As the draw for the Champions League quarterfinal stage unfolded on Friday, it appeared the so-called minnows left in the pool were in some serious trouble. Instead, we got two giant matchups and two feel-good stories (at least to international fame standards) left to fight against each other.
The draw saw headliners Real Madrid and Bayern Munich get drawn together, while Barcelona and Italian giants Juventus will also clash. However, the real story is the fact that Leicester City’s magical run is in some serious jeopardy after they avoided Monaco or Borussia Dortmund.
Instead, their task will be to take down last season’s runner-up, Atletico Madrid.
Atletico Madrid may not have the international fame of the other giants in the Champions League quarter-final draw. However, the “other” club in Madrid have been one of the most successful in recent years on the European stage.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 17, 2017
For Leicester City supporters, there also is no famed trip to the King Power Stadium from Real Madrid or Barcelona, and that has to be a disappointment should the Foxes end their magical journey. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to tell the story of the day the mighty Real Madrid came to little Leicester?
So, while some will be happy to see the miracle run of Leicester City avoid more known clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus, the reality is that the Foxes’ draw of Los Rojiblancos is far from a picnic.
Trips to the Vicente Calderón Stadium have long been not fun for European opposition and let us also remember that Atleti have been to the final of the Champions League twice in the last three seasons. Clearly they are looking to make it three in the last four after advancing to this stage once again.
It is also the final season for the famed Atletico Madrid stadium, making an already intimidating environment that much more so.
Jamie Vardy versus that Atletico Madrid defense? Not exactly the stuff of dreams for Vardy and the Foxes’ attack to say the least. Then there is also the class of Atletico striker Antoine Griezmann, who is someone on a level that Leicester City have not seen in the Champions League to date.
Can Wes Morgan and Robert Huth really hold up one of the most creative and difficult strikers to mark?
This is a matchup that plays right in to the hands of last season’s runner-up in the Champions League. While no one does the defensive and counter-attack thing better than Leicester City has done in England, no one has perfected that model better than Atleti have on the European stage.
As for the rest of this draw? Who isn’t going to love watching this all unfold in what has been one of the most fun Champions League season’s to watch in years?
I know I’ll be tuning in to all of it in the hopes of all sorts of craziness and amazing efforts being seen. Will that also include Leicester City proving they really do belong amongst the best in European football?