Defending champions Real Madrid joined Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur into the Round of 16, while it was curtains for Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco as the duo crashed out following drab performances in the group stages. Joining Madrid in the next round are Chelsea, Barcelona and newcomers Besiktas. Manchester United and Liverpool have to wait for the final group stage matches after dropping points on Gameweek 5.
Here we take look at the key takeaways from Gameweek 5 of the Champions League:
Borussia Dortmund and Monaco bow out in group stages
Borussia Dortmund and Monaco suffered home defeats in a similar fashion as two of Europe’s big teams crashed out of the Champions League. Dortmund, grouped with Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur were favourites to progress through given their consistency in Europe’s premier football competition. However, the Bundesliga giants surrendered to abject losses against Madrid and surprise group winners Spurs while also failing to win both their matches against Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia. Despite taking a first-half lead against Spurs at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday, Peter Bosz's men couldn't hold on to notch their first Champions League victory this season. To make things worse for the Dutchman, reports suggest that Saturday's Ruhr derby against Schalke will be Bosz's last chance of keeping a job he took up in June from Ajax.
Monaco, who beat Dortmund in the quarter-final last season, have fared worse than the German club. The principality side are last in the group and can’t even qualify for the Europa League as the third-best side in the group. The Ligue 1 champions for sure have been affected by the departures of key players like Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko without getting in able replacements. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid look likely to follow Dortmund and Monaco out of the Champions League unless key results go their way. The Leonardo Jardim-led side were beaten 4-1 at home by debutants RB Leipzig, ending the Ligue 1 side's Champions League campaign.
Deja vu for United
One of the issues that Jose Mourinho’s side faced last season was their inability to put away chances. The Mancunian side drew eighteen games last season and scored just 54 times. Mourinho looked to rectify that statistic by signing Everton's 26-goal striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer market. However, it was deja vu for United fans as Mourinho’s side spurned several good chances in front of goal as well as striking the post twice against FC Basel on Wednesday. Michael Lang’s 89th-minute goal completed United’s trip down the memory lane after Daley Blind failed to track the Basel striker as he scored from an unmarked position to hand Jose Mourinho his third loss against the Swiss side.
Rampant PSG the team to beat
When Moussa Dembele scored for Celtic 57 seconds after kick-off at the Parc de Princes, it was the first goal that the mighty PSG had conceded in six hours of Champions League football this season. But, PSG responded brilliantly and hammered seven goals past a hapless Celtic defence thereafter. PSG’s wealthy Qatari owner Naser Al-Khelaifi splashed the money in the summer by signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the summer. The duo’s partnership with Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani has been devastating, to say the least with PSG scoring at total of 68 goals in all competitions this season, with 24 of them coming in the Champions League. Neymar continued his run of scoring against Celtic with a brace as did Edinson Cavani. Along with another Arab-backed club in Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain are the frontrunners to lift the European Holy Grail in May.
'Crystanbul' haunts Liverpool
Liverpool squandered a three-goal lead in a typical Liverpool fashion to drop points at Sevilla and delay their progress to the Round of 16. At half-time, Jurgen Klopp's side were cruising at 3-0 thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. However, Sevilla fought back magnificently in the second half to bring back memories of the infamous 'Crystanbul' match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool match in 2014, which ended Liverpool's Premier League title hopes. Alberto Moreno rolled back time with two silly defensive errors to help Sevilla reduce the deficit by two goals before Guido Pizzaro smashed in the equaliser deep into extra-time to rob Liverpool of a victory. Klopp has been heavily criticised by fans and pundits alike for failing to strengthen his defence and Wednesday's abject performance only increases the pressure on him. Wissam Ben Yedder, who scored twice for Sevilla couldn't help rubbing it in the faces of Liverpool fans with a cheeky tweet.
— Wissam Ben Yedder (@WissBenYedder) November 21, 2017
Published Date: Nov 24, 2017 12:08 am | Updated Date: Nov 24, 2017 12:08 am