Bayern Munich have advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals by knocking off Paris Saint-Germain, one of the tournament’s marquee teams. The Champions League draw — which will also set in stone the semi-final matchups in addition to the quarters — will take place at 11am UK time (7am EST) on Friday, March 17.
Here’s the possible opponents for Bayern, ranked by most to least preferred.
Bring it! Thomas Tuchel’s old club have been adrift in the Graham Potter era, though the ex-Brighton coach figures to get this very talented bunch in shape sooner rather than later. All the better to meet them sooner. This would be a fun matchup — German national team star and possible Bayern transfer window target Kai Havertz will be on the field, and from an American perspective so might USMNT man Christian Pulisic. Chelsea have all the talent but little of the team right now, presenting the ideal matchup for the Bavarians to flex their strength while also being tested.
2. Real Madrid
Equally tasty a matchup when it comes to club pedigree. Real Madrid earned a decisive win over two legs against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, and are a contender to reach the Final. If Bayern do draw Real, it will mean a serious possibility of getting knocked out early for the second year running. But to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. There’s no running from such a matchup for too long.
3. Inter Milan
Not again! Inter is on well-trodden ground at this point. Still would be a good test, and Julian Nagelsmann should come out on top in the third edition of the coaching chess match.
4. AC Milan
Sure there’s history, but last year’s Serie A champions don’t look all that convincing this year. Sure, Rafael Leão is a major talent, and they’ve got Lucas’ brother Theo Hernández as well. But even Inter have been beating them and they’re just holding on to a Champions League place right now, jostling with the likes of AS Roma and SS Lazio. Maybe they’ll turn it all around but this isn’t the most compelling of possible opponents.
Pep Guardiola is a top coach and City are a top team. Better to meet them later — say, the Final, where Pep is likelier to go full Pep and outthink himself. The Citizens must be returning the sentiment, in fairness.
6. SSC Napoli
No team scored more in the group stages than Napoli (twenty goals), and resident Serie A enthusiast Cyler could wax poetic (and has, in his Europe’s Finest series!) about their range of fleet-footed and technical forwards: from Victor Osimhen to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. They’ve also got former Tottenham Hotspur record signing Tanguy Ndombele in midfield and one of the hottest center-backs of the day in Kim Min-jae.
Napoli are taking a lap around their nearest contenders in Serie A this year and are a real threat to reach the Final. Are they for real? Let’s let some other team be the proving grounds first.
7. SL Benfica
Yeah, Bayern probably want no part of this Benfica team right now. The Liga Portugal leaders are a “smaller” team playing outside the Top 5 but boast a fearsome attacking setup, led by the likes of FIFA World Cup breakout star Gonçalo Ramos and Rafa Silva. With players like Florentino Luís and Nicolas Otamendi, Benfica have both youth and tournament veteran savvy, all in a package that’s eas(ier) to overlook.
And don’t forget their Group Stage credentials, either: Roger Schmidt’s side held PSG to two draws and beat Juventus twice to win top seed from Group H.
Who would you like to see Bayern face off against next? Let us know in the comments below!