The group stage of the European Champions League came to its conclusion on Wednesday, December 11 with 16 clubs advancing to the next round of the tournament. The top two teams in each group made it to the next stage while the third-place teams will now enter the final-32 stage of the Europe League. The bottom-place squads in each Champions League group have now been eliminated from any further competition in Europe this season.
In Group A of the Champions League English Premier League reigning champions Manchester United topped the group with 14 points in their six games and advanced to the next stage with German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen finishing in second place with 10 points. Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine came in third with eight points and Spain’s Real Sociedad placed last with just one point.
Group B saw Spain’s Real Madrid take first place with 16 points followed by Galatasaray of Turkey with seven points. Italian champions Juventus placed third with six points while the cellar was occupied by FC Copenhagen of Denmark with four points.
In Group C, French side Paris St Germain claimed top spot with 13 points while Olympiakos of Greece and Benfica of Portugal finished level with 10 points each. However, Olympiakos advances due to the tiebreaker rule. Belgian club Anderlecht finished the stage in the basement with just one point.
Over in Group D, English Premier League team Manchester City upset reigning European champions Bayern Munich 3-2 in Germany to finish in a tie for top spot with 15 points each. Munich claimed top of the table though due to a better head-to-head record against Manchester. Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic came in third with three points and CSKA Moscow finished last, also with three points.
In Group E, English Premier League team Chelsea claimed the top spot with 12 points and were joined in the next round by German club Schalke 04 with 10 points. Basel of Switzerland finished third with eight points and will enter the Europa League while Steaua Bucharest goes home after finishing in the cellar with three points.
There was a three-way tie for top spot in Group F as Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, Napoli of Italy and England’s Arsenal all finished the group stage with 12 points apiece. However, after the head-to-head tiebreakers, Dortmund took top spot with Arsenal claiming second. Napoli finished in third while French club Olympique Marseille lost all six games and were eliminated with no points.
Group G was topped by Atletico Madrid of Spain with 16 points and they were joined in the next round by second-place Zenit St Petersburg of Russia with six points. Portuguese side Porto finished in third position with five points and last-place Austria Vienna of Austria also had five points.
To wrap things up in Group H, Spanish champions Barcelona took first place with 13 points and were followed in second position by Italy’s AC Milan with nine points. Ajax Amsterdam of Holland placed third with eight points while Glasgow Celtic finished in the basement with three points.
The Champions League will now take a winter break and will resume action on February 18. The final will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on May 24, 2014.