Can stale Champions League group stage be revived?


What do Premier League clubs have to play for in Champions League matchday 6?

Roma beat Qarabag 1-0 to top Group C ahead of Chelsea, who were held 1-1 at home to third-place Atletico Madrid, by virtue of a better head-to-head record.

PSG will be the happier side at winning the group, although possible last-16 opponents for them are Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Liverpool need to avoid defeat against Spartak Moscow to qualify. While all eyes should be on their massive clash with Manchester City on Sunday, their defeat last time out against Swiss side Basel ensures their qualification is not yet secured. By Wednesday, it could have five.

CSKA Moscow can pass Basel in the group if Basel lose to Benfica and CSKA pick up a point against Manchester United.

Sevilla will qualify if they beat Maribor and will top Group E should Liverpool slip up once more.

Here, though, even without Javi Martinez, there was a sense of balance that has been so lacking this season-and for PSG, a genuine wake-up call heading into the knockout stage, where the pressure will rise under the huge expectations brought on by its summer of spending.

Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid are also in the hat.

PSG has been dominant this season both in Ligue 1 and the Champions League, racking up a record number if goals in the group stage.

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Sporting CP finished third, having lost 2-0 to Barcelona, with Paco Alcacer heading in the first and former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu turning a cross into his own net for the second, which cemented Barcelona's place atop the group.

With both PSG and Bayern through, and Bayern needing a four-goal win to pinch top spot, this could easily have been a drab affair with both sides going through the motions.

Tournament favourites Paris Saint-Germain are showing signs of fallibility, after the French outfit suffered their second loss in just four days as they were beaten 3-1 at Bayern Munich.

Germany's fourth team, Hoffenheim, didn't make the group stage after losing in the playoffs to Liverpool.

Roma knew they would go through from Group C with a win, which they got, although they could only edge out Qarabag of Azerbaijan 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico with a Diego Perotti effort in the second half.

Amid sluggish ticket sales, Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco has been urging fans to show up at the Stadio Olimpico. "We didn't win and we are sad for it". "On Tuesday we'll need all of your support". A further 15 matches have seen three-goal wins, meaning nearly exactly a third of the group matches to date have been decisively one-sided.

But Basel extended their lead after 65 minutes by profiting on yet more sloppy Benfica defending in the air.

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