Champions League

Real Madrid: What they need to qualify for Champions League last 16

Champions League Group B will go down to the wire between Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach, Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk

8:45am on Wednesday 9th December 2020
Robin Bairner

Real Madrid are perennial early qualifiers for the knockout stages in most years, but this isn't most years. And in this year, Los Blancos are being made to battle all the way to the final matchday.

They face Borussia Monchengladbach at home on Wednesday with a simple task; win and they qualify. But they haven't been great at winning recently, so they may need some luck from the other match, between Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk, to get to the last 16.

After the fifth matchday, Champions League Group B will now go down to the wire and promises to be one of the tightest pools in the history of the competition.

All four teams are still vying to stay alive in the competition; Gladbach top the group on eight points, Shakhtar and Madrid follow on seven while Inter have five.

The Italians have to pick up three points at San Siro and hope the concurrent game at the Alfredo Di Stefano ends in a decisive outcome. As long as it is not drawn, they will progress due to their superior head-to-head record against Gladbach.

When draws are thrown into the mix, though, the situation becomes more complicated.

Should Gladbach and Madrid end all square, Inter cannot go through, even with a win. On the other hand, for Shakhtar to progress, they would need to match Zinedine Zidane’s side. A draw is no good to them if Madrid win as they would finish behind the Germans due to their head-to-head record.

Equally, if Inter and Shakhtar draw, the only way Madrid can progress is by winning their fixture.

Whatever combination of results are thrown up next Wednesday, when the ties will be played, it promises to be an utterly thrilling climax.

The qualification scenarios:

Real Madrid win, Inter win - Real Madrid and Inter progress

Real Madrid win, Inter and Shakhtar draw - Real Madrid and Gladbach progress

Real Madrid win, Shakhtar win - Real Madrid and Shakhtar progress

Real Madrid and Gladbach draw, Inter win - Real Madrid and Gladbach progress

Real Madrid and Gladbach draw, Inter and Shakhtar draw - Gladbach and Shakhtar progress

Real Madrid and Gladbach draw, Shakhtar win - Gladbach and Shakhtar progress

Gladbach win, Inter win - Gladbach and Inter progress

Gladbach win, Inter and Shakhtar draw - Gladbach and Shakhtar progress

Gladbach win, Shakhtar win - Gladbach and Shakhtar

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