Atletico Madrid vs. Girona – prediction, team news, lineups

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Diego Simeone’s fell to the bottom of their Champions League group after a 2-0 loss to Club Brugge, while the visitors were involved in a thrilling 5-3 defeat to Real Sociedad last weekend.

Match preview

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone on October 1, 2022© Reuters

It seems to be a case of one step forward, two steps back for Atletico Madrid at the moment, as Los Colchoneros suffered a surprising setback in Belgium on Tuesday, that saw Carl Hoefkens‘s Club Brugge make it nine points out of nine in Group B.

That blunt attacking display came just three days after an incisive 2-0 victory at Sevilla, highlighting a concerning consistency problem in front of goal, as they failed to score in Belgium despite generating 2.24 in expected goals.

Alvaro Morata squandered a golden chance early on, before Antoine Griezmann crashed a penalty against the crossbar, in a miss that epitomised their night in Flanders.

Coupled with an equally-worrying 2-0 defeat away to struggling Bayer Leverkusen three weeks ago, the side are facing a three-way scrap to qualify for the knockout stages, with some calling Simeone’s tactics into question after their latest, uninspiring defeat.

Domestically, while things have not been quite as alarming, having climbed up to fifth with that win in Seville, the capital club have lost two of their three home games so far this campaign, with both Villarreal and Real Madrid coming away with all three points.

Atletico lost at home to both Levante and Mallorca last campaign, so will need to be alert for the visit of a fearless, recently-promoted side.

While the visitors ultimately lost out in LaLiga last weekend, Michel‘s side earned plenty of admirers after an electric 5-3 game at Montilivi.

Going toe-to-toe with a mightily impressive, slick-passing Real Sociedad side, the Blanquivermells played some breathtaking football, as flying wing-backs and bustling, creative midfielders shone in an expansive 5-3-2 system.

As Valentin Castellanos scored his second LaLiga goal in the absence of Girona’s all-time top goalscorer Cristhian Stuani, it was Rodrigo Riquelme‘s goal-of-the-season contender that stole the headlines, as the 22-year-old nutmegged Martin Zubimendi before firing an unstoppable drive into the top left-hand corner.

For all the positives, however, the side sit just three points clear of the early relegation standings, so will be looking to add to Atletico Madrid’s frustrations this weekend.

Team News

Rodrigo Riquelme representing Atletico Madrid in 2019.© Reuters

After the long-awaited return of centre-back partners Jose Maria Gimenez and Stefan Savic at Sevilla, there were concerns over the half-time substitution of the former against Club Brugge.

The Uruguayan has posted images of him training on social media, so he could be in line to continue in the starting lineup, particularly in the absence of Felipe, who has suffered a muscle injury in training.

Elsewhere, Marcos Llorente‘s 33rd-minute substitution was a bitter disappointment, given his excellent performance in a more advanced role last weekend. He will be out for three to four weeks, with his place in Luis Enrique‘s World Cup squad now thrown into doubt.

Thomas Lemar made the bench in Bruges after his injury, so may be given a start this time around, while Sergio Reguilon is still not ready after surgery.

For the visitors, Real Madrid loanee Reinier will be out for around a month with a hamstring tear, while centre-back David Lopez will miss out with an achilles injury.

Rodrigo Riquelme, on loan from Atletico Madrid, will be able to play against his parent club, as a “fear clause” was not included in the deal.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Reinildo, Gimenez, Savic, Molina; Lemar, Koke, Witsel, Correa; Felix, Morata

Girona possible starting lineup:
Juan Carlos; Gutierrez, Juanpe, Bernardo, Bueno, Arnau; Romeu, Garica, Riquelme; Castellanos, Stuani

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