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Bayern, Arsenal battle again, Real face Napoli, Barca meet PSG

Barry Whelan, dpa
Published: 12 December 2016 Monday, 08:48  PM

Bayern, Arsenal battle again, Real face Napoli, Barca meet PSG

European champions Real Madrid meet Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League while Bayern Munich are up against familiar foes Arsenal in the draw made Monday in Nyon, Switzerland.

Barcelona encounter Paris Saint-Germain, while last season`s losing finalists Atletico Madrid play Bayer Leverkusen.

Last season’s semi-finalists Manchester City take on Monaco, Benfica face Borussia Dortmund, Porto play Juventus, and Sevilla meet Leicester in the other pairings.

German champions Bayern will be facing Arsenal for a fourth time in five seasons in the competition.

Arsenal have been knocked out of the tournament at the last-16 stage in each of the past six seasons, twice by Bayern. In last season`s group stage, the Gunners beat Bayern 2-0 at home but went down 5-1 in Munich.

Arsenal club secretary David Miles told BT Sport: "We are through to the knockout stage for the 14th consecutive season, which is testament to (manager) Arsene Wenger and the teams throughout that time.

"But the fans will think we have got the rough end of the draw again - at some stage the tide has got to turn and we will beat them."

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: ""It was an entertaining draw with some top ties. We’ve been handed Arsenal, who we know well. They are a good side. They are second in England and in good form.

"Both matches will be tough and we have to play well and concentrate to reach the quarter finals."

Coach Carlo Ancelotti forecast "two interesting games" and said his side would need a top performance at home in the first leg to give themselves a chance in London.

"Arsenal have a very good side at the moment and a coach who I really rate," he said. "They are doing very well in the Premier League right now and have lost just once in the league so far this season. It will be tough but I am confident."

Bayern, who have reached the last three semi-finals after winning the title in 2013, will pleased to have avoided Barcelona, who have a tricky encounter against French champions PSG.

Barca eliminated PSG at the quarter-final stage in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 seasons, but were knocked out by the French team in the last eight in 1994-1995.

Eleven-time champions Real will start as favourites against Serie A side Napoli, a team they overcame in the 1987-88 European Cup first round. That encounter, when Maradona was with the Italians, helped influence the later introduction of the Champions League, which now prevents an early knock-out for big-name clubs.

Madrid city rivals Atletico will also favour their chances against Germany`s Leverkusen, while Spain`s other representative Sevilla, the Europa League champions, face last season`s Premier League surprise package Leicester City.

Pep Guardiola`s Manchester City side will be wary of Monaco, who in the group stage helped consign Tottenham Hotspur to the Europa League.

City director of football Txiki Begiristain said Monaco were currently probably playing the best football in France.

"In the group of Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen they were top. They have young players and a lot of talent. They play good football. It is a good draw," he said.

Italian champions Juventus and Portugal`s Porto will repeat the 1984 European Cup Winners` Cup final, while Dortmund last met Benfica in the first round of the 1963-1964 European Cup.

Dortmund chief executive Hans Joachim Watzke said: "Benfica are a big name in international football and the strongest team in Portugal, but of course we have a good chance of going through. We haven`t played Benfica in a long time. It`s a great trip for our fans."

The round of 16 first legs will be played on February 14/15 and February 21/22, with return matches on March 7/8 and 14/15.

Quarter-finals are on April 11/12 and 18/19, with the semi-finals on May 2/3 and May 9/10. The final is on June 3 in Cardiff, Wales.