Bayern, Schalke and Hanover learn quarterfinal fates | News | DW | 16.03.2012
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Bayern, Schalke and Hanover learn quarterfinal fates

In European soccer competition, Bayern Munich will face Olympique Marseille in their bid to make the Champions League final on home turf, while Schalke and Hanover both play Spanish opposition in the Europa League.

Bayern Munich's quarterfinal draw against French giants Olympique Marseille elicited a stronger response in the south of France than on Säbener Straße on Friday. The French club's president Vincent Labrune admitted a quarterfinal match against Bayern would be "very, very difficult."

"Our German friends are happier than us," he said to Eurosport. "But we have to try our luck to the maximum and continue to dream."

Bayern are ultimately seeking a berth in the final, which will be played at the AllianzArena in Munich on May 19 - but there's a wealth of talent remaining in the tournament besides Marseille, themselves no pushovers.

Defending champions Barcelona, who have won three of the last six Champions League titles, were drawn against seven-time victors AC Milan following the competition's quarterfinals draw in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

Spanish giants kept separate

Meanwhile, Barca's Spanish rivals Real Madrid, who have won the competition nine times in total, will lock horns with APOEL of Cyprus in what appears to be the most clearcut fixture among the last eight.

Further good news, from Jose Mourinho's Madrid perspective, comes in the subsequent semifinal draw, which guarantees Real will not meet Barcelona until the finals. That is perhaps bad news from a German perspective; should Bayern overcome Marseille, the winner of Real Madrid vs. APOEL awaits in the semis.

Lionel Messi

Could Barcelona face Real Madrid in a dramatic final showdown?

Chelsea, the only English side to make it through, was widely seen to have benefited from a fairly favorable draw, as it will play Benfica in the next round. The club's chief executive Ron Gourlay said: "I think it's a good one for us."

"It doesn't matter who you get at this stage, it's going to be a difficult game but I think it was important for us to get the away game first and then hopefully build the foundation from there. So, I think we're pleased."

Spanish outings for Europa League hopefuls

Germany's two remaining Europa League contenders, Schalke and Hanover, will both face Spanish opposition in the last eight of Europe's second club competition.

Schalke's Klaas Jan Huntelaar (R) scores the 1-1 for his team against goalie Nikolay Mihaylov (L) during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and Twente Enschede at Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen

Schalke made it through thanks to a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat trick

Schalke, fresh from their comeback victory against FC Twente, will play Athletic Bilbao - first on home soil and then on the Iberian peninsula.

Hanover, meanwhile, will first travel to the Spanish capital on March 29, before hosting Atletico Madrid in the second leg on April 5.

Schalke and Hanover have also been placed on different sides of the draw, meaning that the pair could theoretically meet in an all-German final in Bucharest on May 9.

sej, msh/ng(AP, AFP)