After draws on Matchday 5, Manchester United’s hopes are hanging by a thread and while Newcastle’s are slightly better, their fate remains out of their hands. On the eve of the final matchday of the 2023-24 Champions League group stage, we turn to the Opta supercomputer to work out every side’s predicted group finish.
We’ll begin in Group A, where Manchester United’s hopes of qualification are hanging by a thread. Just as they had done in Copenhagen on Matchday 4, United twice let a two-goal lead slip against Galatasaray on Matchday 5.
Ahead of the Galatasaray game, Manchester United had a 22.1% chance of qualifying for the last 16, but now that’s dropped to a measly 9.4%. They need to beat Bayern in the final group game and hope Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw when they meet on Matchday 6.
Bayern are confirmed as group winners and it’s a battle between Copenhagen and Galatasaray as to who follows them. The Danish side have the slight edge (50.3% vs. 40.4%) according to the Opta supercomputer.
Group B is a lot more cut and dry. Arsenal have qualified as group winners while PSV are runners-up. The MD 6 clash between Lens and Sevilla will decide who finishes third and therefore drops down to the Europa League. Sevilla need to win in France to achieve that, and as such they’re the outsiders at just a 27.9% chance.
Real Madrid have got top spot in Group C sewn up thanks to five wins from five. Napoli (93.1%) are in prime position to follow them into the last 16. They need just a point against Sporting Braga in their final game to do so.
Braga (6.9%) would need to beat Napoli handsomely in Naples to qualify, but they are strong favourites to finish third ahead of Union Berlin. The Berliners need to pick up their maiden Champions League win against Real Madrid on MD 6 to have any chance of their European journey continuing.
The big question left to answer in Group D is who finishes as group winners. Both Real Sociedad and Inter have already qualified for the last 16 and face each other on the final matchday. Inter need to win that game to finish top, and the supercomputer gives them a 57.1% chance of doing so.
Meanwhile, in the race for third, a draw for Red Bull Salzburg against Benfica would see them get the Europa League spot, something they achieve in 80.9% of all simulations.
Celtic’s European dream is over, while Feyenoord have been confirmed in third. With one point separating Atlético Madrid and Lazio, the battle for top spot is the only one still up for grabs. Diego Simeone’s currently hold the advantage and have an 80.6% chance of holding on to first place. Unless Lazio are able win in Madrid in the final group game, Maurizio Sarri’s charges will remain in second.
And so we get to the Group of Death. It’s certainly lived up to its name thus far, as it’s one of only two groups (along with Group A) where every team can still qualify. Borussia Dortmund are through, of that we are sure, but every other side has a realistic shot of joining them.
PSG (67.2%) know that a win at Dortmund would seal their passage to the knockouts.
Newcastle’s (26.1%) ambitions of qualifying took a major hit thanks to Kylian Mbappé’s controversial 98th-minute penalty on MD 5. Eddie Howe’s side need to beat Milan at home to have any hope of going through. Should they beat the Rossoneri, they’d then need Dortmund to get at least a point against PSG.
Milan (6.6%) still have an outside chance. They need to get a win at St James’ Park while hoping Dortmund beat PSG.
Nothing to see here, folks. Every team’s position in Group G is already locked in. Manchester City will finish as group winners, and despite their domestic wobbles, they remain our favourites (28.0%) to win the entire competition. Pep Guardiola’s side also have a frankly ridiculous 43.3% chance of getting to the final.
Barcelona have qualified as group winners, while Royal Antwerp are bottom without a point. Should they lose against Barça on the final matchday, the Belgians would become the 21st team to lose all six games in the group since the current format of the competition started (2003-04).
Porto need to avoid defeat to make it into the knockout stage – they’ve got an 82.7% chance of doing that – while Shakhtar Donetsk need to beat them to advance (17.3%).