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.

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Champions League Group C – Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League Group C

All four clubs in Group C enter Matchday 6 with something to play for, with no position in the table decided. In this matchup, Paris Saint-Germain can assure their advancement to the knockout phase with a victory, and all but ensure their advance with a draw. Red Star, on the other hand, is playing for third place so they can continue their European adventures in Europa League. But they would need some help, and anything less than a win sends them home to Serbia and out of European competition for the year.

Red Star Belgrade

Red Star is hosting this matchup, which I’m sure they hope means better success than the last time these two clubs met. Paris Saint-Germain played the role of unkind hosts, welcoming Red Star to Paris and jumping out to a 4-0 halftime lead that started with two goals by Neymar in less than two minutes. Neymar managed to complete his hat trick, scoring the last goal in what ended as a 6-1 PSG victory.

Red Star has held their own in the group stage, especially considering that they had to advance through four rounds of qualification. They have four points in the group, with all points gained at home, which gives me a little hope for them in this matchup. Are they the club that lost three matches on the road by a combined score of 13-2? Or are they the club that defeated Liverpool at home on Matchday 4 to keep them alive in the group? Probably more towards the first, but I’m not quite ready to give up on them.

Read moreChampions League Group C – Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain

(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

Small Club of the Week – December Review

It’s been a while since we just reviewed the clubs that end up in this series. Since there hasn’t been much non-league action – at least featuring the clubs that tend to end up in this series – we figured it was as good a time as any to look back at the past couple months of clubs in this series.

Paris F.C.

Our most recent Small Club of the Week, Paris F.C. currently plays in Ligue 2 in France. After a few decades of struggles, the club has looked strong the past two seasons, and look to be on the cusp of returning to Ligue 1 for the first time in forty years.

Currently, the club is in eighth place with 28 points (7-7-3 record). They are two points behind Lorient for fifth place and a spot in the promotion play-off quarterfinals, and six points behind Brest for second place and automatic promotion to Ligue 1. They are in the midst of a three-match unbeaten streak (2-1-0) and their next match will be against Grenoble, a club above them in the table.

Read moreSmall Club of the Week – December Review

Champions League – Matchday 5 Recap

Matchday 5 in Champions League managed to set up a ho-hum Matchday 6 in a couple of weeks, with only one Group without a qualifier through to the next round and all four clubs still eligible to make it through to at least Europa League.

Three groups have the next round participants settled, with only the finishing positions of the top two clubs left to be determined:

  • Group A: Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund advance to the knockout phase, with Club Brugge off to Europa League.
  • Group E: Bayern Munich and Ajax on to knockout, with Benfica heading to Europa League.
  • Group H: Juventus and Manchester United on to knockout, with Valencia heading off to Europa League (farewell Young Boys)

Below are some of the results from the past two days that helped to settle things in certain groups or set up a couple of key matches in a couple of weeks on Matchday 6. As always, home teams are listed first:

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UEFA Champions League – Napoli v. Red Star Belgrade Nov 28

Napoli v. Red Star Belgrade (Group C) Champions League Group C Group C is one of the few groups that is completely up for grabs, with only 2 points separating the top and bottom teams. With this small of separation, it’s possible that goal difference could become completely irrelevant depending on how the games shake … Read moreUEFA Champions League – Napoli v. Red Star Belgrade Nov 28