UEFA Champions League Final 16 Synopsis
>The UEFA Champions League final 16 is beginning to take shape with 13 of the 16 qualifiers decided, so here’s what to look forward in a fortnight’s time when the final matchday is played.
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In a fortnight’s time, Benfica can secure a Europa League spot when they host Schalke.
The fight is on in Group D for the second place after Rubin Kazan defeated FC Copenhagen 1-0 in midweek to keep their hopes of progressing alive. Barcelona’s 3-0 humbling of Panathinaikos saw them cruise through, while condemning the Greeks to an early European exit.
Copenhagen host Panathinaikos in a fortnight’s time knowing victory will send them through, but they may not need it with Rubin Kazan facing the tough trip to Barcelona, although the Russians did win there last season.
Basel must win in Munich, while hoping Roma lose in Romania against Cluj. If it’s any consolation, they’ve claimed at least a Europa League spot.
Marseille secured their passage into the final 16 with a superb 3-0 triumph at Spartak Moscow. The Russians, who had won earlier in the group 1-0 in France, will have to settle for a Europa League spot.
As everything has been decided already there’s not a lot to get excited about for the next round of fixtures although it’d be nice to see MSK Zilina grab their first point of the campaign at home to Spartak, while Chelsea will be looking to make it a perfect record against Marseille.
As expected, Real Madrid and AC Milan have qualified for the final 16 through this group. Real sealed top spot with their 4-0 victory at Ajax Amsterdam, where they controversially had two players deliberately sent off ahead of their dead rubber at home to AJ Auxerre.
In a fortnight’s time, Auxerre will be looking for a result to progress to the Europa League, while Ajax need be chasing something from their trip to Milan. Auxerre and Ajax both won 2-1 at home in their respective clashes so are level on head-to-head meaning we could be in for an interesting battle for third spot.
Group H must be the Champions League’s most exciting group of all with Arsenal and Braga set to battle it out for qualification to the final 16. Shakhtar wrapped up their passage through after their 3-0 win in Belgrade in midweek.
Arsenal have the easier of the two matches, playing host to struggling Partizan, while Braga journey to Ukraine. The Gunners will be favoured but stranger things have happened.
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