Plenty of issues are already settled as Matchday 6 looms, but the group stage could have a nasty sting in the tail for some of the UEFA Champions League’s biggest sides.Play Fantasy Football.
“We are very aware that the next game will be difficult,” insisted Neymar after Matchday 5’s 3-1 success at Old Trafford, but if a point at home against eliminated Başakşehir spells certain qualification for Paris, coach Thomas Tuchel remains wary: “Almost qualified isn’t qualified.” Leipzig and United are level with Paris on nine Group H points meaning any winner in their meeting would qualify; both sides have been unpredictable this season, and both could go through with a draw if Paris lose. In short: it’s tight.
Club Brugge honoured coach Philippe Clement’s promise that they would “go all-in” against Zenit on Matchday 5, a 3-0 win setting them up for an improbable mission: beat Lazio in Rome and the Belgian champions will qualify at their hosts’ expense (and set a new club record of ten points in a UEFA Champions League group stage). On-loan Ajax winger Noa Lang scored their third against Zenit, and said afterwards: “We now have seven points and hunger for more. One more hurdle against Lazio.” Madder things have happened.
The prospect of what could be a final career meeting between Lionel Messi, 33, and Cristiano Ronaldo, 35 may have faded somewhat with Barcelona and Juventus qualifying, but the hosts still have a proud statistic to fight for in Group G. They have topped their group for the last 13 UEFA Champions League seasons, but defeat at home to Juventus could end that run. Danish forward Martin Braithwaite, meanwhile, is seizing the opportunity to show Ronald Koeman what he can do, saying after Matchday 5: “I’ve played in the last four games and that’s so vital to me.”
t the foot of Group G, Serhiy Rebrov is preparing for what might be a painful trip down memory lane. A Dynamo Kyiv great, the Ferencváros coach heads to Kyiv with the sides’ level on one point, vying for a transfer to the UEFA Europa League. He told UEFA.com: “I support [Dynamo] and follow them all the time; this team means a lot to me. Unfortunately, we ended up in the same group, and I feel bad that one of our, well, my teams has to lose out. I always prepare for the game in a professional manner, and Dynamo is no exception.”