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UEFA Youth League play-offs: Mainz, Bayern, Leipzig, AZ, Braga, Nantes, Olympiacos, Žilina through

Mainz, Bayern, Leipzig, AZ, Braga, Nantes, Olympiacos and Žilina have joined the group winners in the last 16.

Mainz celebrate victory
Mainz celebrate victory 1. FSV Mainz 05

Holders AZ Alkmaar, Bayern München, Braga, Leipzig, Mainz, Nantes, Olympiacos and Žilina are through from the UEFA Youth League play-offs to join the group winners in the round of 16.

The eight teams that progressed from the domestic champions path were at home to the runners-up from the UEFA Champions League path group stage. The eight winners join the teams that topped the UEFA Champions League path groups in the round of 16.

With a trio of German successes, it is the first time a single country has produced three play-off winners in the same season.

Through to round of 16

Play-off winners: AZ Alkmaar (holders), Bayern München, Braga, Leipzig, Mainz, Nantes, Olympiacos, Žilina

Group winners: AC Milan, Copenhagen, Feyenoord, Lens, Manchester City, Porto, Real Madrid, Salzburg


Wednesday 7 February

Olympiacos 0-0 Inter (6-5 pens) 
Despite the sending off of Antonios Papakanellos, Olympacios were able to hold off Inter and force a penalty shoot-out (with no extra time in Youth League matches), Matteo Cocchi going closest as he hit the post after an initial effort was saved by Antzelo Sina.

Both teams converted their first five kicks and Konstantinos Kostoulas made it 6-5, but then Cocchi missed, sending Olympiacos into the round of 16 for the first time since 2014/15 and meaning Inter headed for a third straight play-off exit.

Olympiacos edged out Inter
Olympiacos edged out InterEurokinissi Sports via Olympiacos

Partizan 0-2 Braga 
Braga, one of only four teams to end the group stage unbeaten, came through a meeting of two competition debutants.

The visitors took the game to Partizan and on 64 minutes Roger Fernandes pounced on a defensive error to break the deadlock. Substitute Afonso Duarte clinched the tie for Braga in added time following a swift counterattack with Partizan pushing for an equaliser.

AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Atlético
Holders AZ kept their title defence going with their sixth straight home UEFA Youth League win and clean sheet, becoming only the second team in the ten editions of this competition to eliminate Atlético before the round of 16 after Midtjylland in the 2015/16 play-offs. AZ tore into Atlético early on and in the first ten minutes hit the woodwork through both Anthony Smits and Dave Kwakman, one of several 2023 final veterans in action.

Yoël van den Ban finished off a swift team move on 25 minutes to put AZ ahead, and they continued to dominate without adding to their lead. Atlético depart having only missed out on advancing direct to the round of 16 from the group stage rather than going into these play-offs when Feyenoord overtook them with a last-gasp Matchday 6 winner at Celtic.

Highlights: AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Atlético

Žilina 2-1 Borussia Dortmund 
Slovakia's Žilina are into the round of 16 for the second time in three years following a thrilling comeback. Dortmund went into this tie having last week lost key man Julian Rijkhoff, who was sold to former club Ajax and ended his UEFA Youth League career on 13 goals, two short of the record, with defender Hendry Blank also leaving to join Salzburg. However, the visitors led on half-time in Slovakia through Paris Brunner, poking home at the second attempt after a cross by Samuel Bamba.

Žilina levelled early in the second half as a blocked attempt by Timotej Hranica was turned in by Vladimír Vaľko, his fifth goal in the competition this season making him joint-top scorer. And just when it seemed a shoot-out would be required, substitute Michal Pekelský sparked celebrations among the home fans in the crowd of over 10,000 as he produced an 89th-minute winner after being set up by Mário Sauer, whose pass had previously created the attack for the equaliser.

Basel 0-2 Bayern München 
Bayern have equalled their best competition run, reaching the round of 16 for the third time. They made their first-half pressure tell when Lovro Zvonarek struck on 31 minutes after a quick exchange of passes with Javier Fernández.

Basel threatened more in the second half, but Zvonarek sealed victory in added time, Michael Scott breaking and crossing to set up the captain.

Highlights: Basel 0-2 Bayern

Nantes 3-3 Sevilla (3-2 pens) 
A goalless first half gave no clue as to what would follow. Nantes led on 51 minutes when the ball hit the woodwork and deflected in off luckless Sevilla defender David López. Just past the hour mark Exaucée Mafoumbi scored twice in quick succession to seemingly put Nantes on course.

However, in a spell of less than ten minutes Sevilla took it from 3-0 to 3-3 as Iván Salguero's cross-cum-shot flew in, then an effort from Iker Villar (who later left the pitch injured on a stretcher) deflected home off Taigy Dugard, and Alberto Collado converted a penalty. That made Sevilla the first team to overturn a three-goal deficit in a one-off knockout match in this competition, but Collado was among those unsuccessful in the shoot-out as Nantes reached the round of 16 at only their second attempt to the delight of the 13,377 crowd, the seventh biggest attendance in the UEFA Youth League.

Tuesday 6 February

Midtjylland 1-1 Leipzig (2-4 pens)
Mikel Krüger-Johnsen turned in Sofus Johanssen's cross on 13 minutes for Midtjylland but although play-off debutants Leipzig lost midfielder Tim Köhler to a second yellow card just past the hour mark, deep in added time Jonathan Norbye headed home a Laurin Schössler corner to force penalties.

Midtjylland were now in their fourth shoot-out in six play-offs, and had won two of those previous three, but Leipzig keeper Timo Schlieck saved the home side's first penalty before the third one hit the post, allowing Winners Osawe to convert the visitors' winning kick.

Highlights: Midtjylland 1-1 Leipzig (2-4 pens)

Mainz 2-2 Barcelona (6-5 pens) 
Debutants Mainz delighted a vocal sell-out home crowd when Daniel Gleiber gave them the lead but the two-time champions were soon level through Noah Darvich and a solo effort by Dani Rodriguez put Barcelona 2-1 up early in the second half. Philipp Schulz levelled with 16 minutes left and Gleiber hit the woodwork but again penalties were needed.

Louis Babatz saved Barcelona's fourth penalty but immediately Diego Kochen made a stop of his own, forcing sudden death. Babatz got down to meet Barcelona's seventh kick and decide the tie.

Highlights: Mainz 2-2 Barcelona (6-5 pens)

Team guide

  • AZ are holders, having also come through the domestic champions path last season.
  • Barcelona were aiming to become the first three-time winners and were in a debut play-off, despite having been in the round of 16 on seven previous occasions.
  • Atlético have reached at least the play-offs in all ten editions. They were aiming to reach the round of 16 for the seventh straight year and ninth time altogether, their sole play-off loss coming against Midtjylland on penalties in 2015/16.
  • Midtjylland have now progressed from the domestic champions path on six occasions, and had won four of their five previous play-offs.
  • Dortmund were in the play-offs for the fifth time since 2016/17 and had been aiming to win at this stage for the third year running.
  • Inter had lost at this stage in both the previous two seasons but did make it through in 2017/18.
  • Previous play-off winners taking part included Žilina (2021/22) and Sevilla (2021/22). Basel (2016/17) previously lost in this round but did make the round of 16 the following year. Bayern and Olympiacos had made the last 16 before despite never previously taking part in the play-offs.
  • Leipzig were in their debut play-off after getting through a group for the first time in five attempts.
  • Opponents Braga and Partizan, like Mainz, are in their debut campaigns. Nantes made their debut last season but missed out on the play-offs.

Knockout dates

Knockout draw (round of 16 onwards): 9 February, Nyon
Round of 16: 27/28 February
Quarter-finals: 12/13 March
Semi-finals: 19 April (single venue)
Final: 22 April (single venue)

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