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Champions League Knockout Phase Draw Favors Bayern

The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League was held in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday, throwing up a basket of mega clashes for the next phase of Europe's premier club competition.

Luca Toni, right, Ribery, center, and Miroslav Klose, bottom left, celebrate a goal against Leverkusen

Bayern won't let its guard down against Sporting

Though no easy assignment, German champions Bayern Munich will face Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon. Bayern is likely happy about sidestepping a clash with the big clubs from England, Italy and Spain.

Likewise, Spanish outfit Villarreal will be satisfied with a dual against Greek club Panathinaikos. Catalan giants Barcelona, who are in hot form in the Spanish La Liga, will face Olympique Lyon, while Atletico Madrid meet Porto in an Iberian derby.

The first-leg ties take place on February 24 and 25, with the return legs on March 10 and 11.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed satisfaction at drawing Sporting, a team currently sitting fourth in the Portuguese league and who the 2000 Champions League winners beat and drew with in the tournament's group phase two years ago.

Manchester United players celebrate on the final whistle after playing Barcelona

United will be looking to follow up on success in last year's Champions League

"That's not an uncomfortable draw," he said. "It's a team we have played before and against which we have performed positively, but with the knockout system we can't afford one bad day."

England versus Italy

Defending champions Manchester United will face Inter Milan, while last year's beaten finalists Chelsea take on Juventus, now managed by former Blues boss Claudio Ranieri. Arsenal play Roma in the third Serie A-Premier League matchup.

The fourth English club, Liverpool, were also given a difficult task in record nine-time winners Real Madrid, who they faced in the 1981 Champions League final.

Liverpool will be looking to take advantage of a Real side that is still finding its feet under new manager Juande Ramos, who was sacked by former employer Tottenham Hotspur in October.

Four German clubs progress in UEFA Cup

Inter's Javier Zanetti, left, challenges for the ball with Bremen's Mesut Oezil

Bremen have shown they can play quality football at the highest level

The round of 32 draw for the UEFA Cup, the continent's second-tier pan-European tournament, was also held in Nyon on Friday, with two German clubs paired against an Italian giant and the competition's 2008 champions.

Werder Bremen will face seven-time European champions AC Milan, while UEFA Cup holders Zenit St Petersburg were matched against VfB Stuttgart.

SV Hamburg have been pitted against Dutch side NEC Nijmegen and VfL Wolfsburg will take on Paris St Germain.

Olympiakos or Saint-Etienne to meet Bremen or Milan

Big-spending Manchester City will expect to progress at the expense of FC Copenhagen, but Aston Villa face a challenging task against CSKA Moscow. Tottenham Hotspur will also need to be at their best if they want to overcome Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

Victory for Harry Redknapp's side could set up a potential all-English clash against Villa in the UEFA Cup round of 16, which was also drawn on Friday.

Hamburg forward Ivica Olic chases down a ball

Hamburg forward Ivica Olic will be keen to impress against NEC Nijmegen

Valencia are to face Ukrainian opposition in Dynamo Kiev while Deportivo La Coruna should be somewhat satisfied after being drawn against Danish side Aalborg.

Serie A team Udinese take on Lech Poznan of Poland and Sampdoria face Metalist Kharkiv.

Olympiakos Piraeus meet Saint-Etienne knowing either Bremen or Milan await them in the next round, while SC Braga take on Belgian side Standard Liege.

Bordeaux meet Turkish giants Galatasaray and Olympique Marseille face FC Twente with the winners to go up against either Fiorentina or Ajax Amsterdam.

The round of 32 matches are set to be played February 18, 19 and 26, with round of 16 matches on March 12, 18 and 19.

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