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Champions League quartet transfer to Europa League

08 December 2017

Is Lionel Messi the man to avoid in the Champions League knockout stages?

Any of these four teams are rivals of maximum difficulty, especially considering that Real Madrid will have to play the second leg away from the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid's stadium.

Since the Champions League went from using a second group stage to a 16-team knockout tournament in 2003-04, no league had ever qualified five teams for the knockout rounds - until now.

If only one team makes the semifinals or none reach the final, something no English club has done since 2012, then it will be seen as a blown opportunity instead of a banner year.

However, with the competition now taking a break until February, domestic matters are at the forefront of Azpilicueta's mind, with Chelsea currently 11 points behind Manchester City and three behind Manchester United in third place in the Premier League, while they also face Bournemouth in the EFL Cup quarter-finals this month before they enter the FA Cup in January.

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Liverpool (if top): Bayern Munich, Juventus, Basel, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Porto or RB Leipzig.

Bayern Munich may have finished second in their group, owing to some early falters under Carlo Ancelotti, but have found their groove since Jupp Heynckes took over the reins and their convincing win over Paris Saint-Germain in the final group game should be an indicator as to what any side facing them will be up against. Real Madrid are also confirmed to finish second and will be joined by three more sides - now scheduled to be Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto.

Manchester City: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Sevilla.

Manchester United: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus, Sevilla, Porto or Shakhtar Donetsk. That means Chelsea can not draw Roma, Manchester United can not be drawn to play against Basel and Tottenham will not be up against their Group H opponents Real Madrid.

It is evident that Real Madrid's fans will be crossing their fingers during the draw on Monday and it will be great if they get to play against Besiktas of Pepe, former Real Madrid defender.

Champions League quartet transfer to Europa League