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The Calm Before: All the Clinching Scenarios in Match Day 12 of the 21/22 UEFA Champions League group stage

It’s the final day of the group stage. Here’s all the teams who have things to play for

FC Barcelona v Bayern München: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The final day is upon us. We’ve experienced chaos and magic in these last few months and this is going to be our last chance of the year to get any of that. Here’s what awaits us on match day 12 of the group stage.


FC Barcelona v Bayern München: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Group E

Current standings: 1) FCB — 15 pts 2) BAR — 7 pts 3) SLB — 5 pts 4) DYN — 1 pt

Who’s clinched knockouts and top spot: Bayern Munich

Who’s clinched knockouts: None

Who’s clinched at least Europa League: Barcelona and Benfica

Who’s eliminated: Dynamo Kiev

I put “at least” next to Europa League because both Barca and Benfica can sleep slightly easy knowing they’ll be playing more continental games. The only question is whether or not they’ll be in the most important competition. Barcelona need a win to be truly secure. Their only issue is they play Bayern Munich — one of only three teams to have captured full points from every group stage game so far. Barcelona could theoretically be safe with a draw. However, they’d have to hope Benfica don’t win away to lowly Dynamo Kiev. If that happens, Barcelona are out on the first tiebreaker thanks to only managing one point from two meetings against the Portuguese powerhouse.

Who can clinch UCL knockouts (otherwise to Europa League):

  • Barcelona
    Clinches knockouts with win
    OR
    Tie AND Benfica loss or draw
  • Benfica
    Clinches knockouts with win AND Barcelona loss or draw

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Group F

Current standings: 1) MAN — 10 pts 2) VCF — 7 pts 3) ATA — 6 pts 4) BSC — 4 pts

Who’s clinched knockouts and top spot: Manchester United

Who’s clinched knockouts: None

Who’s clinched at least Europa League: Villarreal

Who’s eliminated: None (fully)

The Team Chaos scenario we all wanted in Group F didn’t come to fruition, but we’re still left with some slightly chaotic scenarios here as every team has a result to play for. Starting at the bottom, Young Boys are out of the Champions League. However, if they manage a magical win over United and Atalanta lose, they’ll make the Europa League. Manchester United is safely in the Round of 16 and they clinched the top spot thanks to their two wins against current second place Villarreal.

Now to the mid-table battle being played out in the same fixture. Separated by a single point (with advantage to Villarreal), the Yellow Submarine of Spain and La Dea of Italy will have it all to play for. Atalanta needs a win to stay in the competition (and maybe in Europe altogether). A loss does them possibly more harm than they’d like as it could knock them out of the continent. Villarreal need just a single point in order to stay in the Champions League. If not, they can stay safe in the Europa League — the competition they won last year.

Who can clinch UCL knockouts:

  • Villarreal
    qualifies with a win OR draw vs. Atalanta
  • Atalanta
    qualifies with a win over Villarreal

Who can clinch Europa League:

  • Villarreal
    qualifies with a loss to Atalanta
  • Atalanta
    qualifies with a draw to Villarreal
    OR
    loss to Villarreal AND BSC Young Boys draw or lose to Manchester United
  • BSC Young Boys
    qualifies with a win over Manchester United AND Atalanta lose to Villarreal

Who can be eliminated:

  • Atalanta
    eliminated with loss to Villarreal AND Young Boys win over Manchester United
  • BSC Young Boys
    eliminated with loss or draw
    OR
    win AND Atalanta win or draw

Lille OSC v VfL Wolfsburg: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Group G

Current standings: 1) LOSC— 8 pts 2) SLZ— 7 pts 3) SEV— 6 pts 4) WOB— 5 pts

Who’s clinched knockouts and top spot: None

Who’s clinched knockouts: None

Who’s clinched at least Europa League: Lille

Who’s eliminated: None (fully)

Here’s the Team Chaos scenario I predicted last time:

if Lille beat Salzburg and Sevilla beat Wolfsburg. That sets us up with an 8-7-6-5 table where technically, the teams with 6 points and 5 points can advance to the knockouts.

Well, looky here at this 8-7-6-5 scenario. For starters — just to prove how chaotic this is — Wolfsburg CAN’T make the Europa League but they CAN make the Champions League.

There are many scenarios that allow any of the top three teams to make it, with a 66% chance of making it for Lille followed by Salzburg’s 55% chance then Sevilla’s 33% chance.

But the wild one is if Wolfsburg win and a draw happens with Sevilla-Salzburg. That would end with three teams tied on eight points (Wolfsburg, Salzburg, and Lille). According to the regulations, the first three tiebreakers are:

  1. Points in head to head matches
  2. Goal difference in head to head matches
  3. Goals scored in head to head matches

Normally, teams would be judged on these things between each other. However, in the case of three teams drawing, all of those criteria are applied exclusively to all three teams.

So therefore, in the hypothetical Wolfsburg win and Salzburg draw, Wolfsburg would top the group thanks to 7 points in their four combined games with Lille and Salzburg. Meanwhile Die Roten Bullen would finish runner up with 6 points from their four matches.

Who can clinch UCL knockouts and top spot:

  • Lille
    clinch knockouts and top spot with a win or draw vs. Wolfsburg AND any Sevilla win
    OR
    win vs Wolfsburg AND Salzburg win
  • Salzburg
    clinch top spot with win AND Wolfsburg win or draw
  • Sevilla
    clinch top spot with win AND Wolfsburg win
  • Wolfsburg
    clinch top spot with win AND Sevilla-Salzburg must draw

Who can clinch 2nd and UCL knockouts:

  • Lille
    clinches 2nd with a draw AND Salzburg win
  • Salzburg
    clinches 2nd with a win AND Lille win
  • Sevilla
    clinches 2nd with win AND Lille win or draw
  • Wolfsburg
    clinches 2nd with win AND either Sevilla or Salzburg win

Who can clinch Europa League:

  • Lille
    clinches UEL with a loss
  • FC Salzburg
    clinches UEL with a loss AND Lille win or draw
  • Sevilla
    clinches UEL with draw or loss AND Lille win or draw

Who can be eliminated:

  • FC Salzburg
    Eliminated with a loss AND Wolfsburg win
  • Sevilla
    eliminated with draw or loss AND Wolfsburg win
  • Wolfsburg
    eliminated with loss or draw

Chelsea FC v Juventus: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Group H

Current standings: 1) CFC — 12 pts 2) JUV— 12 pts 3) ZSP — 4 pts 4) MFF — 1 pts

Who’s clinched knockouts and top spot: None

Who’s clinched knockouts: Juventus and Chelsea

Who’s clinched at least Europa League: Zenit St. Petersburg

Who’s eliminated: Malmö

The only thing left to play for is the top spot in the group. Juventus and Chelsea each have a win on each other, but Juve’s 1-0 pales in comparison to the 4-0 thrashing Chelsea gave them at the last matchday. So, the Blues are in the driver’s seat for this one. In control of their own destiny, the top spot is theirs if they best or match Juventus’s result. However, the Old Lady will be hoping for a Zenit victory and points on their side in order to take first place.

Who can clinch 1st in the group (otherwise 2nd):

  • Chelsea
    win OR match Juventus result
  • Juventus
    win or draw AND Chelsea loss


Here are all the matches played on Wednesday (all times Eastern U.S.):

12:45

  • Juventus FC v. Malmö FF (Juventus Stadium - Turin, Piedmont, ITA)
  • FC Zenit Saint Petersburg v. Chelsea FC (Krestovsky Stadium - St. Petersburg, RUS)

15:00

  • FC Bayern München v. FC Barcelona (Fußball Arena München - Munich, Bavaria, DEU)
  • SL Benfica v. Dynamo Kiev (Estádio da Luz - Lisbon, PRT)
  • Manchester United FC v. BSC Young Boys (Old Trafford - Manchester, GBR)
  • Atalanta BC v. Villarreal CF (Stadio di Bergamo - Bergamo, Lombardy, ITA)
  • VfL Wolfsburg v. LOSC Lille (VfL Wolfsburg Arena - Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, DEU)
  • FC Salzburg v. Sevilla FC (Stadion Salzburg - Wals-Siezenheim, AUT)