Comparing Barça v Atlético in the UEFA Champions League, then and now

Many things have changed since 2014. / FCB
We take a look at the similarities and difference between this year’s quarter-final tie versus the one from two years ago

Whereas Atlético were atop the La Liga table when the two sides last met in the UEFA Champions League, Tuesday’s match will kick off with Barça in first place with 76 points, six ahead of the second-place Colchoneros. Two years ago it was Atlético who led the league with 76 points, albeit their lead at the time was a single point ahead of Barça.

Things are very much the same, though, relating to the Copa del Rey, as Barça, just like two years ago, has already sewn up a berth in the Final. Atlético Madrid, for their part, have already been eliminated — by Celta — as they had been two years ago against Real Madrid.

Another similarity is that FCB and Atlético are meeting once again in the quarter-finals. Barça come in after knocking out Arsenal while Atlético KO’d PSV in the last 16. Two years ago FCB had bounced Manchester City and the Madrileños had ditched AC Milan in the same round.

Interestingly, the tie kicks off right after match day 31 in La Liga, the same as their last UCL clash. Even the order of the games, with the first leg at Camp Nou, is the same as back then.

Luis Enrique, who has yet to lose a match in both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, is one of the few novelties. Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino led Barça in 2014 while Diego ‘Cholo’ Simeone led Atlético.

Arda Turan is on the flip side of the battle this time around. Having been with Atlético two years ago, he started the first leg but missed the second to injury. Former Barça player David Villa played for Atlético in that tie as well.

This time around, there are four new faces in goal. Ter Stegen and Bravo have replaced Valdés and Pinto, while Atlético’s Courtois and Aranzubia have moved on in favour of Oblak and Moya.

Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann will be new additions to this clash at striker. While Messi and Neymar Jr were there last time, both teams have made big changes on attack since then. Suárez is in while Alexis and Pedro have gone. Atlético have Griezmann to go with Torres and Vietto, while Diego Costa, Villa, Baptistao and Adrián are no longer on the team.

Injuries played a big role two years ago, as Valdés missed the tie to injury and Atlético’s Raúl García through suspension. Diego Costa and Gerard Piqué were both injured in the first half of the game at Camp Nou and missed the return leg. Today’s injuries are mostly on defence: FCB’s Mathieu is out while Atlético’s Godin, Giménez and Savic missed Saturday’s La Liga match and are doubtful.

Will the score be similar as well? Two years ago Atlético went through to the semi-finals after drawing 1–1 at Camp Nou and winning 1–0 at the Calderón. Will history repeat itself or will Barça be back among the four best on the continent for the second straight season?