Previewing Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixtures, in which two European giants (or newcomers) will book their places in the 2016-17 semifinals…
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Leicester City (0) vs. (1) Atletico Madrid — 1ST LEG RECAP
Leicester weren’t supposed to be here — not here, potentially 90 minutes away from a Champions League semifinal — heck, they almost weren’t even in the Premier League at the start of last season, yet they went on to defy 5,000-to-1 odds and claim the league title. This year, they were supposed to come crashing back down to the Earth, and they have — in the PL, that is.
In the CL, though, they’ve been nearly unbeatable. They cruised through the group stage and finished top, ahead of a trio of established European sides — Porto, Copenhagen and Brugge. The Foxes lost the first leg of their round-of-16 tie against Sevilla, but overturned the deficit in their home leg and advanced, 3-2 on aggregate.
On Tuesday, they’ll have to do the same against another Spanish side, Atletico Madrid, at the King Power Stadium in order to keep the impossible fairytale alive. Having recently (presumably) secured their PL status for another season, Craig Shakespeare’s side can focus every ounce of energy and fight they have left on securing yet another historic result on Tuesday, and perhaps beyond.
Real Madrid (2) vs. (1) Bayern Munich — 1ST LEG RECAP
In the other quarterfinal, Bayern find themselves in the same position as Leicester — only, they’re much worse off, having lost their home leg to Real Madrid and conceded not one, but two away goals.
To make things worse, Madrid have only lost at home once all season — to Celta Vigo, in the Copa del Rey (Zinedine Zidane’s side has also drawn just four times at home this season). A bit of positive news for Bayern: all three of Gareth Bale, Pepe and Raphael Varane will miss Tuesday’s second leg due to injuries. Inversely, Bayern will be without hugely influential midfielder/defender Javi Martinez after the Spaniard was booked twice in the first leg. Bayern do expect star striker Robert Lewandowski to be available after missing the first leg with a shoulder injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo could reach the century mark in Champions League play with a hat trick, having already become the first player to reach 100 goals scored in European club competition last Wednesday.