MADRID (AP) — It was after a victory over Chelsea three years ago that Atletico Madrid began to assert itself as a contender in European soccer.
The Spanish club won over two legs in the 2014 Champions League semifinals to get its first shot at the European title in nearly 40 years. Atletico went on to reach another final in 2016, and to the semifinals last season.
Wednesday’s group match in Madrid will be the first between the teams since Atletico beat Chelsea — the 2012 Champions League champion — with a 3-1 win in England to secure a spot in the final against Real Madrid. Atletico and Chelsea had drawn 0-0 in the first leg at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
“Atletico Madrid is a really good team, with great experience in this competition,” Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said. “In the last few years they always played a great Champions League. To reach the final…