Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride!

A European football feast is about to be dished up with some mouthwatering football action in the quarter finals of the Champions League this month.

Chelsea v Manchester United

At Stamford Bridge they are licking their lips in anticipation of sweet revenge against their 2008 Champions League final conquerors Manchester United.

Who will be celebrating this year? (Photo courtesy BBC.com)

Chelsea secretary David Barnard showed how raw that defeat still is by saying, “We have a great rivalry domestically, but the Champions League is something different.

We’re looking forward to it, people will bring up Moscow and revenge, but we know each other well enough.

“Most of that team that experienced Moscow is still here so it’ll be great motivation. We’ve been the bridesmaid many times.”

Not quite fighting talk, but it’s a match that has Chelsea management, players and fans talking – and reminiscing of the 2008 loss.

No other player more than Chelsea’s John Terry will be looking forward to this two leg confrontation. He was the culprit who had the chance to win the game for the Blues, but missed his penalty in the Moscow shoot-out to hand Manchester United the 2008 Champions League trophy.

 Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

The draw for the last eight has thrown together some cracking games and this intriguing encounter matches up potential England manager Harry Redknapp of Spurs with the ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid.

Poor Spurs went on record before the draw saying that the one team they hoped to avoid was Barcelona.

They got their wish. But whoever was watching over them to make sure that their wish came true, didn’t do a perfect job and instead paired Tottenham with equally frightening and talented Spanish giants, Real Madrid.

There’s no doubt about it, this is a tie that every Spurs fan will relish. The first leg is in the Bernabeu Stadium and a solid team performance there will be the key to Spurs’ progress.

It’s a challenge and then some. Real Madrid has won this trophy no less than a staggering nine times. Now they are going for ten and on current form look strong contenders to do so.

Spurs’ victory over AC Milan was special for Harry Redknapp and his team and this is their ‘reward’. He said when the quarter finals draw was announced, “It’s a fantastic draw. What a game to look forward to against one of the greatest clubs in world football. To play Real Madrid at this stage of the Champions League is fantastic for us and we’re all looking forward to it.”

He continued, “We’ll go there and give it a real go. It’s an exciting game. You couldn’t have a more exciting or tougher game.”

Wrong, Harry. You could have had Barcelona!

But in true Redknapp fashion, he’s talking up his side’s chances. He says that the two Spanish clubs are clear favourites to win the Champions League and possibly only Manchester United fans would disagree with that.

Over two legs and even with the advantage of having the second leg at White Hart Lane, it would still take a brave (or foolish) fan to bet on Spurs to march on into the semis.

Barcelona face Shakhtar Donetsk, which might be considered an easier passage compared to other ties, while Inter Milan meets German side Schalke 04.

The full Champions League quarter final draw with April dates to watch out for is:

FIRST LEG

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Inter Milan v Schalke 04

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

Chelsea v Manchester United

SECOND LEG

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Manchester United v Chelsea

Shakhtar Donetsk v Barcelona

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Schalke 04 v Inter Milan

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid

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