After summarily dispatching perennial Champions League round of 16 opponents Arsenal by an embarrassing aggregate score of 10-2, Bayern Munich were waiting with anticipation to see who would be next.
On Friday, Ian Rush, former Welsh and Liverpool great, and UEFA’s 2017 finals ambassador, dropped the hammer on the Bavarians by drawing none other than Real Madrid!
The games have been scheduled for April 12th at the Allianz Arena in Munich, with the return leg going down on April 18th at the Santiago Bernabeu.
So many story lines, so little time
Bayern and Real have quite a history in European Cup play, with Bayern winning 11 out of 22 games, while Real has been victorious nine times, while winning the title 16 times between them.
- Carlo Ancelotti will be facing off against his former club, who unceremoniously sacked him after winning La Decima in 2014.
- French legend Zinedine Zidane will match wits against his one-time mentor, Ancelotti.
- Xabi Alonso and Toni Kroos will both be playing against their former employers
- Bayern earned the nickname “La Bestia Negra” (“The Black Beast”) after consistently knocking Real out of the competition, but Madrid has won the last three competitive matches between the two clubs.
The other matchups:
Atletico - Leicester (April 12th & 18th)
Does anyone think domestically struggling Leicester City stands a chance against defensive juggernaut Atletico Madrid? The Foxes are a counter-attacking team, but that’s tough to do against Diego Simeone’s club, which lets the opponent have the ball, and then just chokes them out.
Dortmund - Monaco (April 11th & 19th)
Everyone expects this to be a no-holds-barred shootout, with both teams sporting an impressive offensive arsenal, but neither having a very stable and reliable defense. Both clubs are young, and play some exciting football, so if you want to see scoring, this is the matchup to watch.
Juventus - Barcelona (April 11th & 19th)
Another clash of two big teams, with the defensive stalwarts from Torino taking on the offensive juggernaut from Spain, in a rematch of the 2015 CL final in Berlin. It’s the whole “immovable object vs unstoppable force” deal. Will Juve be able to handle Messi-Suarez-Neymar? How will Barca’s backline deal with an also impressive attack of Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic?
Should I just go ahead and call in sick for the whole month of April?