40 years after their only European Cup final appearance, Atletico are looking to add to their La Liga crown and extend Real's wait for La Decima. Diego Simeone's men are yet to suffer defeat in the tournament this season, but remain underdogs entering the clash in Lisbon. It has been some journey.
Making their first appearance in the competition since 2009, Atletico steamrolled their way through Group G. Diego Simeone's side showed their strong character early on by going to Porto, who had knocked them out of the tournament in 2008/09 and 2009/10, and leaving with a 2-1 win. Diego Godin and Arda Turan struck in the second half to cancel out Jackson Martinez's opener and add another three points to the home win over Zenit St Petersburg, while routine victories home and away to Austria Vienna sealed Atletico's place in the last 16. Los Rojiblancos finished the group unbeaten whilst achieving the joint best points total in the tournament and keeping the tightest defence.
Last 16: AC Milan 0-1 Atletico/Atletico 4-1 AC Milan
Atletico were paired with the seven-time European Cup winners in the first knock out round, and battled to a 1-0 win at the San Siro thanks to a late Diego Costa header. The return leg was far more comfortable for Simeone's men, who ripped the Italians apart in Madrid. Diego Costa set the tone for the night by volleying home after 16 minutes, but Kaka quietened down the Calderon by heading in at the far post 10 minutes later. Arda Turan turned the volume up again by restoring Atletico's lead before half-time with a deflected effort, and Raul Garcia's 70th minute header put the party in full swing, before Diego Costa struck again.
Quarter final: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico/Atletico 1-0 Barcelona
Another meeting with Primera Division title rivals Barcelona was Atleti's reward for knocking out Milan, and they suffered an early blow when, just half an hour into the first leg, a hamstring injury forced their talisman Costa off the pitch. His replacement Diego Ribas stunned the Nou Camp by smashing in the opening goal of the game from over 40 yards out. Neymar levelled not long after to set up a finely balanced return leg in Madrid, but once Koke had opened the scoring after just five minutes at the Calderon, Atletico never looked back, outmuscling and outrunning their opponents on their way to the last four.
Semi-final: Atletico 0-0 Chelsea/Chelsea 1-3 Atletico
There was no shortage of narratives for this semi-final clash, with Fernando Torres making an emotional return to the club where he grew up, and Thibaut Courtois lining up against the team that owns him. The Premier League side frustrated Atletico with an ultra-defensive display at the Calderon and looked to be on their way to Lisbon when Torres broke the deadlock at Stamford Bridge. However, Adrian levelled on the stroke of half-time to put Atleti ahead on away goals. Courtois thwarted his future captain John Terry with an outstanding save at the start of the second half and Atleti took full charge when Diego Costa converted from the penalty spot after a careless challenge by Samuel Eto'o. Arda Turan then killed off any hopes of a Chelsea revival, ramming home the third to put Atletico in the final of the European Cup for the first time in 40 years.