Champions League

Why finishing 2nd in Group F may favour Real Madrid

With standings in the Champions League group stages as they are, Real Madrid would avoid playing Bayern Munich, Juventus or Man City as well as the three Spanish sides in the 2nd round.
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Real Madrid en Champions League le interesaría acabar segundo de grupo

Real Madrid - Leganés live

Although it may seem contradictory, Real Madrid’s draw against Legia Warsaw could end up having positive consequences if one looks at the possible ties that could come out of the second-round draw on 12 December.

Favour needed from Spanish rivals 

Madrid could avoid having to play Bayern Munich if the finish second

Indeed if Madrid do end up finishing second in Group F, they could perversely be presented with a more favorable scenario than if they finished top (they'd have to count all three other Spanish teams to qualify in first place). With Barcelona, Atletico and Sevilla all currently looking favourites to do just that, it would leave Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City in the same pot as Los Blancos.

Six of Europe's best out of the equation 

If that was the case then Real Madrid would avoid having to play the three European giants in the last 16 as well as the three Spanish teams (Champions League rules mean sides from the same country cannot meet in the second round). As such, six of the continent’s best teams would be taken out of the equation.

The likes of Leicester or Benfica may await  

Leicester could be possible opponents in the 2nd round if Madrid fail to finish top of Group F.

In this hypothetic but not unlikely scenario, Madrid’s second round rivals would then be drawn from one of the following: PSG or Arsenal (Group A contenders) Napoli, Benfica or Besiktas (the three options from Group B), Monaco, Leverkusen, Tottenham or CSKA (who can all still qualify from Group E) or one of Leicester, Porto and Copenhagen (fighting it out in Group G).

If on the other hand Real Madrid do end up as group winners (they’ll have to beat Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabéu), they’ll have the advantage of playing the second-round second leg at home, but could as previously underlined have to face the German champions, the Italian champions or Pep Guardiola’s fast-improving City.

As it stands...

Current standings show that, if the group stages were to end now, Real Madrid would face one of Arsenal, Napoli, Monaco or Leicester, while if Madrid were now in first instead of second they’d be drawn against either PSG, Benfica, Man City, Bayern, Leverkusen, Oporto or Juve.