Champions league group of death: What results do PSG, Newcastle, Milan and Dortmund need to reach the round of 16?
Group F is the tightest group heading into matchday 5 - all four teams still have a chance of making the Last 16 or top the group.
The overall view of the 2023/24 Champions League group stage is starting to look clearer. Bayern, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Inter Milan, Man City and Leipzig are already through to the knockout stage and another five could seal their passage this week. The outlook is still murky in Group B, in which Sevilla are mathematically still in with a chance of stealing second place and particularly in Group F - the dreaded ‘Group of Death’.
Group F is the tightest group heading into matchday 5 - just three points separate leaders Dortmund and Newcastle, who are bringing up the rear on four points. It is the only group left in which any of the four teams could finish in either of the top two positions. Even in goal difference there is hardly anything between them: Dortmund and PSG +1, Newcastle 0 and Milan -2.
Looking at how the teams stack up and who will be at home for the final two games, only the brave would be bold enough to pick a favorite. All four need a win this week to guarantee that they will still be in the running to make the Last 16. The permutations are endless but that said, two of them could actually seal their place this week.
Milan at fortress San Siro
Ahead of the penultimate game, Dortmund have a slight advantage in terms of points. The other teams need to make up ground but Edin Terzic’s side have a tough away trip, against Milan in the imposing San Siro, where the hosts have not been beaten in this year’s competition. In Serie A, just three visiting teams have beaten Milan at home this season, all by the bare minimum - Napoli (1-2), Udinese (0-1) and Juventus (0-1).
If BVB beat Milan, they will book their place in the Last 16 but would still need a result from matchday 6 clash with PSG to finish as group leaders. If the Germans are held at San Siro and PSG beat Newcastle, they will drop down to second place on eight points with Mbappé and Co. leapfrogging them to take top spot - but with only a one-point lead.
If Milan and PSG win their games tonight, they will occupy the two qualifying positions with Dortmund dropping to third - but only one point behind the Italians going into matchday 6.
The outcome that would leave Group F wide open heading into matchday 6
Of all the possible permutations, there are two crazy scenarios. If both the bottom two, Milan and Newcastle, win their respective matches tonight. That would turn Group F on its head - Milan would jump two places to take top spot on eight points and the Magpies would end up level on points with Dortmund (both on 7) - but either second or third depending on goal difference. Basically, Newcastle need to win by a decent scoreline, two goals or more to clinch second.
If that happens, it would leave Group F even wider open than it is today. In such a scenario, Milan would be leaders on 8 points, either Dortmund or Newcastle just behind, both on 7 and PSG in fourth on 6 but still able to snatch top spot on the final day!
Another mad outcome would be if Dortmund are held by Milan and Newcastle beat PSG. Again the difference between top and bottom would be just two points going into the deciding matches.
Let’s take a look at all of the possible permutations, in terms of points, could affect the standings in Group F after matchday 5: