Diego Simeone speaks of his respect for Leverkusen

The teams meet in the Champions League tonight

Diego Simeone speaks of his respect for Leverkusen

Atletico de Madrid's coach Diego Simeone EPA/SERGIO BARRENCHEA

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has spoken of his respect for Bayer Leverkusen ahead of tonight's Champions League clash. 

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, he said: "We are going to find a team that deploys everything their coach asks: heart, enthusiasm, intention and a lot of intensity. They are probably one of the most intense rivals we have played in the Champions. Talent is important, but heart and the hopefulness have a bigger place in football."

Speaking about his own team he said: "We continue on the line of finding our final game. We continue trying to improve our regularity and find the ways that make us feel better on the field. I think that the team has grown in this beginning of 2017 compared with the end of 2016.

"I consider that still we have a large margin of improvement and hopefully we can breach it, because that is where the quality leap lies," he added.