Champions League Draw 2012: Who Got Most Favorable Draw?

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 16:  Andrea Pirlo (R) of Juventus FC celebrates his goal with team-mates Kwadwo Asamoah during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Atalanta BC at Juventus Arena on December 16, 2012 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

One Cinderella story is set to come to an end.

The knockout stage of the Champions League has officially been drawn. The group stage features some great matchups, but now is the time that the biggest club competition in the world really gets going.

Bayern Munich-Arsenal and Manchester United-Real Madrid highlight what is to come in the Champions League.

Those are some of the toughest draws in the knockout stage. Here are four teams that got lucky matching up with their next opponent.


1. Juventus (Celtic)

It was nothing short of a miracle that Celtic has been able to advance to the knockout stage. They're Champions League dream will turn into a nightmare after they were drawn against the reigning Italian champions.

The Bhoys really rode their luck to get out of Group G. The problem with luck is that it often runs out sooner or later.

Some are selecting their opponents in the knockout stage (like Juventus) as possible European champions, and it's not hard to see why.

Juve is continuing their play from last year, leading Serie A by seven points. The Old Lady did a good job of qualifying top in Group E over Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk.


2. Paris Saint-Germain (Valencia)

Paris Saint-Germain finally got themselves atop the Ligue 1 table. Winning the French league was the first step in the development under the club's Qatari ownership. That was seen as the prerequisite to success in Europe.

PSG might get both in the same year after getting drawn with Valencia.

Valencia has become Champions League regulars over the past few years, but it's failed to make an impact in the knockout stages.

This season has been very harsh domestically to the club as well. It sits 11th in La Liga and already sacked Mauricio Pellegrino less than six months into his tenure.


3. Barcelona (AC Milan)

In most years, AC Milan would be a very daunting opponent to face in the knockout stage. However, most years, Milan wouldn't have sold off their two best players, which is exactly what they did with Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva.

The seemingly endless well of money that Silvio Berlusconi has provided dried up. As a result, the club has been looking to trim the wage bill.

Results have suffered, with the 2010/11 champions seventh in the Serie A table, 14 points off of leader Juventus.

Barcelona, on the other hand, look to have the Spanish league title all but locked up. As Real Madrid has wilted in La Liga, Barca has failed to drop off whatsoever after the departure of manager Pep Guardiola.


4. Schalke 04 (Galatasaray)

Schalke were looking for a lifeline in the Champions League, and the draw provided them one. The Royal Blues might only be five points off qualifying for the CL, but the club has been poor in the Bundesliga, costing manager Huub Stevens his job.

Schalke's European form has been a bit immune, as it finished at the top of Group B.

Galatasaray might always be at or near the top of the Turkish Super Lig, much like Valencia, it has failed to go deep in the Champions League recently.

When Schalke made the Champions League semifinal in 2010/11, it only finished 14th in the Bundesliga. That disparity between European and domestic final standings could very well happen again this year.