Simeone and Co. look to recreate magic of 2012

However, the Los Rojiblancos will have their task cut out as the Argentinian gaffer will be serving a touchline ban for the Europa League final against Marseille.

Simeone and Co. look to recreate magic of 2012

After twice faltering in the Champions League final, Diego Simeone will look for a change of fortunes when he leads his team in the Europa League final against Marseille at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon on Wednesday.

Europa League final Preview: Marseille vs Atletico Madrid

It was the success in Europe's second-tier competition that marked the arrival of Simeone, the manager. Having previously managed six clubs before taking charge at the Calderon in 2011, the Argentinian led the Los Rojiblancos to its second Europa League in his first season.  

And he did it in style. In the 15 matches in the competition, Atletico won 13 matches while losing just once in the group stages. The feat was achieved with a red-hot Radamel Falcao leading the line alongside Brazilian playmaker Diego. They topped the goal-scoring and assists charts, respectively.

But, as always, Simeone's teams was built on the back of a solid defensive structure. Diego Godin, Joao Miranda, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and a rookie on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois formed the sturdy back-line. In the final, Atletico trounced fellow Spanish team Athletic Bilbao 3-0.

Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid players celebrate Europa League win in 2012.   -  AFP

 

In his third season, he managed to disrupt the dominance of the big-two - Real Madrid and Barcelona -  in Spain by winning the La Liga, despite losing Falcao and running the team on a shoe-string budget.

However, silverware has dried up since. Two narrow back-to-back losses in the Champions League final to Real in 2014 and 2016 still weighs heavily on the minds of the players and the manager.

Unfortunately, Simeone, who is serving a touchline ban, will not be orchestrating Atletico's plays from the sidelines. Despite the disadvantage, the former Atletico midfielder will be desperate to break the hoodoo at a major European final.