Four of the eight Champions League groups will play their final matches on Tuesday, with 10 teams still fighting for six positions in the Round of 16.
While Barcelona and RB Leipzig are assured of going through no matter the results on Tuesday, other European heavyweights like defending Champions League winner Liverpool, Inter Milan, and Chelsea could find themselves on the outside looking in if things don’t go their way.
Liverpool Through With Draw In Salzburg
The most exciting action will come from Group E and Group H, each of which have three clubs in contention for two knockout stage berths.
In Group E, Liverpool currently leads with 10 points, while Napoli has nine and Red Bull Salzburg sits on seven. Salzburg hosts Liverpool while Napoli is at home against Genk, meaning just about any result is still possible.
Liverpool is naturally in the best position, as any positive result will put them through while also eliminating Salzburg. Liverpool is a -125 road favorite over Red Bull (+300) in a game that Salzburg knows it must win – something Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is well aware of.
“Salzburg has to win against us, has to win against Liverpool; it’s possible because it’s football, but we are not a typical Champions League winner of last year or finalist of two years before,” Klopp told reporters. “We are still ambitious like crazy, will go for everything, we will run for our lives – that’s what we are, plus playing football.”
Salzburg will have an excellent chance to go through with a win over Liverpool, due to the fact that it lost 4-3 at Anfield earlier in the group stage. That means even a 1-0 victory will give them the tiebreaker advantage based on away goals. If Napoli were to draw Genk and leave the group in a three-way tie for two positions, the scores of both games could be critical to determining who advances, and in what order.
Ajax, Valencia, Chelsea Fight for Two Spots
Similar drama will play out in Group H, where Ajax has the advantage on 10 points, while Valencia and Chelsea are knotted at eight points. Ajax (-165) hosts Valencia (+400), while Chelsea (-500) is at home vs. Lille (+1400).
Champions League Odds (Tuesday Matches)
- Napoli (-700) vs. Genk (+1700)
- Red Bull Salzburg (+300) vs. Liverpool (-125)
- Inter Milan (-180) vs. Barcelona (+420)
- Chelsea (-500) vs. Lille (+1400)
- Lyon (+155) vs. RB Leipzig (+165)
- Dortmund (-360) vs. Slavia Prague (+1000)
- Ajax (-165) vs. Valencia (+400)
- Benfica (+110) vs. Zenit St. Petersburg (+240)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
All three teams know that a win would put them through. A draw suits Ajax just fine, though both Valencia and Chelsea would be less certain if they came away with just one point on Tuesday. Valencia may have the tougher task in their final match, but Chelsea would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Valencia, meaning the club will need to head into its game looking to win.
“I used to love big nights as a player,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told reporters. “It’s opportunities now for the team, particularly the young players, to make a mark. I like the pressure of this game being a knockout. If we’re going to do anything good here, then we are going to need lots of these nights.”
In Group F, Barcelona has already clinched first place, while Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund are still alive for the second knockout stage spot. RB Leipzig will go through from Group G, with either Zenit Saint Petersburg or Lyon also moving on in the Champions League depending on Tuesday’s results.