The Champions League Group stages (the last ones in this format) have just ended.
The elimination of two English sides was one of the first surprises: Manchester United were shambles, and ended bottom of Group A, which was totally dominated by Bayern Munich, while FC Copenhagen took first spot after having defeated Galatasaray on a cold day in Copenhagen. Copenhagen, although a reluctant surprise, will now face the defending champions, also from Manchester. City have been awesome, winning all their group matches, and will (hopefully) be too much for FC Copenhagen.
Another English team that ended bottom were Newcastle. After trashing Paris St. Germain, it appeared they had something to offer, but only two draws and three defeats and they were out. It is all the more improbable, because a victory at home in their last match against AC Milan could have put them through as Borussia Dortmund and PSG tied 1-1 (in an exciting match), but AC Milan won, and took third spot.
While the Spanish sides of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid all won their groups, the former greats of Sevilla were as much a shadow of themselves as they have been in this season's La Liga. They ended bottom of the group behind Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven and Lens.
German sides will be represented by three sides: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, while from Italy's Serie A, Napoli, Inter and Lazio have made it through.
All in all we are looking at some interesting knock-out matches starting in February:
- FC Porto-Arsenal
- Napoli-FC Barcelona
- Paris St. Germain-Real Sociedad
- Inter Milan-Atletico Madrid
- PSV Eindhoven-Borussia Dortmund
- Lazio-Bayern Munich
- FC Copenhagen-Manchester City
- RB Leipzig-Real Madrid