The Madrid derby, or “El Derbi madrileño,” goes back 89 years, but in most recent Champions League memory, the 2016 final, Real Madrid defeated their counterparts in a nail-biting penalty shootout. “Real Madrid proved in last year’s final that they were the best club in the world,” Abi Genser ’18 said.
Atletico Madrid is coming off of a respectable 2-1 aggregate victory over Leicester City, the club that shocked the world last year after winning the British Premier League. After defeating Sevilla, Leicester City proved that they were to be taken seriously in this European tournament, and Atletico Madrid knew this would not be an easy task. “They play vertically and are clinical in attack. I do not believe that they will concede possession,” Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said in an interview with Marca. “That is what has brought them to the European stage.”
Key players in this victory included Antoine Griezmann and Saúl Ñíguez, who provided the goal scoring, and Jan Oblak, who was a brick wall in goal. According to The Guardian, Atletico Madrid dominated possession with 62 percent, while Leicester City had no shots on goal in the first leg.
Real Madrid, who is currently on top of the La Liga table in Spain, arguably had a tougher task in their quarter-final matchup, having to play German powerhouse Bayern Munich. “Real Madrid vs. Munich was one of the most physical and high-intensity games I have seen this season,” Perez Elorza said. He added that the matches were overshadowed by numerous refereeing decisions that went against Munich.