Champions League Review – By Jack Maleham

Chelsea became the first reigning holders of the Champions League to fail to progress from the group stage. A comprehensive 6-1 victory at home to Nordsjaelland was not enough for the Blues, as earlier defeats away to Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk cost them.

They also failed to win their home fixture against Juventus despite being 2-0 up. Chelsea did finish third to ensure that they qualified for the Europa League. Juventus won the group after a 1-0 victory Shakhtar, who finished as runners up.

Premier League champions Manchester City failed to make it to the knock-out phase of the Champions League for the second season running. It was always going to be a difficult task for City, who faced Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax. At one point in their opener in Madrid it looked like City might have a chance.

They were 2-1 up going into the last ten minutes but failed to hold on and were beaten 3-2. From there on, a draw with Dortmund at home followed and an extremely disappointing 3-1 defeat away at Ajax. Of the three teams Ajax were the side that most people thought City would beat, however they failed to do so even on home soil when they could only manage a 2-2 draw. A third home draw to Real Madrid sealed City’s fate.

Dortmund went through in first place in the group having beaten Real Madrid at home. Real Madrid qualified as runners up, finishing three points behind the German champions. Ajax took third place ensuring them a place in the Europa League.

Manchester United comfortably qualified for the knock-out phases with two games to spare. Four victories out of four saw United qualify before losing out in their final two group games. They did however play some younger players in these games.

Galatasaray qualified as runners up, knocking out CFR Cluj based on their head to head records as they finished on ten points each. Braga finished bottom of the group with just a single victory.

Arsenal qualified from a fairly tricky group, but could only manage to finish as runners up. Two victories against Montpellier and a home win against Olympiakos sent the Gunners on their way. However a home defeat to Schalke helped ensure that the latter would win the group.

Olympiakos finished third to qualify for the Europa League. Debutants Montpellier finished bottom having only managed to earn two points.

Celtic qualified for the knock-out phases after defeating Spartak Moscow 2-1 on the final day. This result backed up Celtic’s extraordinary victory against Barcelona to ensure that they finished group runners-up. Barcelona took top spot with 13 points.

Benfica finished third on eight points, while Spartak Moscow ended a disappointing campaign with just three points.

Group A was dominated by Paris St. Germain and FC Porto. Both sides won all three of their home games but it was PSG who took top spot after Porto could only draw away to Dynamo Kiev. Having won five out of six games PSG won the group with 15 points, with Porto just behind on 13.

Group C was won by Malaga, who won all of their first three fixture and drew all of their final three. AC Milan finished second on eight points, just one point ahead of Zenit St Petersburg.

Finally Group F was won by Bayern Munich based on their head to head record with Valencia after both sides finished with thirteen points. Valencia went through as runners-up while BATE Borisov managed to take the Europa League spot after an impressive 3-1 win in Munich.

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