In his 300th game in charge of the club, Diego Simeone welcomes Diego Godin back and Jan Oblak back from injury as Luis Enrique shuffles the pack for Barcelona's visit to the Vicente Calderon. Barça are facing a three-quarter-season crisis and need to win this game in order to ensure they push Real Madrid to the limit in the league while Atletico Madrid might be thinking of a sneaky late surge up the table when all hope of finishing inside the top three was lost not so long ago even though some believe they are still a declining force.
Diego Godin's last game was against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final but he is now back in the starting line-up along with Jan Oblak, who had a much longer stint on the sidelines. Sime Vrsaljko has been selected at right-back and will have to cope with Neymar down that wing while he also aims to be an attacking piece of Simeone's puzzle.
Griezmann and Gameiro start up front, the latter enjoying his best spell at the club with four goals in his last two games. He was incensed to have been taken off against Bayer in the Champions League against when he was clearly Atletico's stand-out player but the rest might have done him the world of good as he is expected to cause a creaky Barcelona defense issues on Sunday afternoon.
Atletico Madrid XI
Oblak, Vrsaljko, Godin, Savic, Filipe Luis, Gabi, Koke, Saul, Carrasco, Griezmann, Gameiro.
Luis Enrique Martinez Garcia is in the middle of the his most difficult spell as the coach of Barcelona. A faction of the Barcelona faithful booed both him and Andre Gomes during their win over Leganes last weekend in the league and they also face Champions League expulsion after a 4-0 manhandling at the hands of PSG in the last 16.
Lucho's big problem is his midfield and who to play alongside Busquets and Iniesta. Today he opts for Rafinha as Rakitic, yet again, gets left out in a crucial moment for Barça. Another issue he faces is who to play at right-back and while the Barcelona manager sticks with Sergi Roberto, he has chosen Jeremy Mathieu at left-back with Jordi Alba on the bench.
Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Mathieu, Busquets, Iniesta, Rafinha, Messi, Neymar, Suarez.
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