Bayern, Arsenal to meet in CL again
NYON, Switzerland (AP):
In another edition of a one-sided Champions League rivalry, Bayern Munich will play Arsenal in the round of 16 for the third time in five seasons.
Bayern ousted Arsenal in back-to-back seasons in the first knockout round in 2013 and 2014, and also in 2005. Still, they traded home wins in the group stage last season, and this time Arsenal are seeded so will host the return match on March 7.
"Arsenal are a strong team and I think currently they are better than in previous years," Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.
Also in yesterday's draw, defending champions Real Madrid will host Napoli first on Feb 15, and Barcelona will travel first to play Paris Saint-Germain on Feb 14.
Madrid are tackling history this season. They set a club record streak of 35 games unbeaten on Saturday, and are aiming to be the first team in 25 years of the Champions League format to retain the European Cup trophy.
"This is a stiff challenge," Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said. "We have to be at our best to break history. We have to be focused on every detail."
One of the best balanced round-of-16 draws in recent years with Bayern and Madrid unseeded as runners-up in a group was also dominated by the elite. All 16 teams come from leagues ranked in Europe's top six when the season started.
Leicester are the only round- of-16 newcomer and were drawn to play first at Sevilla, the Europa League winners for the past three seasons.
Also, it was: Manchester City vs Monaco; Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund; FC Porto vs Juventus; and Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid.
under achieving defence
The Man City-Monaco pairing will pit the underachieving defence of coach Pep Guardiola's team against the highest scorers in any of the top European leagues. Monaco are averaging three goals per game in the French league.
"We are the best attack in Europe, we score goals," Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said. "We should travel there fearless and play our football."
Borussia Dortmund, which set a Champions League record by scoring 21 goals in a six-game group stage, will play at Benfica first.
The first legs will be played from Feb 14-22, with return matches from March 7-15.
The final will be on June 3 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
UEFA will pay clubs US $5.8 million for playing in the round of 16. Each team already earned US$17-$21.2 million in prize money and results bonuses during the group stage.