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UCL Preview: Atletico Madrid hosts Bayern Munich in semifinal first leg


In Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal tie, Atletico Madrid looks to advance to what would be its second Champions League final in three years. Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich stands between the Rojiblancos and their quest for the final, having defeated Benfica in the quarterfinals.

Guardiola looks to guide Bayern Munich to its first final since 2012-13. This run in the Champions League will also be Guardiola’s last go-round with Bayern before taking over at Manchester City next season.

Atletico will host Bayern on Wednesday afternoon at Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid, Spain. Atletico will be missing star defender Diego Godin while striker Fernando Torres returns after suspension for a red card in the first leg of the quarterfinal (2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2GO, ESPN Deportes).

Atletico has only allowed seven goals in its last 17 matches, but achieving the advantage in the home leg will be difficult as the team will be without Godin due to a hamstring injury. Bayern, on the other hand, is one of the most potent offensive teams in the competition with Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski tied for second with Luis Suarez on this season’s top scoring chart with eight goals.

Centerback Jose Maria Gimenez will be returning for Atletico after a hamstring injury, as head coach Diego Simeone included him on his roster for Wednesday’s match.

Bayern, on the other hand, is without a key attacking option. Winger Arjen Robben is out with a groin injury, while winger Kingsley Coman is also doubtful with a thigh injury. On the defensive side for the German giants are injuries to defender Jerome Boateng and defensive midfielder Holger Badstuber, but the former could be available for selection in Madrid.

A strong defensive performance in a win over Barcelona during the quarterfinals makes Atletico a bit of a surprise to have made it this far in the Champions League. To beat Bayern, the Rojiblancos will need to defend just as well as they did against Barcelona.

Torres scored in the first leg against Barcelona. Returning for this semifinal, he may write a new chapter in an immensely successful career in Champions League matchups.

Bayern has not quite locked up the German Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund lying seven points behind, and Atletico is in the midst of a heating three-team Spanish La Liga battle with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Do you think either gains an advantage on Wednesday? Think Bayern can steal one on the road?

Share your thoughts below.

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