The Champions League draw for the quarterfinals took place on Friday from Nyon, Switzerland, and, after a pleasingly brisk presentation, we now know what the next round of European soccer will look like, as well as the paths to the June 1 final.
Headlining the draw is an all-Premier League affair as first-place Manchester City will take on third-place Tottenham Hotspur. This will result in three games between the clubs in a 10-day stretch: the first leg will take place April 9, while the second leg takes place a week later, wrapping up with a key Premier League matchup on April 20.
Liverpool likely got the most favorable quarterfinals draw, as they will face FC Porto, though the Pool Boys should be careful: Portuguese teams are almost always a tough out, and Porto should be riding high after a stunning comeback against Roma in the round of 16.
Elsewhere, Ajax will have a chance to complete the sweep over the most dominating entities in recent European soccer history, as they follow-up their historic upset of Real Madrid by taking on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus. Finally, Manchester United will face an old foe in continental soccer, as they take on Barcelona in a rematch of the 2008 semifinals as well as the 2009 and 2011 finals. United were victorious in 2008, but Barcelona got their revenge in both finals.
New this year, UEFA also conducted the draw for the semifinals, so that teams know their potential path all the way to the final in Madrid. Some of the potential semifinals should have soccer fans drooling: On one side, we could get two of the three best remaining clubs, as Manchester City and Juventus line up on the same side of the bracket (or perhaps Ajax and Spurs will play spoiler to that dream matchup). On the other side, Liverpool could either face their most hated rivals in Manchester United, or the team employing the best player in the world in Barcelona (same goes for Porto if they pull off the upset of the Reds).
Here’s the full semifinals draw:
The Champions League returns on April 9, though we do not know the matchups for the day just yet; due to a Manchester-related scheduling quirk, UEFA still must figure out the order of matches for the next round.
Update, 8:35 a.m.: UEFA have released the full schedule for the quarterfinals, according to Spanish journalist Alfredo Martínez. Liverpool/Porto and Manchester City/Tottenham Hotspur will play on April 9 and April 17, while Ajax/Juventus and Barcelona/Manchester United will play on April 10 and April 16. The post has been updated to reflect the new dates.