Madrid - In the star-studded surroundings of a Champions
League semi-final, it is rare that the 22 men on the pitch are overshadowed by
the two suited generals on the touchline seeking to outdo one another.
However, the clash between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich
on Wednesday sees two of the world's best coaches in Diego Simeone and Pep
Guardiola put their very different football philosophies to the test.
Here, AFP sports looks at how Simeone and Guardiola match
- Stylistic differences
The two-legged semi-final seems set for a classic clash of
Europe's best defence against one of the most offensively minded teams on the
Simeone's nickname "Cholo" derives from the poor,
hard-working classes of South America and is reflected in the tireless effort
of his team.
At the core of Simeone's success at Atletico has been a
record-breaking defensive system that has continued to function even as some of
the key parts have had to be sold off.
Simeone's men have already kept a remarkable 32 clean sheets
this season and conceded only four goals in 16 previous Champions League games
at home, including only once in seven games in the knockout stages.
Guardiola shot to prominence with the free-flowing attacking
football which saw him win the competition twice with Barcelona in 2009 and
That style has followed him in his three years at Bayern
with the German giants the Champions League's top scorers with 28 goals this
Also read: Bayern wary of 'monsters of passion' Atletico
- Track record
In terms of trophies won, Guardiola is understandably
streets ahead having managed two powerhouses like Barcelona and Bayern in his
seven years as a coach.
The Catalan has won 19 trophies. Bayern are just one
Bundesliga win away from delivering his 20th and still in the hunt to complete a
treble this season as they face Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final next
Moreover, Guardiola has reached the Champions League
semi-finals in all seven of his seasons as a coach, but has lost four of the
previous six and is yet to take Bayern to the final.
Simeone's seven trophies seem modest by comparison, but his
transformation of Atletico from crisis-ridden underachievers to a side punching
above their weight by consistently challenging Barcelona and Real Madrid is
arguably an even greater achievement than any of Guardiola's.
"The biggest title that Atletico have won with Simeone
and his coaching staff is to be compared with Barca and Real Madrid," said
Guardiola on Tuesday.
The Argentine has won La Liga, the Europa League, Copa del
Rey, Spanish Super Cup and European Super Cup during his four-and-a-half years
in charge. Only the Champions League has eluded him.
- What their players say
Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid defender:
"Cholo is the stone around which this project is
"He has strengthened this group of players, he has made
the sporting part of the club work, he has made the players and fans believe,
not just with words but with acts."
Xabi Alonso, Bayern Munich midfielder:
"Day-to-day you observe the way he (Guardiola) works,
analysing and studying his nuances. He's very diligent and methodical in the
way that he works.
"It's been a really positive experience up to now
during these two years in Germany that has helped me to improve, to learn a lot
and now here we are at the end of the season with the chance to win
Guardiola has already announced his decision to leave Bayern
for Manchester City next season.
Simeone has also been courted by the cash-rich Premier
League, but has so far resisted due to his love for Atletico.
There are also doubts as to how well Simeone's demands would
work with a more talented, but equally ego-driven squad. Atletico's hope and
expectation is that he will at least stay to lead them into their new stadium
in the 2017-18 season.For
the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us
on Twitter and like our Facebook page.