Manageable draws for German sides in European competition | News | DW | 20.12.2012
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Manageable draws for German sides in European competition

The 2012-13 Champions League Round of 16 and the Europa League Round of 32 draws have taken place in Switzerland. The matchups include homecomings for Germany strikers Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose.

A hand reaches in to complete a draw

Champions League Auslosung

The draw of the 16 group winners and runners up from the first round of the Champions League were held on Thursday at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Last year's finalists, Bayern Munich, are set to take on Arsenal of England. Borussia Dortmund will face Ukrainian side Shaktar Donetsk, while Schalke were drawn against Galatasaray of Turkey. The Round of 16 begins on February 12.

The match between Bayern and Arsenal pits Bayern's German national team stalwarts such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer, and Thomas Müller against their national team companions from Arsenal, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker. Podolski once played for Bayern.

"We know Arsenal well. That's a draw we can be satisfied with," said Bayern's chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "It's not a foregone conclusion, we can't underestimate Arsenal."

Dortmund's chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, was a bit more pessimistic in his comments to Sky TV.

"That's not necessarily the opponent we'd chose," he said, referring to Ukrainian side Shaktar Donetsk. "I's a difficult task, but we showed in the group phase that we can pull through against strong opponents."

Schalke's captain, Benedikt Höwedes, said his team was got a "decent draw, but we certainly won't underestimate Galatasaray."

Last year's Champions League winners, Chelsea, failed to advance to the Round of 16 after finishing third in their group. As a result, they move into the Round of 32 in the Europa League.

The marquee matchup of the competition is surely Manchester United against Real Madrid. The two have played a number of exiciting ties in European competition over the past five decades, most recently in the 2003 Champions League quarterfinals.

Exciting Europa League draws for German teams

The Europa League Round of 32 followed immediately after the Champions League draw at UEFA headquarters. The first leg takes place on February 14.

Bayer Leverkusen were drawn against Benfica of Portugal and Borussia Mönchengladbach were drawn against Italian side Lazio. Stuttgart will face Belgian side KRC Genk, while Hannover 96 take on big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia.

In Benfica, Leverkusen play an opponent whose storied European exploits go back more than a half century, including back-to-back European Cup wins 1961 and 1962. In the Champions League group stage this year, they held their own against the likes of Celtic and Barcelona, most impressively earning a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou.

"Benfica had played a very good group phase and confidently leads the league at the moment in Portugal," said Leverkusen's technical director, Rudi Völler. "It's a tough nut to crack, but with on a good day we definitely have a chance. I expect a battle of the equals."

Although they avoided famous more sides Lyon, Liverpool and Chelsea, Stuttgart were satisfied with their matchup against Genk, who were champions of Belgium in 2011.

"We can be happy, it's an attractive opponent who played in the Champions League last year," said Stuttgart's technical director, Fredi Bobic.

The matchup that is perhaps most exciting for German fans will be Gladbach against Lazio. It will mean a return to Germany for national team striker Miroslav Klose. Gladbach, meanwhile, will relish the experience of playing in Rome's famous Stadio Olimpico.

"I haven't been to Rome before," said Patrick Herrmann "Lazio is a big-name opponent against whom we can prove ourselves. I think it will be two good games."

Hannover will no doubt expect a tough matchup against Anzhi. The wealthy Russian side have brought in a number of marquee names over the past few seasons, including Samuel Eto'o, Lassana Diarra and Christopher Samba. Though based in Dagestan in southwestern Russia, Anzhi play their European games in Moscow.

In other matchups, Chelsea were drawn against Sparta Prague, while last year's Europa League champions Atletico Madrid will face Rubin Kazan of Russia.