Following inconsistencies and irregularities during the UEFA Champions League last 16 draw — and under mounting pressure from Atlético Madrid and other clubs — European football’s governing body has decided to redo the draw entirely.
Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.— UEFA (@UEFA) December 13, 2021
As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET.— UEFA (@UEFA) December 13, 2021
Video footage during the original draw made clear there was a mix-up after Villarreal were drawn with Manchester United — which was against the rules, given those two teams faced one another in the group stage already this season. The quick redo saw Manchester City paired with Villarreal instead.
But United’s ball was not replaced after the next team’s name — Atlético — was pulled. Liverpool’s ball replaced United, and Liverpool could not be a potential opponent for Atleti after the Reds and Rojiblancos themselves met in the group stage.
It definitely looks like #mufc’s ball - in the second pot from the right, back row - was not included in the Atletico Madrid draw. pic.twitter.com/ubxQHdjkQV— Mark Critchley (@mjcritchley) December 13, 2021
Bayern Munich were then revealed as Atlético’s opponents, while United were drawn into a marquee matchup with Paris Saint-Germain. In response, Atleti took swift action and confirmed in a tweet that club representatives were reaching out to UEFA to ask for explanations.
It soon became obvious UEFA could not let the original draw stand — necessitating the need for blame to be deflected somewhere prior to an extraordinary, unprecedented, complete redo.
UEFA confirmed in its initial Champions League knockout phase draw on Monday afternoon that Atlético Madrid will meet Bayern Munich in the competition’s last 16.
Atlético survived Group B on the final matchday, escaping Porto with a 3-1 win to qualify in second place, well behind Liverpool but ahead of the Portuguese giants as well as AC Milan. Monday’s draw will not be considered a kind one to los colchoneros, who will face the Bundesliga’s nine-time defending champions — and a team that steamrolled through Group E this season, with six wins from six and a plus-19 goal difference.
Bayern are six-time Champions League winners and last won the European Cup two seasons ago. The Bavarians most recently faced Atlético in last year’s group stage — under Hansi Flick’s stewardship, they rolled to a 4-0 win at Allianz Arena on matchday one before a late Thomas Müller penalty secured a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano on matchday five.
Previously, Atlético and Bayern split 1-0 wins in the 2016/17 group stage and played out a memorable semifinal tie in the 2015/16 edition. Atleti took the first leg at the old Vicente Calderón before scraping through to the final via Antoine Griezmann’s away goal in the second leg.
Diego Simeone and current Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann have matched wits before in this competition, when the latter’s RB Leipzig team knocked out Atlético at the quarterfinal stage in 2020.
The complete draw:
Atlético Madrid-Bayern Munich
This story will be updated with times and dates for the Champions League last 16 fixtures.