Champions League: Real Madrid meet Dortmund, Bayern take on Manchester United in quarters
Titleholders Bayern Munich have been paired with the English champions Manchester United, Real Madrid take on last year's finalists Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona will meet Atletico Madrid, while PSG take on Chelsea in the Champions league knock-out stage.
Nyon (Switzerland): The Champions League quarter final draw on Friday threw title holders Bayern Munich against arch-rivals Manchester United in one of the most high tension rounds the competition has seen.
Nine-time champions Real Madrid earned a revenge meeting with Borussia Dortmund who dumped them out in last year's semi-finals. Four-time winners Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish blockbuster while Chelsea tackle Paris Saint-Germain in the battle of Europe's nouveaux riche.
Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl called the draw "crazy".
"These are the toughest quarter finals in history," said Barcelona's sporting director and former player Andoni Zubizarreta. "These will all be big confrontations."
Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern will relish the chance of again taking on a United side that snatched a 2-1 victory from the jaws of defeat in the 1999 final.
Manchester United midfielder David Beckham (L) kicks the ball past Bayern Munich forward Carsten Jancker during the 1999 Champions League final at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona. Pic/AFP
The two teams have played each other nine times -- all in European competition -- and Bayern will definitely start this one as favourites.
United have had a stuttering season under new coach David Moyes. They burst into life this week when they defeated Olympiakos 3-0 to overcome a two goal deficit and reach the quarter finals.
Bayern defender Philipp Lahm warned against complacency despite United's struggles.
"We can't allow Man Utd's current position in the Premier League table to affect our mindset for this game," the veteran German international said.
"We'll need all our strength but we have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals."
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, bankrolled by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, take on Paris St Germain who have become a force with Qatari finance.
The Portuguese two-time European champion has never lost at the quarter-final stages. And his first Champions League game with Chelsea was in a 3-0 win over Paris St Germain in 2004. The two teams drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in the return.
Paris again host the first leg. "Getting the return leg is a small advantage for Chelsea so we will have to make the difference at home," said Paris coach Laurent Blanc.
Paris St Germain reached the last eight last season with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, before going out against Barcelona on away goals. The French side and Atletico are the two teams in the last eight who have never won the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo goes into Real's match against Dortmund with 13 goals, one short of Lionel Messi's record for Champions League strikes in one season.
The first leg is set for the Santiago Bernabeu. Dortmund, hobbled by suspensions and injuries, have been handed a stiff test in their bid to return to the final after losing 2-1 against Bayern at Wembley last May.
However Dortmund will take heart from the fact they knocked out Real last season 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
Dortmund's Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski scored four goals in the first leg of that tie but is suspended for the Madrid match this season.
"Real is a crazy draw," commented Dortmund's Kehl.
"The Spanish have a score to settle with us. This season they are certainly stronger and they will be very determined on getting what they want.
"We have a little advantage playing at Madrid first and anyway there are no easy opponents at this level of the competition."
Argentina's Messi is on 67 Champions League career goals and just four short of the all-time mark held by Spaniard Raul as Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid.
Atletico are one point ahead of Barcelona in La Liga with Real Madrid a further three clear at the top of the Spanish table.
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes said the first leg could be decisive.
"We need to not concede at home to be able to have a better chance in the second leg," he told a press conference.
"They are a team that presses with an intensity in the same style as their coach and I compliment everything that they are doing." added Valdes.
First leg matches will be played April 1/2 with the return fixtures slated for April 8/9 before the draw for the semi-finals on April 11.
The final will be played at Benfica's Stadium of Light on Saturday May 24.
Champions League quarter-final fixtures
Barcelona (ESP) v Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Real Madrid (ESP) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Paris St-Germain (FRA) v Chelsea (ENG)
Manchester United (ENG) v Bayern Munich (GER)
Note: First leg matches to be played April 1/2, second leg matches on April 8/9