The UEFA Champions League action returns this week with two exciting fixtures on Tuesday: Dortmund vs PSG and Atletico vs Liverpool. The clash at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid will see the two ‘heavy metal’ managers in Jurgen Klopp and Diego Simeone compete against each other for a place in the quarter-finals. While football will be the main focus when the two sides clash on Tuesday, it will be hard to ignore the men on the sidelines, who have led their respective clubs to unprecedented success in the past decade. Here, let’s take a look their respective when the two master tacticians collide during the Atletico vs Liverpool clash in the Champions League on Tuesday.
It's been a fairytale ride at Liverpool for Jurgen Klopp. Klopp was appointed as Liverpool manager in October 2015 and in 4 seasons, the former Borussia Dortmund manager has managed to transform Liverpool from an inconsistent side to serial winners. Jurgen Klopp, widely regarded for popularising ‘gegenpressing’, completely changed the way Liverpool were perceived and made them contenders for the top spot in both domestic and European competitions.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool enjoyed a record-breaking campaign last season, failing to win the Premier League by just a single point, but capped it off with an impressive Champions League title, 12 months after the setback against Real Madrid. The Reds look unstoppable this season and are unbeaten in the Premier League so far, entering the knockout stages of the Champions League as one of the favourites to lift the title.
Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool in 250 matches and has an impressive win record of 61.2%, winning 153 games as Reds boss. The former Dortmund manager has led Liverpool to their 6th Champions League title, while they’re quite certain to lift the Premier League title at the end of this season, with a 25-point lead over second-placed Manchester City highlighting their unrivalled dominance. Jurgen Klopp’s men have shown their skills to break the meanest of defences, but breaking down Diego Simeone’s defence is something not everyone can achieve.
Diego Simeone is by far Atletico Madrid’s most successful manager. The Argentine manager has been at the helm of Atletico since 2011 and has led the Rojiblancos to summits, fans could only dream of. In a league, where Real Madrid and Barcelona have been consistently dominant, Atletico Madrid carved a niche for themselves under Simeone and lifted the title after 18 years in the 2013-14 season, amassing a club record 90 points in the league.
Diego Simeone led the club to their first-ever Champions League final in 2014, eventually losing to city rivals Real Madrid. Two seasons later, Simeone led Atletico Madrid to another Champions League final against Real Madrid and the game like last time again ended in Real’s favour after Juanfran missed the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shootout.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid were always regarded as a tough team to break down. The Rojiblancos might not be at the peak of their powers but certainly are a threat under Simeone’s management despite losing a host of their top stars to rivals, injuries or retirement. Simeone has been on the touchline for 462 Atletico Madrid games and has an impressive win record of 277 games, with a 59.96 win percentage.
Atletico have not made the quarterfinals since the 2017 season and the Argentine boss would look to break the unwanted record during the Atletico vs Liverpool clash. While Jurgen Klopp enters the clash as a favourite, it would be a very foolish mistake to consider Simeone out of his depth in the clash that will pit Liverpool’s attacking exuberance against Atletico Madrid’s defensive resilience.