Thursday 20 December 2012

Manchester United handed Real Madrid gauntlet in Champions League

Sir Alex Ferguson's side face Liga champions in Champions League; Arsenal meet Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich defeated Arsenal 3-2 on aggregate when they last met in 2005

Manchester United have been drawn to face nine-time winners Real Madrid, while Arsenal will take on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be reunited with his former Barclays Premier League adversary Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager, and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Manchester United midfielder, after his side were pitted against Real Madrid in Thursday morning's draw in Nyon.

United might have hoped for a theoretically less arduous draw after qualifying from the knockout stage as group winners but instead were handed a tie that will test them to the limit, even if Madrid are 13 points adrift of the Liga summit in third place.

Three-time winners United have met Madrid on four previous occasions, winning only once, when they went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the 1967/68 season. The Red Devils travel to the Spanish capital on 13 February before hosting the return at Old Trafford on 5 March.

Arsenal fans will perhaps be relieved to see their side avoid a third encounter with Barcelona in four seasons but will know they face tough opponents in Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, who have won the competition on four occasions and who reached the final last season.

The Gunners, who were defeated at home by German outfit FC Schalke in the group stage, have faced the Bavarians, who lead the Bundesliga by nine points from their nearest challengers, twice in the last 12 European campaigns, losing 3-2 on aggregate on both occasions.

The first leg at the Emirates Stadium, which takes place on 19 February, will will see Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski, face the club for whom he played for three seasons from 2006 to 2009. The return leg will unfold on 13 March.

UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw

Galatasaray v FC Schalke
Celtic v Juventus
Arsenal v Bayern Munich*
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Manchester United**
Valencia v Pars Saint-Germain
FC Porto v Malaga

*First leg to be played on 19 February. Return leg to be played on 13 March.

** First leg to be played on 13 February. Return leg to be played on 5 March.

Tottenham and Liverpool facing tough Europa League ties

Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will have their work cut out to reach the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League after being drawn to play Olympique Lyonnais and Zenit St Petersburg respectively in the Round of 32.

Should Spurs come through against the French Ligue 1 side who knocked them out of the 1967/68 Cup Winners Cup in their only previous competitive fixture the north Londoners will then be required to take on Inter Milan, whom they faced two years ago in the Champions League, should the Nerazzurri get the better of CFR Cluj.

For Liverpool the prize for a tricky two matches with Zenit, the Russian champions and 2008 UEFA Cup winners, will be an encounter with either Basel or Ukrainian side Dinipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Newcastle United are definitely on their way to Ukraine after being pitted against FC Metalist Kharkiv in the first knockout round and should the Magpies reach the Round of 16 another long trip is in prospect as they will meet the victors of the tie between Russian Premier League leaders Anji Mackhachkala and German Bundesliga outfit Hannover.

Chelsea meet Sparta Prague of the Czech Republic in the last 32 and, if successful, the European club champions will then take on either Dutch side Ajax or Steaua Bucharest of Romania for a place in the quarter-finals.

UEFA Europa League Round of 32 fixtures

Napoli/Viktoria Plzen v BATE Borisov/Fenerbahce
Bayer Leverkusen/Benfica v Dynamo Kiev/Bordeaux
Anzhi Mackhachkala/Hannover 96 v Newcastle United/FC Metalist Kharkiv
VfB Stuttgart/Genk v Borussia Monchengladbach/Lazio
Tottenham Hotspur/Lyon v Inter Milan/CFR Cluj
Levante/Olympiacos v Atletico Madrid/Rubin Kazan
Basel 1893/Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk v Zenit St Petersburg/Liverpool
Ajax/Steaua Bucharest v Sparta Prague/Chelsea

The first legs will be played on 14 February with the return fixtures occurring a week later.

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Key Points

  • Manchester United drawn to face Real Madrid in last 16 of UEFA Champions League
  • Arsenal to meet German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich
  • Liverpool and Tottenham drawn against Zenit St Petersburg and Lyon respectively in UEFA Europa League Round of 32