Schmidt optimistic despite Atletico quality

Roger Schmidt is confident that Bayer Leverkusen can surprise Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie.

The Bundesliga side have stuttered domestically in recent weeks, falling out of the top three after one win in their last five.

It is hardly ideal preparation for Leverkusen as they return to European action at the BayArena against an Atletico team brimming with confidence.

Diego Simeone's men, who have conceded just three times so far in the competition and scored 14 goals, travel to Germany on the back of a 3-0 win over Almeria in La Liga.

However, head coach Schmidt believes Leverkusen have the quality to upset last season's beaten finalists.

"Atletico are hard to play against, nobody likes facing them," said the 47-year-old. "But I am optimistic that we will get chances. 

"The team has done a great deal to stand here, and we will do everything we can to get as far as we can."