This week brings the thrilling final round of the group stage, live on BT Sport, so here’s our status update on this season’s competition so far
By Chris Miller, Writer
The group stage of the UEFA Champions League has provided its usual spectacular entertainment this season, with unexpected heroics (Sheriff Tiraspol’s win at Real Madrid), teams scoring like it’s going out of fashion (Manchester City, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Liverpool are all averaging three or more goals a game) and some stirring comebacks (remember Manchester United blasting three in the second half to beat Atalanta?) that got us off the couch punching the air.
But all good things must come to an end, and there’s just one round of matches left in the group stage. All the all clubs want to be drawn for the last 16, taking place on Monday 13 December, 10.45am, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527).
Fortunately, there’s the even more exciting knockout phase to come! Here’s our guide to who needs what, so you know where to find the most crucial action on BT Sport this week – while we also hail the season’s top players with our team of the tournament so far.
Don’t forget you can stay up to date with every goal, save, tackle and red card on BT Sport wherever there is 3G, 4G, 5G or WiFi on the brilliant Virgin TV Go app.
RB Leipzig v Manchester City, Tuesday 7 December, 5pm, BT Sport 2 HD (CH 528)
Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge, Tuesday 7 December, 5.30pm, BT Sport 3 HD (CH 529)
Not surprisingly, super-rich Man City and Paris Saint-Germain are through, although PSG’s draws against RB Leipzig and Club Brugge suggest the superstar-packed side may not be equipped to progress much further. Leipzig – semi-finalists two years ago – need to better Brugge’s result to secure third and a place in the Europa League’s next round, so they’ll be hoping City rest players at the Red Bull Arena.
Liverpool v AC Milan, Tuesday 7 December, 7.45pm, BT Sport 2 HD (CH 528)
Porto v Atlético Madrid, Tuesday 7 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 2
The determination of the other three teams to take points off each other meant Liverpool won this group with two games to spare. The other qualification place is completely up for grabs, although Porto will think themselves favourites with a point more and a home match against Atlético, while Milan host Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Borussia Dortmund v Besiktas, Tuesday 7 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 3
Ajax v Sporting Lisbon, Tuesday 7 December, 7.45pm, BT Sport ESPN (CH 530)
Ajax have been this season’s surprise package, scoring hatfuls and qualifying without dropping a point. This group is done and dusted: Sporting join the Dutch champions in the next round, Dortmund go into the Europa League, and Besiktas are out.
Real Madrid v Internazionale, Tuesday 7 December, 7.45pm, BT Sport 3 HD (CH 529)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Sheriff Tiraspol, Tuesday 7 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 4
After recovering from the shock of losing at home to Sheriff on matchday 2 – the first ever group-stage win for a Moldovan team – Real won four games in a row to qualify alongside Inter. Their face-off this week will decide which of the Spanish and Italian giants will top the group and be seeded in the next round. Sheriff travel to Ukraine having already secured a Europa League spot.
Bayern Munich v Barcelona, Wednesday 8 December, 7.45pm, BT Sport 3 HD (CH 529)
Benfica v Dinamo Kyiv, Wednesday 8 December, 7.45pm, BT Sport ESPN HD (CH 530)
Germany’s superb champions have crushed all comers in Group E and are looking ominously implacable as they attempt to regain the trophy they won in 2020. With a disappointing Dinamo already eliminated, Benfica have a great opportunity to pip Barcelona to the second qualifying spot – especially as Barca have to go to Munich. The Catalans will hope Bayern, who strolled to a 3-0 win at Camp Nou, take it easy on them this time.
Manchester United v Young Boys, Wednesday 8 December, 7pm, BT Sport 2 HD (CH 528)
Atalanta v Villareal, Wednesday 8 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 2
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Man Utd, who went behind in four out of their five games and lost their manager along the way, but are assured of progress after some Cristiano Ronaldo heroics and a shaky 2-0 win over Villareal. Unai Emery’s Europa League holders are currently second but must travel to Bergamo, where free-scoring Atalanta will aim to leapfrog them with a win. Young Boys will hope that doesn’t happen: if Villareal win and they can sneak a victory over United, the Swiss side could nick third place.
RB Salzburg v Sevilla, Wednesday 8 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 3
Wolfsburg v Lille, Wednesday 8 December, 8pm, BT Sport Extra 4
This closely matched group offers the most intrigue. Leaders Lille are definitely through to at least the Europa League, while their opponents Wolfsburg – currently bottom – are in the odd position of knowing they can’t come third but can theoretically win the group. Salzburg, meanwhile, have won both their home games, but Sevilla are experienced European campaigners. Anyone could progress and with all the possibilities, we’d recommend keeping an eye on both these games (which probably means they’ll both be 0-0).
Zenit Saint Petersburg v Chelsea, Wednesday 8 December, 5.15pm, BT Sport 3 HD (CH 529)
Juventus v Malmo, Wednesday 8 December, 5.30pm, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527)
Chelsea and Juventus have qualified and just need to sort out who wins the group. The holders look the stronger having trounced Juve 4-0 in the previous round, but face the trickier final tie with a trip to Russia while the Italians host winless Malmo. The plucky Swedes, however, are still burning with rage over a dodgy last-minute penalty against Zenit and will be out for justice in Turin…
Our team of the Champions League so far…
Click on each player to find out more about them.
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