UEFA Champions League Review: After a grueling 4 months of competition, the Group stage of the Champions League is almost over. Let’s have a look at a few key points that we noted from this season’s competition.
1. The English Clubs dominate the group stage
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool all qualified out of their UEFA Champions League groups with ease. All the English clubs had confirmed their qualification into the next round with a game to spare.
To add to this, all the clubs apart from Chelsea also won their respective groups. The defending champions missed out on this feat after a 3-3 draw against Zenit on Matchday 6 of the UEFA Champions League.
2. FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund are off to the Europa League
In a shocking turn of events, both FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the group stage itself. Benfica and Sporting Lisbon qualified at their expense.
This would be the first time in 17-years that FC Barcelona returned to the UEFA Europa League. And with the club underperforming in LaLiga, winning the Europa League could be the only way to return to the Champions League next season.
3. Are Paris Saint-Germain still the Favorites?
A lot was expected from Paris Saint Germain before the start of this season. Owing to their summer signings, PSG were considered as the favorites to win the Champions League.
But the Parisians had an ordinary showing in the Champions League group stage. 2 draws and a loss to Manchester City ensured that Paris Saint Germain finished runners-up in their group. Owing to this, they will face a tougher opponent in the Round of 16.
4. Bayern Munich, Ajax, and Liverpool do a clean sweep
Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam, and Liverpool managed to win all the 6 games in their Champions League campaign. This feat is even more commendable considering they had other European heavyweights in their groups as well.
5. AC Milan, Sevilla underperform in the UEFA Champions League
AC Milan are currently on top of the Serie A table. Similarly, Sevilla are in second place in LaLiga. But both the clubs were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the group stage.
Sevilla will continue their season in the Europa League after they finished third. But AC Milan finished last in their Champions League group and will no longer compete in Europe this season.
6. Who Qualified for the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League?
Group Winners: Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United Lille, Juventus
Runner-Ups: Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Sporting CP, Inter Milan, Benfica, Salzburg, Chelsea. Either one of Villareal or Atalanta will join the pot as runner-ups. The game in Bergamo, Italy was postponed after heavy snowfall.