Gather round the fire children, it's time we find out who we square off against for the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League. Don't get too excited though as the first set of matches won't go for another two months. Oh well this gives us plenty of time to hone our voodoo techniques. Here's a thought though: Who would you rather face? Finishing first in our group affords us the all-important second-leg home advantage (if there is one), however with more than one "favorite" putting in a lack-lustre qualifying effort, it makes this draw that much more erotic.
The draw takes place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, today from 12:00 CET.
Ten of the sides that reached this stage last season are still in the running, with AC Milan, Sevilla FC, Celtic FC, FC Schalke 04, Olympiacos CFP and Fenerbahçe SK the absentees. The sides who were not in the last-16 draw last time around are Panathinaikos FC, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Club Atlético de Madrid, Villarreal CF, FC Bayern München and Juventus. Eight of the 16 teams in the draw – those that won their sections in the group stage – are seeded. The unseeded clubs are the group runners-up.
2008/09 UEFA Champions League
First knockout round - to be played 24/25 February and 10/11 March
Group winners Group runners-up A AS Roma (ITA) Chelsea FC (ENG) B Panathinaikos FC (GRE) FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) C FC Barcelona (ESP) Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR) D Liverpool FC (ENG) Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP) E Manchester United FC (ENG) Villarreal CF (ESP) F FC Bayern München (GER) Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) G FC Porto (POR) Arsenal FC (ENG) H Juventus (ITA) Real Madrid CF (ESP)
- Clubs from the same association must not be drawn against each other.
- The winners and runners-up of the same group must not be drawn against each other.
- The group winners must not be drawn against each other.
- The group runners-up must not be drawn against each other.
- The group runners-up shall play their first-leg match at home.
Under the draw procedure, eight blue balls containing the names of the group runners-up are placed in a bowl. A first ball is drawn from the bowl containing the group runners-up. The team drawn is placed as the home team of match 1. In accordance with the conditions of the draw, the computer will then show which group winners are eligible to play the runners-up of match 1. A bowl will be prepared with white balls containing the names of the group winners which are eligible to be drawn against the runners-up of match 1. A ball will be drawn from this bowl to complete the pairing of match 1. The team drawn is placed as the visiting team of match 1. This procedure is repeated for the remaining matches. If the computer indicates that only one group winner can be drawn, there will be no draw.
In accordance with the competition regulations, the UEFA Administration, following the principles set by the UEFA Club Competitions Committee, will determine which games will be played on Tuesday or Wednesday. The draw result and full fixture list will be available after the draw ceremony at 12.45CET.
IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!