Competition
  • Champions League

REAL MADRID

Would it be better for Madrid to finish second in their group?

If the group phase ends as it stands, Zidane's team would avoid some of the big guns in the Last 16 draw on 12 December.

Real Madrid ganó al Sporting en Lisboa. Champions League
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA AFP

How it stands in Group F

Following Real Madrid's arduous win over Sporting Clube  de Portugal and Borussia Dortmund's 8-4 demolition of Legia, the madridistas and Germans will face each other at the Bernabéu on 7 December to bring the group stage to a close. In last night's press conference, Zidane declared the MatchDay 6 encounter with Dortmund as like “a final” while captain Sergio Ramos said: “We won't be satisfied just to go through, we want to beat Dortmund and finish top of the group”. But would it really suit Madrid to end in first place in Group F? Looking at how the other groups stand at the moment and the possible teams they could be drawn against in the next round, maybe it would be in Madrid's interests not to beat Dortmund in the final group game.

Dodging the top teams

By finishing second, Real Madrid would avoid PSG (second in Group A), Benfica (second in Group B), Manchester City (second in Group C), al Bayern Munich (second in Group D), al Bayer Leverkusen (second in Group E), Porto (second in Group G), as well as Barça and Atlético (leaders of their groups but as teams from the same country cannot be drawn together at this stage, they won't meet in the Last 16), and also Borussia Dortmund (for having emerged from the same qualifying group). 

Potential rivals

If Zidane's troops finish second, and the groups remain as they are, Madrid could potentially meet Arsenal (leaders in Group A), Napoli, (leaders in Group B), Monaco (leaders in Group E), Leicester (leaders in Group G) or Juventus (leaders in Group H). That looks like a much more accessible route than the one Madrid could find themselves on should they end champions of Group F - playing the return leg at the Santiago Bernabéu but against one of big favourites.