MD-5 looms just around the bend, bringing us the reverse matchups of MD-2. Six teams qualified to R-16 in MD-4. On the other side of the equation, seven teams have been knocked out of the Champions League tournament, but six still have chances to switch into the Europa League’s knockout stages.
Suspense grows in the “group of death” with only two more rounds to be played. I promise you there will be tears of desperation and tears of joy when the final whistle blows on MD-6.
The marquee matches in MD-5 are PSG vs Newcastle and Milan vs Dortmund to continue the saga of that group. PSG will host Newcastle hoping to exact revenge revenge, and Milan must capitalize on the 2-1 victory over PSG in MD-4 when Dortmund visits.
Elsewhere, injury stricken Barcelona takes on Porto, and Man City hosts RB Leipzig. Man United will visit Galatasaray in an enticing repeat of the MD-2 thriller that ended 3-2 in favor of the Turks. Last but not least, Real Madrid will host Napoli looking to secure the top spot in the group.
Bayern (12 points) - Copenhagen (4 point) - Galatasaray (4 points) - Man United (3 points)
Bayern Munich secured qualification with back to back victories over Galatasaray in MD-3 and MD-4 to bring home 12 points out of possible 12. Copenhagen and Man United exchanging blows means Bayern has also won the group, so the next couple of games against Copenhagen and Man Utd will hold no meaning for the German club. Consequently fantasy managers should be cautious of relying on Bayern players since those matches will be valuable youth trials and rest/rotation opportunities for Tuchel. Bayern returned from the international break with a difficult 1-0 victory at Koln on Friday while their opponents Copenhagen visit Viborg on Saturday.
Galatasaray and Manchester United must hope that Bayern will defeat Copenhagen. If the assumption becomes reality, then a win for Galatasaray will end United’s campaign, but a win for United means the 2nd place spot won’t be determined until MD-6.
At the time of writing, Galatasaray is two goals ahead of local opponents Alanyaspor in the 60th minute. Man United visits wounded Everton in the EPL on Sunday before flying to Turkey.
Arsenal (9 points) - PSV (5 point) - Lens (5 points) - Sevilla (2 points)
Arsenal is only one point away from qualifying regardless of other match results. In MD-2’s reverse fixture, Lens defeated Arsenal 2-1 in France — Now it is Arsenal’s turn to host. Arsenal won at Brentford Saturday, capitalizing on points dropped by Man City and Liverpool in their 1-1 draw. Lens players returned from International duty to defeat Clermont 3-0 early on Saturday.
The second match features Sevilla vs PSV. The Spanish team hopes to reignite qualification chances with an important win against the Dutch champions to force a dramatic finish for the second qualification spot on MD-6. Sevilla plays a difficult match against Real Sociedad on Sunday ahead of the UCL showdown against PSV. Eindhoven is playing against Twente domestically on Saturday in preparation for their travels to Spain.
Real Madrid (12 points) - Napoli (7 points) - Braga (3 points) - Union Berlin (1 points)
Napoli were able to keep Union Berlin at bay in MD-3 and MD-4 and now enjoy a healthy advantage for Group C’s second qualification spot. Napoli’s opponents in MD-5 are full-mark Real Madrid. The Spanish giants secured qualification on MD-4 with another victory over Braga. They will host Serie A champions on MD-5 and can win the group with a draw. Real Madrid will play Cadiz on Sunday domestically after the international break. Napoli are playing on the road against Atalanta on Saturday and the score is 1-1 in the 78th minute as these words are being typed.
Braga will be looking to force a showdown on MD-6 against Napoli by defeating Union Berlin in MD-5 and hoping the Real Madrid will take all three points from Napoli. This scenario will bring Braga up to 7 points similar to Napoli. Braga thrashed Portimonense 4-1 on Saturday while their opponents Berlin were held to a 1-1 draw by Augsberg on the same day.
Real Sociedad (10 points) - Inter (10 points) - Salzburg (3 points) - Benfica (0 points)
Group D is one of two groups that are concluded in terms of qualification to the round of 16. Victories by both Real Sociedad and Inter on MD-4 secured qualification to the knockout stages for both teams. All that remains is the important fight for the top spot and the consolation prize of a ticket to the Europa League, which will now be contested by Salzburg and Benfica.
Benfica will be hosting Inter Milan while Real Sociedad will host Salzburg. Before the Champions League MD-5 clashes, Benfica play Famalicao domestically on Sunday, Inter will play the Italian derby against Juventus, and Real Sociedad will take on Sevilla. Salzburg defeated Hartberg 3-2 on Saturday.
Atletico (8 points) - Lazio (7 points) - Feyenoord (6 points) - Celtic (1 points)
Atletico’s victory over Celtic and Lazio’s over Feyenoord in MD-4 pushed both clubs to the top two positions of Group E. They will trade opponents in MD-5 as Atletico are hosted by Feyenoord and Lazio host Celtic. The group could be concluded with another double victory for Atletico and Lazio but Feyenoord will bring their best to prevent such a scenario from happening.
Feyenoord returned from the international break to bring down Excelsior 4-2 domestically, while their guests Atletico are warming up to take on Mallorca on Saturday. The Italian contenders suffered a worrying 1-2 defeat against Salernitana on the road on Saturday while their Scottish opponents were held to a 1-1 draw by Motherwell.
Dortmund (7 point) - PSG (6 points) - Milan (5 points) - Newcastle (4 points)
Another interesting wrinkle in the rankings hit the group with an unexpected 2-1 victory for Milan over PSG on MD-4, which helped Dortmund take over the group lead with an important win over Newcastle.
The English club find themselves down from first to last in the span of only a couple of matchdays. They now prepare to travel to Paris where PSG will not greet them warmly after the Magpies humiliated the French club 4-1 on MD-2. Coincidentally, Newcastle just recorded another 4-1 victory earlier today against Chelsea in the EPL. PSG also recorded a heavy 5-2 victory at the expense of Monaco on Saturday.
Milano is painted red and black this week with back-to-back home matches for AC Milan right after the international break. They will host Fiorentina on Saturday evening before welcoming group leaders Dortmund. The Germans will be looking to steal the three points to not only secure qualification but also win the group if Newcastle repeats its MD-2 result. Dortmund defeated Monchengladbach 4-2 earlier on Saturday.
Man City (12 points) - RB Leipzig (9 points) - Crvena zvezda (1 points) - Young Boys (1 points)
RB Leipzig and Man City defeated Crvena (Belgrade) 2-1 and Young Boys 3-0 in MD-4, repeating MD-3 victories to secure qualification to the round of 16. Man City will be hosting RB Leipzig in MD-5 with a three points advantage. A draw will be enough for the treble winners to win the group. Man City was held to a 1-1 draw by Liverpool earlier on Saturday while RB Leipzig lost 1-2 to Wolfsburg in Bundesliga ahead of the UCL fixture.
Crvena zvezda (Belgrade) visits Swiss side Young Boys in an all important match for the consolation prize of Europa League knockout stages qualification. The winner of this match will secure the right to continue playing in that tournament in February of next year.
Barcelona (9 points) - Porto (9 points) - Shakhtar Donetsk (6 points) - Antwerp (0 points)
Shakhtar Donetsk’s surprise victory over FC Barcelona in MD-4 could ultimately spell the fall of either Barcelona or Porto when the final whistle blows on MD-6. The Ukrainian champions must defeat Antwerp in MD-5 and hope for a favorable result in the match between Barcelona and Porto.
Barcelona is currently struck by a long injury list but were able to draw with Rayo Valecano 1-1 earlier on Saturday. On the other hand, Porto defeated Montalegre 4-0 on Saturday as well which send a strong message to the Spanish giants ahead of their clash.
Hopefuls Shakhtar Donetsk were held to a goalless draw by Polissya domestically this Friday as they prepare to host Belgian champions Antwerp.
The following difficulty tables are subjective and do not rely on specific criteria, but we hope they’ll serve as a simple guide to help readers navigate the group stages and plan for chips.
Good luck to you this season; we’ll be with you all the way!
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