Wednesday 2 November 2022
Perfect group stage campaigns in sight, final-day drama guaranteed and the latest episode in a high-profile top scorer race – we pick out the Matchday 6 storylines.
The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage concludes with 16 games spread across Tuesday and Wednesday.
We pick out some key talking points ahead of the final round of fixtures.
Tuesday 1 November
Group A: Liverpool vs Napoli, Rangers vs Ajax
Group B: Porto vs Atlético, Leverkusen vs Club Brugge
Group C: Bayern vs Inter, Plzeň vs Barcelona
Group D: Sporting CP vs Frankfurt, Marseille vs Tottenham
Wednesday 2 November
Group E: Chelsea vs Dinamo Zagreb, AC Milan vs Salzburg
Group F: Real Madrid vs Celtic, Shakhtar vs Leipzig
Group G: Man City vs Sevilla, Copenhagen vs Dortmund
Group H: Juventus vs Paris, Maccabi Haifa vs Benfica
With five wins from five, Bayern and Napoli are both just one away from that rarest of beasts: the perfect group stage campaign. Only ten times previously have teams navigated their way through to the knockouts with an unblemished record – Bayern are responsible for two of these and can become the first to do it three times should they complete the job against Inter on Tuesday. Luciano Spalletti’s in-form Napoli, meanwhile, would be the first Italian outfit to pull it off since AC Milan in 1992/93.
On the flip side, Rangers and Plzeň have just one more chance to get off the mark in Groups A and C respectively. Copenhagen do have two points to their name but are yet to score a goal – Fantasy Football managers may wish to stock up on Dortmund defenders.
While there is still plenty to play for across Matchday 6, Group D is particularly intriguingly poised. Tottenham, Sporting CP, Frankfurt and Marseille can all still finish top of the section or miss out on the round of 16 altogether. Indeed, only Spurs are assured of third place and a UEFA Europa League berth at the very least. Antonio Conte’s side sit in the box seat with just a draw in the south of France required to progress; victory would ensure they finish first, but they have never won in six previous trips across the Channel (D4 L2). For their part, Sporting need just a share of the spoils at home to Frankfurt to advance.
Top spot – earning a seeding in the round of 16 draw – is also still to be decided in Groups A, B, F and H.
The upper end of the 2022/23 Champions League top scorers’ chart is a who’s who of European football’s leading lights. Kylian Mbappé and Mohamed Salah are the latest duo out in front on their own with six goals apiece, but Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland, no less, are just one adrift. The six-man, four-goal chasing pack includes six-time competition top scorer Lionel Messi.
Matchday 6 will be Lewandowski’s last chance to add to his tally this term, but considering the hat-trick he racked up against Plzeň on Matchday 1, he will nevertheless be hopeful of becoming leader in the clubhouse. Haaland and Mbappé also registered twice in their teams’ opening-day reverse fixtures.
• The round of 16 draw takes place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, at 12:00 CET on Monday 7 November. All the details can be found here.
• With the FIFA World Cup taking over in November and December, and the customary break from European competition still in place for January, there is a three-and-a-half-month Champions League hiatus after Matchday 6. The knockout stage begins on Tuesday 14 February.
• Admittedly it’s a tall order to make up this season, but Lionel Messi now trails Cristiano Ronaldo by just 11 goals at the top of the all-time Champions League scoring charts. He couldn’t, could he?
Where is the 2023 UEFA Champions League final being played?
The 2022/23 Champions League season will conclude at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium on 10 June 2023.
Built to support Türkiye’s bid to stage the 2008 Olympic Games, the venue opened in 2002 and is home to the Turkish national team. Situated in the Başakşehir area of the city, west of the Bosphorus, it boasts a seated capacity of over 75,000.
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