Champions League returns this midweek with the final round of the group stage of the competition.
The suspense can hardly get any more pronounced as we have seven teams competing for four open slots that lead into the knockout stages of Last 16.
Twelve teams are already through but still have much more than reputation to play for as the final outcome and standings within all groups have yet to be determined.
The action starts with a double header in Turkey and Germany where Galatasaray play host to FC Porto and Schalke welcome Lokomotiv Moscow, respectively, so here are the Champions League permutations and an overview of who needs what to go further.
- Through to Knockout Stages: Ajax, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Porto, Real Madrid, Roma, Schalke.
- Can still Reach Knockout Stages: Internazionale Milano, Liverpool, Lyon, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham Hotspur.
- Will Move into Europa League: Benfica, Club Brugge, Valencia.
- Can Still Secure Europa League Spot: CSKA Moskva, Crvena zvezda, Galatasaray, Hoffenheim, Lokomotiv Moskva, Viktoria Plzen.
- Already Eliminated: AEK Athens, Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Young Boys.
Tuesday, 12th December 2018
Group A Permutations
Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid are the two teams going into the knockouts but will be both looking to grab top spot and get a favourable draw. Atletico will seal first place with a win at Club Brugge KV and if Dortmund fail to triumph at AS Monaco.
Club Brugge are continuing their European season in the Round of 32 of Europa League whereas the French heavyweights are waving goodbye to international football after a dreadful campaign.
Group B Permutations
Barcelona are one of only three confirmed group winners (alongside FC Porto and Real Madrid).
Locked on points in second and third, respectively, Tottenham and Inter Milan have everything to play for in the final round. Spurs face a daunting task away at Barcelona which gives Nerazzuri plenty of hope that they will be able to leapfrong the English side and seal progression into the next round of competition.
PSV Eindhoven have only one point on their tally and this marks the end of the road for them.
Group C Permutations
The most complicated group. Three teams are still in the running for the knockouts, while Crvena Zvezda are refusing to give up on hopes that they will be able to grab the third place and get in the Europa League.
Leaders Napoli will be through if they draw at Liverpool. They could go forward if they score and lose with on a one-goal margin and if PSG are also beaten. Paris Saint-Germain are in the clear with three points, while their passage through is also guaranteed if Liverpool fail to win. For their own part, Reds need to win while they will also keep an eye on the Belgrade game.
Should Liverpool, PSG and Napoli all finish level on points (9), the Premier League side would be first due to a head-to-head record, whereas the second place will be determined based on the scoreline at Anfield.
Group D Permutations
FC Porto are group winners and travel to Galatasaray with no competitive angle whatsoever while Schlake cannot be removed from the runners-up spot.
Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow are only one point away from each other in third and fourth, respectively, and will either go through with a win.
Wednesday, 13th December 2018
Group E Permutations
Bayern Munich only need a point to clinch the first place in the group. On the other side, Ajax need to beat the Bavarian giants in order to overtake them at the summit.
Benfica are already confirmed into the Europa League round of 32 whereas AEK are packing their bags irrespective of the result of their trip to Portugal.
Group F Permutations
Manchester City need a point (and Lyon not to win) in order to finish the group stage as table toppers.
Three points behind the Citizens ahead of the final round, Lyon travel to Shakhtar Donetsk looking for a draw to secure their place in the knockouts, while the win would only put them atop if City lose. The Ukraine powerhouse also has a chance to go through and will look to win in order to make it happen. A place in Europa League is guaranteed if they draw or if Hoffenheim fail to win at the Etihad.
Group G Permutations
Real Madrid are confirmed group winners, whereas AS Roma are going through from the second spot. Plzen have a superior goal record against CSKA and will grab a ticket into the Europa League if they match the result in Madrid, knowing that these two sides currently have 4 points each.
Group H Permutations
Serie A champions Juventus are already through, together with Manchester United but these two sides still have a score to settle at the top of the group. Juventus are reaching the summit if they win or if United fail to triumph and the same goes for United – in reverse of course.
Valencia are going into the Europa League and Young Boys are already packed for home which makes their respective home matches against Manchester United and Juventus, respectively, pure entertainment affairs.
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