Champions League

Rejection inspiring new Leicester miracles - Schmeichel

2017-04-12 09:18
Kasper Schmeichel (Getty Images)

Madrid - Kasper Schmeichel believes Leicester City's rags to riches tale is inspiring them to keep dreaming on the Champions League stage ahead of their quarter-final first leg with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Schmeichel is expected to captain Leicester at the Vicente Calderon in the absence of the injured Wes Morgan.

And the Dane is relishing the challenge of facing the likes of Antoine Griezmann in Leicester's debut season in the Champions League rather than watching Europe's elite on the TV.

"When you look at the DNA of our team, the type of characters we have, the journeys everyone's been on," said Schmeichel.

"Lower leagues, rejections, these are the kinds of nights playing in League Two and watching the Champions League on TV I was working to make sure I got there.

"You can't help but be inspired by these kinds of games."

Schmeichel was the Foxes' hero as he saved a penalty in both legs to shock Sevilla in the last 16.

And despite facing an Atletico side that have reached the final in two of the past three seasons, Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare insists the English champions aren't in the last eight to make up the numbers.

"I think in terms of life experience sometimes you have new experiences, which the Champions League is for us this season.

"We are here to compete, we are not here to make the numbers up.

"These players deserve that opportunity and we want to show that tomorrow night."

Shakespeare has overseen a remarkable turnaround in Leicester's fortunes since Claudio Ranieri was sacked after a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of the tie against Sevilla.

His success has been built naming much the same line-up that took Leicester to the title last season.

However, captain Morgan will be a big loss as he misses out through a back injury.

"He's here, he's travelled with the team but no chance of playing," added Shakespeare.

Shakespeare is though expected to recall Christian Fuchs, Danny Simpson, Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki after they were all rested for the first defeat of his reign at Everton on Sunday.

Atletico have injury problems of their own as Kevin Gameiro's absence means Diego Simeone will name the same side that started Saturday's 1-1 draw at Real Madrid.

Under Simeone Atletico boast one of the best home records in Europe, losing just one of 21 Champions League games at the Calderon.

Los Rojiblancos have also kept 17 clean sheets in that run and Simeone is expecting a low scoring affair over the two legs.

"I can't imagine a game with many goals due to the characteristics of both teams," said the Argentine.

"We are both hard working, consistent teams. They will be two very challenging games."

Shakespeare said comparisons drawn between the two teams' style was a huge compliment to Leicester given Atletico's feats under Simeone.

And the Atletico boss insists the example of both clubs shows that even given the disparity of wealth between Europe's top few clubs and the rest, success doesn't have to depend on finance.

"Football is marvellous. No one has the absolute truth in how to win," added Simeone.

"Maybe teams have looked at the way we do things but we have adapted our style to the characteristics of our players and that has allowed us to grow."

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Sevilla v Maribor, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 20:45
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 20:45
APOEL v Tottenham Hotspur, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Liverpool, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 20:45
Monaco v Porto, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Napoli v Feyenoord, Stadio San Paolo 20:45
Besiktas v RB Leipzig, Vodafone Stadyumu 20:45
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Qarabag v Roma, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Olympiakos Piraeus, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Sporting CP v Barcelona, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 20:45
PSG v Bayern Munchen, Parc des Princes 20:45
Basel v Benfica, St. Jakob-Park 20:45
Anderlecht v Celtic, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Manchester United, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
Manchester City v Napoli, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Maribor v Liverpool, Ljudski vrt 20:45
APOEL v Borussia Dortmund, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Sevilla, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
RB Leipzig v Porto, Red Bull Arena 20:45
Monaco v Besiktas, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Feyenoord v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadion Feijenoord 20:45
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Qarabag v Atletico Madrid, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Sporting CP, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Bayern Munchen v Celtic, Allianz-Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Olympiakos Piraeus, Camp Nou 20:45
Benfica v Manchester United, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 20:45
Anderlecht v PSG, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
Chelsea v Roma, Stamford Bridge 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Basel, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Celtic v Bayern Munchen, Celtic Park 21:45
Sporting CP v Juventus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Qarabag, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
Manchester United v Benfica, Old Trafford 21:45
PSG v Anderlecht, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v CSKA Moskva, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Barcelona, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Chelsea, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
Besiktas v Monaco, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Liverpool v Maribor, Anfield 21:45
Porto v RB Leipzig, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Sevilla v Spartak Moskva, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Feyenoord, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v APOEL, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Napoli v Manchester City, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid, Wembley Stadium 21:45
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