Barcelona, AC Milan to Meet in Champions League Quarterfinals

Former winners Barcelona and AC Milan will meet again in this season’s Champions League after being drawn together for the quarterfinals.

Defending champion Barcelona and seven-time winner Milan were paired in the tournament’s group stage, with the Spanish club winning 3-2 in Italy before a 2-2 tie at home. Milan will host the first game, with the second at the Camp Nou stadium.

“I think it will be balanced,” Milan director Umberto Gandini said on the Champions League website. “It’s a game every player dreams to play, both teams will be motivated.”

Chelsea, the last English team remaining in Europe’s top club competition, will face Benfica, Real Madrid meets APOEL Nicosia and Bayern Munich plays Marseille as determined by today’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

The first round of quarterfinal matches will be played March 27 and 28, with the second games April 3 and 4. The Champions League final is May 19 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Barcelona, led by Lionel Messi, the competition’s leading scorer with 12 goals, is seeking its fourth Champions League title in seven seasons. It’s won five and drawn four in 13 previous meetings with Milan, which last won the title in 2007.

Chelsea will take on Benfica after beating Napoli on Branislav Ivanovic’s extra-time goal two days ago. England is the only county to have a quarterfinalist every year since the competition expanded to more than 16 teams in the 1997-98 season.

“It’s a good one for us but it doesn’t matter who you get at this stage,” Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said on the club’s website. “It was important to get the away game first and hopefully we can build the foundation from there.”

APOEL’s reward for being the first team from Cyprus to reach the quarterfinals is a meeting with Real Madrid, the record nine-time winner. APOEL advanced by beating Lyon in a penalty shootout, with goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis making two saves.

“APOEL has reached the quarterfinals, which means they’re a good team,” Real club director Emilio Butragueno said. “We have to focus on every detail and be alert.”

Bayern Munich will continue its quest to play in the final on its home field by taking on Marseille, which knocked out Inter Milan in the last round on away goals. Four-time winner Bayern advanced by beating Basle 7-1 on aggregate.

“It’s tricky, it’s one of the teams I didn’t want,” Marseille President Vincent Labrune said. “I think our German friends are happier with this draw -- happier than us.”

The semifinal draw was also held with the Marseille-Bayern winner set to face APOEL or Real Madrid and Benfica or Chelsea taking on Milan or Barcelona. Those matches will be played April 17-18 and 24-25.

Quarterfinals, March 27-28
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APOEL Nicosia vs Real Madrid
Marseille vs Bayern Munich
Benfica vs Chelsea
AC Milan vs Barcelona

Quarterfinals, April 3-4
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Real Madrid vs APOEL Nicosia
Bayern Munich vs Marseille
Chelsea vs Benfica
Barcelona vs AC Milan

Semifinals, April 17-18
--------------------------------
Marseille or Bayern Munich vs APOEL Nicosia or Real Madrid
Benfica or Chelsea vs AC Milan or Barcelona

Semifinals, May 24-25
-------------------------------
APOEL Nicosia or Real Madrid vs Marseille or Bayern Munich
AC Milan or Barcelona vs Benfica or Chelsea

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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