Despite the efforts of Dinamo Zagreb, Club Brugge, Slavia Prague and Olympiakos, group stages are still all too predictable
What have we done to deserve this? The last round of Champions League group fixtures is on us and only half the qualifiers are already known. There will actually be something to play for, intrigue on both nights, which is rare enough by this stage. Football is spoiling us.
Liverpool, the holders, could conceivably go out. There’s a head-to-head showdown between Shakhtar Donetsk and Atalanta. There are complicated permutations to determine which two of Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia go through. It has been a better group stage than most. And yet it remains easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an outsider to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.