What can Borussia Dortmund expect from Atletico Madrid?

Borussia Dortmund will face Atletico Madrid for a spot in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, but what can Edin Terzic's side expect from the Colchoneros?
Atletico Madrid v FC Internazionale: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Atletico Madrid v FC Internazionale: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
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How can Atletico Madrid hurt the Borussia Dortmund defence? 

Tactically, Diego Simeone sets up his team mainly in a 3-5-2 system, which can also mutate into a 3-4-3. Without the ball, Atletico do not press exceptionally high and are positioned in a 5-3-2, varying between mid-to-low-blocks. This approach gives them more defensive stability through the middle and also offers a numerical advantage out wide against opposing wingers.

Offensively, Atleti play an exceptionally physical game while using surprising movement shifts up front to confuse their opponents. They usually attack in a 3-2-5, which can become a 3-1-6 considering that Koke single-pivot variation. And that's when Atletico are most unpredictable.

Those sudden movements consist of the midfielders changing positioning with the players occupying the laterals, providing Atleti different ways to finish plays in the final third. For instance, it is quite common for Samu Lino to drift inside and open space for Reinildo or Hermoso to attack the flanks while Koke or De Paul cover the gap in defence.

Another example is Llorente doing those same runs on the right side, which is a pattern he has become used to while playing a hybrid RM/RWB role. Llorente has established into a great team player at Atletico, and is capable of playing in a variety of different roles, from right wing-back, to second striker.

Atletico's overall play is all dictated by Antoine Griezmann. The French international is the central figure of this team, mainly due to his football IQ, clever movements that open space for his teammates to build around, and killing instincts.

While Koke is key to Atlético's build-up, Griezmann is in charge of making moves inside the box, unlocking spaces for passes over diagonal runs in between the lines.

With this strategy, Atleti could be extremely dangerous in between Borussia Dortmund's defensive blocks. They could also cause problems on quick counter-attacks, which BVB have struggled to defend against this season.

Atletico might also look to take advantage of an area that has been BVB's weak link: the aerial game. The Black and Yellows have struggled with defending against set pieces and corners, and Atletico might look to exploit tthat.