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FC Barcelona travel to the Vicente Calderón on Wednesday looking to secure passage to their eighth Champions League semi-final in nine years.
Atlético Madrid however, are the only side to have stopped them from doing so since 2007 and so the Catalans, with a 2-1 lead from the first leg, will need to put in an almighty performance to get into the final four of Europe’s elite competition.
Defenders Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen are both ruled out through injury, as too is Rafinha who suffered a knock in training on Monday.
Diego Simeone also has an injury headache, with Uruguyan centre-back José Giménez unable to recover from a hamstring problem in time. Fernando Torres scored Atlético’s vital away goal at the Camp Nou last week but the Spaniard’s red card minutes later makes him unavailable for the return leg.
"We have a small advantage but the tie remains open and so we will try to win the match as always," said Luis Enrique speaking to the media in Madrid on Tuesday.
On the other hand, Simeone says his side "will play with intensity, speed and contact," and feels that last week’s game "does not have an effect on the start of the match, but it can be important over the course of 90 minutes".
Barça go into the game on the back of a disappointing league defeat to Real Sociedad but last week’s 2-1 win over Atlético gives them a boost going into tonight’s second leg.
In the league, Atlético managed to capitalise on Barça’s second straight loss on the weekend with a 3-1 win at Espanyol which moves them within three points of the league leaders but last week’s defeat in Barcelona was their second in five games in all competitions.
Atlético earned a 1-0 home win over Barça at the same stage of the competition two years ago to seal progression to the semi-finals, making it the only time in the last nine seasons that the Catalans have failed to make the last four of the competition.
However, Barca’s record against the side from the capital has been perfect since the appointment of Luis Enrique in the summer of 2014. Luis Suarez’s brace last week sealed a seventh straight win over Atlético under the Asturian.
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