Road to the 2014 Champions League Final: Atlético Madrid

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

After dominating Group G, Los Colchoneros defatted three of Europe's bigger clubs on their way to the final in Lisbon.

SB Nation 2014 Champions League Preview

Atlético Madrid's somewhat unlikely road to the final in Lisbon began after they qualified for the group stages after finishing the 2012/13 season in third place. It was the first time Los Colchoneros earned a place in Europe's biggest club tournament since a fourth place finish in 2009.

Atléti were drawn into Group G with Zenit St. Petersburg, FC Porto and Austria Vienna, a fairly easy group on paper, and as it turned out, easy on the pitch as well. Atléti opened group play with a 3-1 win over Zenit, and then on to win all but one of their group stage matches -- a 1-1 draw against Zenit in Russia was their only blemish -- topping the group by 10 points. They were the only team in the group with more than one victory.

In the Round of 16, Diego Simeone's team met AC Mlian, and took advantage of a down season for the Rossoneri with a 5-1 aggregate victory. Next up was fellow La Liga side Barcelona, who had advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League every season since 2007. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Koke's early goal in the second leg pushed Atléti to a victory, and breaking Barca's semifinal streak.

In the semifinals, Atléti faced 2012 champions Chelsea in a battle of two strong defensive teams. The first leg was a carefully played scoreless draw in Madrid, but the second leg was much more wide open. The Blues took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute, but Altéti roared back, scoring three times to claim a spot in the final.

Diego Costa led the team with eight goals in the competition, and their defense has allowed just six goals in 12 matches.

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