The final round of fixtures in the group stages of the Champions League takes place this week, and there are still some of the world’s biggest clubs looking for the vital points to seal their place in the next round.
Real Madrid vs Borussia Monchengladbach
There is not much doubt that the biggest story that could play out this week hinges on Real Madrid. The Spanish side have won this competition on 13 occasions, but could potentially crash out at the group stage for the first time in their history this week.
The pressure on Zinedine Zidane will intensify if Real suffer their biggest ever embarrassment, but their task this week will be simple. A win will be enough to see them through regardless of the other results in the group, but that could be easier said than done. Real have won just two of their five games so far, with both victories coming against Inter Milan. Zidane’s side are conceding goals too easily in the competition, as they have already let in nine. They were beaten last time out by Shakhtar Donetsk, who need just a win to reach the next round.
Monchengladbach sit at the top of the group coming into the final round of fixtures, but by no means does that mean that they are secure. They were cruelly denied a point in their recent game with Inter Milan, as they had a late goal disallowed. Monchengladbach just need to avoid defeat to progress, while a draw for Shakhtar would be enough to seal qualification.
Real Madrid will still be considered the favourites to progress, but they will need to be much better than they were last week. Monchengladbach have the ability in the final third, and for that reason, we can see a draw being a likely result.
RB Salzburg vs Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid’s cross-city rivals Atletico also have work to do if they are to reach the next round of the competition. It will be a winner-take-all matchup for them this week, as they travel to Austria to take on RB Salzburg.
Atletico Madrid could have sealed their place in the next round of the competition last week, but they were held by a much-changed Bayern Munich side. Joao Felix put Atletico in control of the game, before Thomas Muller levelled the scores. That result means that Atletico must pick up at least a point in Austria this week to finish second in Group A.
Any poor performance from Atletico will open the door for the hosts in this fixture, as only a win for Salzburg will be enough for them to finish in second spot. They would have been forgiven for thinking that their chance of qualification was gone after a 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv Moscow on the opening day. However, they have recovered to give themselves an excellent chance.
Salzburg will have to be at their very best to have any chance of progression, while Atletico will have the luxury of knowing that a point will be enough for them. It’s hard to bet against the away side.