NYON (Guardian) – Pep Guardiola faces a resumption of hostilities with Real Madrid after Manchester City were drawn against the Spanish giants in the last 16 of the Champions League, while there will be a rerun of the 2012 final when Chelsea meet Bayern Munich.
The draw was tough for the Premier League sides, with Liverpool landing a two-legged tie against Atletico Madrid.
However Tottenham will be relatively satisfied after drawing RB Leipzig from the group winners.
Finishing top of their group has not done much for City’s hopes, even though they will play the second leg of their glamour tie against Real at home.
Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, admitted the difficult task of facing Real, saying: “It’s a difficult one. Real Madrid are the best. We want to be the best so we have to try and beat them.
“It’s always a pleasure to play against Real Madrid. We know them very well. They know our manager.”
Real’s enviable firepower will push City’s defence to the limit, though Guardiola’s links with Barcelona means he will not lack motivation when he comes up against the 13-times European champions.
The City manager beat Real in the semi-finals when he was in charge of Barcelona in 2011 but he lost heavily to them over two legs with Bayern in 2014.
Memories of beating Bayern eight years ago will boost Chelsea when they face the Bundesliga champions.
But while Frank Lampard played in that game, the Chelsea manager will know his inconsistent team will need to find form against the Germans, especially as the second leg will be played at the Allianz Arena.
Liverpool will need to be at their best to deal with Atletico, who are always hard to beat. The European champions have the second leg at Anfield but Diego Simeone’s team have a history of upsetting the odds in Europe.
Atletico director Clemente Villaverde said: “The task is going to be difficult because we have an opponent that are the reigning champions.
“They are the champions, they have all the assets to be called the best team in Europe. We will have to use all our hard work and our experience. We know they are not going to make it easy.”
Tottenham, who finished second to Bayern in their group, will be relieved to have avoided one of the heavyweights.
However Jose Mourinho’s team cannot afford to underestimate Leipzig.
Julian Nagelsman’s side are top of the Bundesliga and have an attack led by one of the best young forwards in Europe, Timo Werner.
Former Spurs defender and their club ambassador Ledley King noted: “It’s a tough task. They play with a lot of pace and intensity and have proved a surprise package.
“It’s a challenge we won’t be taking lightly. I hope that our experience of being in the Champions League will be important. The manager has been there and done it. His experience will rub off on the players.”
Elsewhere, Barcelona will face Napoli, Atalanta meet Valencia, Borussia Dortmund play Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon will take on Juventus.
The draw: Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint- Germain; Real Madrid v Man City; Atalanta v Valencia; Atletico Madrid v Liverpool; Chelsea v Bayern Munich; Lyon v Juventus; Tottenham v RB Leipzig; Napoli v Barcelona
(First legs to be played on Feb 18 and 19, 25 and 26. Second legs to be played March).
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