UEFA Champions League group stage is coming to a close, with only two more rounds left to be played before the second and the most exciting part of the tournament beings. That said, there are still two more rounds left to be played and for some teams, those two rounds will prove to be pivotal for their chances to make it into the playoffs. Here we will look over round five of UCL group stage, set to kick off this Tuesday, November 26.
PSG are the undisputed leaders of group A, claiming all four matches played thus far which awarded them with a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, leaving the remaining three teams to fight it out for the second ticket. That said, we can’t expect too big of a fight here. Club Brugge KV are five points adrift of Real Madrid, who are the most likely team to secure the playoffs ticket. Should Club Brugge lose to Galatasaray this round, the race for the playoffs would finish. We don’t expect many surprises in this group.
The story of group B is almost the exact same as in group A, where we have Bayern Munich leading the standings with a perfect 4-0-0 record and Tottenham second with seven points. Crvena Zvezda are third with three points, which gives them a chance to derail Tottenham, however, they would need to win both of their fixtures while Tottenham would need to lose both and seeing how Crvena Zvezda are facing Bayern Munich, it’s safe to say this group is sealed.
Group C will serve us with two thrilling fixtures – Manchester City versus Shakhtar and Dinamo Zagreb versus Atalanta. Round five will be the must-win round for Zagreb and Shakhtar, who are both chasing the second-place finish, which would send them into the playoffs. Man City on the other side only two more points to guarantee themselves a promotion.
Juventus are already through into the second stage, leaving Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen to fight it out for the second seed. Atl. Madrid are currently in the best position to do so, however, they still need to win one more game before they get guaranteed a promotion. In round five, they will face Juventus, which won’t be an easy match, but one the Spanish team will be desperate to win, which should, in turn, produce an exciting bout.
A very close group, which does not have a definite winner. Liverpool lead the race, one point ahead of Napoli and five points ahead of Salzburg. Would Liverpool win their bout with Napoli this week, they would secure a spot in the playoffs. If they lose and if Salzburg manages to defeat Genk, it will all come down to round six. Without a doubt the most exciting group and at the same time the most unpredictable, meaning we could be in for some upset results in the remaining two rounds.
Group F will serve us with two highly exciting fixtures in round five – Barcelona versus Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan versus Slavia Prague. As it stands now, Barcelona are in the lead with eight points, followed by Dortmund with seven and Inter with four. After losing to Borussia last round, Inter must now produce a perfect run of two consecutive wins to secure a direct promotion and they need to start by defeating Slavia, who has already impressed in their first meeting in Italy (1:1). Dortmund and Barcelona on the other side will fight it out for a direct promotion this week. The team which will win will be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, while the losers will enter the race for promotion with Inter.
RB Leipzig are leading the group with nine points, followed by Lyon at second with seven, Zenit with four and Benfica with three. RB Leipzig will look to defeat Benfica in round five, which would guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. Zenit on the other side will be put in a do-or-die situation, as they need to defeat Lyon this week to have a chance to advance. While we can expect Leipzig to deliver here, the Lyon versus Zenit bout seems like it can be anyone’s match, which only adds to the excitement.
The last group of UCL is also the closest one out of all, seeing how we have Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia tied at first place, all with seven points apiece. That ultimately means any two of the three can find their way in the top two by the end of the group stage. In round five, Ajax will clash with Lille in what will be a must-win match for the Dutch team. Chelsea on the other side will take a trip to Spain, where they will clash with Valencia, who have already defeated the Blues in game one. All three teams will enter round five with only one goal – to win, as anything less could and ultimately will result in them finishing in the Europa league as opposed to UCL playoffs.