It is the sixth Matchday in the Champions League this week and while some teams are already assured of their place in the knockout phase of the tournament, which begins in 2021, there are still seven places in that Round of 16 up for grabs this week, as well as deciding which teams will move into the Europa League Round of 32 Knockout Stage next year by finishing in third place in their group.

That means that there are a mix of ‘dead rubber’ games between teams that have nothing to play for in the tournament (and which will likely see both teams rest players in these games) and in contrast, there are a number of games where a place in the lucrative last 16 is up for grabs.

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Let’s now take a look at the most important games in the Champions League this week which will influence which teams join the eight already qualified in the next phase. However, before that, let’s clarify which of the teams in the competition have already made it through to the next round and from what group.

Champions League – Qualifiers Following Matchday 5

After the completion of Matchday 5, the following teams from the groups identified below have already qualified for the knockout phase of the competition in the new year. Where a team has won their group (and clinched a seeded spot in the draw for the next round) they are identified. Seeded teams cannot be drawn against each other in the draw for the Round of 16 and will face one of the second placed teams that qualify.

  • Group A – Bayern Munich (Group Winners)
  • Group C – Manchester City (Group Winners), FC Porto
  • Group D – Liverpool (Group Winners)
  • Group E – Chelsea (Group Winners), Sevilla
  • Group F – Borussia Dortmund
  • Group G – Barcelona, Juventus

In Group G, Barcelona are almost certainly qualified as group winners as Juventus would need to win 3-0 or better in the Nou Camp in their game this week to dislodge the Spaniards from top spot in Group G, but both have already qualified for the next stage regardless of the outcome of that result.

Let’s now take a look at the games that will decide which teams join the nine listed above in the Round of 16 in the Champions League in the new year.

Champions League Key Games for Matchday 6

Kick off time is 8pm unless otherwise stated. Only the games affecting qualification for the knockout phase of the Champions League are shown. There are other games in some groups which will determine who finishes third in each group and qualifies for the Europa League knockout stage next year too.

Tuesday 8th December

Group F

  • Zenit St Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund (5.55pm)
  • Lazio v Club Brugge (5.55pm)

We already know Dortmund have qualified from this group as Lazio and Club Brugge cannot both overtake the German side as they are playing each other. However, to top the group and earn a seeded spot, Dortmund need a win to be certain of achieving that away to Zenit in what is likely to be a tough game for them in Russia in December.

However the main game in this group is Lazio’s battle with Brugge. The teams drew when they met in Belgium and there’s no doubt the Belgian side have been the surprise package in this group this season. However, I am backing Lazio to get the job done on home soil. I am backing Lazio to win this game 2-1, which is a 15/2 option in the Correct Score market, while you can back Dortmund to win at 8/11 in the Full Time Result market,

Group G

  • Barcelona v Juventus

I’ve put this game on here but with both teams already qualified and Juventus needing a 3-0 or better win to overturn the head-to-head record with Barcelona, it looks a formality that Barcelona will qualify as group winners with Juventus as the runners up. As such, the bet here to me is on which team will win the game and with both teams likely to rest players, I am backing the home side Barcelona to land the win at 11/10.

Group H

  • Paris St Germain v Istanbul Basaksehir
  • Red Bull Leipzig v Manchester United

Group H is where the action is on Tuesday night with three teams vying for two spots in the next round of the competition and hoping to avoid the consolation prize of a Europa League spot in the new year. For PSG, it is simple, beat Istanbul Basaksehir and they will be through and also likely top the group.

The other game is more intriguing, Red Bull must win to be assured of progressing. Man Utd need a draw or better. A draw could suit Red Bull, but only if PSG lose at home, which is very unlikely to tell the truth. Red Bull’s problems are exacerbated by the fact that Manchester United’s away form is so much better than their home at present. I am backing a comfortable win for PSG here at 1/10 and Manchester United to earn the draw they need at 11/4.

Wednesday 9th December

Group D

  • Ajax v Atalanta (5.55pm)

Liverpool have already qualified from this group as winners, so this game pits second place Atalanta who are a point ahead of Ajax. The Italians need just a draw or better to qualify ahead of Ajax who must win the game to leapfrog Atalanta into second spot. The teams shared an entertaining 2-2 draw when they last met on matchday 2 and in truth, I think a similar game will unfold here between two naturally attacking and young sides. This will be close, but I am going to back the draw here at 14/5.

Group A

  • Red Bull Salzburg v Atletico Madrid

Bayern Munich have already qualified as the winners of Group A and in truth, I had expected Atletico Madrid to have also joined them in the next phase by now. However, the Spaniards have struggled at times in the group stage, drawing three of their five games and winning just one and that means this game now takes on a huge importance for them. Their sole win did come against Salsburg at home in a 3-2 win, but in Austria the home side should be very confident. However, Atletico need only a point to progress and I think they will get it here. Take the draw at 27/10.

Group B

  • Real Madrid v Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Inter Milan v Shakhtar Donetsk

Group B is where everything is up for grabs. Any of the four teams can still qualify for the next phase and any can finish in third spot in the group. All we know is that Borussia can finish no lower than third. Essentially, the situation means that all four teams know that a win will see them progress but a draw may not be good enough (apart from for Borussia who will qualify with a draw). That should make for a hugely exciting evening where every goal that goals in will change the complexion of the group a great deal. In the end though I feel experience and quality will come through and I am backing Real Madrid (3/4) and Inter (2/7) to claim the wins.

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 9am on Monday 7th December 2020.