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Group stage reaches decisive phase

Holders FC Internazionale Milano are among 14 clubs entering Matchday 5 with a chance of joining FC Bayern München, Chelsea FC and Real Madrid CF in sealing early progress.

Inter are a win away from the last 16
Inter are a win away from the last 16 ©Getty Images

Only FC Bayern München, Chelsea FC and Real Madrid CF go into this week's UEFA Champions League Matchday 5 games sure of their round of 16 berths, but 14 other clubs have the possibility of clinching early progress from the group stage on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Among them are AS Roma, who welcome last season's runners-up Bayern in Group E on Tuesday. Roma, in second, are three points ahead of both CFR 1907 Cluj and FC Basel 1893 and will qualify if they win and the other teams draw in Switzerland. Bayern would clinch first place with anything better than a 2-0 loss.

Chelsea are through from Group F, but behind them FC Spartak Moskva and Olympique de Marseille meet in the early game level on six points. Any Spartak victory would suffice for the hosts while an OM triumph other than 1-0 would be enough for the victors to advance alongside Chelsea, who can secure first position with a point at home to eliminated MŠK Žilina.

Real Madrid's dramatic Matchday 4 draw at AC Milan took them through from Group G but the Italian side remain second, a point ahead of AFC Ajax and two clear of AJ Auxerre. If Milan win in Auxerre and Ajax lose at home to Madrid, the Rossoneri will progress.

In the remaining pools no team is yet qualified, although Group H could have both places decided on Tuesday if leaders Arsenal FC avoid defeat at third-placed SC Braga and FC Shakhtar Donetsk beat eliminated FK Partizan. Should Arsenal win, a draw would do for Shakhtar.

Holders FC Internazionale Milano are among the clubs aiming to rubber-stamp a ticket to the 17 December draw on Wednesday. A success at home to FC Twente would ensure that Inter are still in the competition come February, and Group A leaders Tottenham Hotspur FC face the same scenario against SV Werder Bremen.

Group B frontrunners Olympique Lyonnais will proceed if they win at FC Schalke 04, two points behind, while a draw would also be sufficient provided SL Benfica do not overcome eliminated Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC. Schalke, a point above Benfica, would progress with a victory were the Eagles to lose, and in those circumstances Lyon would also be through despite the defeat.

Manchester United FC head Group C and only require a point at Rangers FC, who held them 0-0 at Old Trafford. Valencia CF entertain Bursaspor, already out, and the second-placed Spanish outfit will advance to the knockout stage if they pick up more points than Rangers.

FC Barcelona are a point ahead of FC København in Group D and those two teams are also in sight of the next phase. Barcelona will be through should they prevail at Panathinaikos FC, just as FCK will be by winning at FC Rubin Kazan. A draw would also do the job for either of the top two on the proviso that the other match is not a home victory.

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