PSV Eindhoven host Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday.

psv utrejjfPhillip Cocu’s side have been one of the surprise packages in the Champions League so far, with three home wins in the group stages seeing them knock out both Manchester United and CSKA Moscow. Atletico Madrid are the next visitors to the Philips Stadion, and PSV will be hoping another victory in their packed out fortress can put them within touching distance of the quarter finals.

The Eindhoven side couldn’t be in greater form with Cocu’s side unbeaten in the league since September, and riding high at the top of the table. Saturday’s 2-0 win over Heracles couldn’t have been any simpler for the Eredivisie leaders, with Cocu describing it as the “Best” performance of the season so far.

Opponents Atletico Madrid reached the knockout stages after topping a group which featured Benfica, Galatasaray and Astana. Diego Simeone’s are currently sitting second in La Liga, a point ahead of rivals Real Madrid, but eight behind leaders Barcelona. They warmed up for the tie against PSV with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao.

Team News

PSV have to do without suspended top scorer and captain Luuk de Jong for the first leg, but Andres Guardado has recovered from injury in time, and should start. It is likely that Jurgen Locadia will occupy the striker slot with Luciano Narsingh coming into the starting eleven. Maxime Lestienne is the only injury doubt, but the winger is expected to be on the bench.

Possible PSV line-up: Zoet, Arias, Willems, Bruma, Moreno, Guardado, Van Ginkel, Propper, Narsingh, Pereiro, Locadia

Atletico Madrid are without key attacker Yannick Ferreiro Carrasco through injury along with midfielder Tiago. However they do still possess a line-up packed with excellent players including Antoine Greizmann, Koke, and striker Fernando Torres.

Possible Atletico line-up: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Filipe Luís; Koke, Gabi, Saúl Ñíguez, Óliver Torres; Griezmann, Fernando Torres

What the coach’s say

Phillip Cocu: “Simeone is bringing success back to Atlético. You can see his character as a player reflected on his team – I applaud that. They have a clear style of play. Would I settle for a 0-0 draw? Keeping a clean sheet could be very important.

“Atlético have a reliable side, team unity – they won’t give anything away. They always play the same way – they are winners who play a compact game despite a busy fixture list. They are a nice example of everybody playing for each other and for the team. You have to be prepared and give your all every time.”

Diego Simeone: “My feeling is that we are in good shape. We now have a few tricky games left, against opponents with different qualities. PSV is, for example, a strong opponent. They are very strong offensively, they can make an opponent hurt. They can score in several ways: from set pieces or individual actions.

“PSV are a good team. In the league they compete with Ajax, but all that does not count in the Champions League. In it there are new forces at the players freedom. It’s going to be an intense game, with a lot of speed. Our goal is to get it under control. ”

Past meetings

The two sides met during the 2008/09 Champions League group stages with Atletico Madrid winning 3-0 in Eindhoven, and 2-1 in Spain.

Can PSV do it?

PSV have proved many doubters wrong in the Champions League this season and if they are at their best on Wednesday then they can be more than a match for Atletico.

However without top scorer Luuk de Jong they could struggle to break through the Spanish side’s water tight defence. Jurgen Locadia has been struggling for goals, and they may have to rely on the pace of Luciano Narsingh on the counter attack to make the difference.

A clean sheet is the most important factor for PSV going into the second leg and if they can come away from the Philips stadion with a win then the quarter finals is within touching distance.




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