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Tension mounts ahead of last sixteen draw

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Tension mounts ahead of last sixteen draw

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:40 pm


Bayern fans have already devised a chant predicting their side's progress to the Champions League final on 23 May 2007 in Athens, as the club pursues its dream of repeating the most recent night of European glory in Milan back into 2001.

Naturally, if the German double winners are to lift Europe's top trophy, they will have to overcome challenging and perhaps even daunting opponents on the way. On Friday, the playing and coaching staff, the management team and of course Bayern fans around the world will be focused on "high noon" in Nyon, Switzerland, when the draw for the first knockout round takes place.

<b>Best avoid Barcelona</b>

"There are no easy opponents, but there are definitely easier opponents than Barcelona," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wryly commented on Thursday, making no secret of his desire to avoid the holders at this stage. The Catalan giants could face group winners Bayern after finishing second behind Chelsea in their section.

Mark van Bommel was inclined to agree, repeating his opinion that Munich would be best served by avoiding Spanish opposition. Apart from the Dutchman's former club, Real Madrid are also among the teams which finished second in their group. "Barcelona and Real are two of the favourites to make the final," van Bommel argued. "We'll take any other opponents, they're all difficult, but we don't want to go to Spain."

<b>Magath betting on Real</b>

Coach Felix Magath was in an altogether more relaxed mood ahead of the draw. "I'll take what comes. I wouldn't mind going to Spain, as it will definitely be warmer than here," the 53-year-old quipped. In any case, Magath has made up his mind which of the seven potential opponents will be paired with his side for the first leg on 20 or 21 February next year: "I think it'll be Madrid."

The return two weeks later on 6 or 7 March will take place at the Allianz Arena. Apart from the Spanish duo, Bayern could be drawn to face AS Rome, Glasgow giants Celtic, FC Porto or PSV Eindhoven, although on paper the easiest tie would be against surprise French package OSC Lille, almost certainly a manageable task as the first step on the road to Athens.
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