Created on 13-03-2012 at 00:00 AM
Three days after a scintillating return to form in the Bundesliga against Hoffenheim, Bayern simply carried on where they had left off in a record-breaking 7-0 win over Swiss visitors FC Basel on Tuesday evening, seeing the Bundesliga giants safely through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the 11th time in their history.
Boss Jupp Heynckes and his men will now discover the identity of their last eight opponents on Friday, when the draw for the quarter and semi-finals takes place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on the shores of Lake Geneva. “I still believe Barcelona are favourites. It would be nice if we could avoid them," commented FCB skipper Philipp Lahm. fcbayern.de casts an eye over the Reds’ potential opponents.
Barcelona on track, Cypriot surprise
AC Milan and Portuguese powerhouses Benfica were the first teams to seal quarter-final berths. After a surprisingly clear-cut 4-0 victory at home to Arsenal, Milan made life difficult for themselves in the return in North London but restricted the damage to a 3-0 defeat, winning by a single goal on aggregate. Lisbon outfit Benfica overcame Russian double winners Zenit St Petersburg 4-3 on aggregate, losing the away leg 3-2 but chalking up the necessary 2-0 victory at home.
The undoubted surprise package and shock holders of a place in the last eight are APOEL Nicosia. The Cypriot minnows squeezed past Olympique Lyon 4-3 on penalties after stalemate over the two legs in the Round of 16. In stark contrast, bookmakers’ favourites Barcelona eased into the quarter-finals with a crushing 10-2 aggregate victory over Bayer Leverkusen, following up a 3-1 victory in the Rhineland with a stunning 7-1 home triumph.
Drama as Marseille down Inter
Tuesday’s parallel fixture ended in dramatic fashion as Olympique Marseille edged past Inter Milan in northern Italy. The side from the south of France struck a late winner at home, and were trailing until stoppage time in Milan only to plunder a last-gasp equaliser. Inter pulled one back with the last kick of the match and won 2-1 on the night, but the Ligue 1 side made the last eight by virtue of their away goal.
The final remaining places in the last eight were claimed on Wednesday evening by Real Madrid and Chelsea. Following a 1-1 draw away to CSKA Moscow in the first leg, the Spanish giants did the necessary on home turf and ran up a convincing 4-1 victory. Chelsea had to invest considerably more effort and toil against SSC Napoli, Bayern's group stage opponents. Going into the second leg 3-1 down from the first meeting in southern Italy, the west London side triumphed 4-1 after extra time in an enthralling match, ensuring the English Premier League is represented in the quarter-finals after all.