Gunners again in Champions League last sixteen
There was a real sense of deja-vu at FCB on Monday lunchtime when Bayern were handed a re-run of last season’s Champions League first knockout round tie, as the treble winners and current holders of Europe’s top club competition were again paired with Premier League cracks Arsenal in the draw for the last sixteen.
“There were more manageable and easier opponents in the hat. But we can’t change it,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who attended the draw in person along with fellow board director Andreas Jung. “We know we have to approach Arsenal with great respect, and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll have to turn in two very good performances.“
London giants Arsenal were level with Borussia Dortmund on points in their group but finished as runners-up on the head-to-head comparison. The Gunners currently lead the English top flight but only by a point after crashing to a 6-3 defeat against FCB’s Group D opponents Manchester City at the weekend. Munich won 3-1 in London at the same stage last year but only progressed to the quarter-finals on away goals after a 2-0 defeat at home. Arsene Wenger’s team look a tougher proposition this season too after adding Mesut Özil to their ranks last summer. The playmaker features alongside fellow Germany internationals Per Mertesacker and ex-Bayern man Lukas Podolski. FCB are on top in the history of the fixture with three wins, a draw and two defeats in the six meetings to date,
First leg in February, return in March
“They’re the toughest opponents we could have had,” commented Jérôme Boateng from Agadir in Morocco, where the Munich stars are currently preparing for the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals. “They’ll be totally up for it after what happened last year. Both matches will be very intense.“
The draw ceremony was held at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland from midday CET on Monday and was conducted by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti, and former Portugal superstar Luis Figo. The 16-team line-up featured seven former winners of Europe's elite club competition and ten of last year's knockout contenders, with a total of four teams each from Germany and England, three from Spain, and one each from Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, and Russia.
As group winners, Bayern play the first leg of the Round of 16 tie away from home at the 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium in north London, with the decisive second leg at the Allianz Arena. The first leg will be played on 19 February, with the return in Munich on 11 March. This year’s final takes place at Benfica’s Estádio do Sport stadium in Lisbon on 24 May 2014.
Champions League first knockout round draw in full:
Manchester City v Barcelona
Olympiakos Piraeus v Manchester United
AC Milan v Atletico Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen v Paris St Germain
Galatasaray v Chelsea
Schalke v Real Madrid
Zenit St. Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal v Bayern Munich