Foxes aiming for Atletico's scalp

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel celebrating after saving Steven N'Zonzi's 80th-minute penalty. Leicester went through 3-2 on aggregate but the underdogs will face their toughest challenge in Atletico.
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel celebrating after saving Steven N'Zonzi's 80th-minute penalty. Leicester went through 3-2 on aggregate but the underdogs will face their toughest challenge in Atletico.PHOTO: REUTERS

Bayern v Real and Juve face Barca in the pick of the q-finals while Monaco play Dortmund

LONDON • Leicester, who most big clubs feared to face, will clash with last year's runners-up Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

In the other mouth-watering encounter, which was thrown up by the draw last night, Bayern Munich square off against the holders Real Madrid.

Last season's Premier League champions Leicester have twice been drawn against Atletico - in the first round of the 1961-62 Cup-Winners' Cup and the Uefa Cup first round in 1997-98, losing both ties.

They will continue their remarkable run by travelling to Atletico for the first leg on April 12, with the second match taking place at the King Power Stadium the following week.

The tie pits Leicester against one of the most consistent European teams of recent years.

  • Background Story

  • Champions League quarter-final draw

    Atletico Madrid (Esp) v Leicester City (Eng)

    BorussiaDortmund (Ger) v Monaco(Fra)

    Bayern Munich (Ger) v Real Madrid (Esp)

    Juventus (Ita) v Barcelona (Esp)

    1st leg: April 12-13

    2nd leg: April 19-20

Diego Simeone's side have reached the Champions League final in two of the last three seasons, losing to city rivals Real on both occasions, last year on penalties.

They were also beaten by Real in the quarter-finals in 2015 and won the Europa League in 2012.

The one encouraging factor for Leicester is Atletico have not been quite as strong in the league this season and sit fourth in La Liga, five points behind Sevilla.

"Facing a team who have reached the final in two of the last three seasons is a massive challenge. Atletico Madrid are a very good team with some fantastic individuals, but we'll be ready to give everything to progress," said Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare.

Real's meeting with Bayern sees Carlo Ancelotti - who is aiming to be the first coach to lead three different teams to the Champions League title - return to the Bernabeu two years after he was sacked despite having won the club's coveted 10th European Cup title.

He will face Zinedine Zidane, his successor and ex-assistant, who has led Real to the top of La Liga.

"It is going to be exciting to play against them. We are very confident and want to win the Champions League this season," said Ancelotti, who also won the European title twice with AC Milan.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is relishing a "classic" as the five-time winners target more than just a sixth straight semi-final appearance.

"This is a classic, which is probably the absolute top draw that lay in the pot," said Rummenigge.

Barcelona, who overturned a 0-4 deficit to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, are drawn against Juventus, the team whom they beat in the 2015 final to claim their most recent European title.

Italian giants Juventus will want to avenge the defeat, but face the daunting task of muting the competition's top marksman Lionel Messi.

Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved hinted at the size of the task ahead of them.

"You need to be at your best for 180 minutes or more to overcome Barca," he said. "It's a fascinating tie. Juve have improved a lot since 2015 and this team can play without fear against Barcelona."

The final tie, between Monaco and Borussia Dortmund, sees arguably the two most exciting young sides in Europe face off, with Monaco's 18-year-old French striker Kylian Mbappe coming up against his 19-year-old compatriot Ousmane Dembele after both received their first senior call-ups to Didier Deschamps' latest France squad.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Foxes aiming for Atletico's scalp'. Print Edition | Subscribe