Comprehensive winners of the first leg in England, Leicester City take on Randers in northern Denmark with their sights firmly set on a place in the UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16.
• Randers qualified from UEFA Europa Conference League Group D in the autumn, drawing their first four matches but doing enough to finish runners-up to AZ Alkmaar with seven points. Leicester, meanwhile, finished third in a fiercely contested UEFA Europa League Group C, two points behind both Spartak Moskva and Napoli, after losing 3-2 away to the Italian club on Matchday 6.
• Although pegged back to 1-1 in the first leg when Vito Hammershøj-Mistrati equalised Wilfred Ndidi’s opener just before the interval, Leicester overwhelmed Randers with three further goals in the second half, Harvey Barnes and Patson Daka both finding the net before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s second goal in successive European games sealed a 4-1 victory.
• While the first leg was Randers’ first match against English opponents in UEFA competition, Leicester have been paired once before with a Danish club, beating FC Copenhagen 1-0 at home before drawing 0-0 away to them in the group stage of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept clean sheets for Leicester in both legs against the champions of his homeland.
• Winners of the Danish Cup for the first time in 15 years – and second in all – last season, when they beat SønderjyskE 4-0 in the final, Randers are participating in UEFA competition for the first time since 2015/16 and in the autumn made their debut in a European group stage.
• The Jutland club’s 2021/22 European campaign started in the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they were defeated by Galatasaray (1-1 h, 1-2 a). That result sent Thomas Thomasberg’s side into the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage, where they posted score draws in their first four games before claiming a first win, 2-1 at home to CFR Cluj, on Matchday 5. A first defeat, 0-1 at section winners AZ, did no damage as qualifying rivals Jablonec, with whom they had twice drawn 2-2, also lost their final fixture, enabling Randers to remain a point and a place above them.
• Randers are unbeaten in their last six European home games, drawing four in a row before overcoming CFR. The last foreign team to beat them in Denmark were Russian side Rubin Kazan, 2-1 winners in the first leg of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
• Randers have lost the away first leg in a UEFA tie just once previously, 1-2 at Fenerbahçe in the first round of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup. They were then beaten 3-0 at home in the return.
• Leicester booked back-to-back appearances in the UEFA Europa League group stage by winning the FA Cup for the first time in their history last May thanks to a 1-0 victory in the final against Chelsea. However, in a repeat of the previous season Brendan Rodgers’ side just missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification, finishing fifth in the Premier League after spending almost all of the campaign in the top four.
• UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists in 2016/17, the Foxes won their UEFA Europa League group last season on their competition debut but were eliminated in the round of 32 by Slavia Praha (0-0 a, 0-2 h). This term they won two, drew two and lost two of their six group games, the highlight a 4-3 win at eventual group winners Spartak in which Daka scored all four goals, the low point a shock 1-0 defeat away to Polish league strugglers Legia Warszawa.
• The East Midlanders have won only four of their 16 away fixtures in UEFA competition (D3 L9), the most impressive of them 3-0 at Club Brugge on their UEFA Champions League debut, the most recent that 4-3 success at Spartak on Matchday 3, which ended a run of three European away games without scoring (D1 L2). They have never won away in Europe during the spring (D1 L2).
• This is the first time Leicester have ever won the opening home leg of a UEFA tie.
UEFA Europa Conference League squad changes
In: Hugo Andersson (Malmö), Matthias Andersson (Sion), Alexander Nybo (Fredericia)
Out: Erik Marxen (Nordsjælland), Andreas Søndergaard (Wolves, end loan)
In: Wesley Fofana, James Justin
Out: Filip Benković (Udinese), Ryan Bertrand
Links and trivia
• Copenhagen-born Schmeichel is the first-choice goalkeeper for both Leicester and the Danish national team, for whom he has been capped 78 times. His club colleague Jannik Vestergaard is also a current Danish international.
• Daniel Amartey was a Copenhagen player from July 2014 to January 2016, when he joined Leicester midway through their Premier League title-winning season. He made 63 appearances in all competitions for the Danish side, scoring six goals, and was unbeaten in five encounters with Randers.
• Amartey, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton all featured alongside Schmeichel for Leicester in one or both of those 2016/17 UEFA Champions League matches against Copenhagen.
• Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans opened the scoring for Belgium in a 4-2 home win against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League on 18 November 2020.
• With six European goals this season, summer signing Daka is already Leicester’s all-time record marksman in UEFA club competition. Barnes is in second place with five.
• Eight clubs made their European group stage debut in the UEFA Europa Conference League this season but Randers are one of only two to have made it through to the knockout phase, the other Group C runners-up Bodø/Glimt.
• Leicester and Randers are two of five reigning domestic cup holders participating in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs; the others are Maccabi Tel-Aviv, PAOK and Slavia Praha.
• Neither Randers nor Leicester have ever featured in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
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