Anyone who believed Atletico Madrid’s star might begin to fade were proved foolish when Bayern Munich’s 100 per cent record this season was ended in the Champions League group stage.
Yet again Atleti boss Diego Simeone proved himself to be a masterful tactician in big continental clashes, relenting plenty of possession to Carlo Ancelotti’s men, yet ultimately prevailing 1-0.
Were it not for a spurned Antoine Griezmann penalty and some typical Fernando Torres wastefulness late on, their Group D victory would have been more emphatic too.
The loss was Ancelotti’s first as Bayern manager, arriving after eight straight wins in all competitions and it certainly makes lifer harder in the mission to win the group.
For Simeone and Atletico though, serenity is maintained with the maximum six points on the board and their own season’s unbeaten streak of eight matches intact, albeit, they’ve drawn three.
It’s also a potent reminder to punters that the less glamorous Madrid outfit seem highly likely to be slugging it out late in the competition once again, if not winning the trophy no club deserves more of late.
Considering they have reached two of the last three finals, twice taking arch rivals Real Madrid to extra-time and only losing on penalties back in May, their price looks a humdinger early in proceedings.
We make it 12/1 Los Rojiblancos go one step further this year, while Barcelona remain favourites at 23/10, followed by Real and Manchester City at 6/1 and 9/1 respectively.
Given the Spaniards have already toppled the second favourites, held Barca in La Liga and have a manager of Simeone’s continental calibre at the helm, Atleti’s price is a sumptuous one.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing