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What do Real Madrid need against Celtic to top Champions League Group F?

Real Madrid have already qualified for the Champions League last 16, but still have work to do to go through as winners of Group F.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 01: Real Madrid squad are training at Valdebebas training ground on November 01, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
Helios de la RubiaGetty

Already-through Real Madrid must beat Celtic if they are to be certain of being seeded in next week’s draw for the Champions League last 16.

Draw or defeat might also be good enough

Carlo Ancelotti’s side head into Wednesday’s matchday-six clash top of Group F, one point ahead of RB Leipzig in second. A victory for Madrid would therefore secure first place regardless of Leipzig’s result against Shakhtar Donetsk, while Los Blancos can also win the group if they draw or lose - as long as the Germans fail to beat Shakhtar.

A Madrid defeat and a Leipzig draw would see the two teams finish level on points, but the tournament holders would come top as they have the better head-to-head record in this season’s group stage.

What Real Madrid need: at a glance

  • If Leipzig beat Shahktar: only a win will do
  • If Leipzig drop points: Madrid can afford to draw/lose

Madrid made to wait after Leipzig loss

Madrid could have avoided having to think about Wednesday’s permutations altogether: on matchday five last week, the Spaniards would have been confirmed as group winners if they had drawn away to Leipzig. However, a 3-2 loss at Red Bull Arena - the club’s first defeat in all competitions this season - kept Leipzig’s hopes of leapfrogging Madrid alive.

The Bundesliga side’s primary concern against Shakhtar, though, will be to clinch qualification for the last 16. Marco Rose’s men, who are three points ahead of the Ukrainians, will be through if they avoid defeat. Shakhtar will qualify at Leipzig’s expense if they win in Warsaw.

Madrid could have won Group F last week, but lost to Leipzig.
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Madrid could have won Group F last week, but lost to Leipzig.Maja HitijGetty

Group winner to face runner-up in last 16

Whoever finishes top of Group F will be seeded in the draw for the next round, alongside the winners of the seven other group-stage sections. They will all be given a last-16 tie against one of the eight runners-up.

In the first knockout round, teams cannot be drawn against a club they faced in the group phase. Sides from the same country will also be kept apart, but this draw criterion doesn’t affect Madrid: LaLiga’s three other Champions League representatives this season - Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla - all failed to qualify for the last 16.

Who could Real Madrid face if they win Group F?

As it stands, five teams have been confirmed as runners-up in their group:

  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Club Brugge
  • Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Liverpool
  • Inter Milan

Who could Real Madrid face if they finish second?

So far, six teams have won their group:

  • Bayern Munich
  • Chelsea
  • Manchester City
  • Napoli
  • Porto
  • Tottenham Hotspur

Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica have both qualified from Group H, but it is not yet known in which order they will finish. In Group E, one of AC Milan or RB Salzburg will go through as runners-up behind Chelsea.

When is the draw for the Champions League last 16?

Held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, the last-16 draw will take place at 12 noon CET (6am ET/3am PT) on Monday 7 November 2022. You’ll be able to follow live-text coverage of the event at AS USA.


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