By Victor Martins, FootballPredictions.NET, 19:38 16/09/2020
After finishing fifth in the Premier League in 2019/20, Leicester City will embark on their fifth European campaign during 2020/21 by competing in the UEFA Europa League.
The Foxes have never won the Champions League, nor any other major European competition from their four appearances. They made their debut in the Champions League in 2016/17 and reached the quarter-finals in their only season in the competition to date.
As well as featuring in the Champions League that season, Leicester have also played in both the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup during their 136-year history.
2016/17 UEFA Champions League: Quarter-finals in Maiden Campaign
After their fairytale title-winning season in 2015/16, The Foxes made their debut in the UEFA Champions League the following season. As Premier League winners, Leicester entered the competition at the group stage as top seeds and were handed a relatively favourable draw.
The Foxes were drawn with 2003/04 winners FC Porto of Portugal, FC Copenhagen from Denmark and Belgian outfit Club Brugge. Leicester ultimately won their group as they picked up 13 points from their six matches.
This included winning all three of their home ties, as well as an away win in Belgium and a goalless draw against Copenhagen. Leicester ended their group stage campaign with a humbling 5-0 defeat away to Porto.
The Foxes had already qualified for the knockout stages as group winners and as a result, made ten changes for the match. Regardless, at the time it was the largest Champions League defeat suffered by an English club.
Riyad Mahrez shone for the Foxes during the group stage, scoring four goals, as Marc Albrighton, Islam Slimani and Shinji Okazaki also chipped in with goals.
After Christmas, The Foxes faced Spanish side and reigning Europa League winners Sevilla across two legs.
The first match, away from home, ended in a 2-1 defeat but Jamie Vardy’s 73rd minute away goal gave supporters hope of turning the tie around at the King Power Stadium.
Ranieri Shown the Door
Between the first and second leg, the Leicester board took the decision to sack manager Claudio Ranieri, who was replaced for the rest of the season by Craig Shakespeare, who was promoted from the backroom staff.
Goals either side of half-time from captain Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton saw Leicester win the second leg 2-0 at home to progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate. This saw them become the last English side remaining in the competition that season.
They faced Spanish opposition once more in the form of eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid. They again lost the first leg away from home by one goal, this time falling to a 1-0 defeat at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Vardy’s goal on the hour mark in the return leg was not enough to overturn the deficit, though, as the match ended 1-1 and The Foxes were eliminated 2-1 on aggregate. Coincidentally, the Foxes have seen three of their four European campaigns to date ended by Atletico Madrid.
No real highlights from Foxes’ previous appearances in UEFA’s secondary competitions
As a result of not normally finishing in lofty positions in the Premier League, The Foxes haven't made the Champions League before or since. However, the Foxes have got some experience in the UEFA Europa League.
They will hope to last longer in the competition than in their three European campaigns before the 2016/17 season. Leicester made their European debut in the 1961/62 Cup Winners’ Cup having finished as runners-up to champions Tottenham in the FA Cup the previous season.
They made a comprehensive start to their European run with a comfortable 7-2 aggregate victory over Northern Irish side Glenavon. This was sadly, however, followed by a 3-1 loss over two legs in the first round against Atletico Madrid.
Leicester had to wait 35 years to taste European football again, as they qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1997 by winning the League Cup. Entering in the first round, they once again faced Atletico Madrid, losing 4-1 on aggregate, despite Ian Marshall’s early goal in the first leg.
Garry Parker was sent off in the second leg to add further insult to injury.
After winning the League Cup again in 2000, The Foxes returned to the UEFA Cup during the 2000/01 season. This time around they were drawn against Serbia and Montenegro’s Red Star Belgrade.
Gerry Taggart’s goal in the first leg at Filbert Street earned a 1-1 draw against ten men. The second leg was moved from Belgrade to Vienna due to civil unrest in Red Star’s home country.
This did not help The Foxes as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat, their goal coming from Muzzy Izzet. It meant that they departed the competition at the first attempt once again, this time 4-2 on aggregate.