Atlético will be taking a the slimmest of advantages to Anfield when they resolve their Champions Leagie Last 16 tie with Liverpool next month. It's not an unusual situation for Atleti - in fact, out of the 26 previous ties in which Simeone's team have enjoyed a first leg advantage since the coach's return in 2011-12, they have progressed to the next round 25 times. Although it has to be said that out of those 26 two-legged ties, not all of Atleti's rivals were quite at the exceptional level Liverpoolhave shown over the past couple of seasons...
Atlético, knocked out by Juve last year
Perhaps not even Juventus, the only team who were able to turn a tie around against El Cholo's Atleti - at the same stage of last season's Champions League. The Rojiblancos travelled to Turin with a 2-0 lead (goals from Giménez and Godín) but ended losing the return 3-0 and as a consequence, eliminated from the competition. It's relevant as it's the most recent example - and one which Simeone and his team surely won't have forgotten.
In those 26 two-legged ties in which Atlético have had a first leg lead, seven were in the Europa League (2012 and 2018); in six of them, Atleti also won the return leg. Only in one did they lose the return - to Sporting Clube de Portugal. In the Copa del Rey, they have had a first leg advantage 14 times and only Las Palmas managed to win the return leg (in 2017), but their 2-3 win at the Calderón wasn't enough to turn around the 0-2 result from the first leg.
The most intense return legs have been the five ties Atleti have played in the Champions League with a lead from the first leg. Against AC Milan (2014) and Bayer Leverkusen (2017), they won the first leg away from home; against Bayern Munich(2016), Leicester (2017) and Juventus (2019) they won at home first - like this week against Liverpool. Against Bayern, Atlético endured the most agonising return leg tie of the Simeone era. Saúl's superb individual goal at the Calderón gave the Rojiblancos a slender advantage, but in Munich, the team were under the cosh for the first half hour. Xabi Alonso volleyed Bayern back in it and Oblak saved Müller's penalty. After the break, Griezmann levelled and Lewandowski made it 2-1, but Atleti booked their place in the final on away goals.
Source: AS / Jesús Colino