Holders Inter will play Bayern Munich in a rematch of last season’s final in the last 16 of the Champions League following yesterday’s draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The Italians defeated the German side 2-0 in last season’s final in Madrid with a brace from Argentine striker Diego Milito.
Bayern Munich sporting director Christian Nerlinger believes his side now have the ideal opportunity to finally bury the heartache of their defeat last May.
“We still dwell a little on the lost final in Madrid and now we have the opportunity with these two new matches against Inter to put things right,” Nerlinger said. “It’s going to be difficult, but it couldn’t be more interesting for us.”
“Inter is an extremely difficult draw, without a doubt the most difficult we could have, but after last May’s defeat we have the chance to take our revenge,” Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Arsenal face a tough task against Spanish giants Barcelona, who knocked the Gunners out at the quarter-final stage last season when Lionel Messi scored all four goals in a 4-1 second leg demolition of the English club at the Camp Nou.
The teams also met in the 2006 Champions League final where Barcelona came from behind to win 2-1 at the Stade de France.
English Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea have gotten easier draws against French club Marseille and Danish champions Copenhagen respectively.
Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier said he was relishing the draw.
“It will be a very beautiful tie because Manchester, like Real Madrid, is a European legend,” he said. “It’s not a bad draw, I’m not dissatisfied. We had to avoid Barcelona and even Real Madrid.”
Nine-time winners Real Madrid are also set for a rematch with French club Lyon, who knocked them out of the competition in a huge upset at the same stage last year and will be bolstered by former Lyon player Karim Benzema.
“If you give them the slightest opening they will take advantage like they did last season. We’ll need to be wary. We have confidence in our players but we know that it’s a cruel competition,” Real Madrid soccer director Emilio Butragueno said.
Valencia have been drawn against Schalke 04, English newcomers Tottenham, who pipped Inter to first place in Group A, travel to AC Milan, while AS Roma host Shakthar Donetsk of Ukraine.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said the English Premier League side would relish the prospect of a return to the San Siro to face AC Milan after playing Inter there during the group phase.
“It will be a great game. I would have taken AC Milan before the draw. They are leading the league in Italy, but it has the makings of a great game over two legs. I’m looking forward to it,” Redknapp said. “A tough draw, but it will be a great game. That’s what you want. Great games.”
The first legs take place on Feb. 15 - Feb. 16 and Feb. 22 - Feb. 23, and the second legs on March 8 - March 9 and March 15 - March 16.
Draw for Champions League last 16
‧ AS Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk
‧ AC Milan v Tottenham
‧ Valencia v Schalke 04
‧ Inter v Bayern Munich
‧ Lyon v Real Madrid
‧ Arsenal v Barcelona
‧ Marseille v Manchester United
‧ Copenhagen v Chelsea