The Bundesliga’s Champions League representatives have discovered their fates for the knock-out stages and here we bring you all the reactions from those that matter as they contemplate their next opponent on the route to potential glory.
Having gone through the Champions League group stage unbeaten to extend their amazing record to 40 group games without defeat, Bayern have been drawn to face Italian side Lazio in the first knock-out stage. The Roman side came through group E as runners-up to Atletico Madrid and are currently lying 11th in the Serie A table.
Christoph Freund (sporting director): “We’re very happy we’re in the last 16. Italian opponents are always tough to play against. Lazio are an experienced team, with lots of experience at European level. They’re currently struggling in the league, but they will be very attractive games that we’re looking forward to. We hope we can lay a good foundation for ourselves in Rome. Our goal is obviously to advance to the next round.”
Manuel Neuer: “It’s an Italian team, who are always set up well tactically. We’ve already got positive experiences against Lazio. We go into the games as favourites but can’t underestimate them. I have very positive memories of the stadium. The fans in Italy are always very loud. Everyone’s looking forward to the matches. We’ll try to win both games.”
Thomas Müller: “I’m excited about the draw. It’s an exciting city. Lazio as a club are always interesting. When you’re through to the round of 16, you’ve done a good job. It’s an old, famous stadium that’s seen so many battles in the past. We’re focusing on the job. It’s a nice one to face.”
Having made it through the so-called Group of Death the Schwarzgelben have been paired to face PSV Eindhoven with a reunion with former coach Peter Bosz. The Dutch side pipped Lens to second spot in group B and will host the first-leg at the Phllips Stadium. PSV currently enjoy a 10-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie.
Edin Terzic: ”We knew that there would be tough challenges to come in the Champions League. Now we’ve been drawn with Eindhoven. They are having a perfect season, with 16 wins from 16 games – it doesn’t get any better than that. They’ve scored 56 goals in 16 games and only conceded six. We know Peter Bosz very well, both from his time at BVB as well as Leverkusen. We’re looking forward to the draw. But we also know that there’s still a long way to go until we face each other in mid-February. It won’t be easy away from home given the atmosphere, but we know that we have a great chance of making it through to the next round.”
Hans-Joachim Watzke (CEO): ”Anyone who makes it through the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and progresses to the knockout round is inherently a high-quality team. Nobody should fool themselves. PSV are a top team that have won every single game in their domestic league. That says something. We’re looking forward to these games and are ready to take on the challenge.”
Sebastian Kehl (sporting director): “PSV Eindhoven are an attractive and challenging team to draw. They have won all 16 games in the league, with a goal difference of 56 scored and just six conceded. At the moment, Eindhoven are the standard-bearers in the Netherlands. We’re looking forward to a reunion with our former coach Peter Bosz and are very optimistic and full of confidence going into these games. Our clear goal is to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2020/21.”
Leipzig were spared another pairing with Manchester City, but were given perhaps an even tougher draw with a match-up against Spanish giants Real Madrid. Marco Rose’s side eased into second place in group G ahead of Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade, but they will have to pull off something very special to advance past the 14-times winners from the Spanish capital.
Rouven Schroder (sporting director): “The draw is always a happy event, it should never be normal. When Leipzig shows up, it’s always a special moment.
We caught one of the absolute top favourites in Real Madrid. But we’re looking forward to it. The team is really excited because getting ahead is an ambitious goal. The favourite is Real Madrid. But the 3:2 win in the home game last year showed that we can hurt them.
“If we are well prepared, we have a chance in every game. Especially here at home with our fans, an absolute highlight awaits us.”