Champions League Match Day 4 Roundup

The fourth round of Group matches has been completed. Let’s take a look at the action group-by-group.

Group A

Both games in this group finished as scoreless draws, thus all teams maintain their positions. Manchester United are 1st with 8 points, Bayer Leverkusen are 2nd with 7 points, Shakhtar Donetsk sit in 3rd with 5 points, and Real Sociedad are last with 1 point.

Manchester United are now guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd in the group thanks to their 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad. Match day 5 is shaping up as a big one for 1st and 2nd place. Manchester United travels to Leverkusen while Shakhtar stay home to face Real Sociedad.

I still see this group as Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen going through to the Round of 16. Shakhtar would need to upset United in Manchester on Match day 6 to have a serious chance of making the Round of 16.

Group B

Juventus and Real Madrid played to a 2-2 draw in Turin, while Copenhagen scored an early goal and held on 1-0 to defeat Galatasaray. Real Madrid are still in 1st with 10 points, while Galatasaray moved into 2nd with 4 points, Copenhagen moved up to 3rd also with 4 points, and Juventus dropped from 3rd to last with 3 points.

Real Madrid are guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd in the Group. On Match day 5, Real Madrid is home to 2nd place Galatasaray. The other game has Juventus at home against Copenhagen.

Real Madrid will win this group, but 2nd place is up for grabs. Juventus has the most favorable schedule with games left against Copenhagen and Galatasaray, but they have failed to do better than a draw in four games. I’m still going to stick with Galatasaray to finish 2nd. I think Juventus does enough to finish 3rd in the group and go onto the Europa League.

Group C

PSG and Anderlecht played to a 1-1 draw after trading goals in a 3 minute span. Demy de Zeeuw put Anderlecht ahead 1-0 in the 68th minute before Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled the teams even with his 70th minute strike. The other game ended with a 1-0 Olympiacos win over Benfica. PSG are still 1st with 10 points, Olympiacos sit 2nd with 7 points, Benfica is 3rd with 4 points, and Anderlecht are last with only 1 point.

Both PSG and Olympiacos are now both guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Those two teams face off in Match day 5 in Paris. Meanwhile, Benfica travels to Anderlecht looking to keep their hopes to reach the Round of 16 alive.

As I said after Match day 3, this group looks to send PSG and Olympiacos through to the Round of 16. Olympiacos gets Anderlecht in Piraeus on match day 6, while Benfica have to deal with PSG in Lisbon. Benfica will lock up 3rd place and go into the Europa League.

Group D

An eventful and historic day in Group D as Manchester City thrashed CSKA Moscow 5-2 and Bayern Munich used a 65th minute goal from Mario Mandzukic to win 1-0 over Viktoria Plzen. Bayern Munich are 1st having secured the maximum 12 points thus far while Manchester City are 2nd with 9 points. CSKA Moscow are 3rd with three points and Viktoria Plzen have yet to register a point and are last in the group.

Both Bayern Munich and Manchester City became the first two teams to qualify for the Knockout Round of 16 in this year’s Champions League. Manchester City qualified for the first time after failing the previous 2 seasons. Match day 5 will bring us what appears to be easy wins for the top 2 teams. CSKA Moscow will host Bayern Munich while Manchester City play home to Viktoria Plzen.

As predicted, Bayern Munich and Manchester City have both qualified for the Round of 16. 1st place is still in play and I expect both of these teams to stay competitive. CSKA Moscow still looks good to finish 3rd, while Viktoria Plzen have failed to obtain a point and need to show a lot more to even think about finishing 3rd.

Group E

 Chelsea’s 3-0 victory made it three wins in a row after their shock loss to Basel on Match day 1. The Group’s other match between Basel and Steaua Bucuresti ended 1-1 after a late equalizer from Giovanni Sio of Basel. Chelsea is now in sole possession of 1st place with 9 points, Schalke is still 2nd at six points, Basel is 3rd with five points, and Steaua Bucuresti is last with two points.

Chelsea are now guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Match day 5 will see Schalke travel to Bucharest to take on Bucuresti while Chelsea will travel Basel. Chelsea lost at home on Match day 1 when they last faced Basel.

Chelsea are in a great position to make it to the Knockout Round of 16. Schalke and Basel will duke it out for 2nd but Basel have but themselves in a precarious position after their draw against Steaua. I still think Basel can make it through to the Round of 16, but Schalke controls their own destiny. Even Steaua have an outside chance to make the knockout stages, but I see them finishing last at this point.

Group F

Aaron Ramsey’s goal in the 62nd minute was the difference between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. Napoli and Marseille played a back and forth affair with Gonzalo Higuain’s 75th minute goal being the difference in a 3-2 Napoli victory. Arsenal and Napoli are tied for 1st with 9 points (Arsenal has a +3 goal differential compared to +1 for Napoli). Borussia Dortmund dropped to 3rd with six points and Marseille have yet to tally a point despite some good efforts.

Arsenal and Napoli are guaranteed to finish no worse than 3rd. Marseille cannot qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League, but can still make it into the Europa League. Match day 5 proves huge yet again in the “Group of Death” as Arsenal play home to Marseille and Borussia Dortmund take on Napoli in Dortmund.

I thought Arsenal would struggle in their game at Dortmund and I was wrong. They look good to make the Round of 16 if they can beat Marseille and the Dortmund-Napoli game ends in a draw or Napoli win. I still like Dortmund to get through to the Round of 16 by winning their final 2 games. Marseille need a miracle to finish better than last and I don’t see that happening.

Group G

Zenit St Petersburg and Porto played to a 1-1 draw that saw Hulk have a crucial penalty saved. Atletico Madrid crushed Austria Wien at home 4-0 and that gives Atletico 12 points. Zenit St Petersburg is 2nd with five points, Porto is 3rd with four points, and Austria Wien sits last with only 1 point.

Atletico Madrid have secured their spot in the Round of 16 and, in fact, they will be the winner of Group G regardless of how the last two mach days shape out. Match day 5 will see Atletico Madrid travel to Zenit St Petersburg in a crucial match for Zenit. The other game will be between Porto and Austria Wien that could see Porto move into 2nd by the end of the match day.

With Atletico Madrid already through, I see Zenit St Petersburg joining them. They do have a tough contest against Atletico on the next match day, but they have Austria Wien on the docket on Match day 6. I see Porto finishing 3rd and Austria Wien finishing 4th.

Group H

Barcelona cruised to a 3-1 victory of AC Milan to secure their place in the Knockout stages. Ajax won 1-0 over Celtic thanks to a Lasse Schone goal in the 51st minute. Barcelona sits on top of the group at 10 points, followed by AC Milan in 2nd (5 points), Ajax (4 points), and Celtic in last (3 points).

Barcelona became the 4th team to qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League. Match day 5 features Celtic taking on Milan in Glasgow and Barcelona going on the road to the Amsterdam Arena to face Ajax.

I still think AC Milan will do enough to join Barcelona in the Round of 16. Milan has Celtic and Ajax left while Celtic and Ajax both have to face Barcelona in their remaining 2 games. The battle for 3rd is tough to call, but I have to change course and say Ajax will make it through. I see both teams losing their remaining games meaning Ajax will have 4 points to Celtic’s 3.

The next match day takes place on Tuesday, November 26 (Groups E through H) and Wednesday, November 27 (Groups A through D). Until next time, enjoy the domestic action as well as the World Cup Playoffs!

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