We are down to the last round of matches in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage and not only are most groups undecided, but some top teams are still trying to qualify for the knockout stage, the Group of 16.
Groups A and B are decided, and the teams are qualifying in this order: PSG and Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. Of these four, it is PSG who look the stronger—and to think a healthy Edison Cavanni, Kylian Mbappe, Angel di Maria, and Neymar have yet to start together.
But in Group C, only Manchester City is assured to advance in first place. Should hosts Dinamo Zagreb (at five points) defeat visitors Man City the Croatians would wind up with eight points. Should hosts Shakhtar Donetsk (at six points) defeat visiting Atalanta they would end up with nine points, but should the Italians win they would end up with seven and move on with Man City if the English side defeat the Croatians. In short, all three teams have a chance to move on.
Expectation: Shakhtar will make home turf count and move on.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Manchester City and Shakhtar.
In Group D, Juventus has moved on in first place, but Atletico Madrid (at seven points) and Bayer Leverkusen (at six points) can join the Italians with a win in their last match. Bayer would have to defeat Juventus at BayArena and Atleti would have to beat Lokomotiv Moscow at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Expectation: Simeone’s guys will win at home to progress.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Juventus and Atletico.
In Group E Liverpool at ten points and Napoli at nine, have the inside track, but this season’s revelation, Red Bull Salzburg, sits at seven points and plays Liverpool at Stadion Wals-Siezenheim with first place up for grabs. Similarly, should Napoli win at home over hapless Genk, the English and Austrians would be vying for second place.
Expectation: Napoli will win at home and Red Bull will draw with Liverpool.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Napoli and Liverpool.
In Group F, Barcelona have qualified in first place, but Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund are tied at seven points each. Inter must win at home over Barca while Dortmund must do the same over visiting Slavia Prague.
Expectation: With a slim La Liga lead and the pricey El Clasico a week after the match at San Siro, Valverde should rest his stars and allow Inter its needed home win.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Barcelona and Inter.
In Group G, RB Leipzig, with ten points and a plus-two goal differential, leads Zenit Saint Petersburg and Lyon both with seven points and a plus-one goal differential. Should Leipzig lose away to Lyon by a 3-0 margin, and Zenit defeat hosts Benfica by a similar margin, then the Russian and French teams would qualify at the Germans’ expense.
Expectation: Lyon will win at home, but not by enough goals, and Zenit will win away by more goals.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Zenit and Leipzig.
Group H is wide open. Ajax at ten points and a plus-seven goal differential is in the driver’s seat, but Valencia and Chelsea sit at eight points apiece. So, wins by Valencia (away to Ajax) and Chelsea (home to Lille) would unseat Ajax and qualify the Spanish and English sides.
Expectation: Ajax and Chelsea will win at home.
UEFA Champions League Group Prediction: Ajax and Chelsea.