• The Champions League has provided plenty of drama across recent months
  • Several teams are battling it out to secure their spot in the knockout stages 
  • Pressure is easing on Man United boss Erik ten Hag: Listen to It's All Kicking Off 

It's crunch time in the Champions League as several sides battle it out to reach the last 16 stage.

After an action-packed week, we are all set to go again in two weeks when teams will be able to ensure they remain in Europe's elite club competition into the New Year. 

Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona picked up crucial wins to qualify on Tuesday, while Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven joined them on Wednesday.

They joined six other sides - Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Inter Milan, Man City and RB Leipzig - in having a spot in the knockout stages, with just six places left.

In light of that and the group stage coming to a conclusion, Mail Sport takes a look at the latest Champions League permutations.   


Group A - Bayern Munich, FC Copenhagen, Galatasaray, Man United

While Bayern Munich have romped to qualification with four wins from five, the battle to join them is one of the most exciting in the competition. 

Three disastrous defeats for Man United left them bottom of the group, one point behind Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen.

United needed a win in Turkey this evening to keep their qualification hopes in their own hands, but threw away a two-goal lead in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

A draw doesn't eliminate them, but it does leave them relying on other results in the final matchday and they would also be required to beat Bayern. 

Erik ten Hag's men are now relying on beating Bayern at Old Trafford and keeping their fingers crossed that Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw on the final day. 

It will go down to the wire, but United's hopes are hanging by a thread.


Group B - Arsenal, PSV, Lens, Sevilla

Arsenal are through as group winners after thumping Lens 6-0 on Wednesday evening.

PSV are also through - as runners up - after beating Sevilla 3-2 in Spain. The Dutch side are only three points ahead of Lens, but cannot be caught by the French side by virtue of their head to head record. 

Lens are in pole position to take third, and a spot in the Europa League, but Sevilla will pip them at the finish line should they emerge victorious when they face each other on the final game week.  


Group C - Real Madrid, Napoli, Braga, Union Berlin

14-time winners Real Madrid secured top spot with victory over Napoli on Wednesday evening. 

The Italians are still well-placed to join them in the last 16, and need just a point from their final game against Braga. 

However, defeat at home to the Portuguese side could see them fall at the final hurdle if their opponents can win by more than one goal.

Braga look almost assured of at least a spot in the Europa League, with Union Berlin needing to pull off an unlikely victory against a Real Madrid side with a perfect record so far in this year's competition. 


Group D - Real Sociedad, Inter Milan, RB Salzburg, Benfica

In one of the few groups that already has qualification sorted, Real Sociedad and Inter Milan are level on 11 points in first and second place respectively.

They face each other on the final day, with the winner set to take top spot. 

Salzburg and Benfica are battling it out for the Europa League spot in third. They go head to head, with the Austrians only needing to avoid defeat to secure European football beyond Christmas. 


Group E - Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Feyenoord, Celtic

Group E onwards played their fifth matchday of the competition on Tuesday, meaning lots is already finalised.

This group is one of them with Atletico Madrid's win over Feyenoord and Lazio's victory over Celtic meaning they are both guaranteed to finish in the top two.

Meanwhile, Feyenoord are locked into third and unfortuantely for Celtic their defeat against Lazio means they will finish bottom after just one point from five games.

The only thing left to settle is who will finish top, with Atletico set to host Lazio in Madrid in two weeks time.


Group F - Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Newcastle, AC Milan

After the draw was made, this was widely dubbed as the 'group of death' and it has duly lived up to expectations with several twists and turns throughout. 

On Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund secured a significant 3-1 victory over AC Milan, while PSG earned a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Newcastle.

As a result, Dortmund sit top on seven points, three clear of PSG, who in turn are two points ahead of both Newcastle and Milan.

It is all to play for on the final matchday when the Parisians travel to Germany and Newcastle host Milan.

Dortmund will be in the knockout stages, but must avoid defeat in their final group game to finish top. 

PSG are guaranteed at least third whatever happens, but they if they win in Dortmund they will top the group.

If they lose, they will be relying on Milan and Newcastle drawing. But if they draw and Milan win they will be OK, but if Newcastle win they will drop down to the Europa League.

This is due to their head-to-head record, with PSG having lost and drawn to the Magpies, while they won one and lost one against the Italian side but had a combined score of 4-2 in their favour.


Group G - Man City, RB Leipzig, Young Boys, Crvena Zvezda

While this group lacked drama, the final touches were put to it on Tuesday after an entertaining night of action. 

Man City enjoyed a comeback victory over Leipzig after being 2-0 down at half time, meaning they have won all five of their games.

Leipzig had already qualified ahead of kick off so they are guaranteed to finish in second.

Meanwhile, Young Boys beat Crvena Zvezda, commonly known as Red Star Belgrade, 2-0, to ensure they will progress to the Europa League.


Group H - Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Antwerp

Despite their supposed struggles in recent weeks, Barcelona went through last night after a 2-1 win over Porto.

Shakhtar Donetsk kept up the pressure on the Portuguese side with a 1-0 victory over Royal Antwerp, who are without a point after five successive defeats.  

The Ukrainian outfit take on Porto in a mouthwatering final match with both sides level on nine points.

Porto won the first meeting 3-1, meaning they have the edge on head-to-head and only need to draw, but Shakhtar must win.

Whatever happens, Barcelona look set for top spot given their head-to-head superiority on Porto, while they also have a goal difference advantage of seven on Shakhtar.

Meanwhile, they face the struggling Antwerp in their final game and only require a point to be guaranteed first place.  


It's All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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2023-11-29T14:19:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd