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Testing ties for Spanish sides

Published: Friday 17 December 2004, 19.21CET
Spain's top clubs will come up against the English and Italian league leaders in the first knockout round. features

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Published: Friday 17 December 2004, 19.21CET

Testing ties for Spanish sides

Spain's top clubs will come up against the English and Italian league leaders in the first knockout round.

The league leaders in England and Spain will meet in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League after Chelsea FC were paired with FC Barcelona.

Favourites meet
Chelsea have never won the European Champion Clubs' Cup but were rated favourites to lift the trophy in Istanbul after being galvanised by José Mourinho - the man who steered FC Porto to an unexpected triumph in this competition last season. Their ambitions will face a stern test, however, as Barça have a nine-point lead in the Primera División and look well placed to repeat their European Cup success of 1992.

Fascinating ties
The draw in Nyon, Switzerland threw up a number of other fascinating ties, not least the coming together of Real Madrid CF and a Juventus FC team coached by former Santiago Bernabéu incumbent Fabio Capello, and AC Milan against Manchester United FC. "We've never played against them under my tenure and it should be a great tie," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Goalkeeping rivals
Arsenal FC goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will come face to face with his rival for the Germany No1 jersey, FC Bayern München's Oliver Kahn, after the English champions were paired with the Bundesliga leaders, while Liverpool FC drew the side which knocked them out at the quarter-final stage in 2002, Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Holders face Inter
Porto avoided becoming the first Champions League winners to fail to negotiate the next season's group stage as Benni McCarthy revived their campaign with an 86th-minute goal against Chelsea on Matchday 6. Their reward is a tie against fellow two-time winners FC Internazionale Milano, who are unbeaten this season.

Champions collide
French champions Olympique Lyonnais take on their German counterparts Werder Bremen, while 2004 runners-up AS Monaco FC's tie against PSV Eindhoven completes the draw. Teams who met in the group stage or those from the same country could not be drawn together.

Match dates
The first-leg matches will be played on 22/23 February with the return legs on 8/9 March. The first knockout round will be followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and then the final, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey on 25 May.

2004/05 UEFA Champions League
First knockout round
Team named first play at home in first leg
1. Real Madrid CF v Juventus FC
2. FC Porto v FC Internazionale Milano*
3. FC Barcelona v Chelsea FC
4. Werder Bremen v Olympique Lyonnais
5. Liverpool FC v Bayer 04 Leverkusen
6. PSV Eindhoven v AS Monaco FC
7. Manchester United FC v AC Milan
8. FC Bayern München v Arsenal FC

*With their neighbours Milan also playing at home in their return match, Inter's second leg will be staged a week later, on 15 March, as UEFA rules do not allow for two games in the same stadium on consecutive days.

Last updated: 13/12/05 12.46CET

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