UCL Group Stage Review

Group A

Teams: FC Bayern München, Club Atlético de Madrid, FC Salzburg and FC Lokomotiv Moskva

Result: FC Bayern München and Club Atlético de Madrid qualify for UCL Round of 16, FC Salzburg qualifies for UEL Round of 32

Group A was dominated by the German Giants Bayern München with them winning 5 games and drawing one. Their only formidable opponent in the group, Atletico Madrid, had a rocky start with a 4-0 thrashing from München and consecutive draws against Lokomotiv Moscow. However, they scraped through with two wins against RB Salzburg. The other two teams Lokomotiv and RB Salzburg were fighting for the UEL spot but it ultimately went to Salzburg. They looked worrying at the start of their campaign but ultimately pulled through. Lokomotiv Moscow had only one loss in their first 4 games but they could not continue this form and their loss against Salzburg on matchday 5 sent them to the bottom of the group.

Bayern continued their brilliant run in the UCL

Group B

Teams: Borussia Mönchengladbach, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Result: Real Madrid and Borussia Mönchengladbach qualify for UCL Round of 16, Shakhtar Donetsk qualifies for UEL Round of 32

Group B threw up one of the biggest surprises of this year’s UCL group stage: Inter Milan finished last, failing to qualify even for the Europa League. They lost both times to Real and drew both times with Shakhtar, and in the end, a solitary win and 3 draws weren’t enough for them.

In place of Inter, Borussia Mönchengladbach qualified in second place, which was seen as surprising by the majority of the football community. They turned in strong performances in two draws against Real and Inter, before thrashing Shakhtar by scores of 6-0 and 4-0.

Real Madrid seemed to be on course to qualify as usual, but a shock loss at Shakhtar threw them off track. However, Karim Benzema’s brace against Gladbach in their last match ensured they qualified for the Round of 16, where they now face Atalanta.

Group C

Teams: Manchester City FC, FC Porto, Olympiacos and Olympique de Marseille

Result: Manchester City and FC Porto qualify for UCL round of 16, Olympiacos FC qualifies for UEL round of 32.

Manchester City topped this group with ease, having five wins and one draw. The other three teams seemed to be closely matched with one another but Porto was the team which qualified for the round of 16 with only one loss on the opening day against Manchester City. After that 3-1 loss, they managed to get four wins and a draw against City the second time they met. This form ensured they took second place and qualified for the Round of 16.

Marseille had a disappointing campaign with only one win and five losses. However, they were not far away from qualifying for the UEL Round of 32 as they only came last because of goal difference. Olympiacos were lucky as they had only won one game that too on the opening day of the competition and after that they lost 5 consecutive matches just like Marseille. Their 1-0 win against the French side proved to be crucial in qualifying for the Europa League.

Group D

Teams: Ajax, Atalanta, Liverpool, Midtjylland

Result: Liverpool and Atalanta qualify for UCL Round of 16, Ajax qualifies for UEL Round of 32

This group went more or less as expected, although the teams were still very evenly matched. As expected, Liverpool stormed into first place, losing only once (at Atalanta) even as Klopp tried to make the best of his depleted squad. Atalanta also progressed with 11 points, though their qualification wasn’t decided going into their final match. They needed a draw against Ajax to advance and sealed it with a 1-0. This also ended Ajax’s hopes for qualification, who now go to the UEL Round of 32. Midtjylland never really got going in the group, although two draws with Liverpool and Atalanta to end their UCL campaign will surely be of some comfort for the Danish club.

Youngsters like Rhys Williams ensured Liverpool topped their group

Group E

Teams: Chelsea, Sevilla, Krasnodar and Rennes

Result: Chelsea and Sevilla qualify for UCL Round of 16, Krasnodar qualifies for UEL Round of 32

Group E witnessed Chelsea topping the group with 4 wins and 2 draws. They conceded only one goal and beat Sevilla 4-0 with Olivier Giroud scoring a poker. Sevilla were seen as the team who would challenge Chelsea for the top of the group following their success in the Europa League. However, they did not live up to their expectations of toppling Chelsea. They still performed well with 4 wins, 1 draw and the humbling loss to Chelsea.

Krasnodar surprised critics who predicted that they would finish last in Group E. Draws against the likes of Chelsea and a win against Rennes solidified their spot in the Europa League. Rennes had a complete meltdown in their first UCL campaign and the loss of Edouard Mendy heavily impacted them as they only managed to pick up one point from 6 games. Their poor performance also helped Krasnodar secure a UEL spot.

Group F

Teams: Borussia Dortmund, Club Brugge, Lazio, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg

Result: Dortmund and Lazio qualify for UCL Round of 16, Club Brugge qualifies for UEL Round of 32

Group F saw Dortmund stamp their authority as the rightful dominant team, as they claimed first place with 13 points out of a possible 18. Their qualification never really seemed to be doubtful, although they got off to a bad start with a loss at Lazio. Lazio themselves benefited from not having another very strong club to face. The absence of another club like Dortmund helped them to put together a series of draws and wins on their way to qualification in second place. Club Brugge’s bid to qualify was dented by two 3-0 losses to Dortmund, and they now go to the UEL Round of 32. Zenit never really looked competitive and managed to score just 1 point from a draw at Lazio.

Dortmund cruised to the last 16

Group G

Teams: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros

Result: Juventus and Barcelona qualify for UCL Round of 16, Dynamo Kyiv qualifies for UEL round of 32

Group G was one of the most exciting groups of the competition as it featured the clash of two of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo and Messi. Juventus were able to top the group with five wins and a loss against Barcelona. They tied with Barcelona on points; however, their 3-0 win against Barcelona with Ronaldo scoring two goals solidified their position. Barcelona came 2nd in the group and had initially won against Juventus the first time they met but they could not hold down their fort on matchday 6 and came second.

Ronaldo's Juventus finished above Messi's Barcelona in Group G

Dynamo Kyiv came 3rd in the group, with their one win and one draw against Ferencváros proving to be enough for a UEL qualification. Ferencváros came last and lost all matches to Juventus and Barcelona. The only opposition they could have possibly scraped a win against was Dynamo Kyiv, but they came up short with a loss and a draw against them.

Group H

Teams: İstanbul Başakşehir F.K., Manchester United, PSG, RB Leipzig

Result: PSG and RB Leipzig qualify for UCL Round of 16, Manchester United qualifies for UEL Round of 32

The group with perhaps the most drama, Group H saw Manchester United’s UCL hopes crash as they lost their last 2 matches and finished behind Leipzig. They appeared well on course for qualification, but a loss at Istanbul led to some tension among fans since their last matches were against PSG and Leipzig, both tricky teams to face. Sure enough, United lost against both of them and now go to the UEL Round of 32. RB Leipzig ensured their qualification with an electric 3-2 home win against United, which almost saw Solskjær’s side come back from 3-0 down to secure a draw. Istanbul failed to compete for a qualification spot, but will surely be remembered for putting Manchester United in a troublesome situation which eventually got the better of them.

Manchester United failed to qualify for the last 16

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