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Official: Atletico Madrid’s three opponents for Champions League group stages



Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The group stages of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League will kick off in the first week of September. And draws to place teams in groups were held today in Istanbul, Turkey.

Atletico Madrid had been placed in Pot 2 based on their UEFA coefficient rankings. The Rojiblancos had the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus, Sevilla, RB Leipzig and Tottenham Hotspur for company in the pot, meaning they would avoid all these teams.

Atletico Madrid would avoid Real Madrid, who were in Pot 1 as teams from the same league cannot be drawn in the same group.

For the first round of the draw, Los Colchoneros counted themselves lucky to avoid Pot 1 teams such as Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. Instead, they were drawn against Portuguese champions FC Porto in Group B.

Among Pot 3 teams, Atletico Madrid and FC Porto were subsequently drawn with Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga giants had Group B as the only option as they were ineligible to be a part of the other groups.

The draw ended with the inclusion of Club Brugge, who finished second in the Belgian league last season. They are the minnows of Group B but have more than enough experience to cause a major upset and perhaps even make a case for a top-two finish by the end of the year.

The 2022/23 edition of the UEFA Champions League is scheduled to start in the first week of September. The group stage should conclude in November 1/2, with the Round of 16 draw set to take place on November 7.

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.

Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.

Llorente on Madrid derby

“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.

When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”

Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”

Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.

A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.

Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.

“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.

Marcos Llorente confident of Atletico Madrid’s chances ahead of the derby (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham

The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.

“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.

Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.

“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.

Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”

Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.

“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.

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