The draw for the quarter-final matches was held Friday morning at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. As expected there are some big talking points, not the least being Thierry Henry’s return to face Arsenal. These clubs last faced off in the 2005-06 final when Henry was captain of Arsenal. Another matchup with a rich history is the Manchester United and Bayern Munich tie, which is a repeat of the 1999 final that United famously won with two late goals.
From one perspective, I found it a little disappointing that the two French clubs were drawn against each other but it will still be a banner night for French football. Ligue 1 is guaranteed to have a representative in the semi-finals.
The most intriguing matchup of the round could be Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow. The surprise result of the Round of 16 saw the Russian club dump out Spanish side Sevilla FC on the strength of 2 goals from Tomáš Necid and Keisuke Honda and a terrific, disciplined performance in Spain. Inter surprised many by defeating Chelsea on their home ground to advance to the quarter-finals and manager Jose Mourinho will be looking to replicate his 2004 success by bringing glory to Inter. Below are the full pairings with my picks to advance in bold.
Quarter-Final matches (1st leg – March20/31, 2nd leg – April 6/7)
Olympique Lyonnais v FC Girondins de Bordeaux
FC Bayern München v Manchester United FC
(The winners of these two ties will face off in semi-final 1)
Arsenal FC v FC Barcelona
FC Internazionale Milano v PFC CSKA Moskva
(The winners of these two ties will face off in semi-final 2)
The semi-finals will take place on April 20/21 & April 27/28.