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☆☆☆ UEFA Champions League 2016-17 ☆☆☆



Champions League quarter-final draw: When is it, how to watch and who has qualified?

Mar 15, 2017 21:50:00

With Monaco and Atletico Madrid the final teams to book their place in the last eight, find out all you need to know about the quarter-final draw

The quarter-finals of this year's Champions League now have all eight participants, but Manchester City will not be one of them.

Pep Guardiola's men let slip a two-goal advantage on Wednesday, as Monaco battled back to win a pulsating tie on away goals.

The Ligue 1 leaders join Leicester City, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on the list of teams safely through to the last eight.

With the draw to decide the quarter-final matchups coming up on Friday, here is all you need to know about the next round of Europe's top competition.

When is the Champions League quarter-final draw?

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 17 at 11:00 GMT at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. It will be followed by the draw for the same round of the Europa League an hour later.

The quarter-final draw is open and unseeded, so the teams are unranked and clubs from the same country can face each other. Put simply, it is a totally random draw and anyone can face anyone.

The clubs that come out of the hat first for each tie will play the first leg at home.

What teams are in the Champions League quarter-final draw?

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich secured their place in the quarter-finals after winning their last-16 ties on March 7 and 8. On March 14, Leicester City and Juventus joined them and, a day later, Monaco and Atletico Madrid took the last two spaces at the expense of Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen.

When will the Champions League quarter-final ties be played?

The quarter-final ties will be played across two weeks in April on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The first legs will be on April 11 and 12, with the second legs following a week later on April 18 and 19.

Where is this year's Champions League final?

The final will be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, June 3 at 19:45 BST.

Initially built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it is now the home stadium of the Welsh national rugby union team and has also hosted Wales national football team matches. It was also the home of the FA Cup final while the new Wembley was being built between 2001 and 2006.

Who was in last year's Champions League quarter-finals?

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all made last season's Champions League quarter-finals and are back again, but Borussia Dortmund are returning to the last eight for the first time since 2014, Monaco break a two-year absence from the round and Juventus only made the last 16 in 2015-16.

Then there is Leicester, who are playing in the Champions League for the first time in their history.

The other four teams that made it 12 months ago - Benfica, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Wolfsburg - have either been knocked out or did not qualify.




Luis Enrique dismisses defensive issues after Valencia triumph

Stephen Creek
Mar 19, 2017 23:28:55

The Catalans had to come from behind after gifting an early goal, but their coach is not convinced they have a problem from dead balls

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique denied his side have a problem defending set pieces after they conceded from a corner for the second La Liga game in a row.

Valencia's Eliaquim Mangala, who was later sent off, scored from Daniel Parejo's corner to give Valencia the lead after 29 minutes at Camp Nou.

But goals from Luis Suarez, Andre Gomes and a brace from Lionel Messi ensured Barca ran out 4-2 winners in the end, with Munir El Haddadi scoring Valencia's second.

Deportivo La Coruna scored two goals from corners to beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Blaugrana's previous game, but Luis Enrique is unconcerned by the trend.

He told Marca: "It is football. You enter into a dynamic.

"You can go one hundred corners without conceding, and then you concede three.

"Mangala's goal is entirely to his credit."

The result moved Barcelona back to within two points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid ahead of the international break, and Luis Enrique was satisfied with his side's performance despite their defensive frailties being exposed.

He said: "It was an entertaining game for all of us, with chances for both of us until the last minute.

"We played a good game. Valencia made us work hard, but we generated many chances and it could have been a better result.

"We got three points against a difficult opponent."

Luis Enrique singled out Gomes for praise after the 23-year-old scored his first goal for Barcelona since joining the club from Valencia in July 2016.

"I'm triply happy for him," said Enrique. "There's nothing better than your stadium applauding you.

"I am sure that Andre Gomes will be a very important player in the coming years in Barcelona."




Emery: PSG proved Barca loss was an 'accident'

Dejan Kalinic
Mar 20, 2017 02:33:06

The manager praised Paris Saint-Germain for quickly moving on from their shock loss to Barcelona in the Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery believes his players have proven their Champions League loss to Barcelona was an "accident."

A 2-1 win over Lyon on Sunday saw PSG make it back-to-back victories since their humiliating last-16 exit in Europe, which culminated with a 6-1 loss at Camp Nou.

Emery hailed his players for their performances so far this year, with PSG three points behind Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.

"After the difficult first few minutes, we overcame going behind and pushed to win against a team that is playing well," he said. "The requirement imposed by Monaco is great, which is why it was important to win.

"We still have three important competitions – the championship, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Coupe de France.

"If we take into account the last 19 games since the winter break, the team won 16 matches, made two draws and lost against Barcelona. We will be reminded of this game all season.

"We proved it was an accident, that the team was fine."

Goals from Adrien Rabiot and Julian Draxler saw PSG to their come-from-behind win over Lyon after Alexandre Lacazette's opener at the Parc des Princes.

FULL TIME: PSG get the job done at home with a 2-1 win over Lyon!! #PSGOL #ALLEZPARIS!!! pic.twitter.com/FiMRtG0vcE
— PSG English (@PSG_English) March 19, 2017

Rabiot said PSG's main aim was always to win Ligue 1, as they continue their chase of Monaco.

"There are quite a few people who were disappointed, angry, including us [after the Barca defeat]," he told Canal+. "We have the league, we have the Coupe de la Ligue, we must quickly regroup."

And the midfielder is optimistic PSG can still catch Monaco in the title race, adding: "We have found some good form. We must not give up because we know that with Monaco in front, it takes points. It's important to win."



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Dele Alli banned for three matches for horror tackle in Europa League

Stephen Darwin
Mar 24, 2017 09:55:00

The Tottenham midfielder is now set to miss Spurs's opening three fixtures in the 2017-18 Champions League after being sent off against Gent

Dele Alli has been banned for three matches by UEFA after his red card for a horror challenge in Tottenham's Europa League draw with Gent.

The England midfielder was dismissed for a lunging tackle on Brecht Dejaegere during the first half of his side's last-32 clash with the Belgian outfit.

With the game level at 1-1 at the time, but Spurs behind on aggregate, Alli lost possession before planting his foot just below Dejaegere's knee, leaving referee Manuel de Sousa no choice but to send him off.

Mauricio Pochettino's side would go on to draw the game 2-2, meaning they were dumped out of the competition on by a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

"Awful challenge, so dangerous!" @Dele_Alli sees red for @SpursOfficial at Wembley. #UEL https://t.co/tTjaUcBYg9
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) February 23, 2017

And UEFA have now announced the punishment that will be dished out to Dele, who will now miss three matches of Tottenham's next venture into European competition.

That, of course, looks almost certain to be the 2017-18 Champions League, with Tottenham well on course to finish in the top four where they're currently second place, two points ahead of Manchester City in third.

Spurs are on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions, with their last defeat having come in the away leg of their Europa League tie with Gent.

The north London club face Burnley away on April 1, before another away trip to Swansea City as they look to keep pace with leaders Chelsea in the Premier League title race.




Arsenal and Bayern Munich slapped with UEFA fines after Champions League clash

Matthew Judge
Mar 24, 2017 09:57:27

Both clubs have been punished by European football's governing body in the aftermath of the Gunners' 5-1 loss to the Bavarians in March

Arsenal and Bayern Munich have been fined by UEFA following the Champions League clash between the two at the start of March.

The Gunners, already trailing 5-1 from the first leg in Germany, suffered another loss by the same deficit at the Emirates Stadium on 7 March, bowing out of Europe's elite club competition at the last-16 stage.

And both clubs have since been punished by European football's governing body in relation to two separate incidents.

Arsenal have been fined €5,000 by UEFA after a number of supporters invaded the pitch, while Bayern have been slapped with a €3,000 fine in relation to objects being thrown by fans.

Arsene Wenger's men opened the scoring thanks to Theo Walcott but the game was turned on its head after Laurent Koscielny was sent off for giving away a penalty.

Robert Lewandowski converted the spot-kick before Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and two goals from Arturo Vidal consigned Arsenal to an embarrassing Champions League defeat.

Arsenal have struggled to recover since, downing non-league Lincoln City 5-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals before losing 3-1 to West Brom in the Premier League.

A recent run of bad results has fuelled speculation surrounding Wenger's future, with a section of Arsenal's fan base taking to protesting in favour of the Frenchman's departure at the end of the season.

Wenger revealed after the West Brom match that he has made a decision on his future, though no official confirmation has been released.




Real Madrid are still Europe´s best, claims Rummenigge

31 March 2017 18:35

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Bayern Munich have been handed the toughest possible Champions League draw against Real Madrid, a side he considers to be the best in Europe.

Madrid are the reigning European champions having won the title for an 11th time last May, and the Bayern chairman does not believe the Bundesliga giants could have been given a more difficult task.

However, Rummenigge is confident Bayern will be as well-equipped as they possibly can with former Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti in their dugout.

"With Carlo Ancelotti on the bench we can be confident in our biggest challenge this season so far; the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid," he told Bayern's club magazine.

"When Ian Rush made the draw, we already knew the title holder would be the most difficult challenge of all opponents.

"If you ask me for the ultimate ranking of European football, I still say that Real Madrid are number one. Real are a myth, the whole world knows the Blancos and gushes about them."

What a month April is going to be!
days, games, opponents, competitions! Who's excited? #packmas #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/dVNMTNdi4w
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 31, 2017

Bayern will host the first leg on April 12, before heading to Santiago Bernabeu for the return fixture six days later.




Simeone given headache as Atletico Madrid suffer triple injury blow

Joe Wright
Mar 30, 2017 19:37:32

Atleti have been dealt a major injury blow, with matches against city rivals Real Madrid, and Leicester City to come in less than two weeks

Atletico Madrid have confirmed that Kevin Gameiro, Nico Gaitan and Miguel Angel Moya have all sustained injuries at what is set to be a pivotal stage of their season.

Striker Gameiro and goalkeeper Moya have both picked up thigh problems, while Gaitan is suffering from arthritis in his toe.

All three will undergo physiotherapy treatment, with Atletico unable to put a time frame on their respective recoveries.

"An MRI scan was carried out on Moya on Thursday after the injury he suffered in training last Wednesday," Atleti said in a statement.

"The medical results show that our goalkeeper has suffered a muscle injury in the femoral biceps of the left thigh. He will face physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment.

"Argentine midfielder Nico Gaitan is suffering from arthritis in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the first toe of his left foot. As with Moya, he will undergo physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation.

"Finally, Kevin Gameiro felt discomfort after the friendly match played in Paris between the national teams of France and Spain. Our striker has undergone an MRI scan that confirms that he is suffering from tendinitis in the adductor of his left thigh.

"He will also be put in the hands of our physios in order to return as soon as possible."

The news will be most unwelcome for head coach Diego Simeone, with Atleti facing a tough fixture schedule over the next two weeks.

La Liga matches against Malaga and Real Sociedad precede a derby meeting with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 8, before the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Leicester City four days later.




Barcelona blow as Arda Turan to miss Sevilla and Juventus games

Chris Myson
Mar 29, 2017 13:22:00

The Turkish midfielder's groin injury means he will be sidelined for three weeks at what is a crucial time in the Catalan club's battle for titles

Barcelona attacking midfielder Arda Turan has been ruled out for three weeks with a groin injury, meaning he will miss key upcoming matches against Sevilla and Juventus.

Arda underwent tests at Barca's training ground on Wednesday after suffering the problem while with Turkey during the international break.

Having played in the World Cup qualifying win over Finland, he missed the friendly against Moldova and it was hoped the injury would not be serious.

But he could now miss up to six Barca games at a busy period of the season.

"Medical tests conducted this Wednesday morning have confirmed that first-team player Arda Turan has an injury to the adductor muscle in his right groin," read Barca's statement.

"He is expected to be unavailable for about three weeks."

[MEDICAL ANNOUNCEMENT] @ArdaTuran out for three weeks with groin injury https://t.co/5nw7ydkDUq #FCBlive pic.twitter.com/BXWHaqRdrI
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 29, 2017

A three-week timescale means Arda looks certain to miss upcoming LaLiga matches against Granada, title rivals Sevilla, Malaga and Real Sociedad, as well as the first leg of Barca's Champions League quarter-final tie away to Juve on April 11.

The 30-year-old would face a race against time to play the return leg on April 19, with El Clasico against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu to follow that match four days later.




Muller warns Bayern against complacency

2 April 2017 12:54

Thomas Muller has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates they cannot afford to get carried away if they are to win silverware this campaign.

The Bavarians are on track to win their fifth consecutive Bundesliga title, while they are still in the race for Champions League and DFB-Pokal glory, too.

Nevertheless, Muller has stressed Bayern have won nothing yet.

"Let's wait for the important games first," said Muller in the wake of Saturday's 6-0 win over Augsburg.

"I am curious to see how things are looking then.

"We should not get carried away.

[email protected] + @esmuellert_ + @lewy_official = #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/6FeTsjNLFf
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 2, 2017

"April will be an important month and we will have to wait and see how we get through that."

Bayern hold a 13-point lead over second-placed RB Leipzig with eight games to go.

They meet Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, while Borussia Dortmund await in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals.

The win over Augsburg was the first of nine games this month for Carlo Ancelotti's side.




Ancelotti looks forward to Madrid-Bayern showdown with ´icon´ Zidane

2 April 2017 17:37

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Zinedine Zidane for re-energising Real Madrid, as he prepares to lead Bayern Munich against the France icon's Blancos in the Champions League.

Ancelotti will face off against Zidane for the first time when Bayern take on Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, with the first leg held in Munich on April 12.

Both teams are top of their respective leagues and the tie promises to be a classic, with Ancelotti looking forward to testing himself against his old apprentice.

"Zidane is an idol in Madrid, he is respected," Ancelotti told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. "When he was appointed coach, Real was not doing well. It gave them a boost.

"Zidane is a humble man but he has a lot of charisma and for a manager this is important. As a deputy, he wanted to learn. He helped me a lot in my relationship with [Karim] Benzema."

The sun is out at Säbener Street! #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/IsFU9Wz6vs
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 2, 2017

Benzema has come under fire this season, and Madrid's reported chase of Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang does little to suggest the striker's long-term prospects at the club are healthy, but Ancelotti believes the 29-year-old is the ideal foil for Cristiano Ronaldo.

"The French treat Benzema badly," Ancelotti said. "He is the perfect partner for Cristiano Ronaldo, although it is true that he has never reached the same level for France."

Ancelotti also provided an insight into his man-management techniques, citing the example of his use of winger Franck Ribery at Bayern.

"With Franck Ribery, I like to joke, we even speak in Italian," Ancelotti said. "Sometimes he does not play, but I found the right balance.

"I said, 'Look, you're like a Ferrari and you cannot use a Ferrari every day. Just Sunday. It's not Sunday, so you're not playing.' He takes it as a laugh. He's a real guy."



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Zoff unimpressed by Barcelona´s stunning PSG comeback

7 April 2017 07:00

Juventus great Dino Zoff was unimpressed by Barcelona's extraordinary comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

The LaLiga giants staged an incredible fightback in the last-16 tie, recording a thrilling 6-1 win in the second leg at home to advance 6-5 on aggregate.

Barca were lauded for the stunning victory at Camp Nou, booking a spot in the quarter-finals – where Juve await.

But more is needed to impress Zoff, who won six Serie A titles with Juve and the 1982 World Cup with Italy.

"That comeback, I was not impressed, despite the media impact it had," he told AS.

"Such a comeback is not at all common, of course, but the French seemed tense, too excited.

"I did not like their performance at Camp Nou."

Another huge test awaits Barca in the last eight, with Serie A champions and leaders Juve their next opponents.

Zoff is confident Massimiliano Allegri's men have what it takes to cause an upset and reach the semi-finals.

"It is a great encounter," he said.

"Tell the Spaniards to be very careful. This Juventus would never give it up. In fact, I have a lot of confidence."




Juventus poised to rest Higuain ahead of Barcelona tie

7 April 2017 14:58

Juventus are poised to give star striker Gonzalo Higuain a rest against Chievo with the upcoming Champions League tie against Barcelona in mind.

Massimiliano Allegri's men host Chievo in Serie A on Saturday, three days before they welcome Barca to Turin for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Higuain scored twice to help Juve into the Coppa Italia final at his former club Napoli's expense this week but is now set to get a break, with regular number 10 Paulo Dybala instead playing in a more advanced role in the likely absence of Mario Mandzukic (knee).

"Mario Mandzukic is unlikely to be in the squad. Higuain? Here is a good idea – maybe I could play Paulo Dybala at centre-forward," Allegri said at his pre-match media conference.

"Dybala is fine. In fact, he needs to play - Paulo is an aerobic player, a player that runs 12 kilometres per game. The more he plays, the better he improves his condition.

"On Wednesday he played 70 minutes, so I would say he is in an acceptable condition but not an optimal one. So he needs to play and from there we will evaluate."

@OfficialAllegri: "@PauDybala_JR could play as a centre-forward tomorrow in #JuveChievo." pic.twitter.com/Z5rHM3Tx5v
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 7, 2017

Allegri, who will check on Claudio Marchisio's availability closer to kick-off with a view to resting Sami Khedira, told Juve not to be distracted by the upcoming Barca tie and urged his players to target 19 points from their last eight games to seal the Scudetto.

He added: "The points become worth more. We do not have the chance to lose because this game is another piece of the championship puzzle. We already drew in Naples so we have to win this one.

"From Sunday we will deal with the match against Barcelona, but games like the one with Barcelona do not take long to prepare for, it is such a beautiful and fascinating challenge, but it is a challenge that prepares for itself.

"What matters is Chievo. We must deal with the game very seriously – it is a risky one because we come from two difficult games, two games that were draining both mentally and physically, so we must never switch off.

"As for the table, we are not there yet. Roma can get to 92 points and so we have to make it 93."

@OfficialAllegri: "Reaching the Coppa Italia final is a big psychological boost for us going forwards." #JuveChievo
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 7, 2017

Allegri – a reported target for Arsenal and Barcelona - again insisted he is committed to Juve.

"My own future is the least of my worries right now," he said. "This is a crucial point of our campaign.

"At the moment, 100 per cent [I will stay] because I have a contract until 2018.

"I think this is the least of our problems, both on my part, and from the club's point of view. There have never been any problems between myself and the club."

@OfficialAllegri: "@DaniAlvesD2 is an important player for us. His injury slowed down his progress but he's back on the up." #JuveChievo pic.twitter.com/CsVYj6J2Ne
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 7, 2017




UEFA denies Dortmund and Monaco did not want to play

13 April 2017

UEFA has responded to criticism over the rescheduling of Borussia Dortmund's Champions League match against Monaco, insisting it never received information suggesting the teams did not want to play.

The first leg of the quarter-final was postponed on Tuesday after Dortmund's team bus was caught up in an apparently targeted attack using explosives when departing the team hotel for Signal Iduna Park, with Marc Bartra having to undergo surgery on a fractured wrist as a result of the blast.

The fixture was consequently pushed back to Wednesday, but coach Thomas Tuchel wanted more time for those affected to take stock of the incident and branded the rescheduling "absurd".

Sokratis Papastathopoulos suggested he felt Dortmund players had been treated like "animals", while Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim admitted it was difficult for the players to concentrate as his side secured a 3-2 victory.

In response to the outpouring of criticism of UEFA's handling of the matter, the governing body affirmed both clubs were involved in the decision-making process and did not imply they would be unwilling to participate.

A UEFA spokesperson said: "The decision to play the UEFA Champions League match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco FC on Wednesday at 18.45CET was made on Tuesday night at the BvB Stadion Dortmund in cooperation and complete agreement with clubs and authorities.

"UEFA was in touch with all parties on Wednesday and never received any information which suggested that any of the teams did not want to play."




Luis Enrique makes plea to 'p***** off' Barcelona fans

Joe Wright
Apr 14, 2017 14:30:13

The Barca boss accepted responsibility for the Juventus first-leg defeat but hopes the club's supporters will rally behind the side

Luis Enrique has called on Barcelona's "p***** off" fans to get behind the side when they face Real Sociedad on Saturday.

LaLiga's champions were dispatched in ruthless fashion by Juventus on Wednesday, going down 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Barca recovered from a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain to record a spectacular 6-1 second-leg triumph, but the likelihood of emulating that comeback looks slim.

Luis Enrique accepts responsibility for the damaging defeat but wants the supporters to encourage his downbeat stars at Camp Nou this weekend before they prepare for Juve's visit next week.

"It's obvious that I'm most responsible," he told a news conference. "It's my mistake. I get angry when objectives are not achieved. The maximum responsibility for each defeat always lies with the coach.

"It's normal for the fans to be p***** off. The idea is that we have to win.

"My advice is that they whistle at the end of the season. If they want to whistle at me, which they do, I don't lose the ball.

"I know it'll be a delicate moment for the players. I want them to encourage all the players.

"It's not my worst moment. They've been intense years - it's been no different when it's been better. I'm used to everything."

Luis Enrique said that he will not experiment with a radical change to his tactical approach when Juve come to Catalonia and stressed that his focus is on beating Sociedad to keep their domestic title hopes alive.

"I've never had doubts about the system, about how we hurt the opposition," he said. "I wasn't wrong in terms of my decisions.

"You need a profile to be able to make each system a more potent one. I'm not going to invent anything. I use the qualities of my players.

"If we have the same luck we did in Turin, it'll be bad. We had a lot of chances to score goals. They made the most of our bad first half in attack and defence.

"Juve don't concede many goals but I don't forget their game against Napoli [when they lost 3-2 on April 5]. We'll take risks as always - ones that are necessary. We have to get one goal less than we did against PSG.

"But I'm not worried about Juve. We have to look for chemistry with the fans. I'm concerned about la Real."