Football Article

UEFA Champions League Final 16 Synopsis

After two losses, pressure's on Arsenal>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.

Group A

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Tottenham 7 10
2 Internazionale 4 10
3 FC Twente -2 5
4 Werder Bremen -9 2

Midweek wins for Tottenham (3-0 over Werder Bremen) and Inter Milan (1-0 over Twente) settled the top two spots in this group, but the battle for first place and a better final 16 draw goes on.

Twente’s superior head-to-head record against Werder Bremen, means the Dutch club claims the Europa League spot.

Group B

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Schalke 04 6 10
2 Olympique Lyon 1 9
3 Benfica -4 6
4 Hapoel Tel Aviv -3 4

Benfica’s shock 3-0 defeat in Israel to Hapoel Tel Aviv meant Schalke and Lyon qualified for the final 16 in midweek, despite the Germans thrashing the French side 3-0.

In a fortnight’s time, Benfica can secure a Europa League spot when they host Schalke.

Valencia rout Bursaspor 6-1>

Group C

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Manchester United 6 13
2 Valencia 11 10
3 Rangers -3 5
4 Bursaspor -14 0

Bursaspor stopped the rot in midweek, scoring their first goal of the Champions League, but it didn’t stop the bleeding after suffering a 6-1 humiliation at Valencia.

Indeed, the Spaniards join Manchester United in the final 16, while Rangers have to settle for the Europa League spot.

Group D

Pos Team GD Pts
1 FC Barcelona 9 11
2 FC Copenhagen 0 7
3 Rubin Kazan 0 6
4 Panathinaikos -9 2

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.

Roma came from behind to win 3-2>

Group E

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Bayern Munich 7 12
2 AS Roma -1 9
3 FC Basel 0 6
4 CFR Cluj -6 3

Basel remain alive in this group after their 1-0 win over CFR Cluj, but AS Roma’s come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich has them in the box-seat to take second spot.

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.

Group F

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Chelsea 11 15
2 Marseille 8 9
3 Spartak Moscow -4 6
4 MSK Zilina -15 0

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.

Controversy after Real red cards>

Group G

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Real Madrid 9 13
2 AC Milan 2 8
3 Ajax Amsterdam -6 4
4 AJ Auxerre -5 3

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

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Shakhtar Donetsk 4 12
2 Arsenal 9 9
3 Sporting Braga -4 9
4 Partizan Belgrade -9 0

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.

Ben somerford
Ben Somerford Sports Pundit staff writer

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