Thursday, December 20, 2012

Champions League Round of 16

Last year, Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League.  It was England's third winner since 2004 (Liverpool won in 2005 and Manchester United won in 2008).  It was also the seventh time in the last eight seasons that an English club had reached the final.  Given that this year's final is set for London, you might have liked England's chances this year.  But today's draw makes it almost certain that no English clubs will even reach the quarter-final, much less the final.  Manchester United drew Real Madrid, which is managed by a genius (Jose Mourinho) who has a long history of success against the Red Devils.  Arsenal drew Bayern Munich, who reached the final last year, and who is sitting on top of the German league with a record of 13-1-3.  These should be entertaining matches, but they will not go well for the English.  The only other good pairing pits AC Milan against Barcelona.  As for Celtic, they would have liked to draw either a relatively weak opponent or Manchester United -- instead they got Juventus, who will make certain they are eliminated.

Here's the complete draw (teams listed first will host the first leg of the two-leg matches):

Real Madrid (ESP) v. Manchester Utd (ENG)
Arsenal (ENG) v. Bayern Munich (GER)
Celtic (SCO) v. Juventus (ITA)
AC Milan (ITA) v. Barcelona (ESP)
Shaktar Donetsk (UKR) v. Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Valencia (ESP) v. Paris Saint-German (FRA)
Galatasaray (TUR) v. Schalke 04 (GER)
Porto (POR) v. Malaga (ESP)

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