Champions League permutations: How teams can qualify from each group


With one week of matches left, it is time for the Champions League qualification conundrums to be answered.

While a number of teams have already secured their place in the final 16, there is still plenty to be decided – including the fates of three English teams.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United could all still exit the competition, with Manchester City the only English side guaranteed to qualify.

But who can still make the knockout stages? Who are already there? And who have already had their European fates sealed?

Without further ado, here’s our group-by-group guide to qualification for the last 16…

Group A

The top two spots in Group A are done and dusted.

Real Madrid have the head-to-head advantage over Paris Saint-Germain and will therefore win the group, with PSG runners-up, no matter what happens.

Shakhtar Donetsk currently sit third ahead of their trip to PSG, but Malmo could overtake them – however, they’ll need a positive result in Madrid.

Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via GettyCristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring
Through: Ronaldo is heading to the knockout stages

Group B

Wolfsburg currently top the group after Andre Schurrle’s two-goal salvo in Moscow handed them victory over CSKA. The German side know they need just a point on matchday six to secure their last 16 place.

Man United sit second, one point behind, knowing that victory at the Volkswagen Arena will put them through.

However, if United fail to win, then they’re vulnerable to being overtaken by PSV Eindhoven. The Dutch side face CSKA on the last night – Victory will put them through.

ReutersManchester United's Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney look dejected after missing a chance to score
On edge: Failure at home to PSV had United looking over their shoulder

Group C

Atletico Madrid marched back to the top of the group with a convincing 2-0 win over Galatasaray, which secured both theirs and Benfica’s qualification for the knockout stages. The duo face off for top spot in the final game, in Lisbon.

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Galatasaray sit third, one point ahead of Astana; that leaves the Turkish side favourites to take the Europa League spot.

GettyAntoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates
All to play for: Atleti head to Lisbon for a top spot battle

Group D

Juventus’ win over Manchester City pushes last year’s finalists into top spot ahead of their last-day trip to Sevilla. Provided the Bianconeri don’t suffer defeat in Spain, they’ll go through as top of the group.

As such, City play host to Borussia Monchengladbach knowing not even a win at home to the Germans will mean top spot – but they are definitely through regardless.

Gladbach, who beat Sevilla 4-2, are currently in pole position for a Europa League spot. Sevilla must beat Juve and hope for a favour from City, to secure European football post-Christmas.

Group E

Barcelona’s 6-1 demolition of Roma on Tuesday evening served to further prove their dominance in Group E – they’ve 13 points from a possible 15 and are group winners by some distance.

Bayer Leverkusen sit second currently, but they host the reigning European champions on the last match day. That means Roma, level on points with Bayer, may have the advantage, as they host Belarussians’ BATE.

However, they too are still in with a chance of reaching the knockout stages – provided they win in the Olimpico.

REUTERS/Albert GeaLionel Messi celebrates scoring the second goal for Barcelona with Neymar and Luis Suarez
Trident: Messi, Suarez and Neymar continue to dazzle

Group F

For Barcelona in Group E, see Bayern Munich in Group F. Pep Guardiola’s boys are through, top of the group, having scored 17 goals in their five matches so far.

They visit Dinamo Zagreb in their final group game, in what is a dead rubber.

All the importance is in Greece, as Arsenal travel to Olympiacos. Avoid defeat and the Greek side are into the knockout stages.

But even victory for Arsenal may not be enough. A slender 1-0 win for the Gunners in Greece would see Olympiacos go through. As would a 2-1 win. A 2-0, 3-1, 4-2 (etc) victory is needed for Arsene Wenger’s men to reach the last 16 on head-to-head record. A 3-2 success would also be enough, by virtue of goal difference.

Group G

No one is yet guaranteed qualification from Group G, but Maccabi Tel Aviv are certain to play no part in European competition after Christmas – they’re the only side without a single point after five games.

Chelsea and Porto currently top the group with 10 points, while Dynamo Kiev have eight points. However, the Ukrainians are GUARANTEED to qualify for the last 16 provided they beat Maccabi at home. That looks almost certain.

Thus, Chelsea vs Porto, Mourinho against his former club, is huge at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea only need a draw to qualify. Porto must win. A draw is not enough in the event of a victory for Dynamo, following the Ukrainians’ win in Portugal on Tuesday.

If all teams finish on 11 points (Dynamo win, Chelsea-Porto ends a draw), then Dynamo are guaranteed group winners, Chelsea will take second and Porto will miss out.

AFP/GettyJose Mourinho reacts from the sidelines
Crunch: Mourinho’s side need to draw to go through

Group H

Zenit St Petersburg, led by ex-Chelsea and Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, are the only side with a 100 per cent record still, having won all five of their group games. They’ll finish Group H top.

Lyon, with one point from a possible 15, will finish bottom. That leaves Gent andValencia vying for second spot.

The Spanish side play host to Lyon, and would have to be favourites to secure three points. That means only a win for Gent – thus ending Zenit’s record – would be enough to keep the Belgians in second spot.

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