Thiago played for Barcelona just under 70 times in La Liga, but it took a move to FC Bayern for the midfield maestro to face Atlético Madrid competitively for the first time. In last season’s Champions League semi-final, the German champions lost out 1-0 in Madrid and failed to progress on aggregate despite a 2-1 victory in the second leg.
Thiago will now return to the Vicente Calderón again on Wednesday. “I am really looking forward to the game,” explained the 25-year-old ahead of the group-stage game against Los Rojiblancos
. “Atlético reached the final last year. We know from playing them in the semi-finals how they play. We know their strengths and their weakness. We have to deploy all our weapons against them,” stressed the Spain international.No thoughts of revenge
In the battle to win Group D, it will most likely come down to the two matches against the defensively strong side from the Spanish capital. “They defend better than any other team in the world,” said Thiago on the great strength of the Spanish club, who have kept 16 clean sheets in their last 23 home Champions League matches. But Thiago also remembers FCB’s last visit to Madrid: “We have a lot of chances. We know precisely what we have to do there.”
However, Thiago does not want to talk about revenge for the narrow defeat and exit in last season’s Champions League semi-final. “No, we’re not thinking about that,” stressed the midfielder. The game on Wednesday is “a different game. It’s a group-stage game so will be less emotional than a semi-final.”
Following three consecutive defeats in Spain, FC Bayern will want to put an end to that run on Wednesday with at least a point in Madrid. “It’s important for us to win the away games, or at least take home as many points as possible,” said Thiago. FCB want to ensure progress to the knock-out stage of the Champions League as quickly as possible. And if both sides progress as expected, Thiago could face yet another trip to face Atlético again in early 2017.