As we get into the final match days of group stage play in UEFA Champions League and we’ll take a look at some of the scenerio’s that will come into play in each group that may have implications to consider when assessing where to put your wagering dollars to work.
During group stage play the top 2 finishing teams in group stage play will advance to the round of 16 knockout stage where a group winner will play a team that finished 2nd in their group. Winning your group becomes that much more important as most teams would rather avoid meeting perennial group winners such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich in a two leg (game) match up. With that in mind we’ll look at some interesting matchups on the final match day of group play.
Madrid (13 pts) have secured 1st. PSG (10 pts) have secured 2nd. Both squads finish group stage play on home soil but before wagering on these games that should be automatic, you’ll have to look at what line ups they’ll put on the field and what you’ll have to lay (odds wise) when backing the home side. i.e. Madrid would lay over Shakhtar on any given day but the possibility of having to lay 2 goals with a team that could sit 6-7 of it’s regulars wouldn’t be that appealing. The 3rd and 4th place teams in Group a both have 3 points so it’s likely that earning a draw and 1 point may get either team the 3rd spot in the standings and a place in Europa League play. (EVERY 3RD PLACE GROUP FINISHER ADVANCES TO THE EUROPA LEAGUE COMPETITION)
We enter the final match day with 3 of the 4 teams with a chance of advancing to the round of 16. Wolfsburg (9 pts) entertain Man United (8 pts) and the match winner also wins the group, a draw between these two would open the door for PSV (7 pts) with a win at home vs CSKA Moscow to move into a qualifying spot and relegate Man United to third spot and out of Champions League play. Therefore with an eye on the PSV match Man United will have to play win while Wolfsburg are assured of advancing with a win or tie.
Athletic Madrid (10 Pts) travel to Benfica (10 Pts) with first place on the line. Both teams have qualified for the round of 16 but the group winner will avoid possible matchups with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, so this game becomes a must win for Atl Madrid as a draw would be enough for Benfica
to retain top spot based on the head to head results of these two. The other match up has Galatasaray at home needing only a tie to take 3rd spot and move onto Europa League play.
Juventus and Man City have advanced to the knockout stage but both squads will scoreboard watch as a Juventus loss coupled with a City win would give City the top spot in the group. A Juventus win or draw is enough to finish first so you’ll likely see a full strength Juventus squad on the field in Sevilla.
Barcelona have secured top spot and with a meaningless game away from home versus Bayer Leverkusen it’s best to check the line ups as Barca may rest the trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez or a mixture of the 3. With 2nd spot up for grabs for the remaining three squads it’ll be scoreboard watching time for all three. Bate can only advance by beating Roma in Rome and hoping Leverkusen lose to Barcelona. Roma advances with a win or with a draw and Leverkusen draw/loss and finally Leverkusen advance with a Win and Roma draw/loss.
Bayern Munich have secured top spot and the second spot will be decided in the match up between Olympiakos and visitors Arsenal. Arsenal will need to win away vs Olympiakos and win by 2 goals or more. Any other scoreline and Olympiakos secure 2nd spot.
This group has some interesting final match day scenarios. Chelsea will host Porto and although both teams have 10 pts the game is likely a must win for Porto should Dynamo win their final match up against Maccabi. Chelsea will finish top spot with a win but even a draw gets them through to the next. Should Dynamo win and Chelsea/Porto draw, Dynamo wins the group and Chelsea are 2nd. Expect all squads field full rosters.
Zenit have secured top spot and travel to Belgium to face Gent in a game that Gent likely will need to win to hold onto 2nd spot and advance to the round of 16. With Valencia (3rd place currently) at home and facing a eliminated Lyon squad it’s likely that Valencia comes away with the full 3 points forcing
Gent to win their match. Again it’ll be important to see what type of line up Zenit fields as the game has little importance and likely a good spot to rest players for domestic league matches.