While you were sleeping, Champions League quarterfinals set

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UEFA officials drew Champions League quarterfinal pairings this morning in Nyon, Switzerland. Here’s how the draw looks:

  • Apoel vs. Real Madrid
  • Marseille vs. Bayern Munich
  • Benfica vs. Chelsea
  • AC Milan vs. Barcelona

A bracket would show that Apoel or Real Madrid will meet Marseille or Bayern Munich in the semifinals. On the other side, Benfica or Chelsea will meet AC Milan or Barcelona.

The first legs are set for March 27 and 28, with the return matches scheduled for April 3 and 4. (From there, semifinals are set for April 17-18 and April 24-25. The final in Munich is May 19.)

Talking points here:

  • We’re still on track for a potential Barcelona-Real Madrid final, and wouldn’t that be delicious? On the other hand, we’ve all seen that movie before. So, perhaps you’re more stoked for another potentially dandy matchup …
  • There’s also a possibility that Barcelona could face Bayern Munich inside the German’s home ground, the gleaming, futuristic Allianz Arena.
  • Real Madrid is the big winner. Apoel, the heroic club from tiny Cyprus, is a wonderful story for having reached this point, easily the least likely quarterfinalist.  But their chances against Jose Mourinho’s stacked and packed club are somewhere between “unlikely” and “impossible.” (Then again, nobody liked Apoel’s chances in the last round against French power Lyon, either.)
  • It’s a nice draw for Chelsea. They won’t see Barcelona until the next round (if at all) and they dodge Bayern or Real all the way to the final.
  • The current odds to march out of Munich, trophy in hand, look like this: Barcelona 6/5, Real Madrid 2/1, Bayern Munich 6/1, Chelsea 10/1, AC Milan 20/1, Benfica 50/1, Marseille 66/1, Apoel 100/1.