Match: Champions League quarterfinal, leg one, April 12, 2017
Location: Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain
Kick-off time: 7:45 PM GMT, 2:45 PM Eastern, 11:45 AM Pacific
What a ride it’s been.
Coasting through the group stage like they’d been in the tournament on a yearly basis, the Foxes were faced with similar competition in the knockout stage, one tricky foe in Sevilla.
After falling 2-1 in the first leg, the Foxes came up huge in the second match knocking off the Spanish side 2-0 at the King Power Stadium to advance to the quarterfinal stage. Rarified air, if you will.
The draw shortly thereafter yielded another club from the Iberian peninsula, this time in the form of 3-time runners up Atlético Madrid. An undoubted step up in quality from Sevilla, Los Colchoneros would provide Leicester with its greatest test in the competition.
Heading into the match, Leicester had been riding excellent form, winning their first six matches under caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare until Sunday when a much-changed squad fell 4-2 at Everton. Shakespeare made five changes ahead of the fixture with the hope of resting some of his key squad players. Riyad Mahrez, Wilfred Ndidi, Christian Fuchs and others were sat in preparation for Wednesday’s epic encounter in the Spanish capital.
Madrid comes into the match with very similar form, having not lost a match in all competitions since late February, a run of nine matches...including a spirited 1-1 draw with crosstown rivals Real Madrid this past weekend.
Starting their season much in the same way as Leicester, which is to say in poor form, the club has been able to turn things around of late and their boss Diego Simeone sees much of his side in the visitors from England.
“This is a team that was able to win the English league,” said Simeone. “We know that the game will be very tough against a rival that is similar to us. We also know that we are not facing the same team that went into the knockout draw.”
On the injury front, the most prominent concern for Leicester will be the absence of their captain and defensive stalwart Wes Morgan who won’t be available for selection due to a back issue. Deputizing has been the little used Yohan Benalouane who has performed well but not to the standards that Morgan has created in recent years with the club.
Atlético will be without a few of its bigger names (Kévin Gameiro, Niko Gaitán and Sime Vrsaljko) but still boasts a squad full of internationals that will cause plenty of issues for Leicester.
Kickoff for the match is slated for 7:45 p.m. GMT from the Vicente Calderón