Simeone wary of Leverkusen threat

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone highlighted the strength of German side, Bayer 04 Leverkusen ahead of their first-leg round of 16 Champions League match at the BayArena.

The Bundesliga outfit have endured a tough season on the domestic front and languish in eight position on the table with as many losses as they have wins, however, Simeone believes that Roger Schmidt's side will show their worth in the encounter.

"We have to see how they play because we are going to meet the best Bayer this season," he said in a press conference.

"Leverkusen are a very strong side, particularly on the wings with Karim Bellarabi and Kai Havertz.

"Up front, they have Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, who is in fine form."

"It will be a hard match and they will press us at the top of the pitch. They are one of the most intense rivals we have played in the Champions League.

"We are going to find a team that deploys everything their coach asks – heart, enthusiasm, intention and a lot of intensity.

"Talent is important, but heart and hopefulness have a bigger place in football.

"But our own team has grown in this beginning of 2017 compared with the end of 2016. We will keep trying to improve our consistency and make that last leap in quality," he said.

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