Nyon - FC Bayern Munich face FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund will go up against Real Madrid CF for a place in the final of this season's UEFA Champions League.

That was the outcome of the semi-final draw at the headquarters of European football's governing body in Nyon, Switzerland, today. Both German clubs will play their respective first legs at home on 23 and 24 April, with the return encounters taking pace in Spain the following week. For the winners, a place at Wembley in the 25 May final beckons.

Heynckes - "Massive challenge"


"I know just what we're in for," FC Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reacted. "It's incredibly exciting to go up against the best team in Europe." Director of sport Matthias Sammer's take on a "nice draw" - said with a smile - is that "playing at home first is no disadvantage. We'll appoach the tie with the same strategy we adopted against Juventus".

Head coach Jupp Heynckes said it would be a "massive challenge to play against this team, who have dominated the European game for the past four years with their creative, imaginative play". And while looking forward to two "magical football nights", Heynckes, who guided Real Madrid to the title in 1998, also pointed out that "in Spain, I always got good results with my teams against Barcelona. With Athletic Bilbao, we won there twice, for example".

For skipper Philipp Lahm, it's "a great draw. The 2013 Spanish champions against the 2013 Geman champions. We're in our third semi-final in four years and will be taking on Barcelona as equals. I think we've got a 50/50 chance of making the final at Wembley".

"Fairytale" for Dortmund


Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke pronounced himself "satisfied" at having pulled Real out of the pot and reckons that after the group phase, where BVB took four points off the men from Madrid, "they'll respect us - as of course we respect them". That apart, it's "like a fairytale... we've nothing more to lose really, we can only win now".

Sporting director Michael Zorc reckons the way the draw worked out is "optimal for European football. We go into the tie as slight underdogs, but then we've already beaten them once this season and earned a lot of respect for that. It's going to be two absolute top games - obviously though we'd rather have been drawn away first".

Dortmund camp confident


Team captain Sebastian Kehl acknowledges it's a "difficult task, but it would have been the same against either of the others. We're really looking forward to it. We're all still a bit euphoric after Tuesday and confident we can get past Real as well. We'll just have to wait and see".



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12:40 So, two cracking encounters in prospect. The semi-final first legs will be on 23 and 24 April and the return legs on 30 April and 1 May. No guarantee of a German team in the final - but then again, how about an all-Bundesliga final...?

12:30 So - here we go and the first team drawn out of the pot by three-time Champions League top scorer Ruud van Nistelroy are...FC Bayern. And they've pulled Barcelona, meaning it's Dortmund against Real Madrid in the other semi...

12:18 In the UEFA Europa League, incidentally, it's Fenerbahce SK against Benfica and FC Basel versus Chelsea - who of course last season beat Bayern in Munich to claim the big one.

12:15 Dortmund meanwhile are the only one of the four semi-finalists still unbeaten in this year's tournament - as well as being the sole member of the quartet who were not involved at this stage last season.

Should the Yellow-Blacks come out of the pot against Real Madrid, it will be a return to recently famliar pastures for Nuri Sahin, back with his hometown club on an initial extended loan from Los Merengues.

12:05 First up, though, it's the UEFA Europa League semi-final draw. No German teams left in this one, unfortunately...

11:45 - FC Bayern president Uli Hoeneß reckons that their fellow Bundesligists are, relatively speaking, "beatable, more beatable than either of the Spanish sides. We’re determined to reach the final and Dortmund are opponents against whom we’d have the best chance of doing that.”

BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke countered that over the past couple of years, "We've shown we’re well capable of winning the odd game or two against Bayern," while for head coach Jürgen Klopp it's just "fantastic to be in the draw" at all after the heart-stopping finale against Malaga on Tuesday.