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Champions League Draw Completed, Barcelona To Face Shakhtar Donetsk

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2011 Champions League Final ambassador Gary Lineker poses with the Champions League Trophy.
2011 Champions League Final ambassador Gary Lineker poses with the Champions League Trophy.

Former football star and the 2010-2011 Champions League Final ambassador Gary Lineker conducted the draw. He did a very good job and treated football fans with very interesting pairings and the occasional joke.

Firstly here is the draw and join me after the jump for thought on the draw.

Quarter-Finals

Real Madrid CF v Tottenham Hotspur CF
Chelsea FC v Manchester United FC
FC Barcelona v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Internazionale v FC Schalke 04

First legs will be played on 5 and 6 April, and the return legs will be played on 12 and 13 April 2011.

Semi-Finals

FC Internazionale or FC Schalke 04 v Chelsea FC or Manchester United FC
Real Madrid CF or Tottenham Hotspur CF v FC Barcelona or Shakhtar Donetsk

The first legs will be played on 26 and 27 April, and the second legs will be played on 25 and 4 May 2011.

Final

Winner Semi-Final 2 v Winner Semi-Final 1

The 2011 UEFA Champions League Final will be played on 28 May 2011 at Wembley Stadium in London.

This is Shakhtar's first ever Champions League Quarter-Finals appearance, but Barcelona and Shakhtar have met in the Champions League before. In the Champions League campaign the two played against each other in the the group stage. History has proven Barcelona struggle against teams from the Eastern Bloc and it was the same against Shakhtar. Each team won the away game, Barcelona won theirs with the score of 1-2 and Shakhtar won in Spain by the score of 2-3. Eight months later they met again, this time in the UEFA Super Cup and again it was a close game. The game went into extra time and I'm sure most of you remember how that ended (If you don't, Pedro scored five minutes before a penalty shootout to win the cup).

Everybody counts Barcelona as comfortable favorites, but make no mistake Shakthar play very good football. They are a highly organized, well coached team. Also Shakhtar have never lost at home in Donbas Arena (it opened in 2009), what's more their unbeaten run stretches back to October 22, 2008 when Shakhtar still played in their old stadium. Barcelona fans will also again see old friend Dmytro Chygrynskiy who left Barcelona after just one season.

Tottenham is in their first ever Champions League competition and they did a good job against AC Milan, but Real Madrid will be an even bigger challenge for Redknapp's team. Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona's director of football, sees Real Madrid as clear favorites and has all but predicted an El Clásico semi-final. If his prediction comes true we will have four El Clasico's within three weeks.

The all English Quarter-Final should turn out to be an exciting match-up. Both team are considered as potential teams that can go all the way, but now it is clear one will have to say goodbye to the Champions League on April 13.

Nobody really knows what Schalke will bring to the table in the last Quarter-Final match with their new coach, but Inter will have to play better than they did against Bayern München to advance to the semis, where one of the two English teams will await.

So, two an a half weeks from now the Champions League returns and Barcelona should have most of the team healthy by then. No matter what the "experts" say, this will be a difficult Quarter-Final match-up, but anything but a spot in the Semi-Finals will be a very disappointing result for Barcelona.

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