How Is The UEFA Champions League Final 16 Shaping Up?
Two top-tier clubs in the globe, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich take their thoughts away from the La Liga and the Bundesliga, respectively, to focus on their European stage campaign. The two teams head onto the knockout round of the Champions League on Tuesday, along with clubs Manchester City, Manchester United, Roma, Ajax and, Juventus.
After losing 3-0 in the La Liga at the weekend, three-time defending European champion Madrid recovered with a convincing 2-0 win against Roma. This puts Madrid on top of their group, while Bayern trashed Benfica 5-1 coming off a disappointing result in the Bundesliga.
Despite its home loss, Roma also advances from Group G, with both teams securing their place following Viktoria Plzen’s earlier 2-1 win at CKSA Moscow.
Gareth Bale gave Madrid the lead away from the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium early in the second half before Lucas Vazquez helped double the lead.
Manchester City again struggled against French side Lyon and was able to secure a deadlock after an 83rd-minute goal from Sergio Aguero to force a 2-2 draw in Group F and secure a spot in the knockout stage. Lyon is the last team to beat City, which has won 12 of its 14 games since a 2-1 home loss to Lyon in September.
After giving up a two-goal lead twice against Dusseldorf over the weekend, Bayern showed its offensive side to give coach Niko Kovac some breathing room, whose position looked shaky before the game.
Bayern tops Group E with 13 points, two points ahead of Ajax, which cannot be overtaken by third-place Benfica. The Dutch club hosts Bayern to decide the group winner on Dec 12.
Ajax heads to the final 16 for the first time in 12 years following a 2-0 win over AEK Athens, who suffered a red card during the match.
Jose Mourinho was given more room to breathe after Marouane Fellaini scored an injury-time winner to get the win against Young Boys. This result prompted a questionable reaction from the manager as he threw the player’s water bottles against the ground. Without this goal, Manchester United would have to face Valencia in a nail-biting match to seal qualification. Instead, the Premier League club advances together with Juventus, which stayed in first place thanks to a 1-0 win over Valencia.
Lastly, Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, Porto, and Schalke move into the round of 16.
Despite Liverpool’s loss to PSG, there’s still hope for the Jurgen Klopp-led team should the events pan out in their favor. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s win against Internazionale Milano gives them another lease on life. But, both teams are going to have to be at their best as Matchday 6 of 6 approaches. Other teams that could still make their way to the knockout stage include Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, and Napoli.