Sunday, January 16, 2022

Champions League schedule, scenarios, tiebreakers, permutations: Barcelona must finish above Benfica to get in

There’s four spots still up for grabs heading into Wednesday’s group-stage finale

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The UEFA Champions League group stage is down to its final matchday, and we have you covered with every match airing on Paramount+ and “The Golazo Show” on CBS Sports Network. All in all, 12 of the 16 spots in the knockout stage have already been booked, with four spots remaining and number of teams still in contention. 

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Inter Milan were among the notable teams to clinch during the fifth matchday. Erling Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund are relegated to the Europa League knockout stage with a third-place finish. Meanwhile, Manchester United — now with a new manager in charge — clinched the top spot in the group. 

There’s plenty of stake heading into the final matchday, so let’s take a look at who’s in, who’s out and what are the scenarios and permutations to watch. And when the action is over, don’t forget that you can also check out the draw to determine the tournaments matchups in the knockout stages on Monday Dec. 13, on Paramount+.

Craving even more from the Champions League? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

Already advanced

Group A

  • Manchester City are through as the group winner.

  • Paris Saint-Germain are through as group runner-up.

Group B

  • Liverpool are through as the group winner.
  • Atletico Madrid are through as group runner-up.

Group C

  • Ajax are through as the group winner.

  • Sporting CP are through as group runner-up.

Group D 

  • Real Madrid are through to the last 16.
  • Inter Milan are through to the last 16.

Group E

  • Bayern Munich are through as the group winner.

Group F

  • Manchester United are through as the group winner. 

Group G

  • No teams have punched their ticket to the last 16

Group H 

  • Chelsea are through to the last 16.
  • Juventus are through to the last 16.

What’s at stake?

Group E

  • Barcelona (7 points, -4 GD) do not hold the tiebreaker edge over Benfica (5 points, -4 GD) should the two finish level on points. Benfica’s 3-0 drubbing over the Catalan side on Sept. 29 will come in handy if they can beat Dynamo Kiev at home on the final day of the group stage. Barca need a win away from home over a presumed weaker Bayern Munich side that’s playing for pride after having already clinched first.

Group F

  • Atalanta (6 points, 0 GD) will host Villarreal (7 points, +2 GD) for essentially the final available spot into the knockouts. A draw would be enough to see Villarreal through.

Group G

  • Lille (8 points, +1 GD), Red Bull Salzburg (7 points, +1 GD), Sevilla (6 points, +1 GD) and Wolfsburg (5 points, -3 GD) are all still alive in what is arguably the wildest group of the bunch. For Lille, a draw against Wolfsburg should be enough to see them through. Salzburg will host Sevilla and a win from any of the two would guarantee their spot in the next phase. If you’re a fan of chaos, you might want to root for a draw for Salzburg and a win for Wolfsburg, which would give us three teams tied at eight points. 

Group H 

  • Chelsea (12 points, +9 GD) hold the tiebreaker over Juventus (12 points, +3 GD) based on head-to-head goal difference should the two finish level on points. Only two scenarios would give Juventus first place in the group: A win over Malmo and a Chelsea loss/draw at Zenit or a Juve draw over Malmo coupled with a Chelsea loss.  

Champions League Schedule

All times Eastern

Wednesday

Europa League watch

Third-placed teams in each group will be relegated into the Europa League and enter in knockout round draw. The following teams are already locked into Europa League spots: RB Leipzig (Group A), Porto (Group B), Borussia Dortmund (Group C), Sheriff Tiraspol (Group D) and Zenit Saint Petersburg (Group H).

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