With the penultimate round of group stage fixtures upon us, the 2018/19 Champions League is hotting up. So far, only Barcelona are assured of their safe passage into the last 16, so there is plenty left to play for in Matchdays 5 and 6.
From a Premier League perspective, Wednesday night’s fixtures involve Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, both of whom require positive results if they stand any change of progressing from arguably the two strongest groups in this year’s competition.
Our friends at Football Whispers have run the rule over all of Wednesday’s games, looking at what is on the line for every team in action.
Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid have dominated this group, both stand on nine points and victories this matchday will send them through, with only first place then to be decided. Dortmund will definitely top the section if they win their remaining two matches – Bruges (H) and Monaco (A) as they have the superior head-to-head record.
Bruges have an outside chance of making the last 16 if they can win in Dortmund and beat Atletico at home but also need a favour from Monaco in one of their fixtures. Thierry Henry’s side cannot reach the knockouts but can claim a Europa League place if they make up the three-point deficit on the Belgians.
With Barcelona already qualified, the match at Wembley between Tottenham and Inter is pivotal. Should Spurs lose or draw they definitely cannot qualify as the Serie A side will possess the superior head-to-head record.
Inter can still catch Barcelona if they win their final two matches – Spurs (A) and PSV (H) – and hope that the Catalans lose either in the Netherlands this week or at home to Tottenham on the final matchday.
PSV can’t make the knockouts but need Tottenham to not win both their final matches, and then get at least one win and a draw against Barca and Inter to snatch a Europa League spot.
The most open of the eight groups with Red Star Belgrade’s surprise win over Liverpool keeping them in contention along with the other three sides. That said, everything could be decided this week as if Liverpool beat PSG and Napoli defeat Red Star both will qualify.
The meeting at Anfield between the two teams will then decide group winner. By contrast, PSG and Red Star both need to leave the group at: PSG – 8, Red Star – 7, Napoli – 6, Liverpool – 6, and take it to the final matchday where the French champions travel to Serbia.
Porto need just a draw from one of their final matches – Schalke (H) and Galatasaray (A) – to confirm their spot, leaving those two sides to fight it out for second as Lokomotiv Moscow are bottom on zero points and can’t even make the Europa League.
If Schalke draw or win in Portugal and Galatasaray don’t defeat Lokomotiv the group is decided. But if the Turkish side claim three points and Schalke lose or draw to Porto it takes it to the final matchday.
*Odds subject to change