Under The Spotlight: Atleti cannot fall back on home comforts ahead of City clash
The Wanda Metropolitano used to be a fortress for Atletico Madrid in European competitions.
But their recent record there is a major concern ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash with Manchester City this evening.
Atleti go into the game knowing they have to win to stand any chance of advancing to the last four after City claimed a 1-0 victory at the Etihad last week.
Pep Guardiola's men should have won that match by a greater margin as the visitors did not manage a single shot during 90 minutes, with boss Diego Simeone setting up his side in a more than pragmatic manner.
The narrow nature of the victory has left the tie very much in the balance — but given the Spanish side's struggles on home soil in Europe in previous seasons, the Premier League champions will have every confidence of progressing.
Atleti boasted an impressive record at their previous home, the Vicente Calderon Stadium, and lost just one of their final 23 European matches at their old ground before it closed in May 2017.
That impressive record continued when Los Colchoneros moved into the Wanda ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Despite losing their first European game at the venue against Chelsea, they proceeded to go on a 17-match unbeaten home run in continental competitions.
That sequence did not come to an end until February 2021 when the Blues popped up with another victory en route to being crowned champions of Europe last season.
In truth, there had been signs that Atleti's European home form was waning before that Champions League last-16 defeat to the West Londoners.
They had already been held to home draws by both Bayern Munich and Lokomotiv Moscow during last season's group stage.
But nobody could have predicted just how much their form in the Spanish capital would go on to unravel.
They have failed to win any of their four Champions League home fixtures this season, losing to both Liverpool and AC Milan and drawing with Porto and Manchester United.
In total, Simeone's men are without a win in their last seven European home games since beating FC Salzburg 3-2 in October 2020 — and even then they had to come from behind and rely on a late winner from Joao Felix.
Overall, Atleti boast an impressive record on their own patch against English opposition in the Europe's premier competition.
Indeed, they have won 10 of their 13 home meetings in the knockout phase of the competition.
But they have failed to win any of their last three meetings with Premier League teams at home and have only triumphed in three of their six clashes with English sides at the Wanda.
What is most concerning for Atleti is that City will arguably be the best English side they have tackled in the Champions League.
The LaLiga champions certainly face an uphill task if they are to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2017.