Champions League Quarter-Finals Draw

Posted on by SoccerPunter

English giants Manchester United and Chelsea are set to clash in the Champions League quarter-finals after being drawn in a rematch of their 2008 European final here on Friday.

Holders Inter Milan will meet Schalke 04, tournament favourites Barcelona play Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham face Real Madrid.

Premier League leaders United will travel to reigning English champions Chelsea for the first leg and will have the home advantage at Old Trafford for the return leg.

United beat Chelsea on penalties in the final in Moscow three years ago.

Chelsea have never won the Champions League and are desperate to do well in Europe as they sit nine points behind three-time European winners United in the Premier League.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez admitted his side face a tough task at Stamford Bridge where they have not won since 2002, and lost earlier this month in a clash which resulted in Sir Alex Ferguson picking up a five-match touchline ban.

“We play in the same league and it is going to be tough,” said Hernandez, who scored both goals against Marseille on Tuesday to put United through to the quarter-finals.

“Stamford Bridge is a nice stadium and it makes it a little bit like a league game.

“But if there is an advantage it is that we are at home in the second game.”

Chelsea or United will go through to face either Inter Milan or Schalke, while Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona could be set for a semi-final showdown should they advance.

Barcelona are drawn to meet Ukrainian newcomers Shakhtar Donetsk as Real Madrid take on surprise English side Tottenham, who dumped seven-time winners AC Milan out of the tournament in the last 16.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is expecting a tough trip to the Ukraine.

“We know Shakhtar and they know us. We’ve played very tight matches against them. It’s a very strong team physically and with experienced players. We had problems beating them in the SuperCup (2009).

“Playing the second leg in the Ukraine will be a handicap but that’s how it is,” said Guardiola.

Tottenham, who reached the European Cup semi-finals in 1962, look to have a tough task against the record nine-time winners but can take heart from the fact Real have not won any of their last five meetings with English teams.

Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid have not won the competition since 2002, and the Portuguese coach will be bidding to not only guide them back to the top in Europe but to become the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs.

Mourinho led Porto to the title 2004 and guided Inter to victory last season before moving to Spain where he has managed to get Real through to the last eight for the first time since since 2004.

Should the Spanish clubs advance they could meet four times in less than a month. They are also due to play in the Spanish league on April 17 and in the King’s Cup final on April 20.

Inter Milan, meanwhile, are on paper favourites against Schalke 04, after eliminating Bayern Munich in the last round.

And the Italian club’s general manager Ernesto Paolillo admitted he was relieved.

“Let’s say we’re a little relieved, some bigger dangers, on paper, like Real Madrid and Barcelona were avoided,” he said.

“But we mustn’t slacken and we must remain wary, these matches which seem less fascinating can be deceptive. The eight teams who got to this stage are very strong.”

Schalke captain Manuel Neuer said: “Meeting the titleholders is a big challenge but maybe also a good omen because Schalke 04 already achieved a good result at the San Siro in the UEFA Cup final in 1997.

“Starting with the match away is an advantage but at the same time you have to remember what happened in the last 16. Inter lost at home against Bayern Munich which didn’t stop them from qualifying by winning 3-2 in Munich.”

The quarter-final first legs will be played on April 5 and 6 and the return matches the following week on April 12 and 13.

The semi-finals are on April 26-27 and May 3-4 with the final set for Wembley on May 28.

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