Barcelona host Atlético this weekend in the most important game of the season so far for both sides, who are now in a two-horse race to the Liga finish line: Barça’s draw in Las Palmas and Atlético’s home victory over Leganés has reduced the gap between the sides to five points ahead of Sunday’s game.
When the sides met at the Metropolitano earlier in the season the game ended 1-1, extending two curious streaks even further: Diego Simeone has never masterminded victory over Barça in the league while Ernesto Valverde has never beaten Atlético with the Argentinean at the helm in 12 attempts with Athletic, Valencia and Barcelona.
Simeone-Valverde both seeking first wins
80% - Atletico Madrid have won 80% of their games with Diego Costa this season in all competitions (8/10), compared to 53.3% without him (16/30). Bestial. pic.twitter.com/lFRe66bA9z— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 2 March 2018
The 1-1 draw in October was the fourth Valverde has scored against Simeone, with eight victories on the Atlético boss’ CV against his Spanish counterpart.
Simeone, meanwhile, has had 12 pops at Barcelona in LaLiga and his record is exactly the same: four draws and eight defeats. One of those draws, in 2013-14, was worth a Liga title as Diego Godín’s header in a 1-1 draw sent the trophy towards the Calderón.
In total, Simeone has played Barcelona on 22 occasions, with 12 defeats, eight draws and two victories, both in the Champions League quarterfinals in 2013-14 and 2015-16.