A 0-0 draw might not be the sexiest result, but it was enough for Atletico Madrid to push past Bayer Leverkusen after their 4-2 win in the first leg. Now, Atletico find themselves into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Here are six takeaways from the Wednesday’s draw with Bayer:
1. The first half belonged to Leverkusen
The Werkself almost had a picturesque start at the Vicente Calderon when Kevin Volland launched a shot that narrowly put the visitors ahead. Atletico appeared content to let Leverkusen have more of the ball, but the German side weren’t able to take an early advantage. Though if not for Leno’s incredible saves, Atletico would have gone into the break with the tie pretty well sewed up.
2. Antoine Griezmann can link up with anyone
In the first leg, Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro gave the Bayer Leverkusen back line fits. Unfortunately for Los Colchoneros, Gameiro had to miss the leg with an injury. No real matter, though. The Frenchman partnered with Angel Correa this time around and the attack still had teeth when they went forward. The final product might have gone missing on the day, but the buildup was still there. It’s little wonder Griezmann is such a prized asset around Europe.
3. Bernd Leno played insane
A fitness question mark heading into the match, Leno showed little sign of injury. The 25-year-old goalkeeper made two critical stops in the first half to keep his team in the tie. The first was a sensational reaction save where he dove to his left to stop a blasted shot from Angel Correa. The German keeper got down low shortly afterward to push a low drive from Koke around the post.
4. Jan Oblak also had one heck of a match
If you’re a fan of excellent play from goalkeepers, this match was right up your alley. Leno kept Atletico off the board with some sensational saves, but the solo highlight belonged to his counterpart, Oblak. The Atletico goalkeeper come through with an outrageous triple save midway through the second half that kept at least a glimmer of hope alive for Bayer. They didn’t capitalize, but credit is due for his crazy play.
5. Simeone’s patience paid off
It wasn’t an particularly enthralling match, but part of that could have been by design. Atletico came into the home leg with a 4-2 lead, so sitting back and inviting Bayer to come at them and take risks played into Simeone’s hand. When his team did have possession they would counter when good opportunities presented themselves, or they’d hang onto the ball and just take the tempo to a crawl. The 0-0 draw saw Atletico through to the next round, at that’s all that matters.
6. It was good to see El Nino back in the squad
After suffering a scary head injury against Deportivo La Coruna on March 2, it was a relief to see Fernando Torres back on the sideline. He’d missed the past two La Liga matches for Atletico with the injury and there was a question whether or not he’d feature in the second leg of the Champions League. He didn’t come on, but he was included in the squad and got some warming up done on the sideline.