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Opinion

Keep an eye on these UEFA Champions League groups

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Roar Rookie
6th November, 2020
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The halfway point of the UEFA Champions League group stage has been reached. Now we can determine which groups may go down to the wire and key fixtures to keep an eye on.

After three matches, four clubs have retained a perfect record; Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona.

Some groups appear to have two clubs easing their way through the fixtures, other groups continue to provide unpredictable score lines.

Group A
The primary reason to watch this group is the fact that we may witness a surprise exit, Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich are cruising through this group, with nine points out of a possible nine. On top of a record 14-consecutive wins in the competition.

Atletico Madrid have struggled so far, after being thumped 4-0 by Bayern Munich on the opening matchday. A late winner achieved three points against a valiant RB Salzburg and they only managed to clutch one point against Lokomotiv Moscow, who have proven to be difficult.

The race for second place is what to watch and if Lokomotiv Moscow can continue to be a tough outfit, they may steal it.

Atletico Madrid can’t afford to choke. They have the firepower of Luis Suarez and the talent of Joao Felix to defeat Lokomotiv Moscow and RB Salzburg, they just need to bring those results to fruition.

Keep an eye on Lokomotiv Moscow and Atletico Madrid, as well as RB Salzburg who could steal some points and make it more interesting.

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Group B
Are we living in the upside-down? Coming into the competition, Real Madrid and Inter were the favourites to move into the knockout stages. Right now, they are set to be knocked out.

Real Madrid

(Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s luck looks to be changing after a 3-2 win against Inter, whereas Inter are winless after three matches.

Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk have evidently impressed, although the job isn’t done yet. Only three points separate fourth-placed Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach in first.

Borussia Monchengladbach looks the stronger side, coming off a 6-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk. Whereas, Shakhtar Donetsk against all odds has managed to claim points against both Real Madrid and Inter in their first meetings.

All teams still have a mathematical chance of qualifying, as the group remains a tight affair. With results reflecting a lottery, the table could flip in the remaining three fixtures.

Keep an eye on all clubs in Group B, this has the potential to go down to the wire.

Group D
While Liverpool, similar to Bayern Munich, look set for another UCL knockout stage, the race for second is well and truly on.

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Danish side Midtjylland are yet to record a point and look to be making up the numbers – meaning the race for second lies between Ajax and Atalanta.

This group has the potential to go down to goal difference as the results have been somewhat predictable.

As the favourites, Liverpool have won all of their fixtures.

Mohamed Salah

(Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Midtjylland, the outsiders, have lost all of theirs.

This Leaves Ajax and Atalanta in the middle as they both defeated Midtjylland, lost to Liverpool and drew against each other.

If this is how the group was to eventuate, all games involving Ajax and Atalanta are a must-watch. They need points against Liverpool to draw ahead, as well as trying to defeat Midtjylland by as much as possible to grow their goal difference.

Keep an eye on Ajax and Atalanta, as they appear to battle it out for the last knockout position.

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Group F
This is another interesting group to take note of.

Zenit currently sits fourth, four points away from Lazio in second. A quarter of the matches in this group have been drawn, hence the clubs being close to each other.

Zenit are perhaps one loss away from being knocked-out, whereas Club Brugge, who currently sit third only one point behind Lazio, are right in the mix.

Lazio started off impeccably, easing past Borussia Dortmund 3-1. Since then, they have struggled to hit their highest gear. Alternatively, since the 3-1 loss to Lazio, Borussia Dortmund haven’t lost, achieving effortless wins against Zenit and Club Brugge.

If Lazio drop points to both Zenit and Club Brugge again, they will be in immense trouble with the latter right on their tail.

If they are to win against Club Brugge and Zenit again, Borussia Dortmund should progress to the knockout stages leaving the unpredictable Club Brugge and the underperforming Lazio to fight it out for second place.

Keep an eye on Borussia Dortmund, Lazio and Club Brugge who also have the ability to cause havoc.

Group H
As they say, save the best for last, so here is Group H.

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From matchday one, this group has had it all.

The genuine unpredictability of the group is what makes it a spectacle. Not to mention that once this group was drawn, it was one of the most anticipated in the competition.

Matchday four will be a telling week, as Manchester United will seek revenge for their shock 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir, as will Paris Saint-Germain in their frustrating 2-1 loss to RB Leipzig.

With an even weaker side, PSG will have to take on the same RB Leipzig team which beat them earlier.

It is unsure if Kylian Mbappé and Neymar will be fit to return and they will also be without suspended pair Presnel Kimpembe and Idrissa Gueye.

Neymar

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images)

A loss in this fixture could see them six points behind second place.

Manchester United was prepared to qualify for the knockout rounds following shock wins against PSG and RB Leipzig.

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A win against Istanbul Basaksehir in matchday three would have almost assured that qualification, but it wasn’t to be.

After three matches the gates are wide open, with only three points separating third and fourth from first and second.

For all we know, Istanbul Basaksehir could win two more fixtures and see themselves into the knockout rounds, but it is shaped to be a three-horse race between Manchester United, RB Leipzig and PSG.

None of these teams has shown an ounce of consistency this season, so it’s definitely something to make note of.

Keep an eye on all clubs in Group H, this group will go down to the wire.

As for the remaining groups, they appear to be set for the knockout rounds.

Group C: Manchester City and Porto are comfortable at the top of their group.

Group E: Chelsea and Sevilla are miles ahead

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Group G: Barcelona and Juventus will easily progress.