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Atletico look to bounce back in Vienna

Updated 21 Oct 2013 00:31:55

Atletico look to bounce back in Vienna

Atletico Madrid will be looking to regain their winning ways Tuesday when they face Champions League rookies Austria Vienna who are still chasing their first group stage goal.

After 10 wins in 10 games in all competitions this season, Diego Simeone's Atletico suffered their first defeat on Saturday, going down 1-0 at Espanyol.

But they travel to Vienna with a comfortable lead in Group G and should face little danger from a team that is still in awe of making it this far, let alone confident of winning a game.

"The fact we could have become leaders (of La Liga) is just an anecdote," Atletico captain Gabi said after Saturday's loss.

"We will go to Vienna with the winning mentality we have, because if we win if could be decisive for qualification from the group."

Brazilian centre-back Miranda is a doubt for the game due to a muscular strain and striker Leo Baptistao, who scored against Zenit St Petersburg on matchday one, is also out with an ankle injury.

But Atletico will be strengthened by the return up front of Diego Costa, following a four-match European ban he picked up last season.

La Liga's top goalscorer with 10 goals in nine games, putting him ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Brazilian-born player has also been linked with a call up to the Spanish national side.

Austria Vienna, last season's domestic champions, but now trailing in mid-table, might have the home advantage on Tuesday but will be facing their most difficult challenge yet.

The Violets, led by Croatian coach Nenad Bjelica, secured their passage to the group stage with a sensational 4-3 aggregate win against Dinamo Zagreb.

But they just scraped a 0-0 draw against 10-man Zenit St. Petersburg last time out, after losing 1-0 to FC Porto.

"Atletico is the toughest opponent in this group... we can expect a team that is in extraordinary form," said midfielder Daniel Royer.

"Still, we will try and work something out, we want to perform like we did against Porto and Zenit and irritate our opponent. It will certainly be our toughest challenge yet."

Marko Stankovic, the team's most prolific striker this season with six goals in nine league appearances, is hoping to return in time for Tuesday after a muscle injury.

This will be the third time only that Atletico and Austria Vienna meet, after two first-round encounters in the European Cup in 1970. The Spanish side won both games.

Vienna's Ernst-Happel Stadium, the site of Spain's Euro 2008 triumph, will also no doubt bring back memories for Atletico striker David Villa, who scored there in the quarter-final penalty shoot-out but missed the final through injury.


AFP

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