Dortmund 'hardest' team Atletico Madrid could face: Simeone

AFP , Tuesday 9 Apr 2024

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hailed Champions League quarter-final opponents Borussia Dortmund as the "hardest" team his side could have drawn on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone
Atletico Madrid s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone

The German side, fifth in the Bundesliga, are widely seen as the weakest team left in the competition but Atletico coach Simeone disagreed.

Atletico host Dortmund in the first leg at the Metropolitano stadium on Wednesday, bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2017.

"Borussia are the hardest opponent," Simeone argued at a news conference.

"They have a lot of good qualities, they've not lost away from home in four months, and they are great on the counter-attack.

"They are very strong in both boxes, and they are the most intense team in the last eight of the competition."

Dortmund, victorious in 1997, reached the final four most recently in 2013, when they finished as runners-up to rivals Bayern Munich.

Simeone, one victory away from 50 as a coach in the Champions League, and Atletico have never won the competition, and it is their last realistic hope of silverware this season with the team fourth in La Liga.

However Atletico defender Axel Witsel said he and his team-mates were not thinking beyond Wednesday's clash.

"We think like Cholo (Simeone), game by game, that's the most important thing, you can't think beyond that," said the Belgian international.

Witsel, who arrived at Atletico in 2022 after spending four seasons at Dortmund, agreed with his coach about the visitors' potent threat.

"It's a very good team, I played there in four very good years for me," he said.

"They press a lot, they have (Karim) Adeyemi, (Jadon) Sancho, very fast players up front."

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