While life defending a Premier League title is proving a pretty tall order, Leicester City can happily distract themselves from domestic affairs with a first-ever taste of Champions League football. And their initial assignment is a trip to Belgium.
The Foxes have been drawn in Group G against Club Brugge, Portugal giants Porto and Danish side FC Copenhagen, with Leicester’s top seeding rewarding them with a very escapable group.
Claudio Ranieri’s charges haven’t been able to replicate last season’s performances so far this term – sitting 16th in the Premier League table – and a 4-1 hammering by Liverpool on Saturday was a real blow, but the Champions League offers the east Midlands outfit the opportunity to put all that to one side.
Leicester are 7/5 favourites to beat Brugge tonight, and three points would set them up nicely in the bid to land a knockout spot post-Christmas.
Their hosts are 19/10 for victory at the Jan Breydal Stadium, and like Leicester, head into tonight’s game lacking good form.
Michel Preud’homme’s men haven’t won any of their last three Belgian Jupiler League contests, and sit 10th with seven points from six games.
Brugge certainly boast more European experience than Ranieri’s men, but on paper there’s little for Leicester to fear and tonight represents an excellent opportunity for the Foxes to get up and running.
Jamie Vardy was gifted a goal by Lucas at Anfield on Saturday, and the England international is 9/2 favourite to score first.
Club record signing Islam Slimani is in line to make his Leicester debut, after Ranieri felt the Liverpool game had come too soon.
The bookies make the former Sporting Lisbon striker 11/2 to celebrate his debut with the game’s opening goal.
Both teams have scored in four of Leicester’s five games this season, and so it could well be worth backing the Foxes to collect a first Champions League win with both teams finding the net at 4/1.
Ranieri has had to watch his side crash back to Earth with a bump in the Premier League this season, but their European adventure is only just beginning and there’s every chance the Foxes could be sticking around a little longer than many may expect.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.