Created on 20-03-2014 at 09:30 AM
FC Bayern can hardly wait for Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw, to be held at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland at midday CET. Eight out of 32 teams are left in the race for the final in Lisbon on 24 May. After knocking out Arsenal in the Round of 16, FC Bayern are in the running to be the first team ever to successfully defend the Champions League title.
But the competition is high calibre now as the Reds could face Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United or Borussia Dortmund in the quarters. “All the teams in the quarter-finals are top sides. We haven’t got any preferences,” said Claudio Pizarro in an interview with fcbayern.de, “if we want to win the Champions League again we have to beat whoever’s put in front of us.”
None of the teams are seeded in this draw so clubs can be drawn against opposition from their own countries. That means the last eight could provide a rerun of last season’s final between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund after BVB overcame Zenit St. Petersburg 5-4 on aggregate.
Three Spanish teams in the race
There are three clubs from La Liga left in the Champions League. Barcelona knocked out Bayern’s group opponents Manchester City 4-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16. One interesting stat: in the last six years the Champions League has been won by the Catalan side or the team that beat Barca on the way to the final. Last season that was Bayern at the semi-final stage.
Real Madrid breezed past Schalke 9-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16 and are in the hunt for their tenth European Cup/Champions League title with Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks. Real have not won Europe’s premier club competition since 2002. Local rivals Atlético Madrid are the surprise package in the quarter-finals. The Spanish Cup winners with former FCB man José Ernesto Sosa in the side secured a convincing 5-1 aggregate victory over AC Milan.
English duo, solitary French hopefuls
The Premier League still has two teams in the running in Chelsea and Manchester United. The Blues, winners in 2012, overcame Turkish champions Galatasaray 3-1 on aggregate in the last round, while two-time winners United (1999, 2008) knocked Greek champions Olympiakos out of the competition thanks to a Robin van Persie hat-trick at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, helping David Moyes’ men overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.
Paris Saint Germain are the only French team to make it to the Champions League quarter-finals. The Ligue 1 leaders gave Bayer Leverkusen no chance in the last 16 with a 6-1 aggregate victory. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co are determined to become the second French club to lift the Champions League trophy after Olympique Marseille in 1993.
Friday afternoon’s draw will determine which of these seven clubs will face FC Bayern and whether the first leg is home or away. The quarter-final programme is completed within a week: the first leg matches will be on 1 and 2 April with the return matches on 8 and 9 April.