I sat nervously waiting for the Champions League draw in Nyon this morning. The sense of anticipation was high; I just wanted the draw to take place without all the spiel beforehand. I felt shaky and continuously clicked my pen.
So finally it came to the draw… Bayern Munich v Manchester United. A fixture which immediately brings flashbacks of that wonderful night in the Camp Nou in 1999.
Bayern is by no means a gimme fixture but the draw could have been much worse. In the previous round Bayern defeated a valiant Fiorentina team and currently lead the Bundesliga by two points from FC Schalke 04. We last faced Bayern Munich in the quarter final stage of the 2000/01season where we unfortunately lost 3-1 aggregate.
Louis Van Gaal (Bayern’s manager) has seen it all before, winning the Champions League with Ajax in 1995. Van Gaal certainly won’t be intimidated by Sir Alex Ferguson or the Manchester United team. After a slow start to their season Van Gaal has transformed Bayern’s fortunes with a winning streak which has seen them surge to the top spot in the Bundesliga. With the second leg at Old Trafford, I think it’s fair to suggest we will be firm favorites to progress to the semi final stage but with stars such as Robben, Ribery and Klose, Bayern will sure ask us questions…
If we progress to the semi final stage we will face the winners of Lyon and Bordeaux. A French derby, which will no doubt capture the imagination and attention of the French public. I’m undecided which team I’d prefer to face to be honest. We will be away for the second leg, which is obviously a tougher ask.
Bordeaux are the current French champions and with Yoann Gourcuff in their team will be a real threat – a dead ball specialist. Laurent Blanc (Larry White) is their manager, one of the new breed of managers similar to Josep Guardiola that like to play attractive attacking football. Including teams such as Juventus and our quarter final opponent, Bordeaux comfortably qualified from the group stages with five wins out of six.
In recent times, Lyon have dominated the French club scene which included seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles. Lyon have a rich history of finding top quality players such as Benzema, Essien and Juninho. In the group stages, Lyon came second behind Fiorentina. They found themselves paired against Liverpool. The games against Liverpool were absolutely brilliant, in both games Lyon scored late goals to deny Liverpool, much joy… 🙂 Having knocked out Real Madrid in the previous round, Lyon will be full of confidence and will have no fear whatsoever.
If we are to progress to semi-final stage, which team would you prefer? We couldn’t have asked for a better draw, I’ll be disappointed if we fail to reach final. We will be classed as the home team if we reach the final, so we will be wearing red. 🙂
For the neutral the Barcelona Arsenal fixture is probably the most mouthwatering. There is the chance we could play Arsenal in the final or indeed Barcelona which will give us the chance to seek revenge for last season’s final defeat.
Quarter final draw
First leg: 30th/31st March 2010
Second leg: 6th/7th April 2010
- Lyon v Bordeaux
- Bayern Munich v Manchester United
- Arsenal v Barcelona
- Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow
Semi Final Draw
First leg: 20th/21st April 2010
Second leg: 27th/28th April 2010
- Bayern Munich or Manchester United v Lyon or Bordeaux
- Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow v Arsenal or Barcelona
Final: 22nd May 2010