Good morning, everyone.
So that’s it. Borussia Dortmund’s 2021-22 Champions League campaign has officially come to an end. BVB have been “relegated” to the Europa League. The club’s fate was entirely sealed before the game yesterday, which is why it was played with such little urgency from either the players’ or the coaches’ perspective.
Believe it or not, while you were all falling asleep watching BVB do their best Harlem Globetrotters impression against Besiktas, there were games going on in the Champions League that were actually important. The group with the most action was Group B, one of the “groups of death”, with Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, AC Milan, and Porto. While Liverpool were guaranteed to go on top of the group, all three other clubs had a chance to go through.
Atletico Emerge from Group of Death #1
Unfortunately for AC Milan and Porto, it was Diego Simeone’s side who, despite a poor start to their season, managed to claw their way into the knockout stage once again. It was a wild game between Atletico and Porto, with both sides earning themselves red cards, but Atletico were ultimately the better side.
The Atletico result rendered the result of the Milan-Liverpool game meaningless in terms of the knockout stage, but AC Milan losing meant that they failed to qualify for the Europa League.
RB Leipzig Win Just in Time to Leave the Champions League
Having just sacked Jesse Marsch, you would think that RB Leipzig would be in a bit of disarray, and that it would be hard for them to defeat Manchester City, one of the most talented and best organized clubs in the world.
Well, you would think that...
(I recommend muting in the first five seconds, especially if you’re wearing headphones)
It’s obviously very early, but RB Leipzig might be about to turn a corner. They’ll be in the Europa League with Borussia Dortmund, and are one of the strongest teams in the competition. Could we have a late-round heavyweight bout between BVB and Leipzig on the horizon?
What’s on the Plate for Today?
There’s one match that I’m looking forward to more than any other. A year after losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich, Barcelona are going to march into the lion’s den, in desperate need of a result. Barca are two points above Benfica. Benfica will play Dynamo Kiev, a match they are likely to win. That means that unless Benfica drop points, Barcelona will at least need a draw against the Bavarians.
Another group I’m interested in is Group G. Wolfsburg sit at the bottom, a point below Sevilla, two points below RB Salzburg, and three points behind Lille. This means that if Wolfsburg manage to beat Lille, they can actually guarantee a trip to the knockout stage, because they will have won the head-to-head against the French champions, and would automatically pass either Red Bull Salzburg or Sevilla, regardless of that match’s result.
The Daily Buzz
Will Barcelona advance? What about Wolfsburg? What are your predictions for today’s games?