A look at what’s happening in the Champions League on Wednesday:
AC Milan hosts Salzburg with a spot in the last 16 up for grabs alongside Chelsea, which is already assured of winning the group ahead of its home match against Dinamo Zagreb. Milan leads Salzburg by a point and would advance by avoiding defeat against the Austrian champions. The Italian team is guaranteed to still be in European competition in the new year because it cannot finish fourth even with a loss. Salzburg, however, could drop to last place by losing at the San Siro and if Dinamo also win at Chelsea, which is likely to rotate heavily amid a hectic run of games for Graham Potter’s team.
Either Leipzig or Shakhtar Donetsk will qualify in a last group game, which is effectively a playoff. A win and a spot in the last 16 for Shakhtar would continue a remarkable story for a Ukrainian team which has had to play its European home games — including this one — in Poland because of the Russian invasion. Leipzig would qualify instead with a win or a draw, continuing its recovery under coach Marco Rose, who was hired in September after Leipzig lost at home to Shakhtar. Real Madrid has already advanced, but after its loss at Leipzig in the previous round, the defending champion needs a win against Celtic at home to secure first place in the group. Carlo Ancelotti’s team has suddenly struggled, and it followed its loss to Leipzig in Germany with a home draw against Girona in the Spanish league.
There’s nothing left to play for, with Manchester City guaranteed to top the group, Borussia Dortmund sure of advancing in second place and Sevilla certain to finish in third place and drop into the Europa League qualifying playoffs. City manager Pep Guardiola has said he will rotate his lineup against Sevilla, with striker Erling Haaland again missing because of various complaints including a foot injury. FC Copenhagen has two points from five matches but has yet to score a goal ahead of the visit of Dortmund.
Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica have already qualified for the last 16 and Juventus and Maccabi Haifa are out. Still to be decided is who ends up qualifying as group winner and who gets third place and a spot in the Europa League. PSG will be assured of top spot with a win over Juventus away, while Juventus can secure third place if Haifa loses at home to Benfica. Lionel Messi has scored four goals in his last three Champions League games for PSG and had two goals and two assists in the 7-2 win over Haifa last time out.
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