So the Champions League draw went ahead without me being awake, which is simply unreasonable. Don’t they know I need a lot of beauty rest? Whatever, here are the results:
Bayer Leverkusen – Barcelona, taking place February 14 & March 7
Lyon – APOEL; February 14 – March 7
Napoli – Chelsea; February 21 – March 14
Milan – Arsenal; February 15 – March 6
Basel – Bayern Munich; February 22 – March 13
CSKA Moscow – Real Madrid; February 21 – March 14
Zenit St. Petersburg – Benfica; February 15 – March 6
Marseille – Internazionale; February 22 – March 13
While Manchester United fans might disagree with this assertion, it struck me that Basel was the easiest of the Round of 16 opponents Barça could have faced, so it’s too bad that didn’t happen from the perspective of qualifying for the quarterfinals, but the main point of interest is that Barça avoided Russia in February. Can’t be too displeased with that. The opponent that did get handed down is Bayer Leverkusen, who currently sit 6th in the Bundesliga, 12 points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.
Treat this as you will, but most of you are probably letting out big sighs of relief based solely on the geographic location of the games, but also because there’s a perceived weakness on the part of Leverkusen. Yet in the group stage, Leverkusen won all 3 of their matches at home (against Valencia, Genk, and Chelsea) which certainly suggests a tougher opponent than earning 10 points might suggest. Drawing away to Genk wasn’t that crazy given both Chelsea and Valencia did the same thing, but it came at the wrong moment and Chelsea leapfrogged the Germans on the last group stage matchday and consigned Leverkusen to running up against teams like, say, Barcelona. Whoops.
What say you of this draw?