The battle for Champions League football
Atlético are staring down at the prospect of finishing fifth as they entertain a resurgent Valencia side at the Calderón. Simeone will stick with Griezmann and Gameiro up front.
Champions League football
As the memory of Riazor and Fernando Torres's scare fades into the distance, Atlético Madrid turn their attentions towards a crunch game for Champions League football next season against a re-emerging Valencia side on Sunday (Vicente Calderón, 16:15 CET). For Simeone's men it's the old cliché of a final, but on this occasion it is never more apt after Los Rojiblancos woke up on Sunday morning sitting in fifth place following Real Sociedad's crucial away win at Betis.
Just 12 months ago nobody could breach the red and white defensive line, an armoured wall of spit and grit which struck fear into opponents. Fear now seems to have seeped back into this back four, with a loose ball in the area now generating mild panic, a case in point being Leo Messi's late goal last weekend or their lack of concentration to let Depor back into the game and drop two points. The upshot is that Atleti have now gone two games without a win and find themselves out in the cold, one place adrift of the warmth of Champions League football.
One last time at the Calderón
Today's game is a historic fixture, Valencia's last visit to the Calderón after they were the visiting side which opened the stadium on the Manzanares river on 2 October 1962. Valencia have managed to salvage some of their season, particularly at Mestalla, with their two summer signings, Zaza and Orellana, enhancing their squad depth. However, their away form is where question marks remain: only one win in nine.
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