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Champions League recap: Atlético bounce back from Bayern defeat

Atlético bounced back from a bruising opening defeat to grapple their way to the knockouts.

Watch all of Atlético's group stage goals
Watch all of Atlético's group stage goals

Atlético brushed off a heavy defeat by holders Bayern on Matchday 1 to go undefeated in their remaining five games and reach the round of 16.

UEFA.tv: group stage review


Campaign so far

Highlights: Atlético 3-2 Salzburg (2 mins)
Highlights: Atlético 3-2 Salzburg (2 mins)

Group A runners-up: W2 D3 L1 F7 A8
Top scorer: João Félix (3)

21/10: Bayern 4-0 Atlético (Coman 28 72, Goretzka 41, Tolisso)
27/10: Atlético 3-2 Salzburg (Llorente 29, João Félix 52 85; Szoboszlai 40, Felipe 47og)
03/11: Lokomotiv 1-1 Atlético (Miranchuk 25pen; Giménez 18)
25/11: Atlético 0-0 Lokomotiv
01/12: Atlético 1-1 Bayern (João Félix 26; Müller 86)
09/12: Salzburg 0-2 Atlético (Hermoso 39, Carrasco 86)

Their campaign in ten words: Home form came to rescue after resounding defeat at Bayern.

UEFA.com reporter’s view

After a sticky start to the campaign, Atlético returned to doing what they do best: grinding out results and getting the job done. Diego Simeone has moved away from his tried and trusted 4-4-2, opting for a system with three at the back, giving them real threat down the wings, as well as up top.

Classic Atlético Champions League goals
Classic Atlético Champions League goals

They could do with Luis Suárez finding his shooting boots in Europe, however, if they are to keep progressing in the competition.
Joseph Walker, Atlético reporter

What we’ve learned

The Rojiblancos could not have had a poorer start; hammered 4-0 by reigning champions Bayern to equal their heaviest European defeat. However, they recovered well and ultimately battled through as Group A runners-up. They are improving as the season develops, with João Félix in particular enjoying a coming-of-age campaign.

One downside might be a lack of threat from midfield, but Simeone's shift to a 3-5-2 set-up has helped them look more dangerous while not compromising their famed defensive solidity.

Squad changes

In: Moussa Dembélé, Álvaro García, Geoffrey Kondogbia
Out: Borja Garcés, Diego Costa, Ismael Gutiérrez, Manu Sánchez, Juan Manuel Sanabria, Ivan Šaponjić, Germán Valera

Key stats

Highlights: Atlético 1-1 Bayern (2 mins)
Highlights: Atlético 1-1 Bayern (2 mins)

• Atlético stopped Bayern from surpassing their jointly-held record of 15 consecutive victories in UEFA club competition on Matchday 5 (Atlético's winning streak was in the UEFA Europa League).

• Luis Suárez has not scored an away goal in a run of 27 UEFA Champions League games dating back to 16 September 2015.

• João Félix has been involved in five goals in his last nine competition appearances – four goals, one assist.

Who’s in charge?

After more than nine years and 500 matches at the Atlético helm, Simeone has created a side in his image and they remain as resolute and determined as ever.