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Six places up for grabs

Published: Wednesday 13 March 2002, 11.33CET assesses the chase for UEFA Champions League quarter-final places.
Published: Wednesday 13 March 2002, 11.33CET

Six places up for grabs assesses the chase for UEFA Champions League quarter-final places.

As the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League reaches a nail-biting climax, assesses the qualification situation for teams aiming to reach the last eight of European football’s most prestigious club competition.

Sparta and Juventus out
After Tuesday night’s first four Matchday Eleven games, two more clubs joined FC Nantes Atlantique in being eliminated. AC Sparta Praha and Juventus FC have no chance of making it to the quarter-finals while Spanish sides Real Madrid CF and RC Deportivo La Coruña are the only teams to book their place so far.

Plenty of permutations
The key criteria for separating teams that finish equal on points is the higher number of points obtained in group matches played among the teams in questions. With this in mind, there are still plenty of permutations before Wednesday night’s penultimate second group stage games.

Chance for top two
It could end up being clearcut in Group B tonight. If either AS Roma and FC Barcelona record home wins over Liverpool FC and Galatasaray SK respectively, they will progress to the last eight. Also if, after next week’s final games, Roma were to finish the group level on points with FC Barcelona, then the Italian club would finish top by virtue of their better performance in the matches between the two teams.

Liverpool must win
Defeat for Liverpool would mean certain elimination but if Galatasaray were to lose against Roma they would still have a chance of qualification, but only if Barcelona fail to beat Liverpool. If Roma and Barcelona both lose then the two qualification places would still be up for grabs next Tuesday.

Boavista hanging on
In Group A, Manchester United FC and FC Bayern München do battle at Old Trafford tonight and a win for either side would send them through. In fact both teams could progress regardless of the result, if Boavista FC fail to beat the already-eliminated Nantes.

Looking good for holders
A defeat for Bayern and a draw for Boavista would still see the German club through with United because Boavista could then only have a chance of finishing level on points with the Champions League holders. If that was the case, then Bayern’s better record in the two matches between the teams would see them progress. A defeat for United and a draw for Boavista would then leave the Portuguese champions needing to better the English club's 3-0 home victory on Matchday Eight in next Tuesday's return.

Tense matches
Some tense matches are already expected in Group C and Group D next week after last night’s dramatic action.

Five wins from five
In Group C, Sparta are out because they cannot catch either Madrid or Panathinaikos FC after their 3-0 defeat by Madrid last night. FC Porto can still catch Panathinaikos but the Greek team only need a point from their last match at home against already-qualified Madrid, who have five wins from five, to make sure of their place in the knock-out stage.

Arsenal fighting with Leverkusen
Finally, Group D is perhaps the most complex of the four groups. Deportivo are through with ten points from five matches leaving Arsenal FC and Bayer 04 Leverkusen competing for second place with seven points apiece. Eliminated Juventus are in last place with four points.

Anything can happen
Juventus welcome Arsenal next Wednesday while Leverkusen travel to Deportivo for their last match. If Deportivo, Arsenal and Leverkusen all finish with ten points then Leverkusen will finish the group in first place and Arsenal will be out by virtue of having the lowest total of points from the matches between the three teams. Deportivo therefore need a point to make certain of finishing in first place. If Arsenal and Leverkusen finish level on either eight or seven points, with either a draw or a defeat apiece in the last matches, then Arsenal will go through because of their better record in the matches between the two teams. 

Qualifying criteria
If two or more teams finish equal on points after all the group matches have been played, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings:

  • Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question.
  • Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question.
  • Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question.
  • Superior goal difference from all group matches played.
  • Higher number of goals scored.
  • Coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.
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