Berlin – Holders Real Madrid meet German champions Bayern Munich, while Spanish rivals Barcelona are up against Italy’s Juventus in the quarter finals of football’s Champions League.
The draw made in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday also brought together Borussia Dortmund and Monaco, while Premier League champions Leicester City face Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona and Juventus met in the 2015 final which the Spanish side won 3-1 in Berlin. Juve meanwhile knocked Barcelona out in the quarter-finals of the 2002/03 Champions League.
Real Madrid have won their last three games against Bayern, including in the 2013/14 semi-finals when then coached by current Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti.
There was some relief in Spain and Germany that the draw did not produce “el clasico” between Real and Barca, or an all-Bundesliga clash between Bayern and Dortmund.
Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti, who returns to Real Madrid to play his former club in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Photo: Andreas Gebert/dpa Photo: Andreas Gebert/dpa
The three Spanish sides also avoided each other altogether, with Liverpool and Wales legend Ian Rush drawing Atletico against Leicester, who put out Spain’s Sevilla in the previous round.
However the pairings have brought together what most commentators would consider the four favourites in the the ties, which will take place on April 11/12 and April 18/19.
Ancelotti will have to overcome his former side if Bayern are to reach the last four on what they hope will be the road to the final in Cardiff on June 3.
Bayern begin with a home tie on April 12 before a trip to Madrid on April 18. “The games against Real are special for me,” Ancelotti said.
“It will be exciting for me to return to Madrid. All the teams in the quarter-finals are known to each other, there are no secrets. “Real have a fantastic team and a fantastic coach (Zinedine Zidane). We have a lot of confidence – we want to win the Champions League.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “It’s a classic. It’s the top draw of the pot. “You have to have the greatest respect for this opponent. It’s a team which has won the Champions League twice in the last three years.
“They are the all-time winners, a top team, but on the other hand a great motivation for us. It’s 50-50. “Our coach knows the opponent like the back of his hand. Carlo (Ancelotti) will certainly be highly motivated.”
Another old boys’ meeting looms for Juve defender Dani Alves, who made 247 appearances for Barcelona before moving to Turin in the summer.
Juventus are at home for the first leg, and the club’s vice-president Pavel Nedved said: “It’s a fascinating tie against Barcelona. They are one of the most famous teams in the world and we only have to focus on the present knowing that we are a very strong team and that we can compete.”
Meanwhile Bundesliga hopefuls Dortmund face a Monaco side – with the Germans at home for the first leg on April 11 – who impressed in eliminating Manchester City. It will be first time the two clubs have met in UEFA competition.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said: “It is an exciting and very tricky draw. If we want to eliminate this opponent, we need to deliver our best performance twice.” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “We wanted to avoid Bayern, and I think they wanted to avoid us. From that perspective, it is a good draw.
“I saw Monaco’s match against Manchester City and I am aware that they have a goal difference of plus 58 in the league. It’s a difficult match. At this level, it doesn’t really matter if you play at home first.”