Thursday, 30.09.2010, 21:05 (GMT+2)
Unfortunately only a short video-clip (2 minutes) of the press conference was available on Bayer 04 TV.
“As last year champions of the Europa League, Atletico are a strong and difficult opponent for us. Quique Flores (Atletico’s coach) has done great work and improved the team considerably in comparison to previous seasons. They are well organised and have now a good balance between defense and offense…Diego Forlán is an outstanding player, I admire him especially for his attitude on and off the pitch…Atletico has a strong attack and midfield filled with high-standing international players. They have improved their team from last year with quality signings. This does not make our job tomorrow easier.
Nevertheless, we as Bayer Leverkusen have come to Madrid to win this match. My team is well prepared and has recently shown strong performances.”
Arturo Vidal (from spanish press):
“It’s a difficult game that awaits us. But every footballer would like to measure himself against such great players like Forlán and Agüero. Atletico entire line-up is strong and they are well formed as a team..It’s a dream come true for me to play in such big club as Leverkusen. We have won now 2 games in a row in the Bundesliga and want to continue in this positive line and win tomorrow’s match.”
The press conference did not reveal much on who will play tomorrow. I expect Heynckes to repeat the successful 4-2-3-1 formation and not to make too many changes to the team that won in Stuttgart. This is an important game, we should stick with what has worked well previously. Rotations can be used again on Sunday against Werder Bremen.
Lars Bender seems to be back from his injury and has travelled to Madrid, he could start instead of Reinartz. Both are equally strong in defense but Lars can offer more going forward. For Rolfes this high-rhythm European match comes too early, he could however get some minutes at the end. Renato Augusto has come back from his injury recently, it is not sure whether he will start again. Derdiyok should play in attack as he is the ideal striker for this formation (strong in the air and can hold the balls for forward-moving midfielders). If Atletico scores, Heynckes could switch to a 4-2-2-2 with Helmes and Derdiyok in attack.
UPDATE: According to Bild, Renato Augusto twisted his knee during the training session yesterday. He had an X-Ray at a Hospital after this event (no further details are available). He will therefore be not available today, Sam will most likely play substitute him in the line-up.
Leverkusen bench: Giefer, Vida, Reinartz, Kaplan, Rolfes, Jørgensen, Sam, Helmes (one player will be left out)
Likely Line-up Atletico: De Gea – Ujfalusi,Perea,Dominguez,Filipe – Assunçao – Reyes,Tiago,Simao – Forlán,Agüero
Around 200-300 Leverkusen Fans will be supporting their team in Madrid. However quite a few will stay at home due to the general strike in Spain. Ryanair cancelled flights today from Frankfurt-Hahn and Brussels to Madrid due to this circumstance. The stadium will also not be sold out, there are around 10.000 tickets (capacity: 54.000 spectators) still available.
I think we have good chances tomorrow to bring something positive (1-3 points) back home. 2-3 weeks ago I would have said that Atletico wins this match comfortably, this has changed after our latest results and Godin’s injury.
My personal prediction: 1-1 (goal: Derdiyok), how about yours?