Round four of the UEFA Champions League group stage has come to a close, meaning there are only two more rounds left to be played before the top 16 teams enter the playoffs, where their journey to claim the Champions League title will officially begin. That said, there are already a few teams who have guaranteed themselves a spot in the final 16 with their performance so far.
On the other side, some teams still have a tough task ahead of them if they wish to advance into the next stage of the most prestigious football tournament of the year. Now let’s take a look at what has happened in round four of the UEFA Champions League, which teams impressed, which disappointed and what the final outcome looks like.
PSG secured their fourth win of the group stage against Club Brugge KV (1:0) to guarantee themselves a spot in the final 16, leaving only one more spot open for Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray to fight for. That said, the second seed is more or less reserved for Real Madrid, who enjoy a five-point lead ahead of Club Brugge. Last round they produced an impressive 6:0 win over Galatasaray, which was a nice change of pace after questionable results in the first three rounds. Real Madrid might not be ready to win the UCL again this season, but they are most certainly a team that will advance into the playoffs.
Bayern Munich defeated Olympiacos on home soil (2:0) to emerge as the first team from group B to secure a spot in the final 16. Looking at the current standings, we can expect Tottenham to claim the second ticket, seeing how they are four points ahead of Crvena Zvezda. That said, their inconsistency could be their doom. Should Tottenham drop the match against Crvena Zvezda and fail to defeat Olympiacos, we could be in for a shock and considering how questionable Tottenham’s performances were this season anything can happen in group B.
Manchester City failed to claim the ticket to the playoffs with their draw against Atalanta (1:1) this round. However, they are holding onto a five-point lead ahead of both Shakhtar and Dinamo Zagreb, which is in our eyes big enough lead to be certain the Sky Blues will claim their promotion by the end of the next round. That said, the race for the second spot is still wide open. Zagreb and Shakhtar produced a draw in their meeting last round (3:3) and are now tied at second place, meaning it will all come down to how well these two teams can perform against Atalanta and Manchester City. Both teams have two more fixtures to win and no room for a mistake if they wish to get themselves into the final 16.
As we have talked in our round 4 preview, this group is more or less decided. Juventus officially claimed their ticket for the playoffs with a 1:2 win over Lokomotiv Moscow, while Atletico Madrid surprisingly lost to Bayern Leverkusen. That said, the Spanish outfit are still four points in the clear ahead of the Russian squad, meaning they need to claim only one more win to advance, while Lokomotiv needs to win both of their upcoming fixtures, including the match against Atleti. A lot can happen, but in reality, the second seed is Atl. Madrid’s to lose.
Liverpool won against Genk (2:1) to take over the number one spot in the group, while Napoli dropped points against Salzburg (1:1), which saw them descent down to the second place. As it stands now, Liverpool hold onto nine points, Napoli eight and Salzburg four. All things considered, Liverpool should be the team advancing into the next stage, while we cannot exclude the possibility of Salzburg overtaking Napoli and claiming the second ticket for the playoffs. They will need to win both of their next two fixtures to do so, but with the form they have shown, it’s quite possible that will happen.
Barcelona disappointed with a 0:0 draw against Slavia Prague but still managed to retain their number one spot in the group, where they sit with eight points. Closely behind, we have Dortmund, who edged past Inter (3:2) in last round and are now three points above the Italian squad, who have very slim chances to advance. However, if Conte’s men manage to defeat Barcelona and improve upon their 1:1 draw against Slavia, they just might edge past Dortmund here. All things considered, group F is not yet over.
RB Leipzig claimed their third win of the group stage with a solid 0:2 win over Zenit in round four. Lyon on the other side avenged their 2:1 defeat against Benfica with a 3:1 win on home soil, which puts them only two points short of reaching RB Leipzig. As it stands now, Leipzig need only two more points to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs, while the race for the second seed remains wide open. Lyon and Zenit will meet in round five, and should Lyon claim a win, they will seal the deal for group G. Should they fail, however, we could be in for a very thrilling round six.
Group H produced a very exciting round, which put the whole standings on its head. Ajax and Chelsea produced an eight-goal thriller (4:4), while Valencia completely dismantled Lille (4:1) which returned them back into the race for the playoffs ticket. As it stands now, Valencia, Chelsea and Ajax are all tied with seven points, meaning any of them can advance into the next stage. The next two rounds will be crucial for them to win as a single defeat can send one team packing, meaning we are in for a very exciting finish of Group H fixtures.