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Champions League draw guide

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18 Mar 2011 11:51:03

Champions League draw guide

With the dust settling on the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals, the Premier League sides are going to have to do it the hard way if they want to reach the final at Wembley. Tottenham will likely have to face Barcelona if they overcome Real Madrid, while two into one does not go as Chelsea and Manchester United clash in their quarter-final. But there are threats from all angles wherever you look in the draw, so here Sportsmail gives a rundown of the eight teams left and assesses their danger rating. Champions: But who will follow 2010 winners Inter Milan as kings of the continent? BarcelonaForm so far Red hot this season, and in a class oftheir own. Just one away win in the Champions League but Barca have beenso dominant at home that no one can get near them, as Arsenal found out recently. Most definitely oneto avoid. Boss - Pep Guardiola Is it him or the players that aremaking Barcelona so successful? Pep must take plenty of credit thoughfor some inspired youth team promotions and taking the club toincredible heights, including winning six trophies in 2009. Star Man - Lionel Messi One of the world's best players hasonce again lit up the stage in Europe with an impressive eight goals ineight games showing outrageous skill along the way. But in truth anyoneof the first XI could be considered a star man for the Catalan giants. European pedigree No signs of weakness here, the clubhave won the European Cup three times and all in the past 19 years,as well as seven other major European trophies. English sides shouldworry too, as in the last three seasons Arsenal (twice) and Chelsea have been eliminated by Barcelona, while Manchester United were swept aside in the 2009 final in Rome. Danger rating 5/5 Inter MilanForm so far As up and down as it can get for thereigning champions. Finished runners-up in the group setting up a last16 tie with Bayern Munich, where they were two minutes from going outuntil a late strike from Goran Pandev. Boss - Leonardo Controversial choice to replace RafaelBenitez due to his AC Milan roots, Leonardo has been incharge of just two Champions League games with his new club, and theylook far from the solid defensive unit displayed under JoseMourinho. Star Man - Wesley Sneijder Samuel Eto'o may be joint top scorer inthis season's competition but the man pulling all the strings from themidfield is the impressive Dutchman. His wonderful second half strikeagainst Bayern Munich was typical of how quickly he can change a game. European pedigree Before last season's heroics, Interwere effectively dormant in the Champions League having being knockedout at the last 16 stage in the previous three seasons and not winning thecompetition since 1965. They have never beaten Manchester United,have a 100 per cent record against Chelsea. Their battles withTottenham this season have already been well documented. Danger rating 3/5 The main man: Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Arsenal earlier this month Shakhtar DonetskForm so farStunning to say the least. They havewon every game in the Champions League this season apart from anuncharacteristic 5-1 thrashing at Arsenal. Topped their group wherethey avoided Barcelona in the last 16 and dispatched Roma.Boss - Mircea LucescuHas steadily built the club into aforce to be reckoned with since arriving in 2004, knocking Dynamo Kievoff their perch as Ukraine's top dog. His crowning achievement so faris winning the UEFA Cup in 2009, knocking Tottenham out along the wayStar man - EduardoThe former Arsenal striker was set forgreat things in the Premier League until he broke his leg, but afterreturning to Ukraine is starting to find his scoring touch again. Fourstrikes from six games makes him Shakhtar's top scorer in this season'scompetition.European PedigreeTheir UEFA Cup win aside it is prettypoor. Previous seasons have seen them never get beyond the ChampionsLeague group stage while the Europa League often saw them dumped outbefore the quarter-finals. A limited but good record against Englishsides, they have beaten Arsenal twice at home as well remainingundefeated in two games against an admittedly weakened Tottenham side.Danger Rating 3/5Real MadridForm so farMade light work of a difficult groupthat included AC Milan, Ajax and Auxerre, where they dropped pointsonly at the San Siro. Easily cast aside bogey team Lyon in the last 16and are looking very strong.Boss - Jose MourinhoAs one of the best managers in theworld, Mourinho is on course to become the first boss to win theChampions League with three different clubs after previous success withPorto and Inter. Few would back against him adding another trophy ofsome sort with Real.Star man - Cristiano RonaldoJust like in his United days, Ronaldois one of the most important players in the line-up and has showed nosigns of cracking under the pressure of being the world's mostexpensive player. When he is on form, Madrid will always have a strongchance.European PedigreeThe best you can get. Record nine timewinners of the European Cup, with a further three final defeatsalong the way. Real have been poor since their last victory in the competition back in 2002 but arefinally looking a balanced side under Mourinho. They saw off Manchester Unitedin two classic quarter-finals in 2000 and 2003 but have been dumped outin the last 16 by Arsenal and Liverpool in recent years.Danger rating 4/5 The Real deal: Karim Benzema scores against Lyon on Wednesday night Manchester United Form so far Never really destroying teams butconsistently doing just enough to get the job done. Don't expect goalsfrom their games though. They have scored and conceded the fewest goalsof the eight teams left. Boss - Sir Alex Ferguson Since joining in 1986, trophies havebeen coming in on a conveyor belt into Old Trafford and Fergie will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of Champions League wins after success in 1999 and 2008. No one knowshow much longer the 69-year-old can go on for but he is as motivated as ever todeliver success for United. Star man - Wayne Rooney After a rotten first half of theseason, the striker is finally getting back to the peak of his powerslast seen a year ago. He and Javier Hernandez have formed such a goodpartnership in attack there seems to be no place in the side for topscorer Dimitar Berbatov. European pedigree Have won the competition three timeswith two of those coming in the last 12 years. Their quarter-final exit last season theirworst campaign since 2005/06. Top dogs in all Premier League ties, afterdefeating Chelsea on penalties in the 2008 final and ruthlesslydisposing Arsenal in the semi-finals a year later. Danger rating 4/5 SchalkeForm so far Dynamite at home but have produced some average displays away from Gelsenkirchen. Showed great character to come back from a goal down to win 3-1 against Valencia and eliminate the Spanish side in the last 16. Boss - *Vacant* Not even guiding Schalke to the Champions League quarter-finals was enough to save Felix Magath. Fans were divided on his management of the club but their league form has been disappointing at best. Either way it's a bold move from the German side to sack their boss who seemed to have a winning formula in Europe. Star man - Raul Past his best years but Schalke lack players with major European experience and Raul has it in abundance. He is the highest scorer ever in UEFA competitions and with two domestic hat-tricks this season, still has the ability to hit top gear. European pedigree Won the UEFA Cup in 1997 but that is as good as it gets for Schalke who in the current format of the Champions league have only progressed beyond the group stages once before. They have rarely played English teams in Europe with one win against Arsenal 10 years ago their only major success. Danger rating 2/5 Heading through: Javier Hernandez scores his second goal for Manchester United against Marseille on Tuesday night ChelseaForm so far Yet to be seriously tested afterbreezing through a relatively easy group before making light work of aplucky Copenhagen side in the last 16. Fernando Torres is set to clickat any time though and no one will fancy facing the Premier Leaguechampions. Boss - Carlo Ancelotti Won the domestic double in his firstseason but it's winning the Champions League that is his and the club'sNo 1 target. Having won it as player and manager at ACMilan, owner Roman Abramovich is hoping the Italian comes up trumps inwhat has been a disappointing season. Star man - Nicolas Anelka He has looked deadly in front of goaldespite Chelsea playing much of the campaign in second gear. Sevengoals in seven matches makes him easily the Blues' most prolificstriker, and one to fear for the rest of Europe as we head into the quarter-finals.. European Pedigree Since 2004 Chelsea have become one ofEurope's top sides, reaching four Champions League semi-finals and afinal during that period. A mixed record against other English teams,they have lost and beaten Liverpool in a semi-final while they famouslyknocked out Arsenal's 'invincibles' side in 2004. But it's the dramatic shoot-outdefeat to Manchester United in Moscow back in 2008 that has left the biggest scar of all. Danger Rating 4/5 TottenhamForm so far Joint top scorers left in thecompletion after a goal crazy group stage that saw them pip Inter Milanto the top of the group. It was an impressive 180 minute shut-outagainst AC Milan in the last 16 that shows the north London side candefend as well as attack. Boss - Harry Redknapp Magically turned Spurs around aftertaking over with the club bottom of the Premier League in 2008. Ledthem to their highest Premier League finish the following season andhas built a side which is one of the most promising seen at White HartLane in many years. Star man - Rafael van der Vaart Gareth Bale's heroics against Interstole the headlines but it's the Dutchman's link up with Peter Crouchthat has had Europe's defences panicking. Teams have yet to find a way to stop Van der Vaart, who has added a new dimension to Tottenham's attack since his arrival. European Pedigree Arguably the weakest of the remainingsides. This is their first appearance in the Champions League since1962 and they have only appeared in the Europa League four times sincethe formation of the Premier League, with their quarter-finalappearance in 2007 their best effort. There is no recent history ofSpurs playing other English sides in Europe but older fans willremember they defeated Wolves to win the 1972 UEFA Cup. Danger Rating 3/5 Danger man: Gareth Bale was inspirational for Tottenham against Inter Milan earlier this season  Barca the best? You won't catch me saying that, insists Ferguson Cech in it to win it after Chelsea reach Champions League quarter-finalsLeo's London: Tottenham's rest should be the perfect cure for a Champions League hangover  Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp, Wesley Sneijder, Fernando Torres, Goran Pandev, Jose Mourinho, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Felix Magath, Samuel Eto, Roman Abramovich, Gareth Bale, Nicolas Anelka, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Copenhagen, Barcelona, Moscow, Liverpool, London, Madrid, Lyon, Rome, Europe


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