CL group stage reaches climax


Basel knew victory at a half-empty Estadio da Luz would nearly certainly be enough to qualify from Group A, barring an unlikely heavy win for CSKA Moscow away to Manchester United.

UEFA Champions League group stage has reached its climax with eight places in the last-16 still up for grabs as the teams around Europe head into the final round of group games.

The knockout draw of the Champions League will see the winners of each of the eight groups seeded, whilst the runners-up will not be.

Group A, comprising Manchester United, has three teams vying for last-16 place. If they lose and Napoli win then the Italians will go through thanks to a better head-to-head record. Bayern will need to win big - at least by a four-goal margin, having lost the reverse fixture 3-0 - against PSG if it harbours any hope of topping the group. The foregone conclusion groups like PSG and Bayern in Group B haven't played out as regularly in 2017-18. The story is what happened to Benfica, risking losing all of their Champions League group stage games if they can't come up with something against Basel on Tuesday.

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Antonio Conte's Blues still have plenty to play for too, as they need a win to guarantee top spot ahead of Roma.

Can an English side win the Champions League?

Qarabag will finish bottom of Group C.

Barcelona have qualified as Group D winners. If Sporting fails to win, Juve goes through regardless. The Red Devils need just a point at home to seal first place in Group A. United are on 12 points in Group A, while CSKA and Basel trail by three points.

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They and Real Madrid are also joint in another metric; this time it is passing accuracy as both clubs are joint second with a pass completion rate of 89.1%.

Basel's resilience protected their clean sheet and when Manuel Akanji got up highest to flick on Luca Zuffi's free-kick, Oberlin was in position to nod home and secure the crucial victory for his side.

Chelsea finished second in Group C and as it stands will face Paris Saint-Germain (6), Barcelona (3) or *Besiktas (28).

Another potential Primeira Liga success story might play out in Group G. Besiktas has already won the group with Porto and RB Leipzig entering the final games tied on seven points.

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Porto will qualify if they beat Monaco. If both teams draw, Dortmund will finish third due to their superior goal difference.