Gone are the stratospherically expensive yet fallible Real Madrid, big-hitters AC Milan, and Chelsea, who ranked among the favourites.
Instead tomorrow’s draw could see Manchester United or Arsenal paired with the less glamorous likes of CSKA Moscow, Bordeaux and Lyon. All would be tricky in their own right, but cannot boast the fear factor of a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, the San Siro or Stamford Bridge.
Every manager will want to avoid Barca, who swept past Stuttgart 5-1 on aggregate with a 4-0 win inspired by Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored twice, Pedro and Bojan netting the others. Elsewhere French league leaders Bordeaux edged past Olympiacos 2-1, making it 3-1 on aggregate. Yoann Gourcuff and Arsenal-bound Marouane Chamakh scored.