB) – The Madrid-born, former Real youth player never made a senior appearance for Los Blancos but will know the importance of this fixture more than most.
Marcos Llorente (RWB) – Another past Madridista is even more intertwined within the club, boasting three former Real players in his family, including his great-uncle Paco Gento, who just so happens to be the most successful player in the club’s illustrious history (24 major trophies).
Rodrigo De Paul (CM) – Unlike the vast majority of Atleti’s squad, De Paul remains undefeated against their city rivals – admittedly, he’s only made two previous appearances (both draws with Valencia) but why discard any positive omens.
Koke (CM) – A veteran of 31 Madrid derbies, Koke has more yellow cards against his city rivals (15) than any other side in his career – but has never been dismissed in the fixture.
Thomas Lemar (CM) – With three La Liga goals from seven starts, Lemar has matched his tally from the previous three campaigns combined this season alone.
Yannick Carrasco (LWB) – The Belgium international’s flailing arm sparked the second half storm against Porto but his European red card won’t impinge on his availability this Sunday.
Angel Correa (ST) – With Luis Suarez’s availability in doubt, Atletico’s punchy Argentine could become the only outfield player to feature in every game for the club this season.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – Having drawn a blank in his opening five matches back at Atletico, the returning forward has directly contributed to ten goals in his subsequent 12 appearances across all competitions (seven goals, three assists) – a team high this term.