Champions League Preview: Who’s staying and who’s going home?

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PSG and Man City to meet in Champions League group stage

Eleven teams are set to battle for the remaining five slots left in the UEFA Champions League

It’s curtains for the group stages of the 2021/2022 UEFA Champions League as teams battle for honours on matchday 6.

There are just five knockout spots left to play for with 11 teams, led by giants like Barcelona, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Porto all fighting for those limited berths on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The coveted Champions League title.

Here is all you need to know about the top games to look out for, key talking points and who could be staying or going home after this final round of matches.

Tuesday Matches

Group A is done and dusted heading into matchday 6 with Manchester City as group winners and Paris St Germain as runners up.

However, there is still the little matter of who picks the UEFA Europa League ticket between Club Brugge, who are away to PSG in Paris, and RB Leipzig, who host Manchester City in Germany.

Jesse Marsch has left his role as RB Leipzig coach the Bundesliga club announced on Monday after a series of poor results
Jesse Marsch has left his role as RB Leipzig coach the Bundesliga club announced on Monday after a series of poor results

Leipzig, who go into their game sitting third on the table, will continue in Europe with a win. A draw will also be good enough but that’s if only Brugge fail to win. For the Belgians, they also need to win or draw and hope that Leipzig fail to win or pick a point to stay in Europe.

In Group B, the battle is between the trio of second placed Porto, AC Milan and bottom club, Atletico Madrid as Liverpool are already through as group winners.

Milan could become the latest Italian side to lose their first three matches in the Champions League and still make it through to the knockout stages.

Atalanta did that two seasons ago but the key question heading into matchday 6 is if the San Siro giants can emulate their Serie A brothers by winning the final two matches? It’s a daunting task for the Rossoneri as they host unbeaten group leaders Liverpool, who have won all five matches so far in the group.

Atletico Madrid or Ac Milan could be going home after matchday 6.
Atletico Madrid or Ac Milan could be going home after matchday 6.

Milan must win and hope the other game between Porto and Atletico ends in a draw to go through. For Porto and Atletico, either side needs a win and for Liverpool to do them a favour by beating Milan in Italy.

Group C is one of two groups in the competition this season that everything has been decided prior to the final matchday. Ajax Amsterdam are through as group winners, followed by Sporting Lisbon as runners up.

Borussia Dortmund drop into the Europa League while Turkish outfit, Bekistas, will be going home after their game in Germany on Tuesday.

Like the last group, Group G is also done and dusted. Real Madrid and Inter Milan are through to the round of 16, Sheriff take the Europa League ticket while Shakhtar Donetsk will watch the rest of the competition from home after Tuesday.

Vinicius Junior has been in superb form this season for Real Madrid.
Vinicius Junior has been in superb form this season for Real Madrid.

However, Real Madrid host Inter at the Santiago Bernabeu to determine who win the group in what is surely the game of day. Los Blancos will win the group with a point while Inter must beat Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Wednesday Matches

On Wednesday, one of the games of the round sees Bayern Munich host FC Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in Group E. This particular encounter is a keenly anticipated one amongst football fans.

With Bayern through as group winners, the second berth is still up for grabs with Barcelona and Benfica separated by just two points going into the game. Barca play away while Benfica host bottom club Dynamo Kyiv, who have only picked just a point from a possible 15.

Xavi Hernandez was just 20 years old the last time Barcelona failed to qualify for the round of 16.
Xavi Hernandez was just 20 years old the last time Barcelona failed to qualify for the round of 16.

Barca have the most difficult task on paper and will need all three points to guarantee their place as they cannot rely on Kyiv to at least get a draw in Portugal.

The last time the Spanish giants failed to progress beyond the group stages was in the 2000/2001 season, over 20 years ago, featuring their current boss, Xavi Hernandez, who was just only 20 at the time.

Manchester United are the only team through to the next round in Group F as group winners and they host Young Boys, who still have Europa League dreams going into that game at Old Trafford.

Ralf Rangnick will take charge of Manchester United in the Champions League for the first time when they host Young Boys at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Ralf Rangnick will take charge of Manchester United in the Champions League for the first time when they host Young Boys at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Young Boys will make the Europa League with a win and Atalanta lose to Villarreal. For Atalanta, they need to beat their visitors, Villarreal, who just need to avoid defeat in Italy to join United in the knockout stages.

In Group G, it is a very special situation as all four teams go into matchday 6 with equal chances of picking their two knockout stage tickets available.

Current group leaders, LOSC Lille need to avoid defeat at bottom club, Wolfsburg, who will go through with a win and finish first if the other group game ends in a draw. Lille will win the group if they draw and Salzburg do not win at home to Sevilla, who need a win to qualify for the round of 16 and also could finish as group winners if they take all three points and Lille lose in Germany.

Lille will be looking to celebrate a ticket to the round of 16 with a win at Wolfsburg on matchday 6.
Lille will be looking to celebrate a ticket to the round of 16 with a win at Wolfsburg on matchday 6.

Finally, things are not as complicated in Group H, thankfully, with Chelsea and Juventus already qualified. But neither has won the group yet, the Blues will do so with a win or draw in Russia against Zenit if Juve fail to win at home to Innocent Bonke’s Malmo.

The Old Lady have a similar path as the Blues, a win or draw and a Chelsea defeat will see them emerge as group winners.

it has been a difficult Champions League campaign for Nigeria's Innocent Bonke and his club, Malmo. Can they exit on a high in Turin?
it has been a difficult Champions League campaign for Nigeria’s Innocent Bonke and his club, Malmo. Can they exit on a high in Turin?

Zenit have already finished third to pick the Europa League ticket, while the only Nigerian left in the competition, Bonke, and his Malmo side will exit Europe after their game in Italy.

Which match are you most looking forward to from all the matches?

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