Manchester United handed daunting Champions League test

If Manchester United are to progress to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League, they must first get past current holders Bayern Munich over two legs.

Having lost their last-16 first leg match 2-0 in Athens, the Reds showed their fighting spirit on Wednesday night by beating Olympiakos 3-0 to advance to the last eight. This was a highlight of what has been a hugely difficult debut campaign for David Moyes, and his task was unlikely to get any easier in the light of the quarter-final draw.

Of all the teams United could face in the next stage, Bayern were probably the ones they would most have wanted to avoid. The German giants won the Champions League as part of their treble last season, and have progressed further under Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard, who led Barcelona to final successes over the Old Trafford club in 2009 and 2011, is on course to repeat that Jupp Heynckes achieved at the Allianz Arena last term.

Bayern are currently top of the Bundesliga table, 23 points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund having not lost in any of their 25 fixtures thus far. They are also in the semi-final of the domestic cup competition, and take on second-tier side Kaiserslautern next month. They will travel to Manchester for the first leg of their Champions League tie, meaning Moyes and his players will travel to the Allianz Arena for the second leg.

Although Bayern are unbeaten at home domestically this season, they have come undone against English sides on two occasions this term: Manchester City came from behind to beat them 3-2 in the final match of the group stage, whilst Arsenal held them to a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the last 16 tie. And last March, the Gunners also recorded a 2-0 win in Munich, although this meant little following a first leg 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will face Paris St Germain as they look to reclaim the trophy they won in 2012. The French side, coached by Laurent Blanc, are 12 points clear in their defence of the Ligue 1 title, and boast the likes of Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Uruguayan ace Edinson Cavani, and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva in their ranks. The Blues, though, will at least be at home for the decisive second leg of the tie on 8 April.

The draw produced an all-Spanish affair for its first tie, when Barcelona came out of the hat to take on Atletico Madrid. Both sides have ambitions of winning La Liga this season, but are currently third and second, respectively, behind Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti has won the Champions League with Milan in the past, and he will expect to progress to the last four with Los Blancos after being paired with Borussia Dortmund in the quarters.


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