Champions League scenarios: Head-to-head rule, who can qualify

We look at the teams qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, including the scenarios in each group and the head-to-head tiebreaker rule.

If teams finish level on points in the Champions League group stages, they will be separated by the head-to-head rule.   -  AP

The final week of the Champions League group stages is here and the progress of teams, including defending champion Liverpool, to the round of 16 will be decided across games on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The third-placed team in each group will automatically qualify for the last 32 stages of the Europa League.

Teams that have qualified for the knockouts

Real Madrid (Group A)

Paris Saint-Germain (Group A)

Bayern Munich (Group B)

Tottenham Hotspur (Group B)

Manchester City (Group C)

Juventus (Group D)

Barcelona (Group F)

RB Leipzig (Group G)

READ: Champions League points table

What is the head-to-head rule?

The head-to-head rule will come in to effect if two or more teams finish level on points. The teams will then will be separated in the following order:

1) Points tallied in meetings between them

2) Goal difference in matches between them

3) Goals scored in matches between them

4) Away goals scored in matches between them

5) Goal difference in group matches

6) Goals scored in group matches

7) Away goals scored in group matches

8) Wins in group matches

9) Away wins in group matches

10) Disciplinary points (Red card = 3 points, Yellow card = 1 point, Two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)

11) UEFA club coefficient

12) If three teams finish level on points, the first four points mentioned above are applied until we are left with one team.


Group A

Paris Saint-Germain finishes as the group-topper with Real Madrid finishing second.

Group B

Bayern Munich is the table-topper with a hundred per cent record so far while Tottenham will finish second.

Group C

Manchester City will finish as the group-topper while the second place remains up for grabs.

- Second placed Shakhtar Donetsk (six points) can advance with a win over Atalanta. A draw will also suffice if Dinamo Zagreb doesn't beat City.

- Dinamo (five points) needs to pull off a win over City and hope Shakhtar doesn't beat Atalanta.

- Atalanta (four points) must beat Shakhtar and hope Dinamo doesn't beat City.

Group D

Juventus is through to the last 16 as the table-topper.

- Atletico Madrid (seven points) can progress with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow. If Atletico finishes level on points with Bayer Leverkusen (six points), the former will progress on account of the away goals factor in the head-to-head rule.

- Bayer needs to win against Juventus and hope Atletico doesn't beat Moscow.

Group E

Liverpool, Napoli and RB Salzburg are still in contention for the two spots in the round of 16.

- Table-topper Liverpool (10 points) can progress with a win or a draw away to RB Salzburg (seven points). Liverpool can progress in defeat if it can score more than three goals at Salzburg.

- Napoli (9 points) can advance with a draw against Genk as long as Salzburg doesn't beat Liverpool.

- Salzburg needs a win to be in contention and can advance with a 1-0 win over Liverpool due to its three-plus away goal advantage in the head-to-head ruling.

Group F

Barcelona will finish as the table-topper.

- Second-placed Inter Milan (7 points) can advance with a win or a draw against Barcelona and if Borussia Dortmund (7 points) loses to Slavia Praha.

- Similarly, Dortmund can progress with a win or a draw against Praha and if Inter loses to Barcelona.

- If Inter and Dortmund finish level on points, the former will progress because of away goals advantage in the head-to-head rule.

Group G

Leipzig has qualified but its position on the table isn't secure yet.

- Leipzig (10 points) can finish top with a draw against Lyon.

- Zenit can progress with a win or a draw and if Lyon fails to beat Leipzig. Zenit St. Petersburg (7 points) has more points from its meetings with Lyon in the head-to-head equation in the event both teams finish level on points.

- Lyon can advance with a win or a draw against Leipzig and if Zenit loses against Benfica.

Group H

Ajax, Valencia and Chelsea are in contention for the two knockout berths.

- Table-topper Ajax (10 points) can progress as the table-topper with a win or a draw against Valencia and if Chelsea fails to beat Lille.

- Valencia (8 points) can progress with a win or a draw against Ajax and if Chelsea loses.

- Chelsea can progress with a win or a draw against Lille and if Valencia loses to Ajax.

- Valencia has a better head-to-head record against Chelsea, while the Blues have a better H2H record against Ajax.

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