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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.

Simeone se entrenó ayer con todos, salvo Augusto y Torres. Hubo caras de alegría y también de concentración en la sesión.
Dani SánchezDIARIO AS

Champions League football

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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.

 Defensive frailty

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.

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Víctor LerenaEFE

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


Today's must-win game for El Cholo's men sees Juanfran return but Godín suspended, which means Giménez is likely to partner Savic in central defence. Elsewhere it remains to be seen how the Argentinian coach will line up; one certainty is the return of Saúl, while there is also talk of Thomas returning to the starting eleven. Up top Griezmann and Gameiro will start together again, the latter scoring three goals in five games against Valencia... all at Mestalla

Follow Barcelona vs Valencia coverage | LaLiga Santander


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