The UEFA Champions League has reached the business end of the competition. It's knockout football. There is no margin for error, there can be no more slip-ups. Ahead of the round of 16, we take a closer look at how Leicester City made it through the group stage and assess their chances of marching into the quarter-finals.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
The only thing that even came close to the emotion of their astonishing, 5,000-to-1 shot Premier League title last season was the opportunity of a UEFA Champions League adventure. Leicester got off to the perfect start with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to Club Brugge on Matchday 1 and three further victories and a draw away to Copenhagen saw Claudio Ranieri's side confirm themselves as group winners with a game to spare.
MOST EXCITING MOMENT
Just being there! Leicester fans are still pinching themselves about being on European football’s biggest stage and, for many of them, simply hearing the UCL anthem ring out at the King Power was enough. Winning their first three matches and topping the group was way beyond their expectations after the most remarkable Premier League win in history. Islam Slimani’s header to earn victory in their first ever home UCL match was the highlight of the group stage campaign.
Leicester’s biggest challenge was rising to the occasion of a maiden UCL campaign. Never before had the club found themselves so much in the spotlight. With a post-title slump on the way, it was imperative the players rode the wave of optimism into their opening fixtures and deserve great credit for flying into unchartered territory by claiming 13 of the first 15 points available in the group stage.
Kasper Schmeichel played a huge role in Leicester’s Premier League triumph and put in a number of top performances in the group stage, keeping four clean sheets in five matches before being rested for the drubbing at Porto. With Sevilla tipped to dominate, he’ll need to be on his game once again to keep out the Liga side’s potent forward line.
CHANCES OF PROGRESSION
Leicester arrive in the round of 16 very low on confidence and with none of the momentum, or good luck, that carried them through last season. They face a high-flying Sevilla side who have become one of the most exciting teams in Europe under new coach Jorge Sampaoli and the Foxes will have to bounce back from the 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Porto in their final group game.