It’s Milan in the quarterfinals and the earliest we can meet Real Madrid is in the final. A relief for some, but imagine what May 19 will be like if that’s the case. Whatever, it’s a long ways off, so it’s time to focus on a team we’ve already played twice in the Champions League this year. The first was a draw at the Camp Nou, a 2-2 affair in which an early, early Pato goal and a late, late Thiago Silva goal were the bookends of a Pedro and Villa pair.
The second match, the one in the San Siro, was a 2-3 win for Barça in which Xavi got the winner with 30 minutes remaining. It was Boateng’s brilliant goal that was the highlight and one that left Barça a bit frazzled. Yet it was also that “heart of a champion” thing and getting the victory out of the draw, not settling for having to win the next game to be top of Group H.
And so it’s a return to the San Siro on wednesday, March 28 and then the Camp Nou on Tuesday, April 3. Set your calendars, set your DVRs, set your life aside: it’s the quarterfinals! The winner goes on to face the winner of Chelsea-Benfica on April 17/18 and April 24/25. Wouldn’t Stamford Bridge like to have us back…
The other side of the draw, if we must cover it, is Madrid-APOEL and Bayern-Marseille. Sounds easy, but I’m sure that both Lyon and Inter thought the same thing when they got the Round of 16 draw. If I were to guess, I’d say Madrid-Bayern in the semis, but no clear favorite emerges there simply because Bayern Munich is fighting to play the final in their own stadium.