Manchester United make the trip to the Spanish capital later today when they face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.
The Reds finished top of Group F to progress to the knockout stages, whilst their opponents finished second in Group B behind group winners Liverpool.
Atletico enter Wednesday’s clash off the back of a 3-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga, with Joao Felix, Luis Suarez and Angel Correa getting on the scoresheet. However, the Spanish champions have disappointed this season which is reflected in their league position.
Diego Simeone’s side sit fifth in the league – 15 points behind rivals Real Madrid, so the Champions League is the team’s only real chance of landing silverware this season. Winning the competition may be their only chance of making the tournament next season.
Atletico were hardly convincing in the group stages, winning just two of their six matches but a 3-1 win over Porto allowed them to finish second behind eventual group winners Liverpool.
The Red and Whites have only faced United on one previous occasion when they faced each other in the 1991-92 Cup Winners’ Cup which saw the Spanish giants run out 4-1 winners.
United, meanwhile, come into this contest off the back of a thrilling 4-2 win against arch rivals Leeds United. Anthony Elanga and Fred were introduced as second half substitutes and both ended up on the scoresheet and played key roles in the away win at Elland Road.
The Red Devils have picked up vital victories over Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds in their last two – leaving them fourth in the league but they need to switch their attention to the Champions League and will be aware of the importance of picking up a positive first-leg result.
United finished top of their group to advance to the knockouts, collecting 11 points from their six matches, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming up with some vital goals against Villarreal and Atalanta.
Wednesday night will be United’s first Champions League knockout tie since the 2018-19 campaign when they were knocked out by Barcelona.
Edinson Cavani has missed both of United’s recent Premier League wins over Brighton and Leeds and the Uruguayan remains a major doubt for the game in Madrid.
Eric Bailly is expected to be in the squad, as the Ivorian continues his recovery from an ankle injury.
As for the hosts, Matheus Cunha suffered a knock against Levante last week and did not feature in the hosts’ squad against Osasuna last weekend.
The Brazilian remains a doubt for Simeone’s side ahead of United’s visit but Antoine Griezmann was back among the substitutes but Koke remains doubtful.
Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Leeds was the Reds’ second consecutive win and extended their unbeaten league run to seven games.
The last time that the Reds played in the Champions League was back in December 2021 when they drew 1-1 at home to BSC Young Boys.
The hosts enter the fixture off the back of a convincing 3-0 away win against Osasuna which ended a three game losing streak.
The Spanish champions are yet to win a European match at the Wanda Metropolitano this season.