The Champions League group stages are nearing their conclusion, with just one round left to play, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what the knockout stages are going to look like. Amazingly, the nation that have been most dominant in the Champions League in the last ten years, Spain, will have a single representative going into the Round of 16!
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Sevilla have all failed to qualify for the next stage, and the best any of them can hope for is to finish in third and drop down to the Europa League. Spain’s only representative in the knockout stages will be the current (and seemingly eternal) champions of Europe, Real Madrid.
I’m sure many of you will already be aware that Barcelona’s new striker, Robert Lewandowski, suffered the indignity of being knocked out of the Champions League by his former team, Bayern Munich. I believe there is a German word for this sort of thing...
Anyway, here’ s how the rest of the results looked this week in the Champions League:
Sevilla 3-0 FC Copenhagen
RB Salzburg 1-2 Chelsea
Benfica 4-3 Juventus
Celtic 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Paris Saint-Germain 7-2 Maccabi Haifa
RB Leipzig 3-2 Real Madrid
Dinamo Zagreb 0-4 AC Milan
Inter Milan 4-0 Viktoria Plzen
Club Brugge 0-4 FC Porto
Napoli 3-0 Rangers
Frankfurt 2-1 Marseille
Ajax 0-3 Liverpool
Barcelona 0-3 Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Tottenham 1-1 Sporting Lisbon
Spanish clubs have had a hard week in Europe so far, but Germany’s representatives have much more to be happy about! Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are two of the twelve teams that have qualified for the knockout stages so far, and RB Leipzig are in a pretty solid spot after beating Real Madrid this week. After beating Marseille 2-1, Frankfurt now have a real shot at qualifying the Round of 16, and if they beat Sporting Lisbon next week, they’ll be through. The only Bundesliga team that will go into the final week without a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages is Bayer Leverkusen, but their draw with Atletico Madrid this week has given them some chance of making it into the Europa League if they can get something against Club Brugge in the final round.
- There were rumours circulating this summer that BVB were interested in Borussia Monchengladbach defender, Ramy Bensebaini. Nothing came of it at the time, but apparently Dortmund have renewed their interest in the 27-year-old Algerian left back.
- Sebastien Haller is back on the training pitch, but with his former employer, Ajax, rather than BVB. He opted to carry out his rehab in Amsterdam, with his old club, likely due to familiarity and an existing working relationship with Ajax’s medical team. I’m sure he’s still a long way off being able to return to playing competitive football any time soon, but this is definitely great news.
The Daily Buzz
There are twelve teams that have qualified for the Champions League knockout stages so far (Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Napoli, PSG, Club Brugge, Benfica, Porto, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and BVB). Of those teams, who would you most like Dortmund to face in the Round of 16?