Real face Chelsea in Champions League quarters, Man City meet Bayern
Real Madrid owners will play Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals for the second consecutive season, while Manchester City played Pep Guardiola’s former side Bayern Munich in Friday’s draw.
Serie A leaders Napoli will play AC Milan in a purely Italian confrontation, while Inter will face Portuguese league leaders Benfica.
The winners of Real Madrid’s match against Chelsea in the semi-finals will play either City or Bayern, opening up the possibility of an English draw in the last four matches.
It also increases the chances of seeing an Italian team reach the final for the first time since Juventus in 2017, as Inter will play either Milan or Napoli in the last four matches if the Nerazzurri beat Benfica. .
Real Madrid’s path to what will be the 15th European Cup is starting to look like last season when they beat Chelsea and City and then beat Liverpool in the final.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side just beat Liverpool in the round of 16 and are now looking to repeat what happened a year ago when they eliminated Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals with Karim Benzema hitting a hat trick in the first match. foot in London.
The teams also met in the semi-finals in 2021, with Stamford Bridge winning a second time on their way to the trophy.
City’s ongoing bid to win the Champions League for the first time is facing a major setback in Bayern, who knocked out Paris Saint-Germain in the final round.
This will be the first meeting between the clubs since the 2014/15 group stage, with Guardiola in charge of the German giants.
Guardiola left Bayern to join City in 2016 but is still chasing his first league title as a manager since winning it with Barcelona for the second time in 2011.
“It will be a reunion with Pep Guardiola and Erling Haaland, old Bundesliga acquaintances,” said Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn.
“To win the Champions League you have to beat the best teams. This is a challenge and we accept it.”
– Italian accent –
The draw looks somewhat skewed, with the top four clubs remaining on one side of the competition, while Italian clubs ended up on the other half.
A year ago, no Serie A team made it past the round of 16, but now the runaway Italian league leader Napoli will face the team that won the national title last season.
Napoli beat AC Milan 2-1 away earlier this season and are set to host the seven-time European Serie A champions on April 2, just a week and a half before their first Champions League match.
Napoli are the only club left in the competition, aside from City, who have never won the trophy, and Inter’s clash with Benfica brings together two teams that have won it five times.
Benfica lost to Liverpool in their last eight matches a year ago and have never reached the semi-finals in the Champions League era.
Inter, currently second in Serie A, 18 points behind Napoli, have not reached the semi-finals since they last won the trophy under José Mourinho in 2010, Italy’s last victory. clubs in the Champions League.
If both Milanese clubs progress, they will meet in the Champions League semi-finals, like in 2003 when Milan beat Inter on the now-defunct away goals rule.
The first quarter-final matches will take place next month: on April 11, City will play at home with Bayern, and Benfica will host Inter in Lisbon on the same day.
Real Madrid will host Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabéu the next day, when Milan meet Napoli at the San Siro.
The semi-finals will take place in May and the final will take place in Istanbul on Saturday 10 June.