Eventual finalists Atlético Madrid nearly had their Champions League run cut short last year by PSV Eindhoven. The Dutch squad held Atleti scoreless over two matches and extra time in the Round of 16 to force a penalty shoot-out, which the Madrid side won. Previously, PSV had gotten a win and a draw against Manchester United in the group stage, showing they're not intimidated by reputation alone. Domestically, the Dutch side have dropped only two points from five matches, while Atleti have drawn twice in their first three La Liga games. Over the weekend however, Atlético found their stride, winning 4-0 off the back of a Greizmann double and an assist. It's unlikely that both PSV and Atleti make it out of the group with Bayern involved, making this match a must-win for each side. While on paper, you'd expect Atlético to take points from this match, the history between these two and PSV's undefeated record at home in the Champions League last year suggest this will be close.
As the current Eredivisie champions, PSV qualified directly into the group stage. Their Champions League campaign last year included wins over each of their group opponents - Manchester United, Wolfsburg, and CSKA Moscow - before losing to Atletico Madrid on penalties after holding them scoreless for 210 minutes. Again, they’ll boast an impressive spine in Mexican internationals Andres Guardado and Hector Moreno, and Dutchmen at either end with Jeroen Zoet in goal and Luuk de Jong up top. With Bayern and Atletico Madrid in their group, they’ll need heroics to get out of their group for the second year running.
Last season’s Champions League proved to be heartbreak again for Atletico as they were runners-up to rivals Real Madrid for the second time in three years. The momentum should continue for Atleti, however, as manager Diego Simeone has stayed put. Also committing themselves to the Vicente Calderon is star French forward Antoine Greizmann, who will be joined in attack with the formidable options of Fernando Torres, Kevin Gamiero, Saul, Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan, among others. Combine that with a stern defense and Atletico Madrid are no longer relative surprise finalists, but one of the favorites. We’ll be treated to a matchup against Bayern, but with PSV Eindhoven and Rostov rounding out the group, Atleti should make it out comfortably.
Scored 58 goals in 88 appearances in his first two seasons with PSV.
A star for the Mexican national team, Guardado has played in three World Cups and two Copa América.
Was named player of the tournament at Euro 2016, scoring six goals and adding two assists in seven games.
The rock at the heart of Atleti's defense has played over 180 matches for Los Rojiblancos.