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Champions League

Bayern drawn to face Manchester United

Bayern face a supremely challenging but potentially thrilling task in the Champions League quarter-finals after the Bundesliga leaders were paired with English Premier League giants Manchester United in Friday’s draw.

Although FCB were granted their wish of avoiding holders Barcelona at this stage, the glamour meeting with United arguably rates as the second most difficult test. United contested last season’s Champions League final, and lifted the famous trophy the previous year. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are the reigning Premier League champions and currently top the standings again. The team from the north-west of England recently collected their first major trophy of term with a slightly fortunate 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in the League Cup final.

Tough but attractive draw

Bayern and United last crossed swords some eight years ago. In the second group stage of the 2001-2 Champions League, the sides drew 1-1 in Munich and 0-0 at Old Trafford. FCB have met Man Utd a total of seven times in the past, losing only once – but what a defeat that was, the dramatic stoppage-time reverse in the 1999 Champions League Final. Otherwise, Munich have won two and drawn four against Ferguson’s team.

“It’s a tough but extremely attractive draw,“ Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared in an initial reaction. “Manchester rate as one of the very biggest clubs around. We’ll have to go to our limits and very probably beyond if we’re to get through. Manchester are the favourites, but that’s part of the allure: you do your best to upset the favourites.“

Second leg away from home

The quarter-final first leg at the Allianz Arena will be played on Tuesday 30 March, and the return at Old Trafford on Wednesday 7 April. "I think it’s a terrific draw. It’s just a shame we have the first match at home in Munich, and have to go to Old Trafford for the return," commented FCB finance chief Karl Hopfner, who was present in person at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, for the draw ceremony.

Should Louis van Gaal’s team overcome the Red Devils, they would face the winners of the all-French quarter-final between Olympique Lyon and Girondins Bordeaux in the semi-finals, with Munich again at home in the first leg.

More news and reaction follows shortly!

Champions League quarter-finals:

Olympique Lyon v Girondins Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow

Champions League semi-finals:

Bayern or Manchester United v Lyon or Bordeaux
Inter or CSKA Moscow v Arsenal or Barcelona

(To be played 20 or 21 April and 27 or 28 April)