FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid: Preview, Team News and Prediction

After making it to the UCL quarterfinals for the first time since 2020, the Champions face another tough challenge, looking to stay alive in La Liga

Following a superlative performance midweek to down Napoli and book their places in the UCL Quarter Finals, Barcelona turn their attention back to La Liga to face another decisive match in their bid to retain their title. Xavi would be proud of his boys and the way they played on both sides of the field on Tuesday, but the nature of today's game means that the team has but little time to relax with Atlético away at Wanda up next.

The biggest take away from the midweek tie was the tireless perseverance on display and the willingness of every individual to put their hands up in a bid to secure the match for the club. Sure the Catalans still lack conviction in many parts of their game and do show defensive fragilities at times, but the team more than makes up for it with their 'never say never' attitude with different individuals stepping up at different times to bail the club out of trouble. The game vs the team from Naples wasn't flawless by any means, but it displayed a brand of football which reminded Culers of the Blaugrana of yore.

Atletico Madrid in-front of their fans made it to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League despite being 2 goals down in the tie midway through the first half. An immediate response from Griezmann and a late equalizer from Memphis was enough to send the tie to extra time, and Atletico kept their composure to emerge victorious in the subsequent shootout. The Colchoneros have often been accused of playing low block defensive football, but Simeone's current Atlético is capable of wreaking havoc on both fronts, a testament to the tactics of the manager and the capabilities of his players.

Atlético loanee João Félix was the difference maker between the two sides when they locked horns at the Montjuïc in December. On it from the get go, Félix grabbed an amazing goal to send Barcelona into the lead and made his feelings clear by celebrating against his parent club. Barcelona were by far the superior team in the night and could have killed the game off well before the hour mark. Sloppy finishing and lack of decisiveness in the final third ensured that Atlético were still in with a shot and would have rescued a point if not for the last minute heroics from Iñaki Peña.

The two rivals had contrasting fates in the league in the previous matchday. Whilst Barcelona had a certain Lamine Yamal bail them out of trouble with a wonderful curling effort, Simeone's men were caught off guard in a surprise 2-0 victory away at Cádiz. Simeone hasn't always tasted success against the team from Catalunya but fares better against them in Madrid. Barcelona have won only twice at the Wanda Metropolitano (thrice if you count the Copa Del Rey win over Sevilla in 2018) but one of the two wins incidentally came on their last trip to the stadium.

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last seven league games and have been on a role ever since Xavi announced his decision to step down at the end of the season. Barcelona have fared much better away from home having accumulated 27 points without tasting defeat in any of their 13 encounters. Atlético on the other hand have been insurmountable at home thus far and we are in for some crisp and delightful 90 minutes of football. Xavi knows the task at hand wouldn’t be easy and his men would have to be spot on from the first whistle if they are to get the job done and head into the international break with 3 points.

The past few days have been dominated with talks about Barcelona’s forthcoming UCL tie with PSG but that game isn’t due for another 3 weeks and there are 3 crunch La Liga ties to be won before that clash. Xavi’s troops should focus on continuing to mount the pressure on Real Madrid in the league and be well placed to take advantage in the case of a slip up on the part of their rivals.



Xavi would essentially pick the same lineup and not deviate from the winning combination which worked so well against Napoli. There could be an argument to play Iñigo instead of Cubarsí after the youngster was involved for the entire 90 minutes on his man of the match-worthy Champions League debut, attaining a maiden international call-up in the process. However, with their title hopes on the line, Xavi might stick with the 17 year old. Before the substitution, Fermín López was a constant threat in attack and has done enough to be given another starting berth.

Coming off a long injury lay off, Sergi Roberto had a lively performance off the bench and could slot right in if the manager wants to switch things up in midfield. There could be a straight shoot out between Raphinha and Félix on the left. Raphinha put in a splendid display midweek but Félix's performance in the reverse fixture and his willingness to prove himself against his parent club might get him the nod. Ferran Torres returned to training after an extended spell on the sidelines and could play a role in the second half.

Predicted XI (4-3-3);

Marc-André ter Stegen, Joules Kounde, Ronald Araújo, Pau Cubarsí, João Cancelo, Andreas Christensen, İlkay Gündoğan, Fermín López, Lamine Yamal, Robert Lewandowski, João Félix


Simeone made a number of changes to his starting lineup last week vs Cádiz but should deploy the same eleven as he did midweek vs Inter. Molina suffered a knock in the Inter game but should be good enough to start in his wing back role. Lino, Llorente and Hermoso were all visibly tired after a hard fought game but seem to have recovered well to put in another strong shift.

Griezmann had a recent injury scare but played 100 odd minutes vs Inter, scored a goal to level the score on the night and would be fit and rearing to have a crack at his former club after having rediscovered his old lethal self. Depay’s heroics off the bench as shown by his last-minute equalizer against Inter would present a selection dilemma, but Morata with his aerial prowess and cunning runs, should edge his way into the lineup.

Predicted XI (3-5-2);

Jan Oblak, Stefan Savić, Axel Witsel, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Marcos Llorente, RodrigoDe Paul, Koke, Dias Lino, Álvaro Morata, Antoine Griezmann


With only 10 league games remaining in the campaign, the slightest of hiccups would prove fatal in Barcelona’s bid to bag consecutive league titles for the first time since the 2018-19 season. Atlético haven’t been the rock solid defensive side that Simeone had established and have allowed 31 goals past them this campaign. Barcelona have their own defensive frailties but have managed to keep a clean sheet in their last 3 league matches. Wanda Metropolitano will be buzzing for a highly anticipated night of football with two well matched teams going for the kill.