Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Not a bad collection of teams. In fact, nobody other than those four heavyweights has lifted the Champions League trophy since Internazionale in 2010.
But staying on the subject of that competition, do you know what else they have in common?
The eyebrow-raising answer is that they have all failed to score in a knockout tie at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium in the last three years.
Indeed, it is more than three years since ANY visiting player has succeeded in netting a single goal at Atletico’s atmospheric home in a European knockout tie, a sequence which dates back eight-and-a-half games and encompasses nearly 800 minutes of action.
The last visiting player to score at the Vicente Calderon in a knockout tie was Kaka, who netted for AC Milan in the 27th minute of their last sixteen meeting on 11 March 2014 (but even that didn’t count for much, with Atletico going on to win 5-1 on aggregate).
Since then, Atletico’s results in home knockout clashes have been as follows: 1-0 vs Barcelona; 0-0 vs Chelsea; 1-0 vs Bayer Leverkusen; 0-0 vs Real Madrid; 0-0 vs PSV; 2-0 vs Barcelona; 1-0 vs Bayern Munich; 0-0 vs Bayer Leverkusen.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski – not to mention Demba Ba, Luuk de Jong and Javier Hernandez – have all attempted to breach Atletico’s defences on big European nights in the last few years, but none have succeeded.
Another way of stating Atletico’s defensive stinginess is by pointing to a different statistic: they have only conceded one solitary goal, bizarrely scored by Rostov in this season’s group phase, in any of their last nine Champions League home games.
So whichever way you look at the task facing Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and co on Wednesday, it’s pretty clear that somehow managing to register an all-important away goal will be exceptionally difficult for the Foxes.
The key factor behind Atletico’s defensive brilliance is the discipline and organisation implemented by manager Diego Simeone and his assistant, German ‘Mono’ Burgos.
That coaching duo are the best around at utilising their time on the training ground to ensure their team defends truly as a whole team, with all 11 players moving in perfect synchronicity to close down space and deny their opponents opportunities to work the ball into dangerous areas.
But they also have outstanding individuals at their disposal, starting at the back where Jan Oblak now surely deserves to be regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in the world.
The Slovenian arrived from Benfica in the summer of 2014 following Thibaut Courtois’ departure to Chelsea and was initially slow to settle, making a poor Champions League debut in a 3-2 loss at Olympiacos and initially losing the starting spot to Miguel Angel Moya.
But a hamstring injury to Moya towards the end of that campaign allowed Oblak to have a second opportunity, and he has not looked back since.
Last season he played every minute of the La Liga campaign and equalled an all-time record by conceding just 18 goals in 38 games, as well as those Champions League clean sheets to help Atletico into the final.
And this year he has recovered from injury to arguably reach even greater heights, showing his quality with a number of excellent saves in Saturday’s Madrid derby draw at the Bernabeu.
The brilliance of Oblak, who is still only 24, significantly enhances Atletico’s chances of advancing to the semi-finals and beyond yet again, because away goals are simply so, so important in two-legged ties.
In fact, last season only one team succeeded in progressing to the next stage without scoring an away goal – eventual champions Real Madrid, who did it twice by mounting a big comeback against Wolfsburg after a 2-0 loss in Germany, and then overcame Manchester City 1-0 on aggregate with a narrow home win.
In all the other 12 ties, however, it was necessary to score an away goal to advance, and Leicester’s chances of continuing their remarkable fairy-tale story will be severely hampered if they don’t score on Wednesday.
The question is…how?
Borussia Dortmund’s team bus was hit by an explosion ahead of the team’s Champions League quarter-final first leg in Dortmund, forcing the game to be postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Dortmund defender Marc Bartra was taken to the hospital, although his injuries are not thought to be serious.
Police have since confirmed that there were three explosions in the area.
Here’s how the events unfolded:
The Dortmund team bus has reportedly been attacked on the way to the stadium. There's been an explosion. One person is injured. pic.twitter.com/4fpsh8EtD2— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) April 11, 2017
Borussia Dortmund's Marc Bartra has been taken to hospital after an explosion close to their team bus tonight. pic.twitter.com/SJaeWrcNwp— Football News (@TransferBibIe) April 11, 2017
Pictures of the Dortmund bus following the explosion. pic.twitter.com/TDBR5zAU7v— Dortmund English (@DortmundEN) April 11, 2017
OFFICIAL: Borussia Dortmund have now confirmed Marc Bartra was the player injured during the incident and is currently in hospital. pic.twitter.com/YBN6CGbZLK— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) April 11, 2017
Marc Batra's injury is not serious. Thank goodness. Thoughts with the whole Dortmund team tonight 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Qmkejfyq3x— BigSport (@BigSportGB) April 11, 2017
#bvbasm has just been postponed until Wednesday, 12 April 1845 CET. Tickets remain valid. Thanks to everyone involved in the decision.— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) April 11, 2017
👍 Thank you for your support in and outside the stadium and your kind messages throughout the whole world. #bvbasm— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) April 11, 2017
In an exclusive interview with CNN Sport’s Christina MacFarlane, AS Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev outlined how the club has remodelled itself to reach the Champions League Quarter-Finals and the top of Ligue 1.
As part of a special report on the French team, Vasilyev explains how the club has been remodelled under his image.
Having joined AS Monaco in 2013, Vasilyev was responsible for the signing of Columbian striker Radamel Falcao.
The early big spending was quelled with spending cuts, which has allowed the seven-time French champions to return to Europe’s elite.
Vasilyev explains the new structure to MacFarlane, and how the club has developed players such as Anthony Martial and Kylian Mbappe despite the limitations of the football club’s infrastructure.