Europa League – Best of the Rest – Round of 32 (Leg 1)

With 16 matchups in the Europa League’s Round of 32, we simply couldn’t write about them all. We did write about eight of the most compelling matchups, either because one of the clubs is a favorite to make it all the way to Baku, or because both clubs have about an equal chance to reach the next round and a small chance to make it all the way themselves.

Here’s the list with links to previews of those eight matchups:

As for the other eight matchups, here’s a brief look at each of those matches, including the favored club for the Round of 32 (according to FiveThirtyEight). Depending on how the first match goes this week, we may cover these eight matches a little more in depth next week.

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(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:

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Champions League – Matchday 4 Recap

After four matches in the Group Stage of the Champions League, there has Witbeen some separation. That said, only one club – Barcelona – has officially clinched a spot in the Round of 16. There are an additional six clubs that have been eliminated from reaching the Round of 16, though they can still technically finish third in their groups and qualify for the next round of Europa League.

As mentioned in our last matchday recap, Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens were the only two clubs in the tournament without a point. They remain that way after Matchday 4 after both failing to win. While both are still technically in the mix for Europa qualification, chances are they won’t even make it there, most likely because of their large goal differentials (-9 for Lokomotiv and -8 for AEK Athens) and poor results against the other clubs in their group.

Here are some of the more shocking results of the fourth day of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Liverpool
I talked about this match in our weekly Small Club of the Week piece, because Red Star is one of our favorite “smaller” clubs and it was nice to see them achieve victory in a tournament where the odds were stacked against them. I wanted to mention it here because of the impact that it had on Group C. Napoli and Liverpool remain tied at the top with six points, but Paris Saint-Germain has five points and Red Star has four (they tied Napoli on Matchday 1). Red Star has an outside chance at qualifying for the Round of 16, with matches remaining at Napoli and at home against PSG, but they would need some help to do so. I’m pulling for the club obviously,, if only because it might mean that PSG fails to advance after their financial malfeasance (and subsequent coverup) was revealed this week.

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