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  • Writer's pictureWill Brown

Who will progress to the Champions League knockout stages?

In this busiest of European football seasons, the final matchday of the Champions League group stage has arrived - just 7 weeks after the first set of fixtures.

Often a dull preamble to the excitement and star-studded match-ups of the knockout rounds, this year has seen multiple upsets and many groups going right down to the wire. We are likely to see at least one European giant drop down to the Europa League this week, if not out of continental competition altogether.

We have broken down the permutations of each group. It's important to remember UEFA uses head-to-head as its tiebreaker, rather than goal difference, making for some potentially complicated outcomes. With that said, let's start with Group A.

Group A:

Holders Bayern Munich have cruised through Group A and will top the group regardless of what happens on Wednesday. The group is not without intrigue though, with Atletico Madrid travelling to Salzburg. If the Austrians can win at home, they will go through at the expense of their visitors and the Spanish outfit will drop down into the Europa League.

Group B:

Group B is undoubtedly the most interesting pool going into Matchday 6. Three sides can top the group, three can finish last, and every team can go through. Given the upsets we've already seen from Gladbach and Shakhtar, it really is anyone's guess as to how will progress.

Group C:

The top of Group C is settled: Pep Guardiola's side will go through to the Round of 16 as winners, and Porto will be joining them as runners-up. For Olympiakos and Marseille, though, there's still much to play for with qualification to the Europa League on offer. Who ends up in that competition might well come down to how much City and Porto decide to rotate their squads and save their stars' legs in this busy season.

Group D:

Jurgen Klopp's side are through as winners and can use the game against Midtjylland to give fringe members of the squad some game time. Who will join 2019's champions in the knockout phase will be determined by a fascinating matchup in Amsterdam. In a clash between two attractive sides, it's a must-win game for Ajax. If the Dutch fail to win, they will be competing in the Europa League and Atalanta will progress to the next round.

Group E:

Group E is uniquely settled at this stage of the round. Regardless of what happens this week, Chelsea will top the group and be joined by Sevilla. Meanwhile, Krasondar will drop down to the Europa League and Rennes have been knocked out of European football for the season.

Group F:

Tuesday looks set to be a dramatic evening in Group F. Dortmund are through, but it's unclear who will be joining the Germans out of Lazio and Club Brugge. Owing to their home advantage, Lazio must be favoured but the Belgians should not be counted out. If Lazio do pull through, Dortmund's position atop the table will be under threat and they will need to match or better Lazio's result.

Group G:

Qualification from this group is, unsurprisingly, settled. The two European giants in Barcelona and Juventus will battle it out at Camp Nou to decide who will go through as winners. Juventus need to win by a 2 goal margin, as long as that scoreline is not 2-0 (UEFA's tiebreakers get wacky!). Meanwhile in Ukraine, there is a similar story: If Kiev win or draw 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2 they make the Europa League. Any other result, and Ferencvaros take that spot.

Group H:

Group H is a coin-flip. PSG are almost certain to go through (barring a shock upset at home to Basaksehir and a draw in the other game) but their position as winners is not guaranteed. In Germany, Leipzig will most likely need to beat United to go through. Despite the 5-0 thrashing in the return fixture, Leipzig are a quality side and this should make for a thrilling finale to the group phase.

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