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Champions League Preview & Open Thread; December 10, 2019

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The final week of group stage Champions League matches begins Tuesday

UEFA Champions League”Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain”

The final week of Champions League matches for the year begins today. This also concludes the group stage, so by the end of Wednesday we’ll know every club that has qualified for the Round of 16.

The first matches for Tuesday start at 12:55 ET.

Liverpool and Red Bull Salzburg kick things off in Austria in a crucial final match for both clubs. Liverpool currently lead Group E, but they hold only a point over Napoli. A Salzburg win would tie them on points, in which Red Bull also hold goal differential. Norwegian phenom Erling Håland will be one to watch as he has 8 goals in the tournament so far. And we all know how dominant Liverpool have been in the Premier League this season.

Napoli and Genk are the second Group E match of the day in Naples. Genk hold only a point, so they will not finish higher than the fourth spot regardless of outcome. However, they can play spoiler to Napoli’s chances if Salzburg defeat Liverpool and Napoli loses.

The rest of the matches for Tuesday start at 3 PM ET.

Chelsea take on Lille at Stamford Bridge in a Group H matchup. Lille are mathematically eliminated, but Chelsea need a win if they want to qualify. They are tied on points with Valencia and two behind Ajax. The final lap of this race could get very interesting.

Ajax and Valencia are in a similar situation as their Group H counterpart Chelsea. Ajax do not have a big enough lead to afford a loss. Valencia also need a win if they want to secure a spot past Chelsea. This match is in Amsterdam so Ajax could have the momentum they need to get a win and heavily dampen Valencia’s chances of qualification.

Group F still has to decide the second qualifying spot. Barcelona have already qualified as the group leader, so now it is between Dortmund and Inter for that second spot, who are tied with 7 points. BVB take on Slavia Praha in Westphalia so Dortmund should be able to come away with the win.

Barcelona take on Inter at San Siro. Inter need a win like Dortmund, for their sake Barcelona may be resting starters since they have already qualified. But, Barcelona could also play spoiler to Inter’s chance at qualification.

The final two matches are Group G matches. Lyon take on group leader Leipzig at Parc Olympique. This is another interesting race to the finish as Leipzig hold only 3 points over both Lyon and Zenit. Lyon may receive the boost they need for a win in front of their home crowd.

Benfica and Zenit play in Lisbon. Benfica are just a win behind both Lyon and Zenit, so things could get interesting here too if they beat Zenit and Lyon lose.

There’s a lot of scenarios still to play out on Tuesday, and that’s not even taking into account all the matches to happen on Wednesday. It’ll be a great final week of matches to see all who qualify for the Round of 16.

Real Madrid are in action on Wednesday against Club Brugge in Bruges. Los Blancos have already qualified for the next round.