With just one more round of Champions League group stage matches to get through, the knockout stages are already beginning to take shape.
In all, eight of the last sixteen have all been determined, with the final places being taken in matchday six next month. Of the British contingent, three are safely through, two still have a bit of work to do and one is now battling for a Europa League place.
But who’s through, who’s out, and who will have a nervy night in the first week of December?
1st: Man United (12 pts), 2nd Basel (9 pts), 3rd CSKA Moscow (9 pts), 4th Benfica (0 pts)
It’s still semi-all to play for in Group A, with Basel’s late winner against Man United on Wednesday night – but that shouldn’t throw Jose Mourinho’s men too far off course. A single point at home to CSKA Moscow will win them the group, while they will qualify regardless unless they lose by a four-goal margin in that match.
Basel will qualify for the last 16 provided they match or better CSKA’s result at Old Trafford, and confidence will be high against a Benfica side that have endured a disastrous campaign.
1st: PSG (15 pts), 2nd Bayern Munich (12 pts), 3rd Celtic (3 pts), 4th Anderlecht (0 pts)
Qualified: PSG, Bayern Munich
Eliminated: Celtic, Anderlecht
One of the most cut-and-dried groups in terms of progression to the next round, the only thing left to be determined is the order in which the top two qualify. PSG travel to Bayern Munich next knowing that a win (or a defeat by less than three goals) will see them win the group.
Celtic face a similar scenario to seal that Europa League spot. Their 3-0 win at Anderlecht earlier in the group gives them major breathing room, and know that anything bar catastrophe at home to the Belgian side will see them safely into the secondary competition.
1st: Chelsea (10 pts), 2nd Roma (8 pts), 3rd Atletico Madrid (6 pts), 4th Qarabag (2 pts)
Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Qarabag on Wednesday confirmed their place in the next round, but they will have to beat Atletico Madrid in their final game to guarantee their spot as group winners.
Roma will qualify if they win against Qarabag at the Olimpico (or even if Atletico fail to win at Stamford Bridge), but failure to do so could allow Diego Simeone’s side to sneak in right at the death.
1st: Barcelona (11 pts), 2nd Juventus (8 pts), 3rd Sporting CP (7 pts), 4th Olympiacos (1 pt)
Barcelona got the point they needed from Turin on Wednesday to confirm their place as Group D winners.
Juventus, however still have a bit of work to do. Last year’s finalists will qualify if they beat Olympiacos in their final match (or even if Sporting fail to defeat Barcelona at Camp Nou), but the Portuguese side can still take that spot if results go their way.
1st: Liverpool (9 pts), 2nd Sevilla (8 pts), 3rd Spartak Moscow (6 pts), 4th Maribor (2 pts)
Liverpool were just seconds away from winning the group on Tuesday, but a late Sevilla equaliser gives them work to do in their final match. With Sevilla likely to win in Maribor, Jurgen Klopp’s task is simple – draw with Spartak Moscow at Anfield to qualify, defeat them to win the group outright.
1st: Manchester City (15 pts), 2nd Shakhtar Donetsk (9 pts), 3rd Napoli (6 pts), 4th Feyenoord (0 pts)
Qualified: Manchester City
It’s been a perfect start to Man City in this year’s Champions League – five wins in five games sees them through as group winners.
Pep Guardiola’s side will still have a hand in who joins them, however. Should they beat Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli defeat Feyenoord then the Serie A side will progress – anything else, and Man City and Shakhtar will be in the draw for the next round.
1st: Besiktas (11 pts), 2nd Porto (7 pts), 3rd RB Leipzig (7 pts), 4th Monaco (2 pts)
A surprisingly poor showing from French champions Monaco opened the floor for someone to take charge of this group – a challenge that Besiktas were more than willing to accept.
Porto and RB Leipzig are battling it out for the second spot, and with the former enjoying head-to-head supremacy over the latter, matching or bettering the latter’s final-day result will put them through. Porto face eliminated Monaco while RB Leipzig entertain an already-qualified Besiktas on matchday six.
1st: Tottenham Hotspur (13 pts), 2nd Real Madrid (10 pts), 3rd Borussia Dortmund (2 pts), 4th APOEL (2 pts)
Qualified: Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid
Eliminated: Borussia Dortmund, APOEL
This is the group where the least will be on the line, thanks to the knowledge that Tottenham and Real have already qualified (with Spurs topping the group). Few could have predicted the Premier League side would be so commanding in this group – or that Dortmund would be so poor – making light of the ‘group of death’ scenario that many predicted.
So, in summary:
Knockout stage guaranteed first seeds: Barcelona, Man City, Besiktas, Tottenham
First or second seeds, but qualified: PSG, Bayern Munich, Chelsea
Guaranteed Second seeds: Real Madrid
If the groups were to stay exactly as they are right now after the last round of matches, the last sixteen would look like this:
First seeds: Man United, PSG, Chelsea, Barcelona, Liverpool, Man City, Besiktas, Tottenham
Second seeds: Basel, Bayern Munich, Roma, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar, Porto, Real Madrid
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football Podcast, we’re joined by Burton Albion defender Ryan Delaney to look back on a double-winning season with Cork City, and discuss our Premier Division Team of the Year as voted by you.
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