Titleholders Barcelona were given a tough draw against Italian champions AC Milan in the Champions League quarterfinals on Friday.
Barcelona’s players celebrate after winning the Spanish League trophy 2011 after the Spanish League football match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on May 15, 2011 Photo: AFP
Rank outsiders APOEL Nicosia were drawn against Real Madrid and Chelsea, the English Premier League’s only survivors, were pitted with twice former winners Benfica.
Bayern Munich, whose stadium hosts the final on May 19, will take on Olympique Marseille in the two legs this month and next.
“It’s good we have the away game first and we can build a foundation from there,” said Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay, whose side got past Napoli in thrilling fashion on Wednesday after extra time.
“Ramires and David Luiz will know a bit about Benfica and also we know a lot about Benfica because they topped the Manchester United group and they are a very good side.”
Marseille assistant coach Guy Stephan, whose side left it late to overcome Inter Milan in the last 16, told L’Equipe TV, “It’s going to be a very important tie that will weigh on the end of our season. We’ll have the disadvantage of playing the first leg at home.
“But we have a strong case having already beaten a German club this season. And Borussia Dortmund lead the Bundesliga ahead of Bayern. We also showed against Inter that we had a lot of resources in the final minutes.”
Barca and Milan have already met in the group stage this season with a 2-2 draw at Nou Camp followed by a 3-2 win for Barca at San Siro when both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages.
In the semifinals, Milan or Barcelona will take on the winners of the Benfica – Chelsea tie. The winners of Bayern v Marseille will have to get past either Real or APOEL.
A Real – Barca final is therefore possible.
Quarterfinal first legs will be played March 27/28 with second legs April 3/4. Semifinal first legs will be played April 17/18 with second legs April 24/25.