NYON - European champions
Inter Milan will play Bayern Munich in a repeat of last season's
final following the draw for the first knockout round of the
Champions League on Friday.
Inter beat Bayern 2-0 in Madrid with two goals from Diego
Milito to clinch their first European crown for 45 years but
struggled in this season's group stage, qualifying for the last
16 as a runner-up. Bayern topped their group with five wins out
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Club president Massimo Moratti told reporters in Abu Dhabi:
"We have met Bayern many times, it's an historic battle, but
it's too soon to judge.
"Last season we got through past English and Spanish teams,
and this time we start with Bayern, we'll see what form we'll be
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, club CEO, said: "Inter are an
extremely difficult draw, the most difficult I would have to say.
"But it will be an attractive duel. Maybe we could take
revenge for the defeat in May."
The other stand-out tie paired this season's favourites
Barcelona with Arsenal - the team they beat 6-3 on aggregate in
last season's quarter-finals.
Barcelona, who also beat Arsenal in the 2006 final, drew 2-2
in London last season before Lionel Messi demolished the Premier
Leaguer side, scoring all four goals in Barca's 4-1 second leg
win at the Nou Camp.
Sports director Andoni Zubizarreta told Gol television: "It
will be a very level tie with Arsenal with no clear favourite.
"Cesc (Fabregas) hasn't returned to play at the Nou Camp
since he left so it is an opportunity for him. We know him well
but he will be defending the colours of Arsenal as captain."
Arsenal Club Secretary David Miles said: "Barcelona are probably the
form team in Europe at the moment.
"We are looking forward to two good games, two good teams
playing attacking football.
"The last couple of times we played them they've got the
better of us so hopefully we can turn the tables."
Real Madrid, the nine-times winners, face Olympique Lyon
again after losing to the French side at the same stage last
Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas told Eurosport: "Our previous
encounters with Real Madrid have often allowed Lyon to get
through. But Real are a different team this year. It is a
difficult draw in a different context.
"It will be a tactical match because Real Madrid are playing
at home in the second leg.
"I think Lyon will be stronger in February and I am
convinced we will play our part in the Champions League."
Tottenham Hotspur will return to the San Siro to face AC
Milan, after finishing ahead of Inter in the group phase.
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri told Milan's TV channel:
"Tottenham are definitely a good side but among the possible
opponents they were one of those who on paper looked less
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said: "It's a great draw, it's an
exciting game to play and to look forward to.
"They have a fantastic record, they're leading the league in
Italy so it's a great challenge for us.
"They have some fantastic players but I said before I
wouldn't mind playing them because you want to play against the
In the other ties, AS Roma will play Shakhtar Donetsk of
Ukraine, Valencia will play Schalke 04, Olympique Marseille face
Manchester United and FC Copenhagen meet Chelsea.
Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said: "We'll be very careful,
Copenhagen are a very good side but I think we'll be happy with
"If we play to our ability we are a match for any club."
Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken added: "It's great for the fans but
from my point of view Chelsea, along with Manchester United and
Real Madrid, were the teams we did not want."
Brian Laudrup, who played for both clubs, said: "What
Copenhagen can hope for is that Chelsea's current crisis in form
continues. If it does, there could be a change of coach and
other turmoil which could be to Copenhagen's advantage.
First legs will be played on February 15 and 16 and February 22 and
23 with the return legs on March 8 and 9 and March 15 and 16.
The final will be at Wembley Stadium on May 28.
Real Madrid are now coached by Jose Mourinho, the man who
led Inter to the title last season, and they will relish a
chance to atone for their mistakes of last term.
Last season Lyon won 1-0 in France before going through with
a 1-1 draw in Madrid.
"We still have last year's elimination fresh in the memory,"
Real sporting director Miguel Pardeza told Gol Televison.
"It's curious to have them two years in succession. It
should help us to learn and to make sure we don't make the same
mistakes this time."
Tottenham, joint highest scorers in the group stage along
with Arsenal with 18 goals, came from 4-0 down with a Gareth
Bale hat-trick before losing 4-3 at the San Siro in October.
Darren Eales, Tottenham's director of football
administration, said the club would take heart from that
comeback when they meet the seven-times winners AC Milan.
"That second half and going into the home game gave the
players the belief that they could compete with teams like Inter
Milan and they showed it at White Hart Lane (where Spurs won
3-1)" Eales told Sky Sports News.
"As we've gone on in the competition we've grown in
confidence and I think that's what the lads will take into the
AC Milan game."
Draw in full
Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk
AC Milan v Tottenham Hotspur
Valencia v Schalke
Inter Milan v Bayern Munich
Lyon v Real Madrid
Arsenal v Barcelona
Marseille v Manchester United
Copenhagen v Chelsea
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