Champions League

Leicester have Champions League rivals running scared

2017-03-17 07:27
Jamie Vardy (Getty)

Nyon - Holders Real Madrid, comeback kings Barcelona and the mighty Bayern Munich are all in the hat for Friday's Champions League quarter-final draw, but Zinedine Zidane knows who he wants to avoid.

"No coach wants Leicester as a rival," the Real boss admitted, a view echoed by Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon: "Leicester, because they're a dangerous side, they're full of enthusiasm and can hurt you."

Leicester stunned world football to win the Premier League last season and in their first foray in Europe's premier club competition they wrote another chapter in the fairy-tale by surging into the last eight after seeing off Sevilla.

They are the only English side left in the competition after Manchester City capitulated to Monaco and Arsenal were humiliated by Bayern.

Leicester's achievement is even more stunning when you consider that their maiden Champions League run comes with them flirting with relegation in the Premier League this season, albeit on the upswing after the controversial sacking of their title-winning coach Claudio Ranieri.

Replacement boss Craig Shakespeare says his side can pull off another shock in the quarter-finals, no matter who they draw in Nyon at 11:00 on Friday.

"We might just be the surprise team," Shakespeare said - a nice line in understatement - after the Foxes overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit to beat Sevilla 3-2 on aggregate at a rocking King Power Stadium this week.

"We know there's going to be some terrific teams, as there were in the previous round... We're in there on merit. Make no mistake about that."

No matter who they face, Leicester - 5 000-1 to lift the Premier League title last season - will be an outside bet.

But goalkeeper Buffon, having seen perennial Italian champions Juventus swat aside Porto, does not see it that way and nor does Zidane.

"Leicester do what everyone says they cannot do," Zidane told reporters.

"They have very talented players, but the most important thing is that they play with passion and with heart."

No appetite for Bayern-Dortmund


In the last 16 teams from the same country could not be drawn together, but they can in the last eight and there is every chance of an all-Spanish or all-German encounter.

The latter is something neither Bayern Munich nor Borussia Dortmund want.

"I don't want a German duel," said Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, adding quickly that it was "not because we're afraid (of Bayern Munich) but because we want to measure ourselves internationally."

There was the same view in Munich - the two biggest clubs in Germany are already clashing in the Bundesliga and in the German Cup semi-finals in April.

There is again a strong Spanish contingent still alive, with last year's Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid on Wednesday joining city rivals Real and Barcelona.

Luis Enrique's side made history in the competition when they pulled off a miracle 6-1 win at the Camp Nou to turf out Paris Saint-Germain.

No team had ever overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit but if anyone can, Barca can, and the Spanish champions appear revitalised after Enrique's announcement that he will stand down at the end of the season.

The quarter-final first legs will be played on April 11-12 and the second legs on April 18-19.

The draw for the Europa League quarter-finals will also take place on Friday.

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
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