Ajax v. Real Madrid Champions League (UCL)

Ajax v. Real Madrid Champions League Game This is part of our Champions League coverage, as always, there’s more on our Champions League page! Ajax will open this 2-legged knockout stage series at home at Johan Cruyff Arena. Both sides are Champions League (and other European Cup) “blue bloods” that are no stranger to these games. … Read moreAjax v. Real Madrid Champions League (UCL)

Champions League – Round of 16 Draw

Champions League is taking a break until February now that the group stage is complete. But before it does, they needed to determine the pairings for the next round of matches.

The draw took place this morning at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. As a reminder, here’s how the eight groups were settled during group play:

Group

Winners (seeded in draw)Runners-up (unseeded in draw)

A

Borussia Dortmund (GER)Atlético Madrid (ESP)

B

Barcelona (ESP)Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)

C

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)Liverpool (ENG)

D

Porto (POR)Schalke 04 (GER)

E

Bayern Munich (GER)Ajax (NED)

F

Manchester City (ENG)Lyon (FRA)

G

Real Madrid (ESP)Roma (ITA)

H

Juventus (ITA)Manchester United (ENG)

Read moreChampions League – Round of 16 Draw

Champions League – Matchday 6 Recap

The Champions League group stage is now complete, with 16 clubs through to the knockout phase that will begin in February. We’ll know the matchups after the draw takes place on Monday, but before we get there, we should finally get around to recapping what happened on Matchday 6.

We entered Matchday six with most of the spots decided, with only seeding needing to be determined in a couple of groups. We covered six matches from four groups in advance of the matches this week that were going to have the most impact on the final results, and those will be the same matches we cover here.

Note: If you missed our scenarios for Matchday 6 – which has also been updated to reflect the results from Tuesday and Wednesday, you can read it here.

Read moreChampions League – Matchday 6 Recap

Champions League Group E – Ajax v Bayern Munich (Dec 12)

Champions League Group E

FC Bayern Munich and AFC Ajax, does it get any more prototypical Champions League than that? Group E is definitely not one of the groups we profiled earlier this week, as it’s already sorted out. No matter what happens both teams will advance, and all that’s left is to determine the group winner. This is a matchup between footballing royalty and you should be excited! What better way than a head-to-head at Ajax in the Netherlands on the final day of group stage games?

AFC Ajax

AFC Ajax, like Bayern, are a perennial competitor in the Champions League. Their dominance in the Eredivisie surpasses even what Bayern has managed in the Bundesliga. They have brought home an astounding 33 Eredivise League Titles to go along with 18 KNVB (Dutch FA) Cup Titles. They’ve also got the equivalent of 4 Champions League winners trophies.

Ajax are sitting in second-place in the Eredivise behind only PSV. Third place is Feyenoord, which rounds out the three dominant teams in the Dutch league. These three have at least a 10 point lead on every other team in the league. If there’s any knock on the Dutch league in recent years it would be the sheer domination by these 3 teams. Ajax has a blistering +42 goal difference in league play, just shy of hitting the 50 goal mark across a mere 15 games. In the league they are averaging 3.25 goals per game, with an astounding 0.47 goals allowed.

Read moreChampions League Group E – Ajax v Bayern Munich (Dec 12)

(UPDATED) Champions League – Matchday 6 Scenarios

It’s time for Matchday 6 in Champions League. Four matches will be played each of the next two days, and while some of the matches won’t matter, there are still 12 spots up for grabs in the knockout phase. Beyond that, there are three groups that have yet to find a third-place finisher – those clubs head over to Europa League’s knockout phase – so we will try to point you towards the games that matter before the Champions League takes a two month hiatus and returns in February.

It’s important to win the group in order to be seeded in the draw for the knockout phase. The seeded team gets to host the second match of the two legs, allowing the seeded club to overcome a poor road showing in their first match if necessary. As mentioned, third place clubs head to Europa, and they too want to do their best, as the top four third-place finishers are seeded in the knockout phase of Europa League.

I’ll be using FiveThirtyEight’s Champions League Predictions when I talk about the various chances for placement within the groups, and reflect the club’s chances of claiming that particular spot. Here’s a group-by-group summary of how today’s results will impact the ending tables, with teams in bold locked into that position:

Read more(UPDATED) Champions League – Matchday 6 Scenarios

Champions League – Matchday 3 Recap

We are halfway through the Group Stage in the Champions League, and we have three groups that have leaders with the maximum of nine points. While they are not yet assured of advancing to the knockout phase, their chances are much higher, and they can be sealed up with wins on Matchday 4 in two weeks.

We also have two clubs with zero points through three matches, so they would have to go on and amazing run to redeem their Champions League play and possibly qualify for the Europa League by finishing in third place in their groups. However, neither club – Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens – were favorites to advance coming in, and they have shown with their play thus far that people were right.

Finally, we have two of our own “favorite” clubs in the tournament – Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys – that are probably going to miss out on Europa as well. While they have both scored one point through three games, they are far behind their groups in fourth place with terrible goal differentials. I have higher hopes for Young Boys moving up to third, if only because they just drew with the club ahead of them in the group, but they will need to find three points against two clubs that have already defeated them easily.
Here are some of the more shocking results of the first round of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Atletico Madrid
Atlético Madrid entered the Champions League Group Stage as the second-ranked club in UEFA; Borussia Dortmund entered in 10th. One would expect a competitive match under those circumstances, not a 4-0 destruction. Maybe Atletico chose not to send their Best XI to the match because they were tied with Dortmund with six points heading into the match, far ahead of the other two clubs in Group A. Maybe they knew that Matchday 4 would see a rematch, except at home in Madrid, so they expect to even the score then. Either way, both clubs are still the overwhelming favorites to advance out of the Group, and will fight for the first position, if only to face off against another group’s second finisher. But the only other matches in the Champions League that have had as lopsided of a score were matches between top clubs and qualifiers, not from two of the top 10 clubs in the tournament.

Read moreChampions League – Matchday 3 Recap