Real Madrid will know their opponents for knock-out stages tomorrow when the draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland. Real Madrid finished second in their group behind Borussia Dortmund which means they will face one of the teams which finished first in their group.
As per the rules of the competition, a team finishing second faces a team finishing first. Additionally, teams from the same country cannot meet each other at this stage and neither can they face team from their own group. Keeping these rules into consideration, Real Madrid can face the following teams:
Possible opponents: Paris Saint Germain (PSG), Schalke, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Manchester United
- Paris Saint-Germain (France) : PSG finished top of Group A having clinched top spot in the final group game against Porto (who finished second). It would be a battle of two clubs with a lot of money and will definitely help the Spanish media to milk the Cristiano/Mourinho to PSG rumours even more. They currently sit top of the Ligue 1 standings and have their own team of stars. After Lyon, PSG could be the next “regular” opponents?
- Schalke : Quite glad that there is no Raul for Schalke anymore or this game would have been an emotional wreck! The Germans finished top with Arsenal second in a topsy-turvy group B. Arsenal could have topped the group but for their loss to Olympiacos in the last game. The currently lie 7th in the Bundesliga table.
- Juventus : La Septima was won against the Old Lady in 1998 and a matchup against the Italian giants and a team of such legendary stature would be exceptional. They sit top of the Serie A table and only recently had their fantastic unbeaten home run ended by Inter Milan, only highlighting how difficult the leg in Turin will be. They finished above Shakhtar Donetsk and were instrumental in seeing defending Champions, Chelsea, knocked out.
- Bayern Munich: The perennial European rivals! We lost to them in the semi-finals last year on penalties and have had an incredibly poor record against them (or any German side for that matter!). Meeting them and their well organised side won’t be an easy task at all. They had a surprise loss in Belarus at BATE Borisov but other than that, they had smooth sailing. They finished above Valencia based on head-to-head record. Bayern are top of the Bundesliga standings and are going strong in the DFB Pokal tournament.
- Manchester United: One of the best memories of playing Manchester United is facing them in the 1999-00 Quarter-finals and the splendid second leg at Old Trafford. A lot has changed since then though (except their manager in charge and our goalkeeper on the night). It would also be Cristiano’s return to Manchester but this time in the red half of the city. United had a turbulent group stage but in the end they got through. Galatasaray were second in Group H. They currently sit top of the Premier League having beaten city rivals a week ago.
(Redondo’s backheel and then assist is quite easily one of my favourite footballing plays. So, if you don’t mind.)
Bits and bobs:
- Draw will take place at 11.30AM CET (10.30 AM GMT) with UEFA’s General secretary Gianni Infantino present as always. The celebrity guests would be Steve McManaman (Champions League final is in London) and Patrick Kluivert (Europa League final is in Amsterdam).
- First leg would be in Madrid.
- Needles info but during the mock-draw, Real Madrid were paired with Manchester United.
- The draw would be streamed live on UEFA.com and I will be live tweeting the draw as it happens on Twitter. (Follow @realmadrid_rock)