The final group games of the Champions League kick off tonight. Some teams have already confirmed their place in the final 16, while some still have some work to do, while others will head to the Europa League or are completely eliminated. For anyone interested in football betting, we take a closer look at who is already through and who could still qualify. We also make some early predictions on the eventual winner.
Of the 16 places that are available in the knockout rounds, 12 spots have already been guaranteed to the likes of Real Madrid (the current holders), Barcelona, Juventus, Leicester, PSG, Arsenal, Manchester City, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.
After winning the English Premier League, Leicester have been the surprise package of the Champions League after winning all of their group games, so far, and they’re guaranteed to finish top of Group G.
Group B is the most open with three teams, Napoli, Benfica and Beşiktaş, who still have a mathematical chance of progressing. Only one point separates the three sides, but ultimately two of the teams will the next round while the other will have to settle for the Europa League. Porto and Copenhagen sit in the middle of Group G. Copenhagen stand the best chance of progressing when they play Club Brugge in the final group game, while Porto have the impossible task of an unbeaten Leicester. Unless Porto can beat Leicester, they will likely be looking at a Europa League place. Lyon currently sit third in Group H, but they can overtake Sevilla if they beat them by two goals.
Group A is a closed case, Ludogorets and Basel are both out of the Champions League but have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the Europa League depending on the result when they play PSG and Arsenal respectively. Dynamo Kyiv, who have drawn two games and lost three games in Group B, they are eliminated. Borussia Mönchengladbach have finished third in Group C, they will head onto the Europa League, Celtic are eliminated. Rostov and PSV Einhoven are both out of the completion, but they will play each other in the final Group D game for a Europa spot. CSKA Moscow and Tottenham have both flattered to deceive, they are eliminated and will play each other for a Europa chance, and the same applies to Sporting Lisbon and Legia Warsaw in Group F. Meanwhile, Club Brugge and Dinamo Zagreb have failed to get a win in their groups, they are both eliminated.
Despite Leicester’s impressive start, don’t expect an English winner this season. Tottenham are already eliminated and Manchester City have been mixed in their performances. Meanwhile, Arsenal are unbeaten, but it looks like they’ll finish second in their group (unless they’re stocking a shed load of goals for the final group game) which means they’ll face a tougher opponent in the next round, plus Wenger’s European history shows they will crash out at some point.
Barcelona are currently the favourites to win the whole tournament, according to 888. Real Madrid are in with a good chance of retaining the competition, which would be a huge coup for Zinedine Zidane. Bayern Munich are also likely winners, which would mark a great first season for Carlo Ancelotti.