We are now close to one of this season's biggest matches for both Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. The two teams already battle for the La Liga championship, and on Tuesday they start the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League at Camp Nou.
Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone are two of football's best tacticians, and their own battle will certainly catch the eye of fans and analysts. Their starting lineup selections matter, and here is a projection of the teams we might see on the pitch on Tuesday.
Alves - Piqué - Mascherano - Alba
Rakitic - Busquets - Iniesta
Messi - Suárez - Neymar
Surprisingly or not, the Blaugrana boss is not expected to make any changes to the team that lost El Clásico last weekend other than the natural rotation of goalkeepers, with Ter Stegen coming into the lineup for Cup games. Some players (like Jordi Alba and the 'MSN' trio) did not have a good performance against Real Madrid, but they are important to the squad and should not come out just because of one bad game.
The biggest change has to be tactical. Enrique made some serious mistakes in his game plan in the Classic, perhaps trying to surprise the opposition and confusing his own players. If he comes back to the basics, Barça should be able to beat Atlético, and they have done it in all of the last six matches. The track record is there, as well as the talent. Enrique just needs to think simple, and the players need to perform in a huge way.
Atlético Madrid (4-4-2)
Juanfran - Lucas - Godín - Luís
Saúl - Gabi - Augusto - Koke
Griezmann - Torres
The injury problems were scarier a week ago, but Simeone's team arrives in much better shape than expected at Camp Nou. Diego Godín's return boosts perhaps the best defense in the world, and although Fernando Torres is not in the best form of his life, he loves to score against Barça, and will start.
Antoine Griezmann continues an otherworldly season that has turned him into a world-class player, and will cause problems to Barça when he has the ball. But obviously the biggest question is how Simeone's midfield can trouble the possession game from Barça, either with high pressing to trouble the buildup or set defense close to the box to close all spaces. No one is better at answering those questions than Cholo, and he will do something special to stop the Blaugranes.
Tuesday will be fascinating.