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Monchengladbach Barely Qualifies
In one of the two remaining matches for Bundesliga teams in Champions League competition, Borussia Monchengladbach were in a prime position to qualify for the Round of 16 in a wide open Group B. All they needed to do was not get beat by Real Madrid too badly and hope Inter Milan didn’t win over Shakhtar Dontesk.
Unfortunately, a Karim Benzema brace was enough for Real Madrid to defeat Gladbach and win Group B, but Shakhtar and Inter were still deadlocked at 0-0 when the final whistle sounded in Madrid. Inter nearly came agonizingly close in some of the final moments of the match when, off a corner kick, Alexi Sanchez delivered a header that looked to beat the Shakhtar goalkeeper... had Romelu Lukaku not been standing in the way and blocked the shot with his big head.
Inter would fail to find the back of the net in the remaining time before the final whistle sounded, sending them crashing out of European competition altogether and sending Gladbach through to the Round of 16 for the first time in club history. The Gladbach players, as you would expect, reacted appropriately to the news.
Other Champions League Action
On Tuesday, play stopped early in the match between PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir due to an alleged racial comment from a referee. On Wednesday, play resumed and PSG absolutely mopped the floor with the Turkish side to a 5-1 scoreline, giving PSG the top spot in Group H. In Group D, the pivotal match between Atalanta and Ajax for the second spot in the group was decided with a late goal as Atalanta’s Luis Fernando Muriel Fruto scored the winner in the 85th minute after Ajax went down to 10 men in the 78th minute. In Group A, Atletico Madrid scored two goals over RB Salzburg in a 2-0 win to take second in the group and send American Jesse Marsch and the Austrians into Europa League.
Aside from these contests, there weren’t many other important matches to focus on. Bayern won their group with ease, while Porto won easily over Olympiacos and Manchester City blanked Marseille 3-0 to finalize the placings in Group C.
The Daily Buzz
What are your thoughts on the remaining Champions League teams? How cool is it that all four Bundesliga teams qualified for the knockouts?