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Champions League draw: complete team-by-team guide for quarter-finals

18 Mar 2010 13:26:06

Champions League draw: complete team-by-team guide for quarter-finals

How the draw works: The draw for the quarter-final and semi-finals of this year's Champions League will take place at 11.00 GMT on Friday March 19. Follow it live on Telegraph.co.uk. The format for the draw is completely open with no seedings and no country "protection" - meaning Arsenal can draw Manchester United. The quarter-final first legs will take place on March 30-31 and the return matches the following week, on April 6-7. The first legs of the last-four ties are scheduled for April 20-21, with the second legs on April 27-28. The final will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on Saturday May 22. Team-by-team guide: Arsenal Arsenal breezed through a less than taxing group as winners after overcoming Celtic in a controversial qualifying tie. A calamitous second round first leg at Porto was overturned in emphatic style at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick and some magic from Samir Nasri. Form guide: Back in the thick of the race for the Premier League Arsenal arrive at the business end of the season in rude health despite the handicap of a long-term injury to their main striker Robin van Persie. Who is their 'Messi'? In the absence of van Persie, Andrei Arshavin offers creativity while much will depend on the promptings of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal's callow midfield. Verdict: Capable of greatness on any given day their failures in big domestic matches against Manchester United and Chelsea hint at a soft underbelly on the big occasion. A kind draw might make a semi-final spot possible but unlikely to reach a second final. -- Barcelona Though results suggest the defending champions were less than convincing in winning a tight group - a home defeat to Rubin Kazan almost costing them dear all doubts about their status as clear favourites were dispelled by the emphatic destruction of Stuttgart in the first knockout round. Form guide: A first defeat in La Liga to Atletico Madrid last month may see them second on goal difference to Real Madrid but a recent 3-0 win over Valencia and the 4-0 destruction of Stuttgart both inspired by the peerless Lionel Messi - means the team that draws Barcelona in the quarter-finals will approach the tie in hope rather than expectation. No team on the continent can hold a candle to them. Who is their 'Messi'? They have the man himself. And Xavi (who didn't play on Wednesday). And Andreas Iniesta. And Thierry Henry. And Zlatan Ibrahimovic. You get the point. Verdict: Anyone who bests Barca deserves the title of Europe's best. But it's difficult to see it happening. Champions both defending and elect. -- Bayern Munich Runners up to Bordeaux in Group A but getting the better of Juventus along the way, Bayern marked themselves out as a potential force with a 4-1 victory in Turin on the final match day. A dubious winner in the home leg against Fiorentina and a defeat in the away leg Bayern advanced on away goals has perhaps put the brakes on growing optimism but seasoned European campaigners with exciting individuals capable of turning a match. Form guide: Unbeaten in 19 matches in the Bundesliga (after Luis van Gaal had three matches to save his job during a difficult start to the season), Bayern are two points clear at the top of the league and playing with confidence and brio. Less convincing in Europe but German sides know about handling pressure. Who is their 'Messi'? Franck Ribery is coveted by the top teams in Spain and England and has returned from an injury by immediately finding his best form. Arjen Robben looks more like the Chelsea version than the injury-prone Real Madrid vintage this season and his decisive 30-yard strike in Florence proved he still has an eye for goal. Verdict: Never write of the Germans, the adage goes, but there are better teams than Bayern left in the competition and home and away defeats to Bordeaux in qualifying suggest the semi-finals might be beyond them. -- Bordeaux Undefeated in a qualifying group that contained Bayern Munich and Juventus, Bordeaux are to some eyes the surprise package of this season's competition. A favourable draw against Olympiakos in the first knockout round didn't test them too much though greater challenges await. Form guide: A draw with Montpellier and defeat to Auxerre two of their main rivals for the French title in their last two fixtures, both at home, has cast in doubt Bordeaux's dominance in France. They still lead the table, though only by goal difference, with a game in hand, but there is a feeling that Europe is proving a distraction. Who is their 'Messi'? If Bordeaux are to prolong their run in the competition much will depend on the goal scoring feats of Marouane Chamakh. Wanted by Arsène Wenger no bad judge of a player. Verdict: Capable of giving anyone a scare, the fact that they nearly let 10-man Olympiakos back in to the match in the last round on home soil suggests a semi-final place is beyond them. -- CSKA Moscow With two players banned for doping offences during the group stage some especially Wolfsburg may believe that CSKA should not be in the competition. But they are. And making the most of their reprieve with a terrific away win over Sevilla. Form guide: With the Russian league only a week old form is difficult to assess though they should at least be fresh for the challenge. Beating Sevilla and leading Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford at one stage suggests the 2005 Uefa Cup winners should not be underestimated and no one will fancy the long trip to Moscow. Who is their 'Messi'? Winger Milos Krasic has been terrorising fullbacks for club and country over the last year and the Serbian footballer of the year poses a genuine threat whenever he gets the ball at his feet. Verdict: Far from outclassed by United and getting the better of Sevilla means CSKA represent a dark horse in the competition. A semi-final place is definitely possible. -- Inter Milan: The news of Italian football's decline has been exaggerated if the evidence of Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge is anything to go by. Emerging from a tight group behind Barcelona they were, as Jose Mourinho contended, superior to Chelsea over the two legs and will approach the quarter-finals with confidence. Form guide: Their lead at the top of Serie A has been cut to a single point ahead of city rivals Milan due to a recent string of draws against some lesser lights but they are still favourites to claim a fifth straight domestic title. Who is their 'Messi'? Samuel Eto'o proved he has lost none of his clinical goal scoring ability since leaving Barcelona while the promptings of Wesley Sneijder at Stamford Bridge proves they have the silk to ally the defensive steel Inter have long been famous for. Verdict: Written off as a European force after successive exits to Premier League sides in the two seasons preceding this one, the slaying of Chelsea made the continent sit up and take notice. Genuine contenders but their surrender at the Nou Camp in the group stages means they are outside the small group of favourites. -- Lyon Late goals against Liverpool and Madrid added a touch of drama to Lyon's passage to the quarter-finals after they eliminated Rafa Benitez's stuttering side before proving, again, to Real that lavish spending is no guarantee of success. Form guide: After seven years of uninterrupted dominance of the French league Lyon have been forced to slum it in the last two seasons domestically but, due to the most open Ligue 1 in decades, still find themselves just two points off the top in fifth place. Unbeaten in the league in 2010. Who is their 'Messi'? Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez has made light of the loss of Karim Benzema last summer and is a handful for the best defenders on the continent. Verdict: Before Christmas Lyon looked to be on an inexorable downward slide but have hit their straps at the right time of the season. Unlikely to win the competition but will fear no one in the draw. -- Manchester United United made short work of their group stage and inflicted ruthless defeats home and away on an ageing Milan. The form of Wayne Rooney has been pivotal with his goals making up for the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo after United had initially looked fatally diminished by the Portuguese's defection to Madrid. Form guide: As always, United appear to have grown stronger as the season has progressed and are on course for an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title and possibly a third straight Champions League final appearance. Who is their 'Messi'? Were it not for Messi himself Rooney would be a dead cert for the European player of the year and has become vital to everything that United do. Not quite up to the Argentine's standards, yet the loss of Rooney through injury or suspension would be far more damaging to United than Messi's absence would be to Barcelona. Verdict: Second favourites behind the Catalans for the title with many neutrals hoping the pair are kept apart until the final and that United can put up a better show, should they meet in Madrid, than they did in Rome.


Telegraph

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