What is every team playing for as they enter the final Champions League matchday?

This week will mark the final matchday of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Group Stage. The top two in each group will advance to the Round of 16 while third place heads to the Europa League. The team in last will receive some nice parting gifts but their European adventure would be over for this season. So what does each team have to do to advance? We have you covered.

For one thing, the majority of the Round of 16 spots have already been claimed. In total, 12 of 16 spots have been spoken for. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for. For some, even if they clinched the knockout stage, they can still move up or down the table. Considering first place teams get drawn against second place teams in the Round of 16, it makes positioning very important.

NOTE: Bold means clinched Champions League Round of 16. Bold Italic means clinched Round of 16 and cannot change position. Italic means eliminated from Champions League and cannot change position. Also, it’s very important to remember that UEFA doesn’t use goal differential as their first tiebreaker. According to UEFA, the first tiebreaker is “higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question.” If those teams drew in both games (as is the case in some groups), the fourth tiebreaker states that “goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question.” So that will break the rest of the ties.


Group A

1) PSG – 11 points (vs Ludogorets)
2) Arsenal – 11 (at Basel)
3) Ludogorets – 2 (at PSG)
4) Basel – 2 (vs Arsenal)

-PSG has tiebreaker over Arsenal and Ludogorets has tiebreaker over Basel.

PSG and Arsenal have already clinched a Round of 16 berth. And as long as PSG matches Arsenal’s result, the top two will remain the same. Similar to Ludogorets and Basel for the Europa League spot. As long as Ludogorets match Basel’s result, they move on.


Group B

1) Napoli – 8 points (at Benfica)
2) Benfica – 8 (vs Napoli)
3) Besiktas – 7 (at Dynamo Kyiv)
4) Dynamo Kyiv – 2 (vs Besiktas)

-Napoli has tiebreaker over Benfica if they draw, Benfica will have tiebreaker over Besiktas if they tie, Besiktas will have tiebreaker over Napoli if they tie.

Except for Dynamo Kyiv, the top three teams can finish anywhere within the top three. For Besiktas, a win automatically puts them into the top two and will be top of the group if Napoli and Benfica draw. A Besiktas draw means they must have Napoli lose if they want to finish second.


Group C

1) Barcelona – 12 points (vs Monchengladbach)
2) Manchester City – 8 (vs Celtic)
3) Borussia Monchengladbach – 5 (at Barcelona)
4) Celtic – 2 (at Manchester City)

-Manchester City has tiebreaker over Monchengladbach, Monchengladbach has tiebreaker over Celtic.

Group C may look like things are up for grabs, but they really aren’t. Because of the tiebreakers, nobody can change positions. That top four is staying the same and Barcelona and Manchester City will be in the Round of 16. Monchengladbach goes to the Europa League.


Group D

1) Atletico Madrid – 15 points (at Bayern Munich)
2) Bayern Munich – 9 (vs Atletico Madrid)
3) FC Rostov – 4 (at PSV)
4) PSV Eindhoven – 1 (vs Rostov)

-PSV will have tiebreaker over Rostov if they win.

Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich are entrenched with the top two spots. Rostov and PSV are competing for the Europa League spot and Rostov will keep third with a draw or win.


Group E

1) Monaco – 11 points (at Leverkusen)
2) Bayer Leverkusen – 7 (vs Monaco)
3) Tottenham Hotspur – 4 (vs Moscow)
4) CSKA Moscow – 3 (at Tottenham)

-Bayer Leverkusen has tiebreaker over Tottenham Hotspur.

With Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen clinching their positions, this becomes a winner-take-all for the Europa League spot. Well, Tottenham can afford to draw and advance but they will go against a CSKA Moscow team with nothing to lose.


Group F

1) Borussia Dortmund – 13 points (at Real Madrid)
2) Real Madrid – 11 (vs Dortmund)
3) Sporting Lisbon – 3 (at Warsaw)
4) Legia Warsaw – 1 (vs Sporting)

-Tiebreakers do not apply

Group F is easy to figure out. Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon just need a result to remain in first and third respectively. Legia Warsaw need a win to get a Europa League spot and even though they clinched a spot, Real Madrid must win or they risk facing a group winner in the Round of 16.


Group G

1) Leicester City – 13 points (at Porto)
2) FC Porto – 8 (vs Leicester)
3) FC Copenhagen – 6 (at Brugge)
4) Club Brugge – 0 (vs Copenhagen)

-Copenhagen has tiebreaker over Porto.

Leicester and Brugge have no pressure. If Porto matches Copenhagen’s result, they will remain in second. If Porto loses or draws to Leicester, they can be knocked out of the Round of 16 if Copenhagen wins against Brugge.


Group H

1) Juventus – 11 points (vs Zagreb)
2) Sevilla – 10 (at Lyon)
3) Olympique Lyon – 7 (vs Sevilla)
4) Dinamo Zagreb – 0 (at Juventus)

-Lyon will have tiebreaker over Sevilla if they win by more than one goal, Juventus has tiebreaker over Sevilla.

Juventus could possibly lose the top spot in the group but they know they are advancing to the Round of 16. Sevilla can overtake Juve with a win and a Juve draw/loss but they must watch out. Because if Lyon defeats Sevilla and win by more than a goal, Lyon takes the tiebreaker and move up to second.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp