By FRANCO PANIZO
Barcelona admittedly struggle to create scoring chances against Atletico Madrid’s tough and stingy defense, but they will need to find a way to do just that in order to secure advancement in the UEFA Champions League.
The two Spanish clubs are eyeing a place in the semifinals of the tournament, but only one will make it after they play the decisive leg of their quarterfinals series at Vicente Calderon on Wednesday. Atletico have the upperhand in this one after picking up an away goal in a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou last week.
Barcelona have to get on the scoreboard in order to avoid elimination, but that could play right into the hands of Atletico manager Diego Simeone. With Barcelona in need of finding a goal, Atletico should have space in behind that they can try and exploit.
The two teams have played four times this season and every game has ended with a 1-1 scoreline. If that were the case again, the second leg would head into extratime. Atletico, however, want to get the job done before that so that they can move onto the final four of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 1974.
In Wednesday’s other quarterfinals match, Manchester United will try and keep their dreams of salvaging a lost season in the Premiership alive when they take go on the road to take on reigning champions Bayern Munich.
The two European powerhouses played to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, which means United have to find a goal in order to prevent exiting the tournament. That is in part why David Moyes is likely to count on recovering striker Wayne Rooney, who some feel may be rushing back from a toe injury to play in this game at Allianz Arena.
Munich are the favorites going into this one, but they have had a bit of a slip as of late after winning the Bundesliga title in record time. Making matters worse for FC Hollywood is that they will be missing several players for this one; Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez are suspended after picking up yellow cards in the first leg and Xherdan Shaqiri, Diego Contento, Tom Starke, Thiago Alcantara, Lukas Raeder and Holger Badstuber are nursing knocks.
The German club is known to be deep, but they will need several role players to step up vs. the Red Devils in order to avoid a dismal fate in front of their demanding home supporters.
Do you see Atletico beating and eliminating Barcelona? What are the chances Man Utd knock off Bayern Munich in Germany? Which of these four is the most likely team to win it all?
Share your thoughts below.