ENGLISH champions Leicester make their Champions League bow in Brugge on Wednesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) is all over it for us.
Club Brugge v Leicester | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport 2
Who would have thought it this time last year? Not me for sure. Leicester make their Champions League debut on Wednesday night hosting Club Brugge as English champions.
The draw was very kind to the surprise champions and with Porto, FC Copenhagen and Brugge joining them in their inaugural adventure you’d have to say the Midland club have a good chance of reaching the Last 16.
It’s been a tough start to the season for Claudio Ranieri’s side with tough fixtures against Arsenal and Liverpool in their opening four contests and they currently sit in the bottom four after defeats to Jurgen Klopp’s side and indeed Hull in the season opener.
There were a range of views on where they’d finish in the Premier League this season but most pundits are united in their belief that the Foxes can get out of this group. For me, it’s not a cert.
Surprise English champions have found it difficult the next season domestically and in Europe. Leeds were knocked out by Rangers in 1992/93 while Blackburn failed to get out of fairly average group in 1995/96.
All three sides that face Leicester have bundles more experience than them in Europe but it may be that the Foxes approach their group with the same vim and vigour that we saw in the Premier League last season. The let’s-go-out-and-enjoy-ourselves approach.
Club Brugge, like Leicester, won their domestic championship last season and like the Foxes have started the defence of their crown in lacklustre fashion with three defeats in their opening six matches.
Michel Preud’homme’s side went deep in the Europa League two seasons ago when they reached the Quarter-Finals but last year were less effective in finishing third in a group featuring Napoli, Midtjylland and Legia Warsaw. They lost two of their home games in that group.
On Wednesday I’m happy to give Leicester a whirl here at odds of 6/4. Brugge went straight into the group stages this season and had the luxury of avoiding the play-off round that caused them humiliation last season when losing 7-1 on aggregate to Manchester United.
It might be a nervy start for the Foxes as they’re in uncharted territory but I’m backing to get over the line here at 6/4. On top of that I’ll back Draw/Leicester at a chunky 11/2 with Skybet.