The final matchday of the 2013-2014 Champions League brings with it the complications of the qualifying scenarios as teams fight out for the final spots available. The most interesting test case is in the group of death with Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund. The Gunners have a slight edge, but it won’t be surprising to see all three teams finishing with the same amount of points, making it about a mini-league table of head to heads and goal differences.
The rules of the tie breaker?
- higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
- higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
- If, after applying criteria 1) to 4) to several teams, two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1) to 4) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the two teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 6) to 8) apply;
- superior goal difference from all group matches played;
- higher number of goals scored from all group matches played;
- higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.
Manchester United have already qualified from first. What’s left is for Shakhtar Donetsk, playing against United at the Old Trafford, and Bayer Leverkusen, playing away to Real Sociedad, to battle it out for second place (Sociedad are out of the running for second or third). Leverkusen (7 points) will jump over Shakhtar (8 points) if they better the Ukrainians result in England, as long as Shakhtar don’t win. A draw for Leverkusen and a loss to Shakhtar means Leverkusen qualify.
Real Madrid, playing against FC Copenhagen in Denmark, are moving through with the first place clinched. It’s quite simple for second place: Galatasaray must beat Juventus in Istanbul in order to qualify, while Juventus only need a draw (two points more than Gala).
PSG, playing in Benfica, are going through from first place, which leaves it between Benfica and Olympiacos, playing at home against Anderlecht. Because the Greeks have the head to head advantage, Benfica can only go through if they better the Olympiacos result – A win over a draw or a loss in Greece to the home side, or a draw while the Greeks lose.
Bayern Munich and Man City both qualified a month ago, but Manchester City can still finish first if they beat Bayern Munich by more than one goal, or a one-goal scoreline of 3-2 or higher.
Chelsea are through, but not necessarily from first. They’re lucky enough that Basel and Schalke are playing each other on the final day. Schalke have to win at home against the Swiss side, who can afford a draw in order to join Chelsea in the round of 16.
The most interesting of groups and scenarios. Arsenal are top with 12 points, Dortmund are second with 9 points, Napoli are third with 9 points as well but losing in the head to head against Dortmund. Arsenal travel to Napoli, a team they beat 2-0 at the Emirates, while the injured Dortmund play in France against the already eliminated Marseille.
For Arsenal, things are quite simple: A draw keeps them at first place, and they can afford to lose to Napoli by two goals or one and still make it to the next stage. Napoli go through if they better Dortmund’s result. If both Napoli and Dortmund win, a three-team mini league is created, as all three would have 12 points. Dortmund will qualify in that scenario with a +1 goal difference that can’t change. The only way Napoli go through in that case is if they beat Arsenal by three goals or more. For top spot in the mini-league, Arsenal can only stop Dortmund winning the group if they lose to Napoli by a one-goal scoreline of 4-3 or higher.
Atletico Madrid, playing at home against Porto, have already qualified. Zenit, who lead Porto by a point, play away against Austria Wien. Zenit also have the head to head advantage over Porto, which means one thing – Porto have to beat Atletico Madrid and wish for Zenit to draw or lose in Austria. Any other combination means the Russians are off to the round of 16.
Barcelona (already qualified) play at home against Celtic (who are already knocked out), which means Ajax playing at the San Siro against Milan is for all the marbles. Milan only need a draw to finish second, Ajax have to win. Milan can still top the group if they win and Barcelona lose at home to Celtic.