When Leicester City file out unto the King Power Stadium pitch on Tuesday evening, they will be battling odds greater than the 5000-1, which they surmounted to win the English Premier League last season.
To win the Champions League would be at 20000-1 odds. But first, they have to overhaul the 1-0 first leg defeat away to Atletico Madrid last Wednesday.
Atletico Madrid are one of the toughest teams to score against and in this season’s UEFA Champions League, Diego Simeone’s men have conceded just three goals in nine matches. They also lost just once in that sequence – a 1-0 loss away to Bayern Munich. But Leicester will be buoyed by the fact that they have won all their home matches in the Champions League.
The Foxes will have to achieve this unthinkable feat without defensive stalwart, Robert Huth while Wes Morgan is still a doubt because of a back injury even though he trained with the team before today’s match.
Leicester City manager, Craig Shakespeare, admitted they are underdogs but they have always achieved more than their assumed status.
“There are no free games in football and we are not here to make up the numbers, we’re here to have a right go – that will be the first message.
“Yes, you want footballers to enjoy it and play with a smile on their face because that is when you get the best out of them, but we also need to be smart and alert to all the things it takes to win a match.
We have the right balance within the squad – you have to have fire in your belly but you also have to have cool, smart heads at times and we’ve proved over the last 18 months we are more than capable of that.
“We know what we have to do and we can’t sit back for 90 minutes because we need to score. We will start as underdogs but we’re comfortable with that.”
Simeone believes the Foxes will come full blast from the kickoff.
“We came out strong at the Calderon, they do the same in their stadium.
“Leicester are in decent form and in the last six or seven games they have been back to doing what they did last season,” Simeone told the UEFA website.
“Because of our qualities and theirs too, in some respects, we are very similar. It will not be too different from the game in Spain – a hard game with a narrow scoreline, decided on small details.”
We’re two teams that feed off small details. It’ll be a close contest,” Simeone added.
Current Form: Leicester [D-L-L-W-W]; Atletico [W-W-D-W-W]
Head to head
25/10/61 UWC Leicester 1 – 1 Atlético
15/11/61 UWC Atlético 2 – 0 Leicester
16/09/97 UEC Atlético 2 – 1 Leicester
30/09/97 UEC Leicester 0 – 2 Atlético
12/04/17 UCL Atlético 1 – 0 Leicester
Prediction: We should be ready for extra time in this one.