Friday lunchtime’s Champions League quarterfinal draw in Nyon, Switzerland pitted Atlético Madrid against Leicester City to kick off a somewhat surprising grouping of teams.
Liverpool legend and Champions League final ambassador Ian Rush unscrewed the mini footballs and revealed that holders Real Madrid will take on Bayern Munich in what is clearly the marquee tie, while Barcelona will face Juventus in a rematch of the 2015 final. Monaco will match wits with Borussia Dortmund. (Can you say “goals”?)
Atlético and Leicester have met twice before in European competition, but neither encounter took place in the Champions League. Atleti eliminated Leicester in the 1961-62 Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1997-98 UEFA Cup.
This draw certainly could have gone much worse for los colchoneros, as Barça, Bayern and Madrid were all possibilities and seemed more likely than the last English team remaining. Atlético will be favored to advance to a third Champions League semifinal in four years, but this could be pretty tricky - Leicester live on the counterattack and will enter this tie unburdened, looking to use Atlético’s status as a continental power against them. In a way, Leicester are Atleti’s distant cousin.
The first leg will take place at Estadio Vicente Calderón on April 12, and the return leg will be played at Leicester’s King Power Stadium the following week, April 18.