Bayern Munich are facing an almost immovable object in Atletico

The Spanish side's defensive record this season is truly imperious

Robert Lewandowski, Jose Gimenez, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich

Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez (right) argues with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (left)

On a day when Claudio Ranieri is deservedly at the heart of the headlines, it feels a long time since the Leicester City manager was in charge of Atletico Madrid.

That 38-game run in the 1999-00 season is best forgotten as his win percentage not only slumped to just under 24%, but would end in relegation from La Liga, although the Italian had been sacked by March of that campaign.

It is a long time ago, and since then Atletico have found the sort of managerial saviour that Leicester have fallen upon with Ranieri.

Tonight, Diego Simeone could seal a second Champions League final appearance in three years if his Atletico side can avoid defeat against Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich.

Unlucky as they were to lose to neighbours Real Madrid in the 2014 final, there are plenty of reasons why they could make that right this year as they are arguably an even stronger side now with the threat of first leg scorer Antoine Griezmann, a resurgent Fernando Torres and a deeper squad.

Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the Champions League 1st leg semifinal soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul White)

First of course, Bayern will try to make life as difficult for them in Munich tonight with a single goal separating the sides after the first leg.

But goals are something that this Atletico rarely give away willingly, which will have Guardiola pondering how to break through.

This season, Atletico have conceded just 16 goals in 36 La Liga games. Sixteen!

And the Champions League has seen Simeone's Diego Godin-led back-four keep eight clean sheets in 11 matches which is an incredible record.

That includes the 1-0 first leg win over Bayern when the Bundesliga giants came closest to scoring when David Alaba's piledriver from long-range crashed off the crossbar.

As ex-Ireland defender Kenny Cunningham explained on Off The Ball last Wednesday, Guardiola's preferred method of playing through the Atletico defence would probably enjoy less joy than a more direct approach that bypasses the La Liga team's hard-working midfield and gets to centre-forward Robert Lewandowski who could bring Bayern team-mates into play higher up the field.

Atletico's defence and midfield is just too canny and well-drilled to be undone by most approaches into their danger zone, and Guardiola will also have to guard against the counter-attacks and set-piece situations which Simeone's side have targeted with glee in the last few seasons.