Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid will both have to balance aggression with caution in their Champions League showdown.

Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, highlight the tactical tightrope that the two teams will be walking in this evening’s round of sixteen first leg.

Inter and Atletico are two teams with many similarities.

Both of the pair are coached by veteran former players who have gone on to be top European coaches. Simone Inzaghi and Diego Simeone were even teammates at Lazio.

And the two coaches have instilled fairly similar styles of play in their respective teams in some respects.

Both Inter and Atletico play with 3-5-2 systems. Simeone has transitioned to the shape in recent years at Atletico, from a 4-4-2 system. Meanwhile Inzaghi has diligently stuck with it since coaching Lazio.

And beyond the formation, there are certain similarities to how the two teams utilize it.

Inter & Atletico Balance Aggression With Caution In UCL Showdown

This season has seen Inter play arguably their most aggressive football under Inzaghi.

More often than not, the Nerazzurri have dominated possession in their Serie A matches.

Moreover, Inzaghi has had his team moving the ball rapidly, crisply, and most importantly of all, incisively.

And even when they have not had the majority of the ball in their matches, Inter have looked to have a very clear, effective plan on how to use it when they’ve had it.

That was on show in ruthless counterattacking performances against teams like Fiorentina and Napoli.

Inzaghi’s Inter are capable of winning with more purely counterattacking displays. Their Champions League matches against Barcelona last season were memorable examples of this.

But the trait that perhaps best defines them is the balance between high-tempo, proactive football with a certain measure of defensive caution.

Meanwhile, Atletico have been playing some of their most open football ever under Simeone this season.

The Argentine coach has become strongly associated with a more defensive style of play. Atletico have achieve plenty of success playing this way in his long tenure there.

But this season, the Colchoneros have been both scoring and conceding more goals.

Like Inter, the La Liga giants will be aiming to balance that with their more traditional defensive determination.

Which team gets that balance right could end up defining who gets the better of the match. And the tie over two legs.