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Are Atletico Madrid Genuine Champions League Contenders?

Atletico Madrid are trying hard to keep their feet on the ground, but there is a growing feeling that this could be a watershed season for them.

Diego Simeone’s men are flying high in the Spanish top flight, just a single point behind champions and pace setters Barcelona.

There is great joy in Atleti’s working class stronghold of the Spanish capital that they are five points ahead of their aristocratic neighbours Real Madrid, with many pundits suggesting that Madrid bragging rights are on their way to the Calderon for the first time in a generation.

Los Rojiblancos are also on a charge in Europe, and registered their fourth straight Champions League win by demolishing Austria Vienna 4-0 on Wednesday night.

They have qualified for the next round of the competition as runaway leaders of their group with a perfect record so far, with many observers pegging them as dark horses to win it outright.

Top scorer Diego Costa, who missed a second half penalty but made amends by scoring Atleti’s fourth against Vienna, told Canal + last night: "We are very pleased with the result today.

"We knew it was important to win because of the result between Porto and Zenit. There is still a long way to go but we deserve to be in the last 16."

Manager Simeone meanwhile, refused to be drawn on Atelti’s title ambitions.

"We are taking it one game at a time in the Champions League and staying humble," he said.

"We'll take it one step at a time but with the great enthusiasm that Atletico always have."

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