Manchester United’s efforts to salvage a disastrous season with a UEFA Champions League title grew a lot more difficult Friday when the English Premier League team was matched against defending champion Bayern Munich of Germany in next month’s tournament quarterfinals.
In the other matches Spanish giant Barcelona will meet La Liga rival Atletico Madrid; Real Madrid was drawn against 2013 Champions League runner-up Borussia Dortmund; and England’s Chelsea will play Paris St-Germain of France’s Ligue 1.
“As I said before, all seven teams left are very strong,” Paris St-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said of the draw. “We will be ready for the games against Chelsea, a club which I have a lot of respect for.”
The first legs will be played April 1-2 with the return legs scheduled a week later. The winner of the two-game series will be decided on aggregate goals.
Manchester United, which has struggled in Premier League play under first-year coach David Moyes, overcame a 2-0 deficit to eliminate Greek club Olympiakos in Champions League play earlier this week. But in defending Bundesliga champion Bayern, United will be facing a juggernaut that has lost just three games in all competitions since the start of 2013.
Munich is bidding to become the first repeat winner of the Champions League crown in the modern era and so far it has played flawlessly. In the Bundesliga, it is unbeaten in a record 51 consecutive matches, winning the last 18 in a row. It has a goal differential of 62 in league play, where it averages nearly three scores a match while giving up one goal every two games.
The series will open at Manchester United while Chelsea will travel to Paris for its first match. Also opening at home are Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“I was thrilled we were in the draw and that we are in the quarterfinals of the Champions League,” said Moyes, who will be without striker Robin Van Persie for 4-6 weeks due to a sprained knee. “I have to say we have probably drawn out the favorites and holders of the competition. It is a really tough draw for us but one I am looking forward to.”
Bayern beat United on away goals in the 2009-10 quarterfinals.