Who has qualified for Champions League 2021/22 Round of 16
As we near the end of the group stage, a number of clubs have secured a berth in the knockout phase, while others will go right to the wire.
By the time we reached the international break - after four rounds of games in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League - we had already seen four clubs guarantee their place in the next stage of the competition with two group stage games still to come. So as we get through the penultimate games, who has been confirmed?
Champions League qualifiers: after four games
Ajax advance despite criticism
Ajax Amsterdam qualified for the next stage of the competition by extending their 100% record in the group phase but for coach Erik ten Hag it was an opportune time to pick over their mistakes.
A 3-1 away win over a 10-man Borussia Dortmund ensured Ajax booked a berth in the last-16 as they finally broke down a resolute German side who played down to 10 men for over an hour of the Group C clash.
But Ten Hag was quick to point out the errors that might have cost his team the game before they rallied to score three times in last 19 minutes and take all the points.
"If you want to go far as a team, you have to be critical," he told Dutch television.
Reds go marching on...
Liverpool marched into the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games to spare after a convincing 2-0 victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday guaranteed them top spot in Group B.
With four wins out of four, Juergen Klopp's side can now take their foot off the gas for the final two games of the group stage and focus their resources on their Premier League title push.
Liverpool have yet to lose in 16 matches in all competitions this season and their unbeaten run stretches back 25 matches to their April 6 loss to Real Madrid in last season's Champions League campaign.
A draw would have been enough for Liverpool to be sure of their passage to the last 16 but from the outset Klopp's side looked like they had nothing but victory on their minds.
Juve and Bayern take their place
Juventus booked their spot in the Champions League last 16 with two group games to spare after a double from Argentine striker Paulo Dybala steered them to a 4-2 win over Zenit St Petersburg.
Knowing they only needed a point against Zenit to be assured of a knockout-stage spot in Group H, Juve raced into a deserved early lead through Dybala, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net in the 11th minute.
Bayern Munich progressed too with a comprehensive win over Benfica as Robert Lewandowski bagged a hat-trick as part of their 5-2 win in Munich with Serge Gnabry and Sané also on target for the Bundesliga side.
Champions League qualifiers: after five games
Red Devils hijack Yellow Submarine
When you've got Cristiano Ronaldo, an important goal against the run of play is almost a distinct possibility. And that's exactly what happened at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
On paper, a Manchester United victory away from home in Europe, especially one that sends them through to the last 16 of the Champions League, is a thing to be celebrated. But the manner of the 2-0 win in Villarreal was all too familiar for United fans, with their team below par for much of the contest. Here’s how we took you through it.
Before Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the 78th minute to break home hearts, however, United keeper David de Gea was forced to make several fine saves to keep Villarreal at bay. Michael Carrick has come in to take temporary charge, with his first Champions League match following the same pattern as his predecessor's.
'The game panned out as I thought. When you've had results we've had and gone through what we have, it would be very foolish to think it would be freeflowing and everything would be wonderful,' Carrick said.
'I had a feeling it would be a tight game. I thought we'd be better after half time but it proved to be a little bit tougher at the start of the second half.
'We had players to change it, and in the end it worked out.'
Holders Chelsea impress against Juve
Despite Juventus not being the force they were, a four-goal humbling at the hands of Chelsea was a marker being laid down by the reigning champions. The Blues were without some key players but brushed their Italian opponents aside, Thomas Tuchel bringing through some of his younger stars and making them sparkle.
Goals from Trevor Chalobah, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner took the side that currently tops the Premier League to the summit of Group H, with one game to go.
One result does not a title win... but expect the Stamford Bridge club's odds for retaining their crown to be shortened given recent form.
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