Manchester United will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter final after the draw made in Nyon today. Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2008 champions, aiming for a third final in a row after beating Chelsea two seasons ago but losing to Barcelona last year, will play Bayern on 30 March and 7 April 2010, with United away in the first leg.
The semi final draw, which took place at the same time, means that Untied will face either of the French sides Lyon or Bordeaux should they overcome Bayern in the quarters. Semi final ties will take place on 21 and 27 April, with United playing the home leg at Old Trafford first should Sir Alex Ferguson’s side progress.
“The history of playing Bayern in past European ties tells you it’s going to be a very difficult tie for us,” Ferguson told ManUtd.com on Friday.
“It’ll be a fantastic atmosphere in both games. They have a great stadium and a good pitch and we’re up against a good, experienced team.
“Hopefully we’ll have everyone we need for the game and, if we do, then we have got a good chance.”
The draw could hardly be more favourable for United, with this flavour of Bayern far from the vintage of earlier years. Louis van Gaal’s side is stubborn in defence and in Arjen Robben and Franc Ribéry possesses two outstanding wingers but the Bundesliga leaders required a huge slice of fortune to sneak past Fiorentina on away goals in the round of 16.
Moreover, United will play the home leg at Old Trafford second, which is generally considered a distinct advantage in European competition.
United’s route to the final is also eased by a good semi draw, with Lyon and Bordeaux both neat and tidy but some way short of Europe’s leading teams. Lyon, deposed as French champions by Laurent Blanc’s Bordeaux last season, knocked a dysfunctional Real Madrid out of the competition in the last round but was second best to Fiorentia in the group stages.
With Chelsea out of the Champions League, United’s fixture list looks more crowded and Ferguson’s side is not helped by having to play away from home before the tie with the Londoners on 3 April. That Sky has scheduled a Saturday lunchtime kick-off with Chelsea helps United’s preparation only for the second leg home tie with Bayern the following week.
The hilariously wooden draw, conducted at UEFA headquarters by Secretary General Gianni Infantino and former Real Madrid legend Emillio Butragueno, also pits Cesc Fabregas’ Arsenal against his employers next season, Barcelona, in the last eight with the winners likely to face Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeau stadium will host the final on Saturday 22 May – on the weekend for the first time – so that “families and children can attend,” according to Infantino. Each competing side will receive just 21,000 tickets, 3,000 already sold to the general public and the rest going to UEFA’s corporate sponsors.
Nothing to do with TV rights then?
Quarter Final Draw
Olympique Lyonnais v Girondins de Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v MANCHESTER UNITED
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow
Semi Final Draw
Bayern Munich or MANCHESTER UNITED v Olympique Lyonnais or Girondins de Bordeaux
Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow v Arsenal or Barcelona