Atletico Madrid come to this game after a solid run of games without a loss that has seen them slowly building momentum to solidify 4th spot holding off the pressure from Sociedad behind them and chasing Barcelona who are 6 points ahead common into this critical fixture. Both teams know that victories are extremely critical for their respective targets and especially Atletico Madrid after struggling early on in the season. Atletico Madrid has now built an 8 game unbeaten run in La Liga while while losing just 1 in their last 11 games. A lot of that success has come due to their goal scorers getting back into form particularly of Gameiro who last week netted the 2nd fastest hat-trick in La Liga. Greizmann and Torres his partners up front have also picked up form, and a solid 4-2 win in mid-week against Leverkusen would have done their confidence a world of good. Atletico’s scoring form has been good, having being shut out just once in their last 17 games in all competitions. Madrid will have keeper Oblak return in goal after an injury layoff while Godin might return earlier than expected to help Savic in defense with Juanfran still out due to injury.
Barcelona have a lot of answering to do following their 4-0 embarrassment against PSG; they struggled to the finish line with a narrow 2-1 win over Leganes last week and now travel to the home of their arch-rivals in search of 3 points that can help them temporarily take over 1st spot in La Liga. Barcelona have to rely a lot on Messi, Suarez and Neymar who have been instrumental to their goalscoring success. While Barcelona have managed to score a league leading 63 goals in 23 games this season; their defense has been unraveled when taking on some better than average teams like Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Madrid so far. Away from home has been their Achilles heel conceding against sides like Gladbach and Man City also away from home this season. Umtiti and Pique should start in the center of defense, with both prone to making mistakes on quite a few occasions.
These 2 teams have already met three times this season with all 3 of those fixtures seeing both teams find the back of the net and 6 out of their last 7 over the past 2 season have seen both teams to score.