Can Leicester Win The Champions League?
Just a few months ago the possibility of the Foxes storming their way to the Champions League Final would have seemed quite the fanciful notion but then again so too was the idea that they could win the league last season. Since Ranieri’s dream died
when he was unceremoniously given the boot in an airport hotel, his former charges have gone on a ridiculous run of results that has culminated in a quarter-final berth against Atletico Madrid. It was a run that was most certainly against all the odds, but they’re here now so let’s see how far they can realistically hope to go.
At the start of the season no one truly expected to find Leicester so far down the Premier League table, but neither did they expect to see them as the last English team in the Champions League. At the beginning of the season, you could get odds of 100/1 for the Foxes to win the competition outright while today BetStars
will give you odds of 33/1 to see Wes Morgan lift the cup in Cardiff. And while a win might seem unlikely, it`s not beyond the realms of possibility.
However, as much as we all love a good underdog story, Atletico are by far the toughest opponents the Foxes’ leaky defence will come up against in Europe this season. We’re struggling to see how they will manage to pull off another ‘against the odds’ victory but we live in hope. An early away goal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon would certainly give them a good chance and something to defend in the second leg on April 18. But in Atletico, they are up against a strong team with the likes of Torres and Griezmann set to run Morgan, and Huth ragged or at least that’s how the papers see it.
The problem is that Spanish teams are usually offered more time off by the league prior to a European match yet Leicester will face Everton in front of the TV cameras the Sunday before the first leg. If the quality of the players doesn’t make a difference, then surely the lack of recuperation time before a trip to Spain will.
The likelihood is that Leicester will lose the first leg, but if they manage to lose by only a solitary goal and score an away goal, then anything is possible back at the King Power Stadium.
And supposing the impossible happens? What then?
It’s a nice dream, but the reality is that there are no poor teams left in the competition and whoever they may come up against in the semis will prove just as, if not a much tougher test than their quarter-final opponents. Atletico are currently third in La Liga
, ten points adrift of leaders Real Madrid and eight points behind Barca. And with both of those teams still in the Champions League, we find it hard to believe that Leicester will have anything more than a semi-final place to show for their efforts this season.
They were up against the odds last season in the Premier League but the fact that so many of the supposedly big teams had terrible seasons certainly helped their cause. The Champions League, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish and while their Premier League success was truly remarkable, a Champions League win would be nothing short of miraculous. Let’s hope they prove us wrong, and at 33/1, there’s no harm in throwing a small bet on them becoming the unlikeliest European Cup winners in history.