Atletico hope to have Arda Turan available to play against Leverkusen

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he hopes to have key playmaker Arda Turan available for Wednesday's Champions League last 16 first leg at Bayer Leverkusen.

With Simeone's other regular creative midfielder Koke definitely ruled out with a hamstring string, the technically adept Turkey international would likely be replaced by the more physical Raul Garcia for Atletico's return to European competition at the Bay Arena.

Not being able to select Arda would inevitably lead to a different approach to the game, the Colchoneros coach told the pre-match news conference.

"We hope that Arda is okay to play," Simeone said. "Arda has different characteristics than his teammates. If he plays there is one idea, and if he does that changes. We must wait and see how he is."

Atletico hero Fernando Torres claimed this week that this season's squad are even more motivated to win the competition by last year's painful final defeat to local rivals Real Madrid, but Simeone said he was mostly concerned with getting a good result in this first leg game.

"I am only thinking what I have always thought throughout my career," Simeone said. "I consider that there is no other game than against Leverkusen. It is all about this clash. What happens in the future will follow from how we play in each game."

Atletico qualified for this stage by topping their group ahead of Serie A champions Juventus, while Leverkusen, who qualified as Group D runners-up, have never before won a last-16 tie. Questioned as to whether his side had now earned the right to be seen as favourites even on big Champions League nights, the Argentine coach said previous records were irrelevant once the first whistle is blown.

"The results put you in a certain place, but then the game starts," Simeone said. "Then there are no favourites. Above all in knock-out games. Out there it depends on how you respond to the game. Everything else is history, which is very nice, but it stays in the record books."

Roger Schmidt's side come into the game in poor domestic form, having taken just one point from their last three Bundesliga games, but Simeone said his planning had focused more on their excellent form earlier in the season.

"We are not looking at just these few games, but the line of form they have over the last four months," he said. "They are a brave team who have always had chances to win. They think offensively, have a great coach and are a well-prepared team. They are very quick and dangerous in space. That is what I look at, not their most recent games."