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Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. PSV Eindhoven

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven at the Vicente Calderon.

Atletico Madrid's last-16 Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven is currently delicately poised following a goalless draw between the two teams in the first leg last month.

Atletico overcame Bayer Leverkusen on penalties at the same stage of the competition last season, but this is PSV's first appearance in the knockout round of the Champions League since the 2007-08 campaign.


Atletico

Diego Simeone bellows during the La Liga game between Atletico Madrid and Villarreal on February 20, 2016© AFP

While Atletico are seen as the strong favourites to book a spot in the quarter-finals, head coach Diego Simeone might well be a little concerned that his side failed to register an away goal in the first leg. Any score draw would see PSV surprisingly make the last eight, but the Spanish outfit will enter this match off the back of a fine run of form.

Indeed, the capital outfit have won each of their last four La Liga matches, including a sound 3-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, which consolidated second position in the table. They are still eight points off the leaders Barcelona, but remain four points ahead of third-placed Real Madrid. Their Copa del Rey journey surprisingly ended against Celta Vigo, but they will fancy their chances of making a strong challenge in this competition.

Atletico have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the third consecutive season. They opened Group C with a 2-0 victory at Galatasaray and managed to qualify as winners of the section despite losing 2-1 at home to Benfica in their second match. After suffering defeat in that particular clash, they recorded three wins and one draw to finish three points clear of Benfica.

The capital side are not exactly the most enterprising team in the competition and they rarely put on a feast of goals, but they have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 16 Champions League matches, which is some record. Somewhat surprisingly though, they have lost all four of their previous two-legged European ties against Dutch opposition.

It is eight matches since Atletico last tasted defeat, however, with that loss coming at Barcelona in the league. The Spanish giants passed up a number of opportunities to register in the first leg in Eindhoven, but will fancy their chances of finishing the job at the Calderon, where Simeone has won 11 of his 14 Champions League games in charge.

Recent form: LWDWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DDWWWW


PSV Eindhoven

Atletico Madrid's Oliver Torres fights for possession against PSV Eindhoven during the Champions League last-16 first leg on February 24, 2016© AFP

Like Atletico, PSV will also enter this match full of confidence having recorded two wins and taken seven points from their three Eredivisie matches since the first leg last month. They have scored six times in their last three matches to take control of their domestic league table, but Atletico will provide a very stern test in Madrid.

PSV actually overcame Arsenal in the 2006-07 season to make the quarter-finals of this competition, where they were then beaten 4-0 on aggregate by Liverpool. The Dutch outfit might not be experienced in the latter stages of the Champions League, but this season's campaign was their 14th in the group stages of the competition.

In terms of their progression to this round, the Dutch outfit finished second in Group B behind Wolfsburg and above Manchester United. They won three of their six group matches, collecting 10 points in the process. Philip Cocu's side did not win any of their three away fixtures, however, and have triumphed in just two of their last nine away games in the Champions League.

What's more, PSV have faced Spanish opposition on 13 occasions away from home and are still waiting for their first win. Their five visits to Madrid have produced four defeats, while they have been eliminated on nine of the 12 occasions where they drew the first leg of a European clash at home.

"The great atmosphere can give us a power boost. In this stage of European football, all the stadiums where you play will be impressive in talks of ambiance. We want to silence the fans of Atletico with playing good football," were the words spoken by Cocu at his pre-match press conference.

It is a big ask for PSV to inflict a first home defeat on Atletico since the end of January, but any score draw takes them through and the Dutch outfit are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run of their own.

Recent form: LLWDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWL


Team News

Luuk de Jong of PSV Eindhoven celebrates scoring his teams first goal of the game during the Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Rotterdam held at the Philips Stadion on December 17, 2014© Getty Images

Atletico boss Simeone has no fresh injury concerns from the weekend, but Tiago and Stefan Savic remain unavailable for selection due to knee and calf problems respectively.

Diego Godin came through the Deportivo match with no adverse effects following an illness and should start, while Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is expected to be given the nod in the final third after recovering from an ankle problem.

Simeone's main call will come at centre-forward, where he must choose between the experience of Fernando Torres and the youthfulness of Luciano Vietto, who has struggled for goals this season.

PSV, meanwhile, will welcome back leading scorer Luuk de Jong, who missed the first leg through suspension. The attacker has netted 25 goals in 36 games for his club this season and will return to the final third of the field.

Gaston Pereiro will miss out after seeing red in the first leg, while Simon Poulsen remains out of action with a calf problem. A late check will also be made on Maxime Lestienne.

Atletico possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Luis; Koke, Gabi, Saul; Carrasco, Torres, Griezmann

PSV possible starting lineup:
Zoet; Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Willems; Guadrado, Propper, Van Ginkel; Narsingh, De Jong, Locadia


Head To Head

Before the first leg last month, these two clubs had only ever locked horns on two previous occasions and both of those matches were in the group stages of the 2008-09 Champions League.

Atletico recorded a 2-1 victory in Madrid and they were also 3-0 winners in Eindhoven, when Sergio Aguero hit a brace for the La Liga team.


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We say: Atletico 2-0 PSV

A goalless draw in the first leg does not really hand either side an advantage entering this match, with away goals so important at this stage of the competition. Atletico are very strong at the Calderon, however, and we believe that the hosts will have more than enough to book their spot in the quarter-finals.


Who will qualify for the last eight, Atletico or PSV Eindhoven?

Atletico
PSV Eindhoven
Atletico
67.2%
PSV Eindhoven
32.8%
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Yannick Carrasco of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring their second goal during the La Liga amtch between Club Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 25, 2015
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