Madrid-Liverpool, PSG-Bayern in the Champions League final

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Real Madrid will play Liverpool again. Bayern Munich will play against Paris Saint-Germain again.

Two rematches of recent Champions League finals were set in Monday’s round of 16 draw as some of Europe’s best heavyweights were paired together.

Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 and 2022 finals to extend their record in the competition to 14 titles, while Bayern beat PSG in 2020 to become European champions for the sixth time.

The trend even continued an hour later at UEFA headquarters with the first pairing made in the Europa League draw.

Barcelona will face Manchester United, the team they beat in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, in the second division’s knockout play-offs in February.

For defending champion Madrid, the difficult road to the title is nothing new. The Spanish side saw off PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in a remarkable run last season to lift the trophy.

Pairing PSG with Bayern meant a draw at this stage for the French champions as well. PSG’s quest for a first European title ended in March with Karim Benzema’s stunning late hat-trick in the second leg in Madrid.

A tough draw was possible as PSG finished second behind Benfica in their group after the Portuguese club scored a crucial stoppage time goal in last week’s 6-1 win against Maccabi Haifa.

PSG sporting director Luis Campos rejected the suggestion that the club paid dearly for last week’s results. After a 2-1 win against Juventus, PSG’s players said they didn’t realize their group win was in jeopardy because of Benfica’s late surge in Israel.

“It’s really motivating for us to play this match (against Bayern),” Campos said at the draw. “It’s a great opportunity to take revenge, many players played in the (2020) final against Bayern.”

Lionel Messi is the PSG player who did not play in the final two years ago. Then with Barcelona, ​​Messi was on the receiving end of Bayern’s 8-2 defeat in one leg of the quarter-finals, the last time he faced the German champions.

On Monday, Benfica were rewarded with a pair against Club Brigge, ranked 15th out of 16 teams in the draw.

The lowest-rated team, AC Milan, will be at home to Tottenham in the first leg of their return to Champions League elimination after a nine-year absence.

Manchester City were paired with Leipzig and Chelsea drew against Borussia Dortmund in Premier League and Bundesliga clashes.

Napoli, top scorer in the group stage, will play against Eintracht Frankfurt, while Inter are first at home against Porto.

Teams from the same country or who played each other in the group stage could not be paired in the round of 16.

The first matches will be played from February 14 to 22. The return matches are scheduled from March 7 to 15.

The unusually long wait of more than three months between the group and knockout stages was caused by the Qatar World Cup being played in November and December.

The congested season meant the six-round group stage started earlier than usual in September and finished in just nine weeks.

The Europa League format includes a knockout round in February for the runners-up in the group stage to meet the third-placed teams in their Champions League groups.

Among the former European champions in this draw, Barcelona have been paired with Man United, Juventus will face Nantes and Ajax will play newcomers Union Berlin in the knockout stages.

PSV Eindhoven, European champions in 1988, are away first against Sevilla, a record six-time winner of the Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup.

The first matches will be played on February 16, and the second legs will be played a week later. The eight playoff winners will advance to the round of 16 to meet the eight Europa League group winners, including Arsenal.


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