19 May, 13:05
While the Saints cruised into the knock-out stages with six wins from six, Leinster were drawn in a 'pool of death' alongside Clermont Auvergne, Racing Metro 92 and Saracens.
But they passed their difficult test with flying colours, only losing one game, before knock-out wins over Leicester Tigers and Toulouse.
After coming this far Schmidt is desperate to pass the final hurdle and insists Leinster will be determined to secure a second European crown.
"Northampton are a massive blip on our radar," Schmidt told Liam Heagney of the Irish Mail on Sunday.
"From a media perspective, they will have a lot quieter run-in, but they've won eight from eight. They want to be the first team ever to win nine from nine and they've just about got the firepower to do it.
"They're well coached by Jim Mallinder. He's been recoginsed as the Aviva Premiership coach of the year and they have some real quality about them.
"Maybe ours was a tough route and an opportunity to get some really good preparation, but they played Leicester this weekend.
"That will be some real good preparation to ease their way into a Heineken Cup final."
But Schmidt is more than aware that the job is yet to be completed, although Leinster have had to work a lot harder than during their 2009 Heineken Cup triumph.
"We don't have any trophies at the moment and we're desperate to win them," added Schmidt.
"The best thing about it is you're now going to bejudged on 80 minutes and it's the 80 minutes that is the hardest to get to.
"We've had to do it a lot tougher than two years ago. I've no doubt about that. The one thing I'd say if we can manage to get our nose in front after 80 minutes in Cardiff, I don't think anyone would dispute that we do deserve it because it has been a tough enough road."