Match-ups to root for in the Champions League draw

Harold Cunningham

The Champions League quarterfinals could give us one tantalizing draw in particular.

Were Real Madrid vs. Manchester United, Barcelona vs. AC Milan and Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal good enough for you? If they weren't fear not, for the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals may better the sensational round of 16.

Six of the world's best and biggest clubs -- Barcelona, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus -- join two two upstarts in Galatasaray and Malaga for a quarterfinal as unpredictable as ever before.

In a Champions League as wide open as any in recent memory, there are a slew of potentially tantalizing match-ups. Here is a sampling of match-ups that should make you giddy, although if you're a fan of one of the teams involved, these draws might induce more fear that excitement.

Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain

As great as El Clasico may be, it is even better in the semifinals and it would be even better with a month break after Barcelona and Real Madrid played each other twice in one week. So put El Clasico aside, for now, and serve up Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain.

Jose Mourinho is rumored to be on the way out of Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti may depart PSG after the season. Where might they end up?

Rumors would have you believe that Mourinho could take over PSG and Ancelotti could head to the Bernabeu, making for a manager swap. Two of the best managers in the world swapping sides is enough of a storyline, but there is plenty more.

Raphael Varane has grown up in the last few months, going from promising youngster to earning Man of the Match honors against Barcelona and getting his first call-up for France, but how would he fare against Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Could the revelatory Blaise Matuidi do his part in slowing down Cristiano Ronaldo? Might David Beckham haunt his former team?

The possibilities in this time are endless. Oh, and there's a couple dollars invested in these two sides.

Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund

You could make an argument that Borussia Dortmund are the second-best team in the world. The way they thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk was frightening and with Marco Reus getting evermore comfortable at the same time that Robert Lewandowski finds his best form, facing BVB is a nightmare for anyone.

But Juventus are quietly making a strong case for themselves as a team capable of beating anyone. Dismissed by many because of Serie A's struggles, The Old Lady may not always thrill, but they are as ruthless as they come. That may be infuriating to the many Juve haters around te world, but it makes them exceedingly effective.

Dortmund attack in numbers, but few teams counter as well as Juventus and the BVB defense isn't always dependable. That would play right into Juventus' hands and make for a tremendous battle of styles, as well as a test for both teams as they try to prove that they really are strong candidates to reign supreme at Wembley.

Bayern Munich vs. Galatasaray

Three years ago, Wesley Sneijder starred as Inter Milan captured the Champions League title. Last year, Didier Drogba converted the winning penalty as Chelsea captured their first ever Champions League title.

Who did Inter and Chelsea both beat in the final? Bayern Munich.

Who do Sniejder and Drogba play for now? Galatasaray.

Barcelona vs. Malaga

Did Barcelona's second leg demolition of AC Milan prove that they had snapped out of their funk? Did it prove that they had figured out how to break through eight, nine and even 10 men behind the ball?

There's no better team to find that out against than Malaga.

Manuel Pellegrini is the master of managing a two-legged tie. It isn't always pretty, but you can bet Malaga would be organized against Barcelona, would make things difficult and if the Blaugrana made a mistake at the back -- as is their wont -- Malaga would take advantage.

Are Barcelona back on track? Malaga and Pellegrini will tell us.

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