The UEFA Champions League (UCL) – The Elite stage where all the European powers battle for one trophy. Champions League is the biggest competition in European Club football and so is the pride the title gives.
But as a matter of fact, every big thing needs bigger effort and being the ‘biggest’ the UCL needs much more than effort. Champions League requires consistency, dedication, spirit, plan, tactics, team play, individual brilliance and so on to win it.
Unfortunately, some of the top teams of Europe fail in the competition’s very first stage. This season, no of teams who are expected to achieve big in Champions League are in a position to leave the competition so early. Here is a list of top teams from different leagues who may miss this year UCL’s knock-out stages:
How many expected Chelsea at first in the list? The defending Champions of England coached by two-times Champions League winner Jose Mourinho entered the competition as one of the favorites to win the Title this year, but a poor start to their new season ended all the hopes. In the league, Chelsea are fighting for a midfield position and that explains their current struggle.
Mourinho’s men not only struggling in the league, they had mixed results in the Champions League as well. Chelsea who are behind FC Porto in the Group G set to welcome the Portuguese giants to the Stamford Bridge for their last group stage game and if they lose, they will be sent straight out of the competition provided Dynamo Kyiv registers a win over Maccabi TA.
Chelsea must get at least a point from the Porto game and that will not be easy considering Chelsea’s current form. On the other hand, Dynamo has an easy task of beating Maccabi TA who have not started their account in the Champions League yet.
The Red Devils returned to the Champions League after a season lay off and manager Louis van Gaal will be put under serious pressure if he fails in the group stages itself. United are second in the Group B with 8 points behind leaders Wolfsburg (9 points). Dutch side PSV Eindhoven sits third in the group with 7 points who earned a point from their visit to the Theater of Dreams.
LVG’s side visit the group leaders Wolfsburg in their final group game which will decide their fate in UCL 2015-16. It’s a must win for Manchester United or they have to rely on PSV vs CSKA’s result. PSV Eindhoven has the advantage of home against the struggling Russian side that gives LVG more trouble if he fails at the Volkswagen arena.
Arsenal and the Champions League is like a one headed love story. Arsene Wenger is desperate to prove himself in the Elite stage and the fans are eager for a major win except the FA cups they won. But, time is not helping Wenger it seems as his team sits third in the Group F.
Arsenal must beat Olympiacos at the Karaiskakis stadium by a margin bigger than 3-0 in order to make the Champions League knock-outs. With a mountain to climb, Arsenal’s chances of making the UCL knockouts seems thinner.
The germans are in a better position in the Group B compared to Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven, but they can not take the last game against United lightly since they may get knocked out from the Champions League if United and PSV register wins. A draw will ensure The Wolves’ Champions League round-16 berth and a loss will force them to wait for PSV vs CSKA result.
The Russian Capital club has not been much of a threat this season which makes PSV the favorites to win the tie. Wolfsburg’s game aginst United will be the decider for Group B. The winning team will progress through and the losers should pack their bags.
Last season Europa League runners brought so many expectations with them when they qualified for the Champions League, but they are proving to be a failure in the competition so far. Belgian side K.A.A Gent emerged as a surprise hit in the group stage games, winning the second spot behind leaders FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. Gent has a point lead over the Spanish side, Valencia has the better chances of qualifying to the knockouts since they face Frech side Olympique Lyon in their last group stage game.
Zenit has not lost a single point in the competition so far and they are the favorites against Gent that gives Valencia an edge to progress. Olympique Lyon has just one point, but we can not expect them to make the job easy for Valencia.
Valencia has the better chances to qualify compared to the other four teams in the list and Arsenal has the least chances. The chances for Chelsea are still in ropes as their form this season did not help them. Either one of Wolfsburg or Manchester United will qualify for sure while PSV will decide the loser’s fate in the competition.