Wednesday’s marquee match is an early rematch of one of last year’s semifinals. Atlético got through on away goals after two heated encounters in which they won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 in Munich. While those were only the second and third times the teams had faced each other, this has the makings of a fierce transcontinental rivalry between a perennial giant and a rebellious challenger. Bayern are off to a perfect start under Carlo Ancelotti, winning all eight of their matches across competitions and conceding only a solitary goal. It wasn’t a squad that needed much changing under their new manager, but 25 year old Joshua Kimmich in particular has bloomed under Ancelotti, moving from defense to midfield and scoring five goals for club and country as a result. Their hosts on Wednesday are also undefeated and boast a defense that may be the best in the world at frustrating superstars. Couple that with Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gamiero running at goal on the opposite end and Bayern will be treated to a tough evening in the Calderón.
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.
Bayern last won the Champions League in 2013 and have since watched the trophy stay in Spain for three straight years, despite Pep leading them to four straight Bundesliga titles and the German national team atop international football. New manager Carlo Ancelotti’s charge is clear - get the Champions League trophy back to Munich. They’re bolstered by the additions of former Dortmund captain Mats Hummels and the Euros’ breakout young star, Renato Sanches. After losing in the semi-finals last year on away goals to Atletico Madrid, the German giants will be motivated to get back on top.
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.
Equal parts bruiser and magician, Vidal won Serie A in each of his four seasons at Juventus.
Scored 42 goals in all competitions last season and began the new Bundesliga season with a hat trick.