Squad news


18 Apr 2015
Depor need to return to winning ways in order to continue escaping from relegation. Víctor makes changes, including the return of Medunjanin, while Atlético arrive in the middle of their series with Real Madrid.

23 of the 59 goals scored by Atlético on this season (39% of the total) were scored in set-pieces: 11 corner-kicks, 10 free-kicks and 2 throw-ins. It’s the highest percentage in la liga and a warning for Deportivo, a team that’s normally weak defending these kinds of actions.

Atlético are running out of options for la liga as they currently lie third at the standings, nine points below leaders FC Barcelona, but it doesn’t mean that they are living a bad moment, actually they haven’t suffered a defeat within their last nine liga encounters.  Their last defeat was in Vigo before RC Celta (2-0, February 15).

Meanwhile, Depor are dragging a mark of nine streak games without winning; curiously the Galicians never spent ten straight games without winning in the previous two relegations. In order to find a worst streak without winning its necessary to go back to the campaign 2009/10, time when the team coached by Lotina spent eleven straight Primera meetings without clinching a victory (between March and May of 2010).

Historically the Riazor has been a difficult stadium for Atlético; the Madrilenians only won eleven times after forty-four visits there, though three of those victories occurred during their last five visits. The last victory of Deportivo over Atlético took place during the season 2009-10, it was a 2-1 win with goals scored by Colotto and Guardado (February 21, 2009).

Haris Medunjanin returns to the starting formation as Celso Borges is suspended for this game. The Bosnian was complaining on Thursday of his lack of minutes after only playing 156 minutes in 2015 (only one game as a starter). He also complained of a lack of communication with the previous coach, something that seems to have improved with the arrival of Víctor Sánchez.

More changes are expected, Luisinho returns from suspension and goes directly into the left-back position. Albert Lopo and Sidnei Rechel stay at the central positions, while there’s the doubt of who will be the right-back defender.

Juanfran Moreno played there against Real Sociedad, but Víctor seems attached to give continuity to Manuel Pablo. During the training session behind closed doors at the Riazor the coach tested two different draws and left doubts about what’s he planning for the meeting. One of the sure things is that Fabricio Agosto remains defending the goal.

Álex Bergantiños, one of the more regular players in recent months, joins Medunjanin at midfield. According to what was saw in the last training, Lucas Pérez will be moved to the right wing, which opens a slot for Luis Fariña in the playmaker’s role. Iván Cavaleiro stays on the left wing and the other question is who will be the central attacker.

Oriol Riera was tested as a possible starter in the last training, but Toché also has big options after scoring twice within the last three games. Riera, meanwhile, has only scored two goals in fourteen presentations with Depor.

Winger Diogo Salomão and striker Hélder Postiga received the medical okay on this week, but the coach said that’s too soon for him and both were left out of the roster. The only player staying at the injury room is midfielder Cezary Wilk. The other players out for tactical reasons are Roberto Canella, Hélder Costa, Borja López and Pablo Insua.

Toché warned that Atlético Madrid are coming for everything to the Riazor, ”They have a large squad and besides great players. Hopefully they are tired and it could be noticed. They are facing a tough challenge and surely won’t come fresh, but they philosophy is going game by game and won’t come to the Riazor on vacation.”

Fabricio was saying that Depor need to make the perfect match in order to get something positive, ”Atlético are one of the toughest rivals to beat, it could be the more solid rival in liga and it’s going to be tough, but I expect that they will suffer after the Champions League.  We have to make one of our best games, if not the best.”

List of picked players (18): Fabricio, Lux (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Juanfran, Lopo, Sidnei, Luisinho (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, José Rodríguez, Medunjanin, Fariña, Lucas, Cuenca (midfielders); Cavaleiro, Toché & Oriol Riera (attackers).

The game at the Riazor comes in the middle of the exhausting series in Champions League before Real Madrid; Los Rojiblancos travel to the Bernabéu in midweek and need to achieve a win or at least a draw scoring goals, so they need a fresh team for the meeting and the match with Depor seems like a good opportunity to make rotations.

However coach Diego Simeone isn’t friend of making a lot of changes in the previous liga games before the European clashes, and this time it won’t be different. He knows the importance of the Champions League meeting, but also of the fact that Valencia CF are pressing hard in the fight for the third spot and last direct ticket for the biggest tournament in the continent.

So, Simeone will only make a few changes, one of them is to replace suspended Gabi Fernández, while others are related to the fact of protecting some men dragging issues, like striker Mario Mandžukić, who’s out of the roster due to a muscle problem.

It’s expected a 4-1-4-1 formation. Miguel Ángel Moyá was the starting goalie, but after his injury and the great performance of Slovenian Jan Oblak against Real Madrid now the ex-Mallorca seems to be the second choice and Simeone will give a new chance to Oblak in la liga.

Juanfran Torres covers the right side of the defense, Jesús Gámez covers the left sector, while the central positions are for Uruguayans Diego Godín and José Giménez. Brazilian João Miranda is rested.

Canarian Mario Suárez is out injured, so Portuguese Tiago Mendes is the only centre midfielder, Raúl García performs at the right wing, Arda Turan attacks from the left, while Koke Resurrección and Saúl Ñíguezperform behind Antoine Griezmann.

It has been a sensational season for French Griezmann, who already netted eighteen goals on this Primera season (the third highest mark in the league only behind Ronaldo and Messi), though he has spent scoreless during the last five official game with Los Colchoneros.

Koke talked before the game; he was saying that Atlético must give everything in order to end third in la liga, ”Our goal is to enter into the Champions League, to end third and not play the previous round. We aren’t worried for the tiredness. It just excites us more. We are going on Saturday to the Riazor willing to play and pick up the three points.”

List of picked players (18): Moyá, Oblak (goalkeepers); Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Ansaldi, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez (defenders), Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda Turan, Saúl Ñíguez, Cani (midfielders) Griezmann, Raúl Jiménez & Fernando Torres (attackers)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Fabricio – Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Sidnei, Luisinho – Álex Bergantiños, Medunjanin – Lucas, Fariña, Cavaleiro – Toché.
Atlético:(4-1-4-1) Oblak – Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Gámez – Tiago - Raúl García, Koke, Saúl, Arda Turan  - Griezmann
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán
Kick-off: 18h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Atlético: 26 wins for Depor, 18 draws, 44 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 21 wins for Depor, 12 draws, 11 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)



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