Champions League 2014: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid Form Guide, Key Battles

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Champions League 2014: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid Form Guide, Key Battles
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Saturday night promises to be one of world football's classic battles as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid face off in Lisbon, Portugal.

Both sides have been superb in the Champions League this season and thoroughly deserve their places in the final.

Atletico enter as the new champions of Spain after their draw in the Camp Nou, while Real will be looking to win yet another European Cup and further their reputation as the continent's most successful club side.

Here, we take a look at both teams' recent form and the key battles that will decide the destination of the Champions League trophy.

 

Form Guide

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Form Guide - Last Eight Games In All Competitions
Team Form
Real Madrid WWWWDDLW
Atletico Madrid WWDWWLDD

WhoScored.com

Both Madrid teams have felt the heat and pressure of the last few weeks of the season, struggling to produce their best form.

Atletico's dogs-of-war approach has suffered, with the team only managing one win in their last four games.

Recent draws against Barcelona and Malaga were just enough to earn them the La Liga title and get them over the finish line, but two points from a possible nine is hardly the form of champions.

But in the Champions League, Atletico are unbeaten this season. They have posted a wonderful record of nine wins and three draws, per WhoScored.com.

In their last two Champions League ties against the strong opposition of Barcelona and Chelsea, they only conceded two goals over the four legs.

Like Atletico, Real have struggled in recent weeks, their slide in form costing them the championship in Spain.

Domestic wins against Barcelona and Osasuna, and a 5-0 aggregate thrashing of Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, set Los Blancos up for a dream finish to the season.

But then the wheels of the Galactico Ferrari came off. Two draws against Valencia and Real Valladolid, and a crushing defeat to Celta Vigo in their penultimate La Liga game of the season, saw their ambitions destroyed.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's team have been solid as a rock this season in the Champions League. They have a record of 10 wins, one draw and a solitary defeat, at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg, per WhoScored.com.

They have saved some of their most explosive football for the competition, having hit 37 goals across their 12 matches, per WhoScored.com. 

The form guide dictates that this game can go either way. It will come down to who wants it more on the night. Atletico will still be jubilant after their La Liga success and this could be both a positive or a negative element for them.

They might play with freedom knowing they have the championship in the bag or they could capitulate, with a more motivated Real Madrid team seizing the day.

But as Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail tweeted, Atletico's achievements this year have been mind-blowing in comparison to Real's:

 

Key Battles

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Atletico Madrid's defensive unit has been imperious this season and is the core reason for their tremendous domestic success in 2013-14.

In the Champions League final, Miranda and Diego Godin will have to find a way of stopping the direct play of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who will both come inside and attack the centre-backs.

Both teams like to counter-attack but it is unlikely this will cause a stalemate.

Sergio Ramos and Pepe have also been impressive in the heart of the Real defence and they will be hoping that Diego Costa does not recover in time from his recent injury problems.

Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

Nevertheless, former Barcelona man David Villa will be a handful if he is given the opportunity to fire Atletico to glory. The player is yet to score in the Champions League this season, but the final in Lisbon will be the perfect place for him to open his account.

He netted in his previous Champions League final appearance against Manchester United in 2011 and will occupy Ramos and Co. for the full 90 minutes.

Villa has fired 13 goals in 36 La Liga games this season, per WhoScored.com, proving that his eye for goal has not diminished.

Pepe and Ramos know all about the type of threat that Villa poses and they will have to use every trick in the book to keep him out of harm's reach. 

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Both teams have showed that they are tired going into this game, and the players that win the key battles will be a part of the victorious side. Atletico will have been through an emotional last few days and they might find that the Champions League final is one match too far.

Ronaldo and company will be hugely motivated to take the trophy after failing in their domestic league. An Atletico double is something the Galacticos will not allow and they will do everything in their power to stop their neighbours' chance at making history. 

A Real Madrid win is on the cards but Diego Simeone's team will not go down without a fight. 

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