Euro 2020 Special
 

Champions League draw: Real Madrid and Liverpool Set for Repeat of Last Season’s Final

The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League has been made, and, among the highlights, is a repeat of last season’s final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. The two teams that met in the final in 2020, Bayern Munich and PSG, are also set to renew acquaintanceship.

Elsewhere, two of the other English teams have German opposition, whilst Spurs will face AC Milan.

Meanwhile, the Europa League knock-out draw which has also been made features the latest instalment in an old rivalry.

 

Final reprises

This will be the fourth time in six seasons that Real Madrid and Liverpool have met in the knock-out stages and history is firmly on the Spanish side.

They met in the 2017 – 2018 final – a match remembered for two terrible errors by Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius and a spectacular goal from Gareth Bale – and again in last season’s final in Paris, where a single strike by Vinicius Junior after half-time proved to be the difference between the sides.

And when they met in the quarter-final in the 2020-21 season, it was again the Madrid side that came out on top.

For once, though, Real Madrid are the sole representatives from Spain in the knock-out stages of the tournament,

The Real Madrid Liverpool tie is not the only recent final reprise either, with Bayern Munich and PSG facing each other again.

PSG who have never won the competition, face the side that beat them in the 2020 final in Lisbon. They may already be ruing their failure to top their qualifying group, which would have meant they could have avoided such dangerous opponents this early in the competition.

Already they may fear the worse, which could be bad news for boss Christophe Galtier. The club’s wealthy Qatari owners have made it clear in the past that, despite the club’s continued dominance, Champions League success is what really matters to them.

An exit at the hands of the Germans could cost him his job.

 

Anglo German rivalry

Two of the matches see a renewal of the Anglo-German rivalry, with Manchester City drawn against RB Leipzig and Chelsea against Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester City are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the trophy for the first time – they lost to Chelsea in the 2021 final – and now have the firepower of Erling Haaland to underpin their campaign. He has already found the net 23 times in just 17 appearances, including five in Europe.

City will almost certainly further strengthen their squad in the January window, so will be even stronger by the time they play the German side.

The other English side Tottenham Hotspur have drawn Italian opposition in the form of AC Milan.

It is a side that their manager Antonio Conte knows well, having previously guided Milan’s rivals Inter, to league title success.

They have been drawn against Porto.

 

Elsewhere

In the other ties Belgium side Club Brugge will play Benfica of Portugal, and Frankfurt will play Napoli.

 

Timing

There are still several months to go before these matches take place, with the Qatar World Cup leading to the acceleration of the group stages of the competition this year. The first legs will be played between 14th and 22nd February 2023, with the reverse fixtures scheduled from 7th to 15th March.

 

Europa League knock-out draw

The draw has also been made for the knock-out stages of the Europa League, featuring the teams that finished third in their Champions League group against the sides that were runners-up in their Europa League group.

(Sides that topped their Europa League group like Arsenal skipped these extra round of fixtures).

The tie of that round is yet another repeat of former Champions League finals, with Manchester United playing Barcelona (the Catalans won in 2009, and, again, two years later).

Both will feel that they have already underperformed in Europe this season, but this offers the winner a chance of partial redemption.

Sevilla, the most successful team in the history of the competition – they have won it six times in all – take on Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, whilst Jose Mourinho’s Roma have been drawn against the Austrian team FC Salzburg.

Juventus meanwhile take on Ligue 1 Nantes, whilst Ajax will play Union Berlin, one of the surprise teams in the Bundesliga so far this season.

 

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