7 Teams Who Will Race Through to the Champions League Knockout Stages

​The 2018/19 Champions League group stage is well underway, and it’s already clear which teams are making short work of it as they eye places in the next round in the new year.

Here’s a look at seven teams set to race through to the knockout stages…


Real Madrid

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After an easy opening 3-0 win over Roma, last season’s semi finalists Real Madrid were stunned in Russia when an early CSKA Moscow goal condemned the back-to-back-to-back reigning champions to a surprise 1-0 defeat.

They bounced back with a pair of wins over Victoria Plzen though, at an aggregate of 7-1, and now need just a couple of points from their remaining games to go through. A win over Roma this week would almost certainly cement their place at the top of the table. 


Manchester City

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

City’s best performance in the Champions League came in 2016, when they were ultimately beaten by La Liga giants Real Madrid. That remains City’s only semi final appearance in the competition, but they’ll be targeting that as a minimum this season. 

A pair of thumping wins over Shakhtar have seen them bounce back from a shock defeat to Lyon to kick off the campaign, and City have the chance to both get revenge on Lyon and all-but seal qualification this week. Tasty.


Atletico Madrid

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Finalists in 2014 and 2016, Atletico Madrid made short work of their opening two group games of the 2018/19 campaign, winning away against a surprisingly poor Monaco on matchday one and beating Club Brugge on their matchday two travels.

Then Dortmund beat them 4-0 in Germany, and everything went upside down…until they won 2-0 in the reverse match a fortnight later. With Monaco struggling, Atleti can cruise through and secure their qualification with a game to go.


Borussia Dortmund

1. FSV Mainz 05 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

For Dortmund, see Atletico. Wins over the group’s two weaker teams, followed by a win and a defeat against Atleti sees the Germans coasting through to the knockout stages.

BVB face a Bruges side this week, who picked up their first win in 105 days on the weekend. If Atleti win their game against Monaco, any result would be good enough to see Dortmund through. Very nice indeed. 


Juventus

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2017’s beaten finalists have had an odd start to the group stage so far, between Cristiano Ronaldo getting sent off in a win over Valencia and this month’s surprise defeat to Manchester United at the Allianz Stadium. 

For all that though, they still top the group and can secure top spot with a game still to play if they win and United fail to beat Young Boys this week. 


Barcelona

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Group of death? What group of death? Barcelona have emerged from their opening four games unbeaten, three points clear of Inter and a full six ahead of Spurs – and can secure qualification against group whipping boys PSV Eindhoven this week. 

It’ll be four years since Barcelona won a European title by the time the final rolls round in the summer, and Ernesto Valverde will be looking to snap that run. 


Liverpool

Watford FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Away losses to Napoli and Red Star have thrown a spanner in the works for Liverpool’s Champions League ambitions, as Group C balances on a knife-edge. This week’s trip to the Parc des Princes is a pivotal match for both sides.

The balance Jurgen Klopp has struck between attack and defence this season has been a huge boost for Liverpool this year in the Premier League, and it’s a strength which may well carry the Reds through to the knockouts.

Salah and co will be hungry to right the wrongs of the nightmare in Belgrade, and an away trip to big-spending PSG will be one way to do that.


This article is brought to you by Falken Tyres. Find out more about Falken Tyres here.

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