Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,


Real time, real news: Goal.com LIVE! brings you the action as it happens.

Champions League & Europa League draws LIVE
The draws have taken place, folks, and the Champions League quarter-final ties look as follows:

APOEL v Real Madrid
Marseille v Bayern
Benfica v Chelsea
Milan v Barcelona

Hosted by Stephen Crawford.

14:00 GMT


Path to the final:

Champions League draw: APOEL v Real Madrid, AC Milan v Barcelona, Olympique de Marseille v Bayern Munich & Benfica v Chelsea

And remember, folks, you can keep up to date with all the reaction - which is still rolling in, by the way - right HERE with our Champions League news stream.

So from all of us here at Goal.com and from myself, Stephen Crawford, a massive thank you for joining us, and a good day to you all!

13:54 GMT


We're nearing the end of our LIVE commentary for the day folks, but there's still plenty you can get involved in, such as this interactive poll:

Can Bayern Munich end the hosts' curse and reach the Champions League final?

13:47 GMT


More reaction from the Bayern camp now, as Franck Ribery gives his throughts on the upcoming clash with Marseille:

"This [tie is] not easy."

"In Marseille there is a fantastic atmosphere. The people live for football: 60,000 spectators will be against us.

"But we are FC Bayern. We have high targets."

Philipp Lahm, the Bavarian side's skipper, went on to add:

"This is a decent draw. There are no easy opponents now. I did say it would be nice to avoid Barcelona and Madrid, so that's why we can be satisfied.

"But Marseille are dangerous. They have eliminated Inter and won twice against Dortmund."

13:43 GMT


@slyblackman must have known that we were going to be hearing from Mr Di Matteo as he, too, has asked of Chelsea. He tweets: "What are the chelsea chances against Benfica and where will the key battles be?"

Wayne Veysey responds:

"I believe Chelsea have a very good chance of beating Benfica. The momentum is with them after Wednesday's against-the-odds triumph and, while Chelsea will respect Benfica's calibre and history, they will regard the Portugese club as beatable opponents.

"The key battles could be the excellent Javi Garcia against Frank Lampard and Nicolas Gaitan, outstanding against Manchester United before Christmas, against the Chelsea full-backs."

13:40 GMT


Let's hear now from Roberto Di Matteo on what he makes of his Chelsea side drawing Benfica.

He told reporters: "When you get down to the last eight teams, any draw is difficult. I've seen Benfica many times. They were in Man United's group. It's a tough game for us. I think the fact that we play the first game away is good."

13:36 GMT


Another poll we set up on Facebook today was to determine whether fans thought both competitions could end with an all-Spanish final. Here are the results so far:
  • Yes: 431
  • No: 129
So there you have it - the Spanish sides are heavily favoured in both competitions by our fans.

13:31 GMT


Guardiola isn't afraid to open his mouth today, apparently, and he's moved quickly to contest Lionel Messi's claims that Pep is more important to Barcelona than he, the coach stating: "Messi saying I'm more important to Barca than him? Lets never forget people to come see Messi, not to see me."

Well that's you told, Leo.

13:14 GMT


@mattricky has stated his thoughts on the outcome of Marseille's clash with Bayern by bringing up the German side's impressive record against French teams in the past, but France editor Robin Bairner has this to say:

"This certainly seems to be true in recent seasons, but it must be considered that Lyon have been a team on the slide for several campaigns now, and when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League were arguably at their weakest state in the best part of a decade.

"Marseille will be a different challenge to Bayern as they are typically stronger and more robust, particularly in the spine of their side. If the likes of Loic Remy and Mathieu Valbuena can find their form after recent injury problems, they certainly have the capability of causing the Germans problems.

"OM's biggest weakness going into the first leg will be their defence. With Mandanda and Diawara suspended, they are severely short-handed in this area, and with Bayern so strong going forward, they will be confident of striking a couple of away goals to go some distance to putting the tie to bed."

13:09 GMT


@SaheedOlasunkan asks us: "Do you think Manchester United has slipped considering they lost to a Basel side that was later thrashed by Bayern Munich?"

UK correspondent Greg Stobart takes this one, replying:

"I don’t think anyone can say with certainty United are no longer competitive in Europe, despite a nightmare campaign in both the Champions League and Europa League.

"Sir Alex Ferguson badly underestimated his team’s group - especially Basel - and United were punished for complacency and over-confidence.

"They have defended poorly and been outplayed in Europe but you have to remember that, before this season, United have been in three of the last four Champions League finals.

"I’d put it down to a blip rather than make too rash a judgement on the state of the current squad."

13:07 GMT


A season of hope has fallen apart in three days, says Kris Voakes, as he extensively shares his thoughts in a quickfire editorial:

The Italian revival crumbles in a week as AC Milan get worst possible quarter-final draw

13:02 GMT


@bs13gas gets his chalkboard out and asks: "It took the English teams years to adopt Europes 4-4-1-1 formation, is it time to ditch this and go 4-3-3 like Europes best?"

Wayne agrees: "You're right. Tactically, England's finest lagged behind Europe's big guns until they began to take a grip on the Champions League in the mid-noughties. Tactical systems do, of course, depend upon the players available but I would disagree with your assertion that English teams do not use 4-3-3.

"This has been Chelsea's trusted system since the Jose Mourinho years. Likewise, Arsene Wenger has used it at Arsenal exclusively this season, with Theo Walcott and Gervinho having particularly offensive roles. Manchester City also use a variation of this, although they sometimes use two strikers - mainly because they have the firepower to do so."

13:00 GMT


@elfab is up next, and they want to know if, with all that has transpired, we see a Clasico grand finale?

I know what I think, but lets hear what the experts have to say, here's Kris Voakes:

"The favourites are in one side of the draw, the second favourites in the other. I certainly believe that it is a very great possibility as things stand.

"Bayern will rightly harbour hopes of appearing in a home final, but Madrid appear to be in the kind of mood to trouble Die Roten's suspect defence. Meanwhile, Barca's biggest hurdle probably comes in the quarter-final against Milan, which they will be big favourites to progress from.

"I would be surprised were it not a Clasico final at this stage."

12:58 GMT


@iam_waley asks us: "What are Chelsea's chances of reaching the final?"

Responding the Iam's tweet is UK correspondent Wayne Veysey, who had this to say:

"I believe they are very slim if, as expected, Barcelona overcome Milan in what is the most mouth-watering of the last eight draws. I can easily see Chelsea overcoming Benfica but Barcelona will probably be too much for them. Milan might also be a test too demanding for the Chelsea pensioners."

12:54 GMT


Even Pep Guardiola has taken to Twitter today! Lets see what the Barca boss had to say before we get back to our Q&A:

"Milan is one of the greatest teams, they have fantastic players.

"To win the CL, you have to beat the best, Milan is one of them.

"Main thing for Abidal now is to recover. It happened to him, Tito, and many other people. He knows he has us by his side. Rumours about having told the club few months ago I wouldn't continue? No, I didn't say that to the club. Abidal will have to fight on his own, but we'll be there. The bigger the difficulty, the more love and care we should give.

"Champions League final against Madrid? I'm not even thinking about semi's against Benfica or Chelsea yet. Quarter-finals will be very tough."

12:52 GMT


Spain editor Ben Hayward quickly got his head down after the draw was announced to put together this piece on the possibility of a Clasico final - be good sports and give his hard work a read?

The Clasico final is on - Barcelona and Real Madrid on course for dream showdown

12:49 GMT


@jerrybabs asks: 'What will be Benfica fans' reactions to David Luiz and Ramires - and will it affect their performance?'

Portugal editor Luis Mira replies:

"Ramires himself said earlier on Friday that he wanted to face Benfica to have the chance to meet some of his old team-mates and return to the Estadio da Luz.

"Both Ramires and David Luiz left the club on good terms and after becoming key players in the team, so I have no doubt that Benfica's fans will welcome the Brazilian duo with open arms.

"Ramires and Luiz must be looking forward to playing against Benfica and my guess is that they will not celebrate if they score against their former club."

12:44 GMT


Oh, and more now from Facebook, as 577 of our readers voted 'yes' for a Clasico final, while only 175 voted 'no'.

Elsewhere, the majority of fans are backing Athletic Bilbao for the Europa League trophy, with Valencia second, Atletico Madrid third and Schalke weighing in at fourth.

12:42 GMT


We conducted a few polls earlier on Facebook, lets take a look at what the results yeilded:
  • Readers are pretty much split 50/50 on whether Benfica can beat Chelsea.
  • Real Madrid are (unsurprisingly) the majority choice for the easiest draw.
  • For the most decisive player left in the competition, Lionel Messi just pips Cristiano Ronaldo, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic a distant third.
  • And finally, Real Madrid are being backed by most to win the competition, with Barcelona a short way behind them.

12:37 GMT


@pretysam wonders if Barcelona could actually be knocked out at this stage, based on their group performances against the Catalans

Here to answer Sam's question is none other than Kris Voakes:

"Whilst, as a club of such stature, and as seven-time winners of the European Cup, Milan have the kind of hope that others might not, it would undoubtedly be a big surprise were they to progress past Barcelona.

"Their previous clashes showed that, yes, Milan can give Barca a game, but they also proved that Barca remain the better of the two, and their long periods of possession in both fixtures had the Rossoneri chasing for lengthy spells.

"The Italian side will need their entire side to be playing at the top of their game to pull this one off, and their defence will need to revert back to the form of a year ago. Otherwise, another 180 minutes playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi and Co. can only end in one result."