UEFA Champions League Update

Nick Jehamy | December 13th, 2019

Matchday six has ended, and with that, we end the group stage of the Champions League. The 16 teams moving on have been decided, as well as the eight third-place teams that are transferring over to the Europa League. Here is how the final group stage matchday ended and each group stands.

*Advancing to Round of 16
**Transfer to Europa League

Group A

  1. Paris Saint-Germain* 5-1-0 (16 Points)
  2. Real Madrid* 3-2-1 (11 Points)
  3. Club Brugge** 0-3-3 (3 Points)
  4. Galatasaray 0-2-4 (2 Points)

Group A showed us no surprises in this Champions League as Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are the top two teams moving on to the round of 16. PSG ended the group stage with the least goals given up, two. Those two goals given up were both to Real Madrid in a 2-2 draw, PSG’s only non-win. Aside from that match against Real Madrid, PSG put up a clean sheet in all five other matches behind the solid play of goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Real Madrid may not have the same lineup that it had last year but they are not a club to sleep on moving forward, their only loss coming from PSG as well as a draw with PSG and with Club Brugge. Speaking of Club Brugge, they will be heading over to the Europa League, with two draws against last-place team Galatasaray, their draw with Real Madrid during matchday two was the deciding factor in their third-place finish. This will be Club Brugge’s second year in a row transferring into the Europa League.

Group B

  1. Bayern Munich* 6-0-0 (18 Points)
  2. Tottenham* 3-1-2 (10 Points)
  3. Olympiacos** 1-1-4 (4 Points)
  4. Crvena Zvezda 1-0-5 (3 Points)

Another group that ended with no surprises, Bayern Munich and Tottenham will be advancing to the next round. Bayern Munich has been an offensive force, scoring the most goals by any club during the group stage (24). Almost half of Bayern’s goals were scored by forward Robert Lewandowski, who is currently the tournament’s leading goal-scorer with ten goals scored so far. Bayern Munich was also the only team to win all six of their matches. Tottenham is our reigning runner-up, last year they barely scraped by making it out of the group stage, while this year they had a much easier time of things. Looking forward, Tottenham is going to have to step it up defensively as they gave up the most goals (14) of any team moving on to the next round, that number is skewed a bit though since ten of those were given up to Bayern Munich. In the final match for group B, Olympiacos played against Crvena Zvezda, Zvezda just needed a draw to hold on to third place but Olympiacos’ El Arabi scored in the 87th minute to give them the win and take third place where they will now be heading over to the Europa League.

Group C

  1. Manchester City* 4-2-0 (14 Points)
  2. Atalanta* 2-1-3 (7 Points)
  3. Shakhtar Donetsk** 1-3-2 (6 Points)
  4. Dinamo Zagreb 1-2-3 (5 Points)

Group C came down to matchday six to be decided! Manchester City controlled this group and had no issues taking the first spot while not losing a single match, the rest of the group is where it got interesting. Going into matchday six, Shakhtar Donetsk was in second place with six points, Dinamo Zagreb in third with five, and Atalanta in last place with four. Dinamo seemed to have the worst luck as they were playing against Manchester City on the final day, which ended as expected, with Gabriel Jesus scoring a hat trick in Man City’s victory. With that match going the way it did, all Shakhtar needed was a draw to advance to the next round, and against an Atalanta club that they already beat once before. Atalanta though wanted it more and took the match 3-0 jumping them up into second place and advancing to the next round. Atalanta may be one of the weakest teams moving on but do not count them out just yet. With that Shakhtar will miss out on the round of 16 for the second year in a row and transfer to the Europa League.

Group D

  1. Juventus* 5-1-0 (16 Points)
  2. Atletico Madrid* 3-1-2 (10 Points)
  3. Bayer Leverkusen** 2-0-4 (6 Points)
  4. Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0-5 (3 Points)

Group D got much more interesting than expected. Juventus dominated play in this group as they went on to win five of their six matches, only drawing once against Atletico Madrid. Atletico Madrid put themselves in a tight spot though, losing back-to-back matches in matchday’s four and five to Leverkusen and Juventus. Going into matchday six Atletico Madrid was only up by one point on Leverkusen, so they needed either the same outcome or better than Leverkusen. Leverkusen went into their match against Juventus aggressive, pushing the ball forward early and taking every chance they could get to put a shot on goal, but veteran Gianluigi Buffon would not let a goal by him, as Juventus went on to score twice in the final ten minutes of the match and finish off Leverkusen’s hopes of advancing. It wouldn’t have mattered though as Madrid scored early in their final match against Moscow and never looked back, as they went on to win their match 2-0. Atletico Madrid advance for the second year in a row as Bayer Leverkusen transfer to the Europa League.

Group E

  1. Liverpool* 4-1-1 (13 Points)
  2. Napoli* 3-3-0 (12 Points)
  3. RB Salzburg** 2-1-3 (7 Points)
  4. Genk 0-1-5 (1 Point)

The reigning champions of the UEFA Champions League end this stage on top, but not by much. Liverpool started off the stage by losing to 2-0 to Napoli, who they ended up drawing in their second matchup. Napoli had Liverpool’s number here but couldn’t push through their other matchups as easily, drawing once with RB Salzburg and once with Genk as well, which was Genk’s only point. Going into matchday six Napoli was only two points ahead of Salzburg, but with a match against Genk which this time they took decisively 4-0, and Salzburg taking the loss 2-0 to Liverpool, the table rolled out the way it was expected to. Liverpool has made it to the finals twice in a row and is trying to make it back there again, as one of the least sought out teams to face as they are solid from top to bottom. Napoli has been transferred to the Europa League two years in a row and now finally return to the round of 16 for the first time since 2016-2017. As RB Salzburg gets sent over to the Europa League.

Group F

  1. Barcelona* 4-2-0 (14 Points)
  2. Borussia Dortmund* 3-1-2 (10 Points)
  3. Internazionale Milan** 2-1-3 (7 Points)
  4. Salvia Prague 0-2-4 (2 Points)

Group F may have been the most exciting to watch, including three powerhouse teams between Barcelona, Dortmund, and Inter Milan. Slavia Prague pulled up a draw against each Barcelona and Inter Milan which made things more interesting as going into the final matchday Inter Milan and Dortmund were tied at seven points with Milan taking the tiebreaker. Milan needed to match Dortmund’s result or do better, sadly for them, Dortmund played Slavia Prague as Milan had the tougher matchup against Barcelona, but a Barcelona without Lionel Messi. Both matchups went into the second half tied at one, but in the 66th minute, Dortmund took a 2-1 one lead and never looked back, as well as Ansu Fati coming off the bench for Barcelona in the 85th minute and scoring a minute later to give them the victory as well. Milan has now missed out on advancing out of the group stage for the second year in a row, the current leaders of Serie A will be heading to the Europa League where teams should worry about matching up against them. Last year was Barcelona’s first year making it past the quarter-finals since they won the title in the 2014-2015 season, let’s see if this year they can make the run to get back the championship game.

Group G

  1. RB Leipzig* 3-2-1 (11 Points)
  2. Olympique Lyonnais* 2-2-2 (8 Points)
  3. Benfica** 2-1-3 (7 Points)
  4. Zenit 2-1-3 (7 Points)

Group G wasn’t a hot topic when the groups were drawn, but they ended up being one of the most exciting groups to watch as they were the most evenly matched group from top to bottom. Group G was the only group where every club had at least two wins, the fourth-place team tallying seven points which were the most by a last-place team in any group. Going into matchday six Leipzig had ten points, Lyon and Zenit had seven, and Benfica had four. Zenit had the tiebreaker over Lyon due to drawing one match and winning the other between the two clubs, so Zenit was in second place and needed to tie Lyon’s result or better. The matchups seemed to be in Zenit’s favor as they played last-place Benfica and Lyon were up against first place Leipzig. Lyon and Leipzig played a hard-fought match that ended in a draw, so Zenit needed at least a draw to move on to the next round. Zenit down 1-0 in the 56th minute ended up being a player down as Douglas Santos picked up a red card (second yellow), Benfica scored two minutes later and Zenit put the nail in the coffin by scoring an own goal in the 78th minute, losing the match 3-0. This loss not only took them out of the top two but dropped them down into last place, sending Benfica to the Europa League and Lyon advancing on to the next round. This will be Leipzig’s first time advancing past the group stage whereas this will be Lyon’s second year in a row advancing.

Group H

  1. Valencia* 3-2-1 (11 Points)
  2. Chelsea* 3-2-1 (11 Points)
  3. Ajax** 3-1-2 (10 Points)
  4. Lille 0-1-5 (1 Point)

Group H came down to the final week of play. Valencia and Chelsea will be advancing to the next round with Valencia on top through the tiebreaker, beating Chelsea in matchday one and drawing with them later on. Valencia will be making their return to the round of 16 for the first time since 2012-2013 and also won their group for the first time since 2006-2007. Chelsea was left out of the Champions League last year but won last year’s Europa League, they will try to break their Champions League drought as they have only made it past the round of 16 once since their victory in 2012. Last year was the first year Ajax made it out of the group stage since 2005-2006, making it to the semi-finals and upsetting many big teams on their way there. This year Ajax will be heading back to the Europa League which they have become very familiar with. Going into matchday six Ajax was at the top of the group with ten points, Valencia and Chelsea tied behind them at eight. Ajax held their own destiny, no matter what Chelsea did against Lille, as long as Ajax played out a draw against Valencia they would move on, but sadly for them that was not the case as they lost the match 1-0 and Chelsea won their match 2-1, giving us the table we see as it is. At the end of Barcelona’s win this week, former Ajax young star, Frenkie de Jong, was shown heartbroken looking up at the big screen on the field and seeing that his former club was eliminated.

What Happens Next?

The draw for the round of 16 will be this Monday, December 16th. All the clubs are seeded either one or two based on their finish in their respective groups. They draw so each number one seed plays a number two seed. There are other restrictions to the draw as well though, a club cannot play the other club that came out of their group, as well as any other club from their associations (ie. Juventus cannot draw Napoli or Atalanta since they are all from Serie A, as well as Atletico Madrid since they were in their group). The first leg of the round of 16 will be played in February with the second leg being played in March. 

Remember to check out the draw on Monday, December 16th and see who will be matched up against each other going into 2020!

Representation of Who is Left

  • Four clubs from Spain: 
    • Atletico Madrid
    • Barcelona
    • Valencia
    • Real Madrid
  • Four clubs from England:
    • Chelsea
    • Tottenham
    • Liverpool
    • Manchester City
  • Three clubs from Italy:
    • Juventus
    • Atalanta
    • Napoli
  • Three clubs from Germany:
    • Bayern Munich
    • Borussia Dortmund
    • RB Leipzig
  • Two clubs from France:
    • Olympique Lyonnais
    • Paris Saint-Germain

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