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  • Champions League This Week (Nov. 23/24)


    ccs-54-140264006053_thumb.jpgThe penultimate matchday of the group stage is upon us, and there is still much to be decided.

    As is usual by this point of the competition, the cream has risen to the top and teams are largely battling it out for seeding in the knockout round.

    Just about every group has progressed as most would have expected.


    Group A has provided arguably the biggest surprises thus far, with Tottenham holding the top spot in the group over defending champion Inter, by virtue of a dominant home performance by Spurs against the Milan side. With both teams sitting on seven points, we could see a shuffling in the table following Wednesday's set of matches. Of course, Twente could leapfrog both of them with a victory, but it's tough to see that happening at the San Siro.

    In Group B, Lyon can book a spot in the next round with a draw against hosts Schalke on Wednesday. A loss by the French side could blow the group wide open, as second and third-place Schalke and Benfica are still very much in contention, with the Portuguese club visiting group punching bag Hapoel Tel Aviv and looking likely to grab the full three points.

    Manchester United sits atop Group C with 10 points, and could win the group at Ibrox against third-place Rangers. The Scottish champs have five points and will be desperate to improve on their 0-0 group stage opening draw at Old Trafford, although Alex Ferguson will be eager to secure the group on Wednesday and leave Valencia and Rangers to fight it out for second place.

    Group D sees Barcelona cruising along to yet another place in the knockout round, with the Catalan side holding eight points to Copenhagen's seven. Those two teams should be the ones moving on to the next phase, barring a miracle.

    Bayern Munich have already wrapped up a berth in the knockout stage, and Tuesday's round of games could see AS Roma joining them. The Italians will have the benefit of playing a Munich team that is so far out in front of the rest of Group E that it'll likely rest at least a few starters on the road in Rome. CFR Cluj and FC Basel could still catch Roma for second place, although making up a three-point deficit in two games may be tough for either side.

    In Group F, Chelsea have run roughshod over their opponents, having accumulated four wins and a goal differential of +10. The Londoners' league form has been abysmal of late, but a Tuesday meeting with lowly Zilina should be the cure for what ails them. Spartak Moscow and Marseille are tied for second and will meet up in a match that could determine who follows Chelsea into the next round, with Spartak holding the decided advantage of getting to play Zilina on the final matchday.

    Like their Spanish rivals Barcelona, Real Madrid are coasting to a first place finish in their group. Cristiano's side heads Group G with 10 points, five more than second place AC Milan. Madrid travels to Amsterdam on Tuesday to face an Ajax side that is one point out of second, and one point ahead of basement-dwelling Auxerre.

    Finally, Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk continue to battle it out in Group H, with the sides exchanging home victories earlier in the competition. Both clubs are currently on nine points, with the Gunners holding a clear advantage in goal differential. On Tuesday, Arsenal travels to Portugal to face third place Braga, while Shakhtar will visit already-eliminated Partizan Belgrade.

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