Champions League permutations: Who can reach the knockouts – and who is out?

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Newcastle

Newcastle United’s chances of a place in the Champions League knockout phase are down to the final game.

Eddie Howe’s side’s hopes were dented by a 98th-minute penalty from Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe last time out and leaves them needing a win and a favourable result in Dortmund to make it through Group F.

Manchester United’s own Champions League journey is over in the group stage.

A thrilling 3-3 draw at Galatasaray, where they let a two-goal lead slip twice, left their progress to the last 16 out of their hands and defeat to Bayern Munich at Old Trafford sealed their fate.

Arsenal, meanwhile, topped their group with a game to spare, as did defending champions Manchester City.

Here is what each team needs to make it through.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Is the Premier League still on course for an extra Champions League spot?


Group A

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Bayern Munich (Q)

6

6

16

2

Copenhagen (Q)

6

8

3

Galatasaray

6

-3

5

4

Manchester United

6

-3

4

As expected, Bayern Munich made light work of Group A and booked their place in the knockouts with two games to spare.

Manchester United were widely tipped to follow them through, but end bottom of the group after falling to defeat to Bayern at Old Trafford in their final game.

Galatasaray pip them to the Europa League spot with Copenhagen producing the shock to qualify in second place.

Group B

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Arsenal (Q)

6

12

13

2

PSV (Q)

6

-2

9

3

Lens

6

-5

8

4

Sevilla

6

-5

2

Arsenal’s thrashing of Lens at Emirates Stadium secured top spot in the group with a game to spare.

PSV Eindhoven followed them into the knockout phase in second place with the French side securing third place and the Europa League qualifying spot.

That means Europa League specialists and current holders, Sevilla, miss out on a return to their favourite competition.

Group C

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Real Madrid (Q)

6

9

18

2

Napoli (Q)

6

1

10

3

Braga

6

-6

4

4

Union Berlin

6

-4

2

14-time winners Real Madrid cruised into the knockouts for the 26th successive season with six wins from six.

Napoli’s win over Braga in their final game meant they joined the Spaniards in the last 16.

The Portuguese side can console themselves with the Europa League, however, with Union Berlin’s first foray into Champions League football ending with plenty of memories but only two points.

Group D

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Real Sociedad (Q)

6

5

12

2

Inter Milan (Q)

6

3

12

3

Red Bull Salzburg

6

-4

4

4

Benfica

6

-4

4

Real Sociedad and Inter Milan secured their qualifications to the knockouts on matchday four with their draw in the final game earning the Spanish side top spot.

The Italians will now lurk as one of the more dangerous options in the runners-up pot in the draw.

In the race for third, Red Bull Salzburg squeezed past Benfica to earn the Europa League spot.

Group E

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Atletico Madrid (Q)

5

9

11

2

Lazio (Q)

5

2

10

3

Feyenoord

5

6

4

Celtic

5

-11

1

A single point is Celtic’s yield after five games in Group E and their European journey is over for another year.

There is almost nothing left to decide above them in the final round of fixtures as Atletico Madrid and Lazio have secured passage to the knockouts with Feyenoord in third, dropping into the Europa League.

Diego Simeone’s side occupy top spot in Group E and that will remain the case unless Lazio are able to beat them in Madrid in the final group game.

Group F

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Borussia Dortmund (Q)

5

3

10

2

Paris Saint-Germain

5

1

7

3

Newcastle United

5

5

4

AC Milan

5

-4

5

The ‘Group of Death’ has lived up to its billing so far this season.

Every matchday has been breathtaking and Mbappe’s 98th-minute penalty on Tuesday denied Newcastle United the opportunity to move into the top two in Group F.

It means the French champions have their fate in their own hands and a win away to Borussia Dortmund in the final game would see them join the Germans in the knockouts as group winners.

Newcastle need to beat AC Milan at home to have any chance of progression. They will qualify for the last 16 with a victory if PSG are unable to win in Dortmund.

As for Milan, they need a victory away to Newcastle while also needing PSG to lose.

Group G

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Manchester City (Q)

5

10

15

2

RB Leipzig (Q)

5

2

9

3

Young Boys

5

-5

4

4

Crvena zvezda

5

-7

1

There will be nothing left to decide in Group G in the final matchday.

Manchester City will qualify as group winners with RB Leipzig the runners up.

Young Boys’ win against Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday means they will finish in third because of their superior head-to-head record, dropping into the Europa League in the process.

Group H

PosTeamGPGDPTS

1

Barcelona (Q)

5

7

12

2

Porto

5

5

9

3

Shakhtar Donetsk

5

9

4

Antwerp

5

-12

Having missed the opportunity to qualify for the knockouts after four games, Barcelona secured their last-16 place in matchday five with a 2-1 win against Porto.

Despite their advantage over the two sides beneath them being just three points, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk meet in the final group game so cannot both go above the Spanish champions.

Porto need to avoid defeat to make it into the knockouts, while Shakhtar will need to beat them to advance.

Antwerp look set to finish the group stage without picking up a point with their manager, Mark van Bommel holding the record of being the only coach to go winless in his first 15 Champions League games (a record spanning his spells at PSV and Wolfsburg as well as in Belgium).

What are the tiebreakers?

UEFA have a number of criteria to separate teams who end the group stage on equal points.

  1. higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  2. superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
  3. higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  4. if, after having applied criteria 1) to 3), teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1) to 3) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the remaining teams to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 5) to 11) apply in the order given to the two or more teams still equal;
  5. superior goal difference in all group matches;
  6. higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
  7. higher number of away goals scored in all group matches;
  8. higher number of wins in all group matches;
  9. higher number of away wins in all group matches;
  10. lower disciplinary points total based only on yellow and red cards received by players and team officials in all group matches (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points);
  11. higher club coefficient

When does the 2023-24 knockout stage start?

The two-legged last-16 ties will take place across February and March.

This season’s competition will conclude at Wembley next June.

Round of 16: February 13/14/20/21 and March 5/6/12/13, 2024

Quarter-finals: April 9/10 and 16/17, 2024

Semi-finals: April 30/May 1 and May 7/8, 2024

Final: June 1, 2024

(Top photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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