International

Atletico ready to host Barca

2015-09-10 13:41
Filipe Luis (Getty Images)
Filipe Luis (Getty Images)

Madrid - Barcelona and Atletico Madrid get to test their strength in the first big match of the season in the Spanish league.

A victory at the Vicente Calderon Stadium can provide a hint about Barcelona's chances of retaining its title, or show that Atletico has what it takes to contend for another trophy.

The league's last two champions have been perfect so far this year, with two wins in two matches.

"Every player wants to be in a match like this. It's going to be an incredible atmosphere at the Calderon," Atletico Madrid left back Filipe Luis said.

"Barcelona is always a favorite to win every match, but we have the advantage of playing at home."

Atletico opened its quest for its second league title in three years with a 1-0 win over newcomer Las Palmas and a convincing 3-0 victory at Sevilla, while Barcelona managed 1-0 victories at Athletic Bilbao and against Malaga.

Although Real Madrid remains Barcelona's main opponent, the rivalry against Atletico has gained increased significance following high-profile encounters the last few years, including in the Champions League and Copa del Rey. Barcelona has won four matches in a row coming into Saturday's encounter, though, including the decisive league match last season at the Calderon.

"Both teams know each other very well," Luis said.

"We know Barcelona will control possession of the ball and we will defend hard and try to create chances on counterattacks."

Barcelona are expected to travel to Madrid without Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo because of a left-leg muscle injury that kept him from practicing during most of the week. Atletico coach Diego Simeone should have most of his regular starters available.

Read more on:    atletico madrid  |  barcelona  |  la liga  |  filipe luis  |  soccer
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