Tough draw pits Beşiktaş against Bayern Munich in Champions League
Turkish champion Beşiktaş will have a mountain to climb in the Champions League last 16 after being drawn against German giant Bayern Munich on Dec. 11.
Beşiktaş, which became the first Turkish club to advance from the group stage unbeaten, collecting a local-record of four victories and 14 points, will play the first leg in Munich on Feb. 20, 2018. The return leg in Istanbul is scheduled for March 14.
Beşiktaş chairman Fikret Orman said after the draw that there was “no easy draw” at this stage of the tournament.
“What matters is the form of the clubs at the time of the games. In previous years we were happy to have been pitted against Club Bruges but we ended up being knocked out. We played against German league runner-up Leipzig [in the group stage] and beat them in both games,” Orman said.
He added that Beşiktaş’s group stage performance will boost its self-confidence in the next round.
“The opponent is strong but we are not a weak team. We will do our best and we will make best use of the time we have until the first game,” Orman said.
The chairman also noted that no fans will be taken to the away game due to an earlier decision taken by the club.
Beşiktaş is currently on a two-year probation period imposed by UEFA due to crowd trouble in a Europa League game at Olympic Lyon on April 13. The club will be banned from the European competitions if its fans get involved in any other incidents before the end of next season.
For his part, Bayern Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic said the Germans would not be underestimating Beşiktaş.
“We know how strong they are after we followed their games against Leipzig. It will be a difficult task but we are looking forward to the unusual atmosphere in their stadium,” Salihamidzic said.
“One always says it is a disadvantage to play at home in the first-leg, which is right - it certainly won’t be an advantage - but we are strong enough to accept that and we will give our all,” he added.
Meanwhile, holder Real Madrid will have to overcome a sizeable obstacle after the draw pitted the 12-time winner against Paris St Germain.
Bidding for a hattrick of titles in Europe's elite club competition, Real paid a heavy price for not winning its group as it was drawn with the big-spending Parisians who were tipped as many people's favorites ahead of the draw in Nyon.
Five-time champion Barcelona will face English champion Chelsea, one of five Premier league clubs in the draw.
Tottenham Hotspur, which topped its group ahead of Real Madrid thanks to a 3-1 victory at Wembley, will face Serie A champion and last season’s runner-up Juventus.
Manchester City, which clocked up a record 14th successive Premier League victory on Dec. 10, is now listed as favorite after being handed a last-16 clash with Swiss club Basel.
Europa League champion Manchester United takes on Sevilla, Liverpool will meet Porto while AS Roma's reward for winning its group ahead of Chelsea is a tricky tie against Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk.