The cream of European football discovered their Champions League fates today when the draw for the last-16 stage took place, and Arsenal landed arguably the toughest opponent possible in defending champions Bayern Munich.
Bayern, who defeated domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in May to lift the trophy, are favourites to defend their title, but the will come up against an Arsenal side currently leading the English Premier League.
It is the second year in a row the two sides have faced each other at this stage – and Bayern will be acutely aware of the danger posed by Arsenal following their close contest last season.
In what is being billed as the plum tie of the last-16, Spanish giants Barcelona were paired with Manchester City.
For the English pair, who both finished second in their groups, it was yet again a harsh lesson in the importance of winning the group.
In fairness to Arsenal and City, they did have the toughest possible groups facing one each of last season's finalists. City came within a single goal of pipping Bayern to top spot in their group when a 3-2 win in Munich was one goal short of what they needed to overhaul the Bavarians.
Arsenal were within a couple of minutes of winning their group despite losing 2-0 at Napoli on the final match-day but Borussia Dortmund's late winner in Marseille allowed them to snatch top spot.
Last season Arsenal drew Bayern in the last 16 and seemed to be as good as out when they lost the first leg 3-1 at the Emirates.
But they came within a whisker of making the quarter-finals when taking the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, going out only on away goals.
Manchester United and Chelsea, both group winners, were given far more favourable draws against Olympiakos and Galatasaray respectively.
That means Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been granted his wish of being able to welcome back former charge Didier Drogba, whose last act as a Blues player was socring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final.
French giants Paris Saint-Germain pulled Bayer Leverkusen while AC Milan will face Atletico Madrid.
Last year's semi-finalists Real Madrid will play Schalke 04 and completing the draw Dortmund are up against Zenit St Petersburg.
The first legs will be played over four separate match-days in February with the second legs taking place three weeks later.
Manchester City v Barcelona
Olympiakos v Manchester United
AC Milan v Atletico Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen v Paris St Germain
Galatasaray v Chelsea
Schalke v Real Madrid
Zenit v Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal v Bayern Munich