Nyon, Real Madrid will play Liverpool in the round of 16 of the Champions League in a rematch of last year’s final.
Madrid beat Liverpool in both the 2018 and 2022 finals and the two giants will meet again in February after being paired up in Monday’s draw, which also pitted Paris Saint-Germain against Bayern Munich. That’s a rematch of the 2020 final, which the Germans won.
PSG got a blockbuster draw at this stage for the second straight season. The French champion’s quest for a first European title was ended in March by Karim Benzema’s stunning late hat trick for eventual champion Madrid, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
PSG was unseeded in this draw and left exposed to facing Bayern because a stoppage-time goal for Benfica in a 6-1 win last week at Maccabi Haifa meant the Portuguese club topped their group.
Benfica was rewarded Monday with a pairing against Club Brugge, the 15th-ranked team in the draw.
The lowest-ranked team, AC Milan, will be at home against Tottenham in the first leg in its return to the Champions League knockout rounds after a nine-year gap.
Manchester City was paired with Leipzig, and Chelsea was drawn to face Borussia Dortmund in Premier League vs. Bundesliga clashes.
Napoli, the top scoring team in the group stage, will play Eintracht Frankfurt, and Inter Milan is at home first against Porto.
Teams from the same country or who played each other in the group stage could not be paired together in the round of 16.
First-leg games are played from Feb. 14-22. Return games are from March 7-15.
The unusually long wait of more than three months between the group and knockout stages was caused by the World Cup in Qatar being played in November and December.
The congested season meant the six-round group stage started earlier than usual in September and was completed in just nine weeks.
Source: Bahrain News Agency