Champions League holders Barcelona will play Italian side AC Milan in the quarterfinals of the competition. The two teams already met in the group stages with Barca coming out tops after winning the second leg 3-2 having drawn 2-2 at the San Siro in the first leg encounter.
Nine-time winners Real Madrid will have a fairly easy game against surprise Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia. Madrid will play away first before welcoming the cat among the pigeons, APOEL, to Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg.
The only English side remaining in any European club football competition this year, Chelsea, will first travel to Portugal for an encounter with two-time winners Benfica while Bayern Munich will hope to get a good result at Marseille in the first leg before welcoming the French outfit to Allianz Arena in the second leg. It is the first time Marseille will be competing at the quarterfinals stage since 1991.
Besides the AC Milan versus Barca game, none of the other sides drawn against each other have ever met. The quarterfinals first-leg matches will be played on March 27-28, and return matches are on April 3-4.
The semifinals draw avoided the potential meeting of Barcelona and Real Madrid, meaning that the final could be an El Classico encounter.
Marseille or Bayern will play debutants APOEL or Madrid while Benfica or Chelsea will host Milan or Barcelona, meaning that the only way Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid can meet Barcelona or face his former club Chelsea is at the May 19 finals at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Should holders Barcelona win the competition this year, they will become the first team in UEFA Champions League era to win the trophy back-to-back.
Europa League Quarterfinals Draw
Meanwhile the pick of the quarterfinals draw will see Athletic Bilbao lock horns with German side Schalke 04. Bilbao qualified for the last 8 with a convincing 5-3 aggregate win over Premier League side Manchester United in the last 16 while Schalke overturned a 1-0 loss to Twente in the first leg to beat the Dutch side 4-1 and 4-2 aggregate.
Other matches will see Valencia first travel to the Netherlands to AZ Alkmaar while Manchester City's conquerers Sporting Lisbon will welcome Ukraine side Metalist Kharkiv for the first leg.
Athletico Madrid, who had the biggest aggregate win in the Round of 16 with a 6-1 demolition of Besiktas will face off with German side Hannover 96.
The first legs of the quarterfinal matches will be played on 29 March, and the second legs will be played on 5 April 2012.
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