Manchester City score third goal against RB Leipzig

Champions League Matchday 6 Preview

The final round of group stage matches in this season’s competition get underway on Tuesday.

UEFA Champions League football returns for the last time in 2023, with the sixth round of group stage matches getting underway on Tuesday evening. Several clubs have already secured their qualification for the Round 16, while others still have work to do to remain in this year’s competition.

While many clubs are already through after securing a top two finish, in some groups, the club that will finish at the top of the group will be decided on the final group stage match of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.

The teams to have already secured a spot in the Round of 16 are as follows: Bayern Munich (Group A), Arsenal (Group B), PSV Eindhoven (Group B), Real Madrid (Group C), Real Sociedad (Group D), Inter Milan (Group D), Atletico Madrid (Group E), Lazio (Group E), Borussia Dortmund (Group F), Manchester City (Group G), RB Leipzig (Group G) and FC Barcelona (Group H).

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal can go into their final group stage match knowing that their place at the top of Group B is secure, as they have a 4 point lead on PSV Eindhoven in second place with just 3 points available. This is also the case for Manchester City, who have a 6 point lead over second place RB Leipzig with a game remaining.

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United still have some work to do sat in third place, but only 2 points adrift of Paris Saint Germain in second place in Group F.

As for Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag’s side sits at the bottom of Group A, but they still have the opportunity to climb into the top two with a win against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford. The Red Devils will have to win whilst hoping that Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw, as if either side wins, United have no chance of finishing in the top two, even if they beat their Bavarian counterparts.

There is, of course, still an opportunity to continue in the Champions League – but if they fail to finish in the top two, they have a  strong chance of finishing in third place to qualify for the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League.

We will take a look at each match taking place on matchday six, starting with the eight matches that are set to take place in European club football’s premier competition on Tuesday evening.

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) v Arsenal (England) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 17:45

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners will be content knowing that they are guaranteed to finish at the summit of Group B after top spot was secured last time out in their 6 – 0 win against French Club Lens. On the final matchday of the 2023/24 Group Stages, they will be facing Dutch Champions PSV Eindhoven (2nd in Group) at the Philips Stadion on Tuesday evening.

These two clubs last met in North London, with Arsenal 4 – 0 winners in their latest competitive meeting. A win in the Netherlands would extend the Gunners’ lead at the top of their group to 7.

Overall, these two teams have played against each other 9 times so far, and it is Arsenal who have the superior record of 4 wins compared to PSV’s 2. To date, there have been two draws between them.

Manchester United (England) v Bayern Munich (Germany) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

We start with the aforementioned Group A match between Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United and Bayern Munich, who are led by ex-Chelsea Head Coach Thomas Tuchel at Old Trafford. The visiting Bavarians have already been declared group winners, whilst United has work to do. United will qualify for the Round of 16 if they beat Bayern and the result between Copenhagen and Galatasaray goes their way.

Manchester United famously beat Bayern Munich 2 – 1 in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final. Teddy Sheringham (90+1’) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (90+3’) scored that night at the Camp Nou, with Mario Basler scoring Bayern’s only goal of the game (6’).

These two European heavyweights have met on 12 occasions as of the time of writing. Bayern Munich has a record of 5 wins compared to Manchester United’s 2. There have, though, been 5 draws between them to date as well.

United was narrowly defeated 4 – 3 in their most recent meeting in the UEFA Champions League in September 2023 at the Allianz Arena.

Manchester United v Bayern Munich (Old Trafford, 12th December 2023, 20:00)

RC Lens (France) v Sevilla (Spain) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 17:45

France’s RC Lens and Spain’s Sevilla are set to meet in Group B for the last matchday of the 2023/24 Group Stages. Neither side can qualify for the Champions League Round Of 16, so both clubs will compete for third place. Finishing third secures a club a spot in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League. Whoever wins this game remains in Europe this season.

Sevilla are also Europa League specialists, having won it twice in the last four years. The LaLiga club have to date won the Europa League the most times with 7, including three in a row between 2013 and 2016 under the stewardship of current Aston Villa boss Unai Emery. Sevilla have also never lost a Europa League Final.

Sevilla are also the current holders of the UEFA Europa League after beating Roma in the 2023 Final.

Lens and Sevilla have met on just one occasion in a competitive fixture. This game occurred in September 2023 on the first matchday of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League, where they drew 1 – 1 in Spain.

Copenhagen (Denmark) v Galatasaray (Turkey) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

The match between Copenhagen and Galatasaray is massive for both teams – very much a winner takes all tie. The club who emerges victorious at the Parken will confirm a top two spot in Group A and a place in the Champions League Round of 16. If they draw, they will leave the door open to Manchester United, who will leapfrog both if they beat Bayern.

These two clubs have met just 3 times in the Champions League. They have won one each, whilst there has been one draw between them too. This stalemate came in their clash on matchday one in September 2023, where they drew 2 – 2 in Istanbul.

Napoli (Italy) v Braga (Portugal) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

Yet another crucial match is taking place on Tuesday, this time in Group C. Italian Champions Napoli face Portugal’s Braga at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Napels. This game sees second play third, and the winner will secure second place. Napoli are the club currently occupying second place and a draw would also be enough for the Serie A heavyweights to secure a spot in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Napoli and Braga have played against each other just once in the Champions League, and this was in September 2023 when the side from Naples came away as 2 – 1 winners at the Estadio Municipal de Braga.

Union Berlin (Germany) v Real Madrid (Spain) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

We remain in Group C for this match between the German Bundesliga side Union Berlin and 14-time Champions of Europe Real Madrid on Tuesday evening. Los Blancos have already booked their spot in this season’s Round Of 16 as group winners, whilst Union were knocked out of the competition in matchday five. The German side can remain in Europe by beating Real Madrid, and if Braga lose their match against Napoli, a spot in the UEFA Europa League knockout stages will be secured for the German outfit.

These clubs have only met once in the Champions League, which saw Real Madrid beat their German counterparts 1 – 0 at the Santiago Bernabéu in September 2023. The winning goal came from ex-Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham (90+4’).

Inter Milan (Italy) v Real Sociedad (Spain) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

Inter Milan and Real Sociedad are neck and neck in Group D, with both clubs sitting on 11 points from their 5 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stage matches so far. The task for both clubs is straightforward – win, and you will secure the top spot in the Group.

These clubs are both experienced in Europe, but they have only come face to face once in the history of the UEFA Champions League. Their only encounter in this competition was on matchday one of the 2023/24 competition, where La Real and Inter drew 1 – 1 at the Anoeta Stadium in Spain in September 2023.

RB Salzburg (Austria) v Benfica (Portugal) – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 20:00

The final match on Tuesday that we need to look at is Austria’s RB Salzburg’s match against two-time Champions of Europe Benfica. They are in Group D alongside Inter Milan and Real Sociedad, but they are both out of the competition. Suppose Benfica win, and they are level on 4 points after the game. In that case, Salzburg will likely secure 3rd and a place in the UEFA Europa League after matchday one’s 2 – 0 victory over their Portuguese counterparts.

Now that we have gone through all of the games on Tuesday, we will now be taking a look at the eight further matches that are set to get underway on Wednesday evening. We will start with Manchester City’s trip to Serbia to face Red Star Belgrade.

Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) v Manchester City (England) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 17:45

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City face fellow one-time European Champions Red Star Belgrade at the Stadio Rajko Mitić on Wednesday evening. The Cityzens are already through as group winners, whilst after being knocked out of the 2023/24 Champions League, but results will have to go their way for them to qualify for the UEFA Europa League in third place instead.

These two clubs last met on the first matchday of this season’s group stages, and on this occasion, it was a 3 – 1 win for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium against their Serbian counterparts. This is their only ever competitive meeting to date ahead of their encounter in Belgrade on Wednesday.

Newcastle United (England) v AC Milan (Italy) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

The only other Premier League club to be taking part in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night is Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United, who take on 7-time European Champions AC Milan at St. James’ Park. The Magpies can still secure a spot in the Champions League Round of 16 if they beat the Rossoneri, but they would have to rely on Borussia Dortmund beating Paris Saint-Germain to do so.

Ahead of this game, these two clubs have only met once, and it was on matchday one of the group stages that saw them play out a 0 – 0 draw at the iconic and historic San Siro in Milan.

RB Leipzig (Germany) v BSC Young Boys (Switzerland) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 17:45

German Bundesliga heavyweights RB Leipzig have already secured second spot and a place in the round of 16, but they cannot catch Group G leaders Manchester City. Leipzig welcomes 3rd place Young Boys to the RB Arena, looking to extend the gap between the two clubs from 5 points to 8.

The so far only UEFA Champions League match to take place between these two clubs took place at the Wankdorf Stadium on matchday one. It was a 3 – 1 win for RB Leipzig on that occasion.

Atletico Madrid (Spain) v Lazio (Italy) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

Both Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid and Italian heavyweights Lazio have confirmed their places in the top two of Group E, with both clubs successfully through to the Round Of 16. The winner of this match will confirm themselves as group winners.

The only time that these two teams have met in the UEFA Champions League was on the first matchday of the 2023/24 Group Stages, where Atletico Madrid and Lazio played out a competitive 1 – 1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Celtic (Scotland) v Feyenoord (Netherlands) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

Celtic and Feyenoord meet at Celtic Park in Glasgow on the final matchday of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages. Celtic are guaranteed fourth spot with a five point gap separating the Bhoys and their Dutch counterparts in third place. This means that Celtic are out of Europe altogether, whilst Feyenoord will now enter the Europa League.

These two clubs have met just twice in the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. Their most recent meeting in this competition came on the opening match of the group stages in September 2023, which saw Feyenoord win 2 – 0. The only other meeting was in the 1970 European Cup Final, where the Dutch side were 2 – 1 winners against Celtic.

Borussia Dortmund (Germany) v Paris Saint-Germain (France) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

On Wednesday, a blockbuster clash in Group F occurs between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain. As of the time of writing, Dortmund are the only club in their group to have already secured their place in the Round Of 16 ahead of matchday six. Whoever wins this match will confirm themselves as the winners of Group F going into the next round.

However, if PSG loses, one of Newcastle United and AC Milan could leapfrog them into second place.

Overall, these two clubs have met on 3 occasions, with Borussia Dortmund having one win compared to the Parisians’ 2. PSG won 2 – 0 in their most recent meeting on matchday one (September 2023).

FC Porto (Portugal) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

Portugal’s FC Porto and Ukrainian Champions Shakhtar Donetsk are set to go head to head at the Estádio do Dragão in their final group stage match. The two clubs sit second and third place respectively, tied on 9 points apiece. It is simple – the winner of this match will secure second place in Group H.

Overall, these two clubs have played against each other five times. Porto have 3 wins to Shakhtar’s 0. There have been two draws as of the time of writing. They last met in September 2023 when the Portuguese giants won 3 – 1 at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, Germany.

Royal Antwerp (Belgium) v FC Barcelona (Spain) – Wednesday 13th December 2023, 20:00

The final match we need to look at is Royal Antwerp’s match against FC Barcelona on Matchday Six at the Bosuilstadion on Wednesday night. The Belgian Champions are out of Europe this season after earning 0 points from their 5 matches to date, which puts them fourth. As for Xavi’s Barcelona, they are top of the group, and as a result of their better head to head record against Porto, they are likely to stay top of Group H no matter what.

Excitement and anticipation is most certainly building ahead of the commencement of matchday six of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Group Stages.

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