Champions League Continues Group Stage


The group stage of the Champions League is heating up with match days three and four. (Courtesy of Twitter)

As the European season continues, so does the group stage of the Champions League with match days three and four. As a reminder, here are the groups:

Group A: Liverpool, Ajax, Napoli, Rangers

Group B: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Club Brugge, Bayern Leverkusen

Group C: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Viktoria Plizn

Group D: Tottenham, Sporting, Eintracht Frankfurt, Marseille

Group E: Chelsea, AC Milan, RB Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb

Group F: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic, RB Leipzig

Group G: Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Copenhagen

Group H: PSG, Juventus, Benfica, Maccabi Haifa

In Group A, Napoli continued their unbeaten run, thrashing Ajax 6-1 on matchday two before beating them again 4-2 in the reverse fixture on matchday four. As for Liverpool, they also beat Rangers 2-0 at Anfield before beating them on the road 7-1 with Mo Salah scoring the fastest hat trick in Champions League history in six minutes and 12 seconds after coming off of the bench. With these results, Napoli have already qualified for the knockout rounds with Liverpool just needing one point to secure their progression.

In Group B, Club Brugge have also punched their ticket to the knockouts by beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 on matchday three. With the reverse fixture ending in a 0-0 draw, Brugge is through with 10 points. As for Porto, they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 and beat them again 3-0 on matchday four to put them second in the group with six points. With Brugge already in the knockout stage, the other spot is still up for grabs for all of the other teams.

As for the “group of death,” Group C had Bayern Munich also confirm their participation in the knockout stages by beating Viktoria Plzen 5-0 and 4-2 in both fixtures to keep their perfect record in the group intact. As for the other two teams, Inter grabbed a narrow 1-0 win in matchday three, putting them in a good position to advance to the knockout stages. On matchday four, Inter and Barcelona played to a thrilling 3-3 draw in the Camp Nou. Inter are in second, three points ahead of Barcelona, leaving the Spanish giants on the brink of being eliminated from the group stage for the second year in a row.

In Group D, Tottenham faced Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt, with the teams settling for a 0-0 draw on matchday three. As for matchday four, Tottenham narrowly beat Frankfurt 3-2 to put them at the top of the group. As for the other two teams, Marseille beat Sporting 4-1 and then repeated the feat the following week with a 2-0 victory to propel them from last to second place with six points. All four teams are still in contention to qualify, with Tottenham top of the group with seven points and with Frankfurt last with four points.

As for Group E, the big headline was the clash between Chelsea and AC Milan, with Chelsea beating them 3-0 at home and then following up that victory with a 2-0 win at the San Siro, propelling the blues to the top of the group. Also in the group, RB Salzburg beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 on matchday three. As for matchday four, the teams had to settle on splitting the points after a 1-1 draw. Chelsea are in the driver’s seat to qualify for the knockout rounds with Milan having a bit more work to do as they sit in third place.

In Group F, the reigning Champions League title holders Real Madrid faced off against Shakhtar Donetsk, with Madrid winning 2-1 on matchday three before being held to a 1-1 draw on matchday four. As for RB Leipzig, they beat Celtic on both matchdays three and four to push the Scottish club to the brink of elimination. On the other side, Madrid are in control of their destiny and are sure to advance, barring any historic collapses.

As for Group G, Manchester City secured their passage to the knockout stage, thrashing Copenhagen 5-0 on matchday three before being held to a goalless draw on matchday four. With their 10 points, it’s more than enough to ensure their progression. As for Borussia Dortmund, they have put themselves in a good position to also qualify after beating Sevilla 4-1 on matchday three and drawing 1-1 against the Spanish side on matchday four.

Last but certainly not least is Group H, where PSG were held to two draws on matchdays three and four against Benfica with both score lines being 1-1. However the big news coming out of the group concerned Juventus, who had 0 points after matchday two. They beat Maccabi Haifa 3-1 on matchday three to give life to their chances of qualification. However, on matchday four, that momentum was destroyed as they were stunned by Maccabi Haifa, who beat the Italian giants 2-0. PSG and Benfica are tied on 8 points with Juventus and Maccabi Haifa also tied on 3 points.

With the final two matchdays set to be played this and next week, some teams have the luxury of being able to let their main starters rest due to the fact that they have already qualified for the knockout rounds. As for other teams, these final two matches are must wins if they want to remain in the most prestigious club competition in the world.