By Marcus Louison
Atletico Madrid vs Juventus – 2:45PM ET
The stage is set at the Vicente Calderon for yet another epic European night. The reigning Liga and Serie A Champions lock horns in a match truly befitting the UEFA ‘CHAMPIONS’ League.
Atleti, still smarting from their defeat in Greece on Matchday one, will be elated to have Diego Simeone back on the sidelines. Simeone admitted to liking the view from the stands, but prefers pitchside, as he is constantly barking orders, adjusting tactics and inspiring deafening noise levels right around the Calderon.
The Rojiblancos will be hoping to translate their impressive recent league form to Europe, as they continue to integrate the quality new additions to their squad. Tiago Mendes and Mario Suarez will be called upon to provide industry and tempo in midfield, as they seek to compensate for the loss of inspirational skipper, Gabi Fernandez, who’s out with an ankle problem. The enterprise and creativity are likely to be supplied by Koke, Arda and the consistently excellent Raul Garcia. Antoine Griezmann, an expensive recruit from Real Sociedad, is yet to find his feet. Mario Mandzukic, deemed surplus to Bayern Munich requirements, provides constant goal-threat, work rate and physicality.
Juventus, under the new stewardship of Massimiliano Allegri, arrive in confident mood following an impressive start to the Serie A season. Andrea Pirlo is yet to play a game this season, but the slack has been picked up by the ever present Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio. Roberto Pereyra has been a highly impressive addition from Udinese, but may miss out tonight to the fit-again Arturo Vidal. Carlos Tevez, an international outcast for Argentina, can’t stop scoring for Juve, and his rapidly improving ‘little and large’ partnership with Fernando Llorente should be more than enough to keep Joao Miranda and Diego Godin on their toes.