For most of my life I never had to pay attention to who finished third in their Champions League group. It shows how far we have fallen that it is now a crucial detail in our season.
Yet again it is looking like we are relying on the Cup Competitions to provide us with any kind of happiness this season. We most likely will have to win one to qualify for Europe.
I’m hoping by the time the knock out stages of the Europa League begins the Arsenal team have finally found some confidence.
History shows though that if the draw is kind to you, you can get quite far without having to face anyone that difficult. Saying that I thought that Olympiakos over two legs was a straight forward tie and I was wrong.
To win any tournament you need a slice of luck and ours could be who, or who doesn’t, fall into Europe’s secondary competition.
As things stand there are some big names coming in so we need to hope they end up in the top two of their groups.
Who Could Still Qualify For the Europa League?
Group A – Could finish third -Atletico Madrid, FC Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow
In Arsene Wenger’s final year our bad luck was Atletico finishing third in the CL, immediately becoming favourites to win the Europa League and the team we wanted to avoid.
That can possibly only happen again if they lose `to Salzburg in Austria. If the La Liga leaders get a result Moscow can steal third with a win.
The only issue for them if they are away at the reigning Champions Bayern Munich.
Group B – Could finish third – B Monchengladbach, Donetsk, Real Madrid, Inter Milan
All 4 teams can finish anywhere in the group.
The irony being the two who occupy the top 2 positions would be our preference if we have to face anyone from this Group. It’s been a great effort by the German and Ukrainian club to be above the Spanish and Italian Giants.
Real Madrid and Inter Milan have a game left to save their blushes. Inter are the only ones not to have their fate in their own hands, they can’t afford a draw in the other match.
It’s complicated but this is how any would finish third.
A- B Monchengladbach – Lose In Madrid, the other game is not a draw.
B Donetsk – Lose and Real lose, draw but Real win.
C- Real If lose or draw, need Inter to not to win to finish third.
D- Inter- Finish bottom of group if they don’t win, can only finish third if they win and the other game is a draw.
We don’t want scenario C or D
Group C – Could finish third – Olympiakos, Marseille
Even though they only have 3 points that could be enough for Olympiakos to be back in the Europa League and who knows a chance for us to eventually get some revenge?
Marseille have to better their result, but the French side are at Man City and will hope Pep rests players with the group won
Group D- Could Finish third – Atlanta, Ajax
As simple as a straight shootout between the two, with Ajax having to beat their opponents. The loser will be a team we will want to avoid in Europa.
Group E- Could Finish third – Krasnodar
Everything already decided in Group. First ever Champions League (proper) win over Rennes means they stay in Europe which is an achievement for a club only formed in 2008.
Group F – Could Finish third – Lazio, Bruges
These two face each other in Italy and it is as simple as if Bruges win, they are in the Champions League and Lazio are in Europa, if Bruges don’t win, it’s the Belgians.
Group G – Could Finish third – Kiev, Ferencvaros TC
Both currently have only a point each and have a goal difference minus double digits. That is maybe not a shock given Barcelona and Juventus are in the group, but Kiev would expect to be better than Ferencvaros over two games
Unless it’s a draw higher than 2-2, the Hungarian Champions have to win in Kiev to finish third.
Group H – Could Finish third – Man United, PSG, Leipzig
As soon as this group was drawn it was guaranteed that a big hitter would be relegated to the Europa League. Whoever it is will jump to being one of the favourites to win it even though they all have their sights on the next round of the Champions League.
It would be a huge shock if PSG dropped down to our level. They would have to lose at home to Istanbul. Even then they would be okay if Leipzig lost.
For United it’s simple. If they draw they stay in the Champions League, lose and they are in the Europa. Which, banter aside, do we really want the threat of another English side in the latter rounds?
IF both fixtures are drawn it means Leipzig get knocked out despite a creditable 10 points.
Which of these would you most like to avoid?
Be Kind In The Comments