Champs League Match Day 6 preview

December, 6, 2011

The final match day of the Champions League Group Stage possesses more drama than usual, as a number of marquee clubs have yet to clinch advancement. Chelsea is the big name on the chopping block Tuesday, as the Blues host Valencia in a virtual must-win match. Here are the scenarios and the Soccer Power Index projections for Tuesday's matches.

Group E

Bayer Leverkusen leads the group by one point but has clinched its first Round of 16 berth in seven years, because the two teams a point back, Chelsea and Valencia, face each other on Tuesday. The winner of that match at Stamford Bridge will advance. Valencia moves on with a draw at 1-1 or greater. A scoreless tie will put Chelsea through unless Leverkusen loses at Belgian side Genk. According to ESPN's Soccer Power Index, Chelsea has a 49 percent chance to beat Valencia and a 55.5 percent chance to advance overall.

Group F

Arsenal has already won the group and advanced for the 12th straight season, the second-longest active streak behind Real Madrid's 15-year run. The other three clubs are all alive for the runner-up spot, through a variety of convoluted permutations.

Marseille moves on for the second consecutive season with a win at Borussia Dortmund or with a draw and an Olympiakos draw or loss. SPI gives these scenarios a combined 69.2 percent chance to occur. Trailing Marseille by one point, Olympiakos clinches its fourth knockout-stage berth with a win and a Marseille loss or draw, which has a 29.1 percent chance of happening. If the Greek side ties Arsenal, Olympiakos will advance if Dortmund defeats Marseille either 2-0 or by exactly three or four goals.

Dortmund's hopes are slimmest, as the reigning German champion must top Marseille by four goals if Olympiakos loses, or by five goals if Olympiakos draws.

Group G

APOEL leads the group by one point and is guaranteed to be the first club from Cyprus to reach the Round of 16. A win over Shakhtar Donetsk or a Porto-Zenit draw would win the group for APOEL. Porto must win at home against Zenit to advance. Otherwise, the Russian side goes through for the first time. SPI gives Porto a 48 percent chance to win, leaving Zenit at 52 percent to advance.

Group H

Barcelona has clinched the group, and AC Milan is locked into second place, ahead of Viktoria Plzen and BATE Borisov. Nothing to see here except whether or not Lionel Messi can add to his 43 career Champions League goals, sixth most in competition history. Move along.



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