Bayern Munich survived a very emotionally strenuous tie with Juventus, but their task from here only gets tougher. Spain's usual suspects are in the field, as well as the French champions, but the field does not much easier after that either. Another tough tie may be on the docket as Pep Guardiola tries to get the elusive Champions League title. Here are the rest of the quarterfinalists in the Champions League.
|Club||UEFA Coefficient||Titles||2014/15 Finish|
|Manchester City||89.581||–||Round of 16|
The best news for Bayern? They have faced most of these teams before in the last three seasons. That is an advantage they may be able to use in the knockout stages, but it still depends on who the tiny footballs pair them with.
The Best Draw: VfL Wolfsburg
Having played Wolfsburg four times this season – and beaten them the three times since Kevin De Bruyne's departure – Bayern may be relieved to see their Bundesliga compatriots in the quarterfinals, even if it may hurt Germany's coefficient as a result. Wolfsburg are certainly a team not trending in the right direction, and as the club continues to fall apart, they will be grateful they only had to surpass KAA Gent to remain in European competition.
As the Bundesliga saw a few weeks ago when Bayern traveled to Wolfsburg, the team that won a cup final is not the team that is taking the field. Dieter Hecking is running out of ideas on the best way to play his squad, and his job may be on the line because of it. Julian Draxler and Andre Schürrle may have done enough to increase their European candidacy, but they are not the saviors Wolfsburg need at the moment.
Bayern would probably be happy with this draw even if the tie was one match away from home. Despite winning their group, Wolfsburg Bundesliga form will eventually catch up with them abroad, and whoever they face will receive a first-class ticket to the semifinals.
The Worst Draw: Barcelona
Sometimes, defending the title is much harder than attaining it, but that universal has not landed in Barcelona. Luis Enrique has the best forwards in the world at his disposal, and he does not have to do anything besides let them play with each other. No team has found a solution to stop these three, and Barcelona are, as expected, well-positioned to defend each of their treble titles.
Not much as changed at Barcelona, but then again, does anything have to? A team that can afford to lose Lionel Messi for a few months and wait for Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal to be eligible to play is neither lacking in ideas or alternatives. Are they a shell of themselves if they did not have their triumvirate? Maybe, but that is a counterfactual that has a very small likelihood of becoming reality.
This could become one of the best teams to ever play the game, and no team wants to be on the other side of history. If Bayern had trouble containing Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala, what happens when they face the best version of those two players?
The Pep Guardiola Draw: Manchester City
As far as the possible draws left, this is one neutrals are probably rooting for the most. The narrative of course starts with Pep Guardiola, headed to England in three-and-a-half months time. Lest we forget, Manchester City is an opponent Bayern are familiar with, and after some of the group stage results, one they may be sick of.
This Manchester City has a lot of issues they have to address, starting with a defense that will not have its leader. Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi injured themselves in the second leg against Dynamo Kyiv, and while Otamendi may miss a few weeks with an ankle injury, Manchester City's captain is expected to miss more time. Manuel Pellegrini's use of Fernando and Fernandinho has helped protect the defense over the course of the season, this is a very vulnerable unit, one even the class of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva cannot overcome on their own.
This is a team that has also lost to Juventus twice, even though the transitive property does not always work in football. If the Citizens come to town, Bayern should be ready, and Guardiola will show the blue side of Manchester why the need him so badly.
The All-Too-Familiar Draw: Real Madrid
Bayern has faced no team more than Real Madrid in European competition, and there may be no better time to play Los Blancos. After appointing the wrong manager (who is now helping a team fight relegation), Zinedine Zidane has done an adequate job as Real Madrid's new manager. They have lost just once in the league since his appointment, getting Real Madrid back into a title race they may have no business being apart of.
The former footballing superstar may not know how to get the best out of this squad though. Some of his ideas have not worked out, and have caused Real Madrid to drop points because of it. His midfield is usually structured in a way that works, but that does not always go in the attack. Los Blancos have not been very consistent as a result, and consistency tends to rock clubs out of the Champions League.
They still have Cristiano Ronaldo though, a player who can impact a result by himself. If Zidane gets the right players around him, Real Madrid look very formidable, but with his inexperience managing a squad, that is a pretty big "if".
The Underestimated Draw: Atlético Madrid
Atletico Madrid know they narrowly escaped elimination in the last 16 for the second consecutive year. PSV Eindhoven really took the best from them, and the seal-tight match went to penalties as a result. Diego Simeone's accomplished his goal though – keeping PSV and their underrated attack off the scoreboard – and that is worth something.
That is what Atletico Madrid does. Much like Juventus, Atleti does not score a lot of goals – nearly half of Barcelona and Real Madrid's total in Serie A – yet their organization has them above their city rivals. Creativity in midfield is not their strong suit though, a problem that surfaced in their historically dull last 16 tie. Koke possesses the most ingenuity in that position, which is why Simeone tries to move him around to Atletico's best angle of attack.
Antoine Griezmann has real class though, and Fernando Torres is starting to reinvigorate his career as a bench player. The former has gotten many decisive goals against opponents this season, and Bayern could be one of those.
The "That's Not Porto?" Draw: SL Benfica
Bayern are of course familiar with Portuguese clubs after their date with FC Porto last season. Benfica may play in the same league, and even in a similar style, but they are a different animal to the club Bayern chased off the park last season in the first half of the second leg.
For starters, Benfica not only have a core of players with a lot of experience, but with a lot of experience with each other. Nicolás Gaitán and Jonas have helped Benfica get to the late stages of many competitions, and the pair of them in attack can cause a lot of trouble. Their defense is one of the more vulnerable of the teams left though, and could be overwhelmed with a quality side, especially with the inexperienced Renato Sanchez in midfield.
Still, Portugal was not a memorable place Bayern traveled to last season, and could be again. The majestic way Benfica advance is unlikely to be repeatable though.
The Darkhorse Draw: Paris Saint-Germain
The money giants seem like a team that should make it to the final stages every season, but that narrative has yet to play itself out. This PSG team is playing on a different level though and is the only team left in the competition to wrap up their domestic league already. That may seem like a problem, especially to football fans from southeast Germany, but PSG remained motivated enough to win a domestic treble last season.
Many acquisitions have made PSG into the team they are, but Angel Di Maria may be the final piece. Laurent Blanc has given him more of a free role, and is willing to sacrifice a striker in order to make that happen. He has made players around him better as a result, though a few upgrades in the defense have certainly helped as well.
PSG is now a team the rest of these clubs want to avoid, including Bayern. Zlatan may be able to give the Parisians one last hurrah before leaving in the summer, and beating his former coach would certainly do the trick.