Arsenal draw Barca


NYON, December 17 – Holders Inter Milan will play Bayern Munich in a rematch of last season's final in the last 16 of the Champions League following Friday's draw at UEFA headquarters here.The Italians defeated the German side 2-0 in last season’s final in Madrid with a brace from Argentine striker Diego Milito.

Bayern Munich sporting director Christian Nerlinger believes his side now have the ideal opportunity to finally bury the heartache of their defeat last May.

"We still dwell a little on the lost final in Madrid and now we have the opportunity with these two new matches against Inter to put things right," said Nerlinger.

"It’s going to be difficult, but it couldn’t be more interesting for us."

Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: "Inter is an extremely difficult draw, without a doubt the most difficult we could have, but after last May’s defeat we have the chance to take our revenge."

Arsenal face a tough task against Spanish giants Barcelona, who knocked the Gunners out at the quarter-final stage last season, when Lionel Messi scored all four goals in a 4-1 second leg demolition of the English club at the Nou Camp.

The teams also met in the 2006 Champions League final where Barcelona came from behind to win 2-1 at the Stade de France.

English Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea have gotten easier draws against French club Marseille and Danish champions Copenhagen respectively.

Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier said he was relishing the tie.

"It will be a very beautiful tie because Manchester, like Real Madrid, is a European legend," he said. "It’s not a bad draw, I’m not dissatisfied. We had to avoid Barcelona and even Real Madrid."

Nine-time winners Real Madrid are also set for a rematch with French club Lyon who knocked them out of the competition in a huge upset at the same stage last year and will be bolstered by former Lyon player Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid director of football Emilio Butragueno said: "If you give them the slightest opening they will take advantage like they did last season. We’ll need to be wary. We have confidence in our players but we know that it’s a cruel competition."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas insists it will be a different story this year with Real now coached by Jose Mourinho who lead Inter to the title last season.

"It will be a very different Real Madrid side this year and it will be a very difficult tie," said Aulas.

"They may want revenge for last year, when it was a great result for us.

"I know that Mourinho wants to recruit this winter. If Real will be stronger I think that Lyon will also be in February-March."

Spanish club Valencia have been drawn against Germany’s Schalke 04, English newcomers Tottenham, who pipped Inter Milan to first place in Group A, travel to AC Milan as AS Roma host Shakthar Donetsk of Ukraine.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said the English Premier League side would relish the prospect of a return to the San Siro to face AC Milan after playing Inter Milan there during the group phase.

"It will be a great game. I would have taken AC Milan before the draw. They are leading the league in Italy but it has the makings of a great game over two legs. I’m looking forward to it," Redknapp said.

"A tough draw but it will be a great game. That’s what you want. Great games."

The first legs taking place on February 15-16 and 22-23, and the second legs on March 8-9 and 15-16.

Draw for Champions League last 16

AS Roma (ITA) v Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

AC Milan (ITA) v Tottenham (ENG)

Valencia (ESP) v FC Schalke (GER)

Inter Milan (ITA) v Bayern Munich (GER)

Lyon (FRA) v Real Madrid (ESP)

Arsenal (ENG) v Barcelona (ESP)

Marseille (FRA) v Manchester United (ENG)

Copenhagen (DEN) v Chelsea (ENG)