Big Match Feature: Atlético Madrid v Dortmund

football10 April 2024 09:13
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Both Atlético de Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have been Uefa Champions League knockout regulars in recent seasons, although they are each seeking to reach the semifinals for the first time in a number of years as they meet in Spain in the first leg of their quarterfinal.

Atlético made it to the last four three times between 2013/14 and 2016/17 but have not got as far since, while Dortmund – European champions in 1996/97 – last featured in the semifinals in 2012/13, when they ended as runners-up to Bayern München in an all-German final.

This season, Diego Simeone's Atlético finished top of Group E unbeaten before getting the better of the 2022/23 runners-up Inter Milan on penalties in the round of 16, where Dortmund – Group F winners in the autumn – edged out PSV Eindhoven.


Atlético wins 2

Dortmund wins 3

Draws 1

Atlético goals 5

Dortmund goals 8

The teams were paired together in the 2018/19 group stage, each recording a home victory.

Dortmund were 4-0 winners in Germany on Matchday 3 thanks to a first-half goal from Axel Witsel (38) – now of Atlético – and strikes in the closing stages from Raphaël Guerreiro (73, 89) and Jadon Sancho (83).

That equalled Atlético's heaviest European defeat and was their heaviest reverse under Diego Simeone.

The Spanish side turned the tables on a Dortmund side coached by Lucien Favre in Madrid on Matchday 4, Saúl Ñíguez (33) scoring in the first half and Antoine Griezmann (80) in the second.

The teams finished level on 13 points at the top of Group A, Dortmund taking first place on head-to-head record.

The sides have met in four other matches, including in the 1996/97 Champions League group stage when each recorded an away victory. Dortmund were 1-0 winners in Spain against an Atlético team including current coach Simeone thanks to a Stefan Reuter goal before a 2-1 Atlético success in Germany; the pair finished level on 13 points, Atlético winning the section ahead of Dortmund on head-to-head record. It was the German club, however, who would go on to lift the trophy that season, beating Juventus in the final; Atlético were eliminated by Ajax in the quarterfinals.

Dortmund came out on top in the 1965/66 European Cup Winners' Cup quarterfinal between the teams, following a 1-1 draw in Spain with a 1-0 home victory. The German side also went on to win the trophy that season.


Atlético de Madrid

Record v German clubs: W21 D9 L19 F63 A61

Home record v German clubs: W15 D5 L3

Atlético were paired with German opponents in last season's group stage, losing 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen before a 2-2 home draw on Matchday 5 in which Yannick Carrasco had an added-time penalty saved, a result that ended the Spanish side's hopes of reaching the round of 16.

That made it six games without a win against German opposition for Atlético (D2 L4), since a 1-0 home victory against Leverkusen in the 2019/20 group stage.

That winless run includes a 2-1 defeat by Leipzig in the one-off Champions League quarterfinal in Lisbon in August 2020.

Los Colchoneros had won their previous eight knockout ties against German sides, their last aggregate defeat before losing to Leipzig coming against Dynamo Dresden in the 1979/80 Uefa Cup first round (1-2 h, 0-3 a). Their knockout record in ties against German clubs is W12 L5.

The Spanish side also lost to Bayern in the 1974 European Cup final, going down 4-0 in the only final replay two days after a 1-1 draw.

Atlético's overall record against German clubs is now W21 D9 L19. They have lost eight of their last nine matches against Bundesliga clubs outside Spain, the exception a 4-2 win at Leverkusen in 2017.

Atlético are, however, unbeaten at home to Bundesliga opposition in 12 matches (W8 D4), dating back to the 1996/97 defeat by Dortmund.


2021/22 Manchester City L 0-1 (0-1 a, 0-0 h)

2019/20 Leipzig L 1-2 (n)

2016/17 Leicester W 2-1 (1-0 h, 1-1 a)

2015/16 Barcelona W 3-2 (1-2 a, 2-0 h)

2014/15 Real Madrid L 0-1 (0-0 h, 0-1 a)

2013/14 Barcelona W 2-1 (1-1 a, 1-0 h)

1996/97 Ajax L 3-4 (1-1 a, 2-3 h)

1977/78 Club Brugge L 3-4 (0-2 a, 3-2 h)

1973/74 Crvena zvezda W 2-0 (2-0 a, 0-0 h)

1970/71 Legia Warszawa W 2-2 away goals (1-0 h, 1-2 a)

1958/59 Schalke W 4-1 (3-0 h, 1-1 a)

Atlético are in the European Cup quarterfinals for the 12th time, and the seventh in 11 seasons. They have won three of their last six quarterfinals.

Atlético are making their 14th Champions League appearance and an 11th in succession. They have featured every season since 2013/14.

Runners-up in 2014 and 2016, both against Real Madrid, Simeone's side failed to progress from their section for the first time in five seasons in 2022/23. However, unlike on the previous occasion in 2017/18, when they went on to win the Europa League, Atleti bowed out of Europe altogether having finished bottom of Group B.

Atlético opened last season's Champions League campaign with a 2-1 home win against Porto – all three goals coming in added time, a competition first – but failed to win a game after that (D2 L3).

That was the first time Atlético had finished bottom of their Champions League group.

In contrast Atleti were unbeaten in this season's group stage, drawing 1-1 at Lazio and 2-2 at Celtic and beating Feyenoord (3-2) and Celtic in Madrid – the 6-0 result against the Scottish champions on Matchday 4 their biggest Champions League victory – before a 3-1 away win in Rotterdam that secured progress. They sealed first place in Group E by defeating Lazio 2-0 in Madrid on Matchday 6.

That unbeaten run was ended by a 1-0 loss at Inter in the round of 16 first leg but Atlético turned round the tie with a 2-1 win at home and held their nerve in the shoot-out, going through 3-2 on penalties.

The second-leg win against Inter was Atleti's first in four home games in the Champions League knockout rounds (D2 L1).

Despite winning all four home games in this season's competition, Atleti have managed only five victories in their last 15 home European fixtures (D7 L3), the other against Porto on Matchday 1 last term.

Griezmann's second-leg strike against Inter was his sixth in this season's Champions League, level with Erling Haaland of Manchester City, Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern forward Harry Kane as top scorer ahead of the quarterfinals. Álvaro Morata is one of four players on five goals.

The Colchoneros were third in LaLiga for the second successive season in 2022/23, finishing 11 points behind champions Barcelona and one behind Real Madrid.


Record v Spanish clubs: W11 D12 L13 F51 A51

Away record v Spanish clubs: W3 D5 L10

Dortmund were paired with Sevilla in last season's group stage, winning 4-1 in Spain before a 1-1 home draw.

They had also beaten the Spanish side in the 2020/21 round of 16, winning 3-2 away before a 2-2 home draw with Erling Haaland scoring four of their five goals in the tie.

That 2021 success against Sevilla made Dortmund's record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs W6 L3.

Those victories in Seville represent two of Dortmund's three wins in 18 visits to Spain (D5 L10), where they have lost five of their last eight matches. The only other success was that 1-0 victory at Atlético in the 1996/97 Champions League group stage.

Dortmund have managed three victories in their last 12 matches against Liga clubs, home and away (D5 L4).


2020/21 Manchester City L 2-4 (1-2 a, 1-2 h)

2016/17 Monaco L 3-6 (2-3 h, 1-3 a)

2013/14 Real Madrid L 2-3 (0-3 a, 2-0 h)

2012/13 Málaga W 3-2 (0-0 a, 3-2 h)

1997/98 Bayern München W 1-0 (0-0 a, 1-0 h aet)

1996/97 Auxerre W 4-1 (3-1 h, 1-0 a)

1995/96 Ajax L 0-3 (0-2 h, 0-1 a)

1963/64 Dukla Praha W 5-3 (4-0 a, 1-3 h)

1957/58 AC Milan L 2-5 (1-1 h, 1-4 a)

Dortmund have lost their last four quarterfinal matches and five of the last six.

Last season's Bundesliga runners-up are in the Champions League for the 18th time overall and the eighth successive season. All but two of their last 11 campaigns have now extended into the knockout rounds.

In 2022/23, Edin Terzić's team were second in Group G behind eventual champions Manchester City before being knocked out by Chelsea in the round of 16 (1-0 h, 0-2 a).

That was the third time BVB had been eliminated in the last 16 in their last five Champions League campaigns.

This season Dortmund began with a 2-0 loss in Paris before being held 0-0 at home by Milan but breathed life into their Group F campaign by beating Newcastle away (1-0) and at home (2-0) and sealed progress with a 3-1 win at San Siro on Matchday 5, concluding the group stage with a 1-1 draw at home to Paris.

Dortmund then drew 1-1 at PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16 first leg, progressing thanks to a 2-0 home win.

The 3-2 win at Sevilla in the 2020/21 round of 16 first leg is Dortmund's only victory in their last ten away Champions League knockout matches; they lost eight of those games.

This season's wins at Newcastle and Milan have made it ten victories in BVB's last 33 European away matches (D7 L16), although all of those wins have come in their last 25 (D3 L12).

European champions in 1997 and runners-up to Bayern München in the 2013 final at Wembley, Dortmund missed the chance to deny Bayern an 11th successive Bundesliga title in 2022/23, drawing 2-2 at home to Mainz on the final day to allow the Munich club to overtake them at the top of the table.


Witsel scored 13 goals in 145 appearances for Dortmund between 2018 and 2022, when he joined Atlético. The Belgium midfielder was part of the squad that won the German Cup in 2020/21, although he featured in only the first two rounds.

Witsel's Dortmund teammates included Gregor Kobel, Mats Hummels, Marius Wolf, Mateu Morey, Emre Can, Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Donyell Malen and Youssoufa Moukoko.

Witsel was in the Zenit side beaten 4-2 at home by Dortmund in the 2013/14 Champions League round of 16 first leg, also playing 90 minutes in the Russian side's subsequent 2-1 success in Germany.

César Azpilicueta helped Marseille win 3-0 at home and 3-2 away against Dortmund in the 2011/12 Champions League group stage.

Thomas Lemar started both of Monaco's 2016/17 Champions League quarterfinal matches against BVB, a 3-2 first-leg win in Germany and a 3-1 home victory.

Marcos Llorente's Champions League debut came as a substitute in Real Madrid's 3-2 home group win against Dortmund on 6 December 2017.

Griezmann scored in Barcelona's 3-1 victory against Dortmund in the Champions League group stage on 27 November 2019.

Morata's first Champions League goal came against BVB's arch-rivals Schalke 04, in Real Madrid's 3-1 second-leg win in the 2013/14 quarterfinals.

In 2014/15 Morata scored in both legs of Juventus' round of 16 tie against Dortmund (2-1 h, 3-0 a).

Born in Petra on the island of Majorca, Mateu Morey spent a year in Mallorca's youth academy before joining Barcelona's youth set-up in 2015; he left for Dortmund four years later.


Memphis Depay & Ian Maatsen, Donyell Malen (Netherlands)

Hummels scored Germany's winner in a 1-0 defeat of Griezmann's France in the 2014 Fifa World Cup quarterfinals.

A Hummels own goal gave a France side again featuring Griezmann a 1-0 win against Germany in the group stage of Uefa EURO 2020.

Griezmann scored both goals as France beat Can's Germany 2-0 in the EURO 2016 semifinals.

Depay was on target in the Netherlands' 2-0 win against Marcel Sabitzer's Austria in the EURO 2020 group stage.

Sabitzer scored Austria's second goal in a 2-3 home loss to Arthur Vermeeren's Belgium in EURO 2024 qualifying on 13 October 2023.

Griezmann's late penalty was not enough to prevent France suffering a 2-1 friendly defeat by Germany in Dortmund on 12 September 2023; Can, Niklas Süle and Brandt all featured for the home side.

Morata and Niclas Füllkrug got the goals as Germany and Spain shared a 1-1 group stage draw at the 2022 World Cup. Nico Schlotterbeck and Süle also played for Germany.

Griezmann opened the scoring as France beat a Netherlands side including Malen 4-0 in EURO 2020 qualifying on 24 March 2023.

Morata scored two goals in Spain's 3-0 win against Türkiye, whose side included Nuri Şahin – now Dortmund's assistant manager – in the group stage of EURO 2016.

Depay and Dortmund's Donyel Malen were in the Netherlands starting line-up for a 2-1 friendly defeat at home to Germany in a friendly on 26 March. Füllkrug scored Germany's late winner


Atlético de Madrid

Atletico were 2-1 winners at Villarreal on 1 April to make it four victories in their last 12 matches in all competitions (D2 L6).

Axel Witsel opened the scoring with his second goal of the season in all competitions – the first had also come against Villarreal, in a 3-1 win on 12 November.

Sául Ñíguez got the late winner at Villarreal, his first LaLiga goal since 24 May and his second of the season in all competitions having also found the net in the 6-0 Champions League win at home to Celtic on 7 November.

Atlético have now gone eight matches in all competitions without a clean sheet. A 5-0 home league win against Las Palmas on 17 February is their sole shut-out in 13 games.

Atlético have now won two of their last ten away games in LaLiga, losing six. The win at Villarreal was their first in seven away matches in all competitions (D2 L4).

Los Colchoneros have lost seven of their 15 away LaLiga games in 2023/24, their highest total at this stage of a season under Diego Simeone.

After beating Inter in the round of 16 second leg, Atlético lost 3-0 at home to Barcelona on 17 March, their first home Liga defeat since going down 1-0 against the same opponents on 8 January 2023. The loss ended a run of 25 unbeaten home league games (W23 D2), two short of the club record set at the Vicente Calderón between 2013 and 2014.

Atlético's 1-0 defeat by Athletic Club in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals on 7 February ended a run of 28 straight home matches without defeat in all competitions.

Los Rojiblancos have won 19 of their 22 home games (D1 L2) in all competitions this season.

The defeat by Barcelona was Atleti's 12th this season, one more than in the whole of 2022/23.

Álvaro Morata has scored 20 goals in 41 matches in all competitions this season, surpassing what had been his most prolific campaign, his 19 goals with Real Madrid in 2016/17 when he featured in 43 matches. His previous best return at Atlético came in 2019/20, when he managed 16 goals in 44 games.

However, the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Real Betis on 3 March is Morata's only goal in his last 13 Atlético appearances.

Antoine Griezmann has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season, his best return since rejoining Atlético de Madrid in 2021/22. In his first stint he scored at least 21 goals in each of his five campaigns (25, 32, 26, 29 and 21).

José María Giménez suffered a thigh injury in a 2-0 league win against Valencia on 28 January and was out until starting against Las Palmas. He also started the following game, in Milan, but was withdrawn at halftime and was sidelined again until playing 90 minutes at Villarreal.

César Azpilicueta sustained a torn external meniscus in his right knee on 18 January during a 4-2 Copa del Rey win against Real Madrid, returning in the second leg against Inter.

Mario Hermoso has missed Atlético's last two games with a muscle injury.

Thomas Lemar has been sidelined since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the first half of Atlético's 3-0 loss to Valencia on 16 September.

On 9 November, Atlético Madrid announced Simeone had signed a contract extension until 2027. The Argentinian, who has been in charge since December 2011, has won eight trophies and been in charge for 671 matches, making him the most successful coach in the club's history.


Dortmund's record in 2024 is W9 D3 L2. Their five-game winning run in all competitions was ended by a 1-0 home loss to Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

On 30 March Dortmund won 2-0 at Bayern thanks to goals from Karim Adeyemi and Julian Ryerson that secured their first Bundesliga success in Munich since April 2014.

Four days after the second leg win against PSV, Borussia prevailed 3-1 against Frankfurt.

Adeyemi, who has registered his three league goals this season in his last five games, Mats Hummels and Emre Can – both with their first goals in 2024 – were on target against Frankfurt.

Dortmund won five successive games since their only other loss in 2024, a 3-2 home defeat against Hoffenheim on 25 February.

BVB are unbeaten in nine Bundesliga away matches (W5 D4), their best run since a ten-game sequence in 2012 and 2013.

BVB have 53 points in this season's Bundesliga, four less than after 28 games last season.

On 22 March Donyell Malen scored for the Netherlands in a 4-0 friendly win against Scotland. Four days later Niclas Füllkrug got the winner in Germany's 2-1 friendly win against the Netherlands.

Also on 26 March, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens scored his first England Under-21 goal in a 7-0 2025 Uefa European Under-21 Championship qualifying win against Luxembourg.

Sébastien Haller, who had scored the winning goal for host Ivory Coast in the 2-1 Africa Cup of Nations final success against Nigeria on 11 February, made his first appearance for Dortmund in 2024 as a late substitute in Munich after recovering from the recurrence of an ankle injury the striker suffered in the final. He also came on in the closing stages on Saturday.

Gregor Kobel, who had missed the Frankfurt game and the Swiss friendlies in the international break due to muscular problems, missed the match at Bayern due to illness but played 90 minutes against Stuttgart.

Malen, who has already struck 11 times in this league season to surpass his personal BVB best (nine goals) from 2022/23, has missed the last two games with a thigh injury suffered against Germany.

Ramy Bensebaini returned with a knee injury from international duty with Algeria and is expected to miss the rest of the season.