The best defence in La Liga was torn apart in 45 minutes by a team that had failed to score in their four previous outings, as Real Betis put three past Willy Caballero in a half that Málaga will wish to forget.
Ignacio Camacho is out through suspension, but the midfield was already likely to be Manuel Iturra and Frenchmam Jérémy Toulalan. Sergio Sánchez is also missing so Jesús Gámez should start.
Manuel Pellegrini has tended to rotate his two front men; he may prefer Roque Santa Cruz for this one as they look to hold on to the ball in advanced positions.
The 2-2 draw with Sevilla in midweek has set up an all Madrid derby for the Copa del Rey final, the catalyst for future success or a Radamel Falcao swan-song.
The central midfield positions are up for grabs with Tiago injured and Gabi out suspended, Mario Suárez and Raúl García are the likeliest candidates to appear.
Diego Godín is expected to return in place of Cata Díaz, Diego Simeone may rotate Diego Costa with Adrián López.
As things currently stand, Málaga aren't allowed to compete in next season's Champions League, making their league position meaningless, and professional pride and fans support will only spur them on so much.
Atléti now face their sixth cup final in the last four years, quite an achievement for a club known in the last decade for failing to deliver.
It should be an entertaining match, with Atlético still fighting to catch Barcelona and stay ahead of Real Madrid, and they could snatch all three points.
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