Final Champions League group stage games kick off Tuesday
After five rounds of Champions League group-stage football, 12 teams have booked their spot in the last 16 while two know that the Europa League knockout playoffs is their next destination.
Three teams are confirmed as last-place finishers. That leaves 15 teams fighting for something of note this week.
With four more Champions League knockout places still to be confirmed, plus six Europa League spots available, here is the preview of what is on the line.
Take a look back at the matchday one preview to find out who goes where after the group stages.
Rangers (0 points) vs Ajax (3)
Liverpool (12) vs Napoli (15)
We already know who will qualify for the knockout round of the Champions League from Group A. Liverpool and Napoli meet in Merseyside to determine who will top the section. The hosts need to win by at least 4 goals in order to do so, having lost 4-1 in Naples last time out. Any other result will leave Napoli as group winners.
As for Rangers – last May’s Europa League finalists – they welcome Ajax knowing the only way to prolong their European campaign past Tuesday night is by earning a victory by 5 goals or more. Having been well beaten 4-0 in Amsterdam, the Scottish side has an incredibly tough task ahead of them, akin to what they went through in qualifying.
Bayer Leverkusen (4) vs Club Brugge (10)
FC Porto (9) vs Atlético Madrid (5)
Like Group A, we already know the top two, just a matter of what order.
Club Brugge has a slender advantage over Porto. Since both teams won 4-0 away from home against the other, the head-to-head matches are a wash. However, Porto has a better goal difference overall, meaning any result that sees the Portuguese outfit score more points than Club Brugge on Tuesday will give them the group win.
As for third place, Bayer Leverkusen is a point behind Atlético for the Europa League spot. Fortunately for Die Werkself, they have the head-to-head in their favor. Thus, if they better the Spanish club’s point haul on Tuesday, they will pip Diego Simeone’s men and send them crashing out of Europe.
Bayern Munich (15) vs Inter Milan (10)
Viktoria Plzen (0) vs Barça (4)
There is nothing else to be determined in this group regarding who will progress or who will finish in what position. Bayern and Inter will be the top two in the order mentioned, Barcelona will end the group stage in third for the second year running, while Plzen will be out of Europe following the final matchday. They will want to pick up some important coefficient points for Czechia in the process though.
Olympique Marseille (6) vs Tottenham (8)
Sporting CP (7) vs Eintracht Frankfurt (7)
This is where things get very interesting. Currently, Spurs are first, Sporting is second on head-to-head over Frankfurt in third, while Marseille is last. Remarkably, anyone can still win this group. One way or another, it is win and you are in.
If Spurs win or if both games are drawn, they top the section. If the Marseille and Spurs game ends level, then the winner of the other game, should there be one, will top the group. Marseille will win the group if they win and Sporting vs Frankfurt ends tied.
In the case of the latter scenario, the remaining three teams would be tied on eight points. Should that situation arise, the three-way tiebreaker would read, in respective order, Sporting CP, then Spurs, then Frankfurt. As a result, Spurs would finish third if they lose, irrespective of the outcome of the other game.
Sporting can only finish last if they lose and Marseille avoids defeat. The French side owns the head-to-head so if they finish level on points, Marseille would end up in the Europa League. Frankfurt will end up last if they lose and Marseille wins or in the case where themselves, Sporting and Spurs all end on the same number of points (8). Marseille, meanwhile, will finish bottom if they lose or if they draw and Sporting does not lose.
As for the runners-up, Spurs will finish second if their game ends level and there is a winner in the other match. Marseille will end up taking second place if they win and the other game has a victor. For Frankfurt, second spot is theirs if they and Spurs win. Same thing goes for Sporting, but that also applies if there is no winner in either match.
Chelsea (10) vs Dinamo Zagreb (4)
Milan (7) vs RB Salzburg (6)
Chelsea host Dinamo having claimed top spot in the group last week. The Croatian champions are still trying to claim third spot. The only way for them to do so is by defeating the Blues once more while Salzburg lose at San Siro. Otherwise it is last place for them.
The Rossoneri welcomes Salzburg knowing a point will see them join Chelsea in the last 16. Salzburg must win in Italy to overtake the Italian side and enter the Round of 16. If that were to happen, Milan would be sent to the Europa League. Salzburg will finish third if they draw the match and/or Dinamo fails to win their tie. They could end up bottom though if they lose and Dinamo Zagreb wins at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City (11) vs Sevilla (5)
FC København (2) vs Borussia Dortmund (8)
Like Group C, everything is all sorted out in this section. City will win the group, being joined by Dortmund in the last 16. Sevilla will make yet another appearance in the Europa League after securing third spot. København, very similar to Plzen, will be last, but will be out for some coefficient points in their final continental game of the campaign.
Real Madrid (10) vs Celtic (2)
Shakhtar Donetsk (6) vs RB Leipzig (9)
Celtic is the only team who knows exactly where they stand. They are condemned to last spot, allowing them to just play for coefficients and a little extra prize money. They travel to the Spanish capital where Real will look to close out the top place in the section. A win will do so. A draw or a defeat is also enough if Leipzig does not defeat Shakhtar (Real Madrid has the head-to-head over Leipzig).
Speaking of the Germans, they will face Shakhtar Donetsk in a winner takes all clash. A point will see Marco Rose’s Leipzig take second place. Top spot is theirs with a win and a Real loss. The Pitmen will jump past Leipzig to second with a win since they will have prevailed in both clashes between the two.
Juventus (3) vs PSG (11)
Maccabi Haifa (3) vs Benfica (11)
PSG and Benfica are the confirmed top two with identical points and identical results in both head-to-heads. The one thing that separates them is the fact the French club has scored 4 more goals, resulting in a better goal differential. In essence, Benfica will have to better PSG’s points tally after Matchday 6 to top the group. Unless they can recover the difference of four from a goal difference point of view, they will end up second.
The same idea applies between Juventus and Maccabi Haifa. Both teams won their home game against the other by two goals, offsetting the head-to-head. The pair are also on 3 points, though Juve boasts a vastly superior goal difference (-3 to -9). That leaves the Israelis needing to outdo the Bianconeri on Wednesday in order to steal third place and partake in the Europa League knockout playoffs.