In a draw that Bayern Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann calls "quite exceptional," his team is set to play Barcelona for a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The UEFA Cup draw was also set.
Is Bayern Munich up to the task of defeating Barcelona?
"That is one tough draw," Klinsmann said after the match-up was determined on Friday, March 20 at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
But rather than focus on the looming task at hand of defeating Barcelona, Klinsmann was positive, saying it would be a "great incentive" for the team to "measure itself against the best European team at the moment."
Klinsmann himself was a Bayern Munich striker in 1996 when the Germans defeated Barca in the UEFA Cup semifinals.
Munich can also take comfort in the fact that it has not lost in all four previous matches against Barcelona, which is coached by Josep Guardiola, in Europe.
But despite these upbeat statistics, Bayern Munich team manager Uli Hoeness conceded the "great record" of the Spanish team, which is the winner of the 2006 Champions League and one of the title favorites. Barcelona is particularly known for its impressive offensive led by the Argentinean start Lionel Messi.
A great advantage
Fans could be in for a real treat at the Allianz Arena if Bayern Munich should win
Hoeness however thinks it is a great advantage for his team that Bayern will play Barcelona in Spain for the first game on April 8.
"As we've been saying all along, if we're to be drawn against one of the giants, we want the first leg away from home, and that's what we've got," he said. "Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in the return (on April 14) is a dream come true for our fans."
The quarter-final tie will be an emotional affair for Bayern captain Mark van Bommel, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2006.
"It's a very special game for me," he said.
Should Bayern Munich win against Barcelona, they would meet either Liverpool or Chelsea in the semifinal.
Bayern last triumphed in the Champions League competition in 2001.
The other games will feature Liverpool vs. Chelsea, defending champion Manchester United against Porto and Arsenal London vs. Villareal.
Hamburg draws Manchester City in UEFA Cup
Hamburg made its way to the quarter-finals by defeating Galatasaray
The UEFA Cup draw also conducted on Friday in Nyon will pit Manchester City, the only Premier League club remaining in the UEFA Cup, against SV Hamburg in a quarterfinal clash. Hamburg advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to a 3-2 win in Istanbul over Galatasaray.
Werder Bremen, the other remaining German team in the competition will face Udinese, Serie A's only remaining club.
Depending on the quarterfinal outcomes, there could be an all-French, all-German or all-Ukrainian semifinal. The winner of the tie between Manchester City and SV Hamburg will face the winner of the Werder Bremen and Udinese match-up. The winners from Paris Saint-Germain/Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk/Olympique Marseille will face each other in the other semifinal.