Ex-Euro champs Bayern, Juve play for last-16 spot

Updated: 07 December 2009 07:24 IST

With six European titles between them, Bayern Munich and Juventus have grown accustomed to advancing in the Champions League.

Ex-Euro champs Bayern, Juve play for last-16 spot

London :

With six European titles between them, Bayern Munich and Juventus have grown accustomed to advancing in the Champions League, but one of them will be eliminated ön Tuesday when they meet in the last round of the group stage.

Having already seen five-time champion Liverpool crash out two weeks ago, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Marseille also know that their status as former European Cup winners doesn't make them immune from exiting in a tense finale.

Already assured of advancing are Premier League sides Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, along with FC Porto, Fiorentina, Lyon and Sevilla.

Bordeaux can also breathe easily having topped Group A and the French side is an onlooker as Munich and Juventus face off for second.

A repeat of September's 0-0 draw at Germany would see double-European winner Juve prevail because they are a point ahead of Munich.

"We must be wise and humble and understand that if we put all into the match we can do well," Juve captain Alessandro Del Piero said.

Knowing it has to win in Turin to advance, Bayern, which captured its fourth continental title in 2001, is determined to ignore the Italians' 16-match unbeaten home run in the Champions League.

"Bayern is not a team that gets eliminated in the first round," said striker Mario Gomez, who has scored in each of the last three matches.

But Bayern will be without midfield star Franck Ribery, who has only recently started practicing again after being sidelined for two weeks with tendinitis in his left knee.

The teams with the most European Cups between them - Madrid (nine) and Milan (seven) - occupy the top two qualification spots in Group C, but 1993 champion Marseille could deny either of them a place in the knockout phase on Wednesday.

Madrid, which is without the injured Kaka, can only be eliminated if Marseille beats them by at least a three-goal margin and Milan also triumphs.

But Madrid drawing with Marseille would send the big-spenders through with Milan regardless of the Italian side's result.

"This is a game we have to win to advance, independent of what Marseille does," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said. "After a tough start to the season (coach) Leonardo has made his mark and we've rediscovered our identity."

It's harder to predict the outcome of Group F on Wednesday with Barcelona, two-time winner Inter, Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kiev embroiled in a four-way tussle.

Barcelona is in the strongest position as the three-time champions are guaranteed to advance with a draw in Kiev. That result would also send Milan through if Jose Mourinho's side avoid losing to Rubin Kazan.

Barcelona could only be eliminated if it loses by a three-goal margin and there is a winner in the other fixture.

"(Kiev) is the most important game of the year, the one that will decide the course of our season," Guardiola said. "But I am confident."

Group G leader Sevilla, which hosts Rangers, is the only Spanish team guaranteed to advance. Christian Gross' first task as Stuggart manager will be masterminding a victory Wednesday over Unirea to dislodge the Romanian champions from second.

To join Arsenal in advancing from Group H, second-place Olympiakos just needs to draw with the Premier League club on Wednesday. Should the Greek side lose at home, Standard Liege can advance by beating AZ Alkmaar.

Group C's top two places have already been taken by Chelsea and Porto. Atletico Madrid, which hosts Porto, will take the Europa League place by matching Apoel Nicosia's result at Chelsea. But the Cypriot champions have to better Atletico's result to continue their European journey.

The only remaining issue in Group E on Wednesday is whether Lyon can topple Fiorentina from the summit by beating Debrecen and hoping the Italian side loses at Liverpool.

Topics : Football
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