Champions League Matchday Five Recap

Teams have continued to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 as others’ futures sit on jeopardy heading into the final group stages matchday.


Thiago and Liverpool remained perfect to top the “group of death.” (Courtesy of Twitter)

Last week, the Champions League continued with matchday five of the group stage with more teams punching their tickets into the knockout round. The top two teams in each group advance to the round of 16 with the third place going to the Europa League playoffs.

The main match in Group A was the heavyweight clash between Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City. The last time these two went against each other, PSG beat City with a 2–0 score back in matchday two. This time, PSG once again scored first in the 50th minute with Kylian Mbappe. City responded in the 63rd minute to equalize courtesy of Raheem Sterling. City then completed the comeback with a goal from Gabriel Jesus in the 76th minute. This was a match City dominated, yet the scoreline was close. RB Leipzig thrashed Club Brugge in the other match, 5–0. Both City and PSG have qualified for the knockouts with these results, with City securing the top spot in Group A. 

Liverpool continued its perfect record in Group B, the “group of death,” as they beat FC Porto 2–0. Thiago opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a spectacular shot which sailed into the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool then put the game out of Porto’s reach in the 70th minute courtesy of Mohamed Salah, who has now scored 17 goals in 18 appearances across all competitions. AC Milan got its first win of the campaign in Group B’s other match, as they beat Atletico Madrid 1–0 to keep their hopes alive. Liverpool has already secured the top spot in the group, but the rest of the teams all have a possibility of qualifying.

Ajax also continued its perfect streak in Group C by beating Besiktas 2–1 to secure the top spot in the group. Sporting shocked Borussia Dortmund in the other match by winning 3–1 to also punch its ticket to the knockouts. Sporting has the better head to head record between the two teams which means that Dortmund have officially been eliminated from the Champions League and sent down to the Europa League playoffs. Besiktas has been completely eliminated from all European competition by finishing in dead last. This is the only group where matchday six will have no effect on the standings.

13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid qualified for the knockouts by beating Sheriff 3–0 in Group D. This unfortunately brings an end to Sheriff’s magical run in the Champions League, but they can take solace in the fact that they are confirmed to finish in third and go into the Europa League. Inter Milan also confirmed its place in the knockouts by beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2–0 and confirming Donetsk into last place. Neither Madrid nor Milan have secured first in the group, but they will face each other in the final matchday, so expect both teams to give it everything they have.

Bayern Munich remained perfect through five matchdays by beating Dynamo Kyiv 2–1 in Group E, which included a wonder goal by Robert Lewandowski on a bicycle kick to continue his hot run of form, scoring nine goals in five matchdays and 25 goals in 20 appearances across all competitions. Barcelona and Benfica settled for a 0–0 draw in a match that Barcelona needed to win. Bayern have now secured the top spot in the group, but the runner up spot is still up for grabs between Barcelona and Benfica. Barcelona’s next match is against Munich with Benfica going against Kyiv, who have a lone point. If Benfica beat Kyiv, which seems likely, Barcelona must beat Bayern, which is no easy feat. Bayern beat Barcelona 3–0 the last time those two faced off.

Manchester United secured the top spot in Group F by beating Villareal 2–0 with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring one of the goals to help secure its passage to the knockouts. Atalanta settled with a 3–3 draw against BSC Young Boys, who are now eliminated from the knockout stages, with a trip to the Europa League still on the cards. The final matchday has Villareal facing Atalanta with the winner heading to the round of 16.

Lille beat RB Salzburg 1–0 in Group G to give them three points which could prove to be critical for qualifying for the knockout stages. Sevilla beat Wolfsburg 2-0 in the other match to edge closer to qualification. None of the places are secured in this group, and all of the teams can punch their tickets to the round of 16 in the final matchday. Lille will face Wolfsburg, and Sevilla will take on RB Salzburg. Lille and Salzburg must avoid defeat to qualify. Sevilla and Wolfsburg will be in if they win their matches.

Last but certainly not least, Chelsea got three vital points in Group H as they secured qualification to the round of 16 by beating Juventus 4–0. Juventus, who had already qualified, have now gone down into second place with the reigning Champions League winners topping the group. Zenit secured third place in the group and a spot in the Europa League playoffs by drawing with Malmo 1–1. The top spot is still available to both Chelsea and Juventus. Chelsea must match Juventus’ result in the final matchday to secure first place since they have a greater head to head advantage.

The final matchday will be next Tuesday and Wednesday. There are way too many matches to recommend with so much of the team’s future in the Champions League on the line. Expect each team to give it their all to punch their tickets into the knockout stage of the biggest club competition in the world.