Champions League: The Champions League state of play

25 November 2021 17:56:51 GMTPlus11
Guardiola's City topped Group A

The penultimate round of fixtures in this season's Champions League group stage will be contested this midweek, with plenty still at stake as teams try to secure their places in Europe's premier club competition for the knockout stages.

There are 11 teams already assured of their places in the last 16, but that means there are still five spots up for grabs, while clubs are also battling, or in some cases trying to avoid, finishing third in their groups, which would be enough to take their European participation beyond Christmas, all be it by dropping into the Europa League.

Group A - City and PSG head through

As expected, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have made it through in Group A, with City's 2-1 win at the Etihad on Matchday Five giving them top spot.

City gained revenge for the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of PSG at the Parc des Princes on Matchday Two and are 4.00 to go one better than last season when they lost out to Chelsea in the final.

Despite PSG's defeat in Manchester, they still qualified with a game to spare after Club Brugge were hammered 5-0 at home by RB Leipzig. Those two are now tied on four points and will fight it out for the Europa League place.

Group B - Three-way battle to join Liverpool in knockout stages

Group B looked one of the toughest to call on paper, but Liverpool have breezed through as group winners with a game to spare, winning all five of their matches to date and underlining their 6.00 credentials to lift the trophy for a seventh time.

The Reds are likely to have a big say in which team joins them in the knockout stages, as after beating Porto on Matchday Five, travel to AC Milan next time out.

Porto and Atletico Madrid will meet in a potentially winner-takes all contest at the Estadio do Dragao on Matchday Six, although after beating Los Colchoneros at the Metropolitano, it is the aforementioned Rossoneri who hold the keys to second place.

Group C - Sporting beat Dortmund as Ajax dominate

Like Liverpool, Ajax have already wrapped up top spot in their group with five wins from five, while Besiktas are out after failing to pick up a single point to date.

That left it as a straight shootout between Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund for a place in the last 16, with those two sides meeting in a crunch contest at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Wednesday.

Both were locked together on six points, but Sporting proved too good, with Pedro Goncalves' brace helping the hosts to a 3-1 win.

They now head into the hat for the last 16, while Der BVB will go looking for Europa League success.

Group D - Normal service resumed

There have been plenty of shocks in Group D, not least group stage debutants Sheriff Tiraspol winning their opening two matches, including claiming a 2-1 success in the Bernabeu against Real Madrid on Matchday Two.

Sheriff have since suffered back-to-back defeats to Inter Milan, and were no match for Real last time out, going down 3-0.

Los Blancos, 17.00 to win a 14th European title, previously got their campaign back on track by doing the double over Shakhtar Donetsk, and with Inter outclassing the Ukrainians on Matchday Five, the big two have progessed, while Sheriff have sealed third spot.

Group E - Barca rallying in qualification race

Bayern Munich were already assured of their place in the knockout stages heading into Matchday Five and their 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev sealed top spot.

However, after a cagey 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp, Barcelona and Benfica are battling it out to join them in the last 16.

The Portuguese host winless Kiev and are to make it through. However, should Bayern rest players in the final round, a win for Barca would be a real possibility and will see them take their place in the knockouts.

Group F - United avoid another early exit

Manchester United parted ways with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Matchday Five and with their qualification hopes remaining in the balance, as despite topping Group F, there were just four points separating all four teams.

Michael Carrick was placed in interim charge of United when they visited second-place Villarreal on Tuesday and oversaw a 2-0 win. That was enough to see the Red Devils through with a game to spare and they are 17.00 to go on and win the competition having avoided a last seaon's heartache of a group stage departure.

This pool is far from done, though, with Villarreal (seven points) heading to Atalanta (six points) in the final round for a winner takes all showdown in Bergamo. United will host the Swiss champions on Matchday Six.

Group G - All to play for

Group G is another group where everything is still to play for, with just three points separating group leaders leaders Lille and bottom club Wolfsburg, with Salzburg and Sevilla in between.

Salzburg could haved qualified if they had beaten Lille on Tuesday, but Jonathan David's goal condemned them to a 1-0 win, while Sevilla kept their knockout dreams alive by beating Wolfsburg 2-0.

It is all to play for, with Sevilla 5.00 to top the pool. However, if they finish third in the group and drop into the Europa League, then they will probably go on and win that competition given they have lifted the trophy a record six times in the last 15 years.

Group H - No dramas for Juve and Chelsea

This always looked like a group that would offer routine progress for Juventus and Chelsea, and that appears to be the case, with the Italian giants already through and the reigning champions needing just a point to join them.

Chelsea clearly had revenge on their mind when they hosted Juve on Matchday Five. The Old Lady claimed a 1-0 win when they met in Turin earlier in the competition, but the holders hit back with a brilliant 4-0 victory.

Russian champions Zenit Saint-Petrsburg needed to see off Malmo on Tuesday, hope Chelsea lost to Juve and then beat the Premier League leaders at the Krestovsky Stadium on Matchday Six to qualify - an unlikely series of events and their 1-1 draw in Sweden means they are out of the competition.

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