ATLETICO READY TO BE KINGS OF EUROPE
Atletico Madrid believe they can be kings of Europe
F ilipe Luis believes an emotionally charged Atletico Madrid side can create history by overcoming Bayern Munich and going on to win the Champions League for the very first time.
The Spanish side have twice lost in European Cup finals, the most recent defeat coming at the hands of Real Madrid two years ago in Lisbon.
But Atletico are once again on the verge of reaching the final after securing a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the semi-final first leg.
That slender advantage will be severely tested in Germany tonight, but Luis believes that by overcoming Barcelona in the quarter-finals the squad has renewed belief that they can become the kings of Europe.
“It wasn’t just any Barcelona team that we beat - this Barcelona side never stops scoring,” said Luis. “So we’ve gained a lot of confidence for these final stages of the competition.
“There is a lot of emotion involved now that we can reach another final.
“From a very young age, I have dreamed of winning this trophy - lifting it, kissing it and taking a picture with it. We were very close and only in rare cases do you get another opportunity, like now.
“We hope to go down in history and win this trophy.”
While Atletico come in to the game full of belief, the Bayern players are determined to deliver at the Allianz Arena after a disappointing result at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s side had the chance to wrap up the league title on Saturday but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach - a result that left Bayern five points clear of Borussia Dortmund with two games of the season left to play.
Bayern now have the chance to overcome their frustration by beating Atletico and reaching another Champions League final.
“We’re in for a tough challenge, but after all we’re Bayern,” said forward Thomas Muller. “It’s a Champions League home match and I think our record is quite decent in that respect. We have to be on fire.”
Certainly the omens are not good for Bayern who have exited the competition to Spanish opposition at the semi-final stage in both of the last two seasons, losing to Real Madrid in 2014 and Barcelona in 2015.
“From a very young age, I have dreamed of winning this trophy. - lifting it, kissing it.” – FILIPE LUIS
FINAL AT STAKE: Atletico’s Filipe Luis battles with Bayern’s Kingsley Coman during the semi-final first leg