Created on 20-03-2009 at 00:00 AM
Bayern face a thrilling but severe test of their European credentials in a cracking Champions League quarter-final tie against tournament joint favourites Barcelona.
The first leg of the showdown with the mighty Catalans takes place at the Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday 8 April, with the return in Germany on Tuesday 14 April. The draw, while undoubtedly presenting a massive sporting challenge, was kind to Bayern in one crucial respect, as Munich will play in front of their home Allianz Arena crowd in the decisive return leg, which promises to be an exhilarating highlight of the season in Bavaria.
"This is fantastic news for our football club," enthused Bayern general manager Uli Hoeneß, who joined head coach Jürgen Klinsmann to follow the draw live at the FCB.tv Säbener Strasse studio. "As we've been saying all along, if we're to be drawn against one of the giants, we want the first leg away from home, and that's what we've got. Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in the return is a dream come true for our fans."
"Coming face-to-face with the best team in Europe at the moment is a terrific challenge for us all," an equally enthusiastic Klinsmann commented. "It's something truly out of the ordinary. Barcelona will be exceptionally tough, but anything's possible. We believe in ourselves, and there's no need to be overawed."
The draw, made at midday on Friday by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor at the European governing body's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, also mapped out the path to the final on 27 May in Rome.
Should Bayern reach the semi-finals at Barcelona’s expense, the men from Munich would face either Liverpool or Chelsea in the last four, with the first leg at the Allianz Arena on 28/29 April, and the return in the UK on 5/6 May. "It's a shame we don't have the same sequence [with the return at home] for the semi-finals," Hoeneß commented.
Reunion for Van Bommel
The quarter-final tie will be an emotional affair for Mark van Bommel, a Champions League winner with Barca in 2006. "It's a very special game for me,“ the Bayern captain confirmed to fcbayern.de. Mark appeared alongside a majority of the current Barca line-up in his season with the Spanish club.
Champions League quarter-final draw
Villarreal v Arsenal
Manchester United v Porto
Liverpool v Chelsea
Barcelona v Bayern
Champions League semi-final draw
Manchester United or Porto v Villarreal v Arsenal
Barcelona or Bayern v Liverpool or Chelsea