UEFA Champions League – Who can progress? Napoli, Club Bruges, Bayern, Real and Manchester City all through

With two group stage matchday rounds remaining, we run through who has progressed to the last 16 and who needs what to join Napoli, Club Bruges, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the draw on November 7.

The fourth round of UEFA Champions League group stage fixtures was completed this week, and it means that the last two rounds of group stage fixtures are a mere formality for those five clubs, but there are still 11 places up for grabs.

Group A

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Liverpool moved to within a point of Champions League qualification after annihilating Rangers 7-1 in a Battle of Britain clash at Ibrox.

Mohamed Salah was left out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up, but more than made up for lost time after scoring the fastest-ever hat-trick in the competition’s history in a very comfortable evening for the Reds.

Rangers actually broke the deadlock to an eruption of noise in Glasgow, as Scott Arfield put the hosts in front. However, the joy was short-lived, as Roberto Firmino’s brace and a goal each from Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott sealed a comprehensive win. A draw away at Ajax on October 26 would seal qualification for the six-time winners, while this heavy defeat eliminated the Scottish champions.

Meanwhile, Napoli continued their hugely-impressive campaign with a 4-2 win over Ajax at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Goals from Hirving Lozano, Giacomo Raspadori, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s penalty and Victor Osimhen’s strike ultimately proved to be the difference against the Dutch champions, who found the target through Davy Klaassen’s header and Steven Bergwijn’s spot-kick. Ajax must now beat Liverpool in their next match to stand any chance of progression, but third spot and a place in the UEFA Europa League last-16 play-offs looks like a more realistic proposition.

Group B

It was a landmark evening for Club Brugge, who reached the last-16 for the first time at the tenth attempt after battling to a goalless draw away at Atletico Madrid, despite having Kamal Sowah sent off.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was the hero in Spain, as made a series of fine saves to thwart Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha and Alvaro Morata to secure the point needed to progress.

Brugge became only the second Belgian club to reach the last 16 after Gent’s achievement in the 2015/16 campaign.

Elsewhere, FC Porto currently occupy the coveted second qualification place in Group B after cruising to a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Medhi Taremi scored with two second-half penalties after Galeno’s sixth-minute opener. The Germans had Amine Adli’s equaliser ruled out for handball, while Porto keeper Diogo Costa saved Karem Demirbay’s penalty.

This leaves the Portuguese champions in the driving seat for qualification, ahead of facing Brugge on October 26.

Meanwhile, Leverkusen travel to Atletico on the same day, as all three sides remain in contention to join Brugge in the knockout stages.

Group C

Bayern Munich are safely through to the last 16 after four first-half goals blew away Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.

Leon Goretzka’s brace and a goal each from Sadio Mane and Thomas Muller did the damage, while second-half strikes from Adam Vlkanova and Jan Kliment for the hosts made the scoreline more respectable at 4-2.

The result also eliminates Plzen, who can still mathematically secure the third spot and Europa League qualification, but it looks like their European adventure will end in November.

It is increasingly likely that Bayern will be joined in the last-16 by Inter Milan, following their thrilling 3-3 draw with Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Robert Lewandowski effectively kept Barcelona alive with two late equalisers in a scintillating encounter.

Ousmane Dembele put Xavi’s side in front, before Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez turned the match on its head. Lewandowski then scored the first of his two goals with eight minutes remaining, but Robin Gosens put Inter 3-2 in front with 89 minutes played. That result would have eliminated Barca, but Lewandowski’s stoppage-time header leaves Xavi’s men with a glimmer of hope.

Xavi’s side need to beat Bayern on October 26 to put the pressure on Inter, but Simone Inzaghi’s side know that a win at home to Plzen the same day would seal qualification due to their superior head-to-head record over Barca.

Group D

Arguably the most closely-contested group took another twist after Tottenham moved to the summit with a 3-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Daichi Kamada opened the scoring for Frankfurt before Son Heung-Min equalised after slotting home from Harry Kane’s pass. The England captain then scored from the penalty spot before Son added a third with a fine volley.

Faride Alidou headed in a corner to halve the deficit before Kane missed out on a chance to restore Spurs’ two-goal cushion by missing from the spot with his second penalty.

Marseille now occupy the second spot with six points following a 2-0 win away at nine-man Sporting Lisbon. Sporting lost Ricardo Esgaio through two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, the second which led to Matteo Guendouzi scoring from the penalty spot to put the French side in front.

Alexis Sanchez doubled their advantage before Pedro Goncalves was the second Sporting man to receive his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards in the space of seconds. The result sums up an incredible turnaround for Igor Tudor’s side, who have recovered outstandingly well following defeats in their first two matches.

All four sides can still qualify for the last 16, with Sporting sitting third on six points, while Frankfurt prop up the group with four.

Group E

Chelsea sit top of another closely-fought Champions League group after an impressive 2-0 win away at AC Milan.

Fikayo Tomori was shown a straight card in the 18th minute for bringing down Mason Mount in the box, and Jorginho scored with the subsequent spot-kick. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the Blues’ advantage to leave Graham Potter’s side in pole position to qualify with seven points from four games, while Milan occupy the third spot with four points.

Red Bull Salzburg occupy the second qualification berth with a 1-1 draw away at Dinamo Zagreb. Nicolas Seiwald put the visitors in front, but Robert Ljubicic levelled the score to give the hosts a well-deserved share of the spoils.

Salzburg remain unbeaten in the group stages, while Dinamo still have a chance of progression despite sitting bottom of the group with four points.

Group F

Antonio Rudiger’s stoppage-time equaliser earned Real Madrid the point required to seal qualification for the last 16 after a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Oleksandr Zubkov headed the hosts in front before former Chelsea defender Rudiger earned Los Blancos a draw.

Elsewhere, Celtic’s hopes of progression were dashed with a 2-0 defeat at home to Red Bull Leipzig. Timo Werner put the Germans in front and then turned provider for Emil Forsberg six minutes before the end to seal all three points.

The results saw Shakhtar slip down into third with five points from four games, while Leipzig moved up to that coveted second spot with six points from four games. Shakhtar and Leipzig continue their tussle for the second spot when the Ukrainian champions travel to Glasgow and the Germans host Real Madrid on October 25.

Celtic’s best hopes of continuing their European adventure lie in securing the third spot and a place in the Europa League last-16 play-off. Ange Postecoglou’s team currently sit bottom of the group with one point, four adrift of Shakhtar with two games remaining.

Group G

Manchester City became the first English club to book their place in the knockout stages, despite a frustrating goalless draw away at FC Copenhagen on Tuesday. City had Rodri’s stunning long-range strike ruled out for Riyad Mahrez’s handball before the Algerian had a penalty saved by Kamil Grabara. Pep Guardiola’s side were also reduced to ten men when Sergio Gomez was shown a straight red card for bringing down Hákon Arnar Haraldsson.
Borussia Dortmund are in pole position to join City in the last 16 after recovering from a goal down to claim a 1-1 draw at home to Sevilla. Tanguy Nianzou put the Andalusians in front with a header, before Jude Bellingham netted the equaliser with a smart finish.

A win would have secured Dortmund a place in the knockout stages, but Edin Terzic’s team only need a point from their remaining two fixtures to safely progress to the last-16 by virtue of their superior head-to-head record against Copenhagen and Sevilla.

The group continues on October 25 when Dortmund host Man City, while Sevilla entertain Copenhagen in what is looking like a battle to secure the third spot and a place in the Europa League.

Group H

Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 1-1 draw by Benfica for a second week in succession, as the two sides shared the spoils at the Parc des Princes. Mbappe put PSG in front from the penalty spot to make him the French champions’ outright top goalscorer in the competition with 31 goals.

However, Joao Mario levelled the scores with his own penalty in the second half before Mbappe had a late volley ruled out for offside.

The result leaves PSG and Benfica occupying the top two qualification berths with eight points apiece.

Maccabi Haifa secured their first Champions League group stage fixture since October 2002 with a stunning 2-0 win over Juventus. Omar Atzili opened the scoring after firing home from Pierre Cornud’s delivery, before netting his and Maccabi’s second with a thunderous strike before the break.

All four teams are still in contention to qualify, but PSG and Benfica are the heavy favourites to progress. The group continues on October 25 when PSG host Maccabi and Juventus travel to Benfica.

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