28 August 2014
One of the most intriguing match-ups of the 2014/15 Champions League group stages will see the Bianconeri pit their wits against last year’s finalists and reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
It will be the first time the two clubs have locked horns since the 1960s, when Juventus claimed four wins from five Inter-Cities Fairs Cup encounters contested.
After years of near misses, the Colchoneros, who play at the 54,960-capacity Vicente Calderón, a stadium located in the heart of the Spanish capital, announced themselves as genuine contenders on the European scene under Quique Flores.
It was he who steered them to their first of two Europa League triumphs in the space of three years in 2010, before Diego Simeone transformed them into a real force to be reckoned with on both domestic and European fronts, winning a Europa League-UEFA Super Cup double two years later.
And despite suffering a heartbreaking Champions League final extra-time defeat against inter-city rivals Real Madrid in the competition’s previous edition, Atletico offset that disappointment by securing their first league title in 18 years on the last day of the season.
As well as five trophies in less than three years, Simeone has also delivered an energetic team that evokes memories of its combative manager during his playing days in terms of commitment and ruthless intensity shown over 90 minutes.
The summer departures of Diego Costa, Felipe Luis and Adrian have been tempered by the arrivals of Guilherme Siqueira, Jesus Gamez, Antoine Griezmann, Raul Jimenez and Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic, whose goal after just 80 seconds was enough to edge Atletico past Real Madrid in the decisive leg of this month’s Supercopa de España final.