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Atletico Madrid Champions League Odds: Diego Simeone's side 10/1 to lift trophy following Dortmund win

Following a 2-1 victory in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash at home to Borussia Dortmund, Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are priced at 10/1 to go all the way and lift the trophy at Wembley in June.

A dynamic and determined Atletico side led by the inspirational figure of Simeone ran all over the top of a lost-looking Dortmund in the first-half of this quarter-final encounter, with a baying Wanda Metropolitano home crowd sent into raptures as goals from Rodrigo De Paul and Samuel Lino gave the Spaniards a 2-0 lead going into the break.

Atletico's two first-half goals caught Dortmund cold at the back, with World Cup winner De Paul's early opener arriving following a loose pass from Dutchman Ian Maatsen and Lino's second the product of indecision from defensive pair Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck.

Edin Terzic's Dortmund were able to restore an element of control and grab a potentially pivotal goal back through Sebastian Haller during the second period, but the bloodied noses received during a chaotic first 45 minutes will be difficult to get out of their heads as they prepare to host Simeone's troops in a decisive second-leg in Germany next week.

Cholismo 2.0

Atletico's performance in their 2-1 triumph over Dortmund typified the latest iteration of a long process of evolution from the peak of Simeone's reign around a decade ago - in which Los Colchoneros won the La Liga title and reached two Champions League finals between 2013 and 2016.

Recognised then as an aggressive, defence-first machine, dubbed the 'dogs of war', Atletico's central ethos was to be uncomfortable to play against and ultimately difficult to score against.

Such pragmatism was not on display from the first whistle at the Wanda Metropolitano as Dortmund came to town, with Atletico squeezing the life out of a bewildered away side who wilted amidst an intense pressing game from the hosts, which was made even more overwhelming by the fervent atmosphere generated from the terraces in the Spanish capital.

Although giving up the lion's share of possession, with visitors Dortmund boasting 67 per cent of the ball, this Atletico performance was defined by fast and incisive passing play in attacking transitions.

Eight years on from Atletico's second of two Champions League finals reached under the administration of Simeone, who adopted the nickname 'El Cholo' in his homeland of Argentina during his playing days, the ex-Inter and Lazio midfielder is constructing a new-look side who play the game in a markedly different way.

The aggression and intensity remain, but such principles are now increasingly applied in Atletico's attacking play as they seek to get the ball forward quickly and create overloads in the final third.

Indeed Atletico's renewed emphasis on how they can punish the opposition defensively rather than thwart them offensively has led to Simeone's side leaking more goals, with Haller' strike for Dortmund marking the first time goalkeeper Jan Oblak had conceded in nine-straight games in his decade at the club.

No longer are Atletico relying on clean sheets to get results; they're backing themselves to outscore the opposition.

Champions League

Atletico new guard replace 'dogs of war'

Atletico, currently sat fourth in La Liga behind Real Madrid, Barcelona and this season's surprise package in Spanish football Girona, lined up in a 3-5-2 formation in their impressive triumph over the Bundesliga's fifth-placed side Dortmund.

A far cry from the rigid 4-4-2 tactical set-up previously implemented by Simeone in the early years of his tenure, this current system allows a number of attack-minded players to thrive - with Nahuel Molina and Samuel Lino given license to bomb forward from wing-back, Marcos Llorente and Rodrigo De Paul making bursts from midfield and Antoine Griezmann partnering Alvaro Morata in a fluid front two.

Brazilian left wing-back Lino, signed from Portuguese club Gil Vicente in 2022, could have easily had a hat-trick as he continued to gallivant forward at will and attempt to get on the end of crosses at the back post.

In wing-back duo Molina and Lino and creative midfielders Llorente and De Paul, Atletico possess adventurous and forward-thinking players in positions of the pitch where Simeone would have previously favoured more conservative personnel.

In Atletico's most recent Champions League final under the Argentine in 2016, Los Colchoneros lined up with Juanfran and Filipe Luis at full-back and Gabi and Tiago in central midfield, with all four players offered little in the form of attacking freedom within Simeone's set-up.

This quartet were accompanied by the likes of Diego Godin, Koke and Diego Costa to form a group of fierce competitors who earned their 'dogs of war' tag through their full-blooded style of play.

In Gimenez, Koke and Griezmann, Atletico have three players who have witnessed Atletico's evolution over the years first-hand, with this trio all part of the matchday squad as Simeone's charges were overcome by city rivals Real Madrid on penalties in the 2016 Champions League final in the San Siro.

In physically imposing Uruguay international defender Gimenez, Simeone retains one true warrior on the field, with one-club man Koke developing into the Argentine's eyes and ears on the pitch, whilst French icon Griezmann is perhaps the most vivid symbol of team's transition over the past decade.

Returning to Atletico initially on loan in 2021 after an underwhelming two-year spell at Barcelona, Griezmann is not only the ultimate team player whose work-rate personifies the unrelenting will to win which characterises a Simeone team, he also boasts the technical quality to produce moments of dazzling brilliance in the final third.

How far this determined Atletico side can go in this year’s competition remains to be seen, but with Diego Simeone in charge you best believe they won’t go down without a fight, even if it is in prettier fashion than the era of the ‘dogs of war’.

Atletico Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in the second-leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Westfalenstadion on Tuesday 16th April, with kick-off scheduled for 20:00 GMT.

Atletico are priced as 2/5 favourites to qualify for the semi-finals, with next week's hosts Dortmund 7/4 underdogs to make it through to the last four.

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