After game week five, 12 teams have sealed their passage to the Round of 16 stage of the Champions League from the group stages. Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Barcelona will enter the round as group winners and will meet the runners-up sides in the last-16. They will also receive the advantage of playing the second leg at home at this stage. Four more teams remain to join them in the knockouts with the final group games to be played in the second week of December.
Here are the teams qualified for the round of 16 of the Champions League 2023/24 season so far:
Bayern Munich will enter the round of 16 stage as winners of Group A. The Bavarians will have the chance to face a comparatively easier opposition in the next round with the second leg hosted in Munich. The record Bundesliga champions have collected wins in the first four games of the group stages and also in their last 17 matches at this stage before the 0-0 draw against Copenhagen ended that run although their unbeaten streak of 39 group games remains. Bayern began the campaign with a thrilling 4-3 win over Manchester United, managed a 2-1 come-back victory at Copenhagen, 3-1 at Galatasaray and won the reverse fixture against the Turkish champions 2-1 to seal qualification.
Two teams going into the last-16 from Group B have been decided with Arsenal going through as group winners. The Gunners will participate in the knockouts of the Champions League in their return to the competition after five years. Mikel Arteta’s side battered RC Lens 6-0 in the fifth group game when they needed just a point to qualify and also took sweet revenge for the 2-1 loss in the reverse fixture at France. A 4-0 victory over PSV, who will finish second in the group, began proceedings before that defeat to the Ligue 1 team forced them to come back strongly. Arsenal did just that by winning twice against Sevilla home and away to put them on the brink.
PSV Eindhoven will be making the Champions League last-16 after scoring a stoppage-time winner in the thrilling 3-2 victory against Sevilla. It will be their fifth participation at the stage in history and for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Apart from losing heavily against Arsenal in the opener, the Dutch side remained steady in other games involved in another dramatic 2-2 result with the Europa League holders at home in the second group game before picking up four points in the following two clashes against Lens.
Like Bayern, Real Madrid also progressed to the knockout stages but have won all of their five matches till now. Los Blancos will also enter the round of 16, having not missed the stage since its introduction in 2003-04, as group winners. They beat the Serie A holders Napoli 4-2 in a dramatic game at Santiago Bernabeu ahead of the final game-day next month. Carlo Ancelotti’s men secured a last-minute victory in their opener against Union Berlin at home following up with a 3-2 thrilling win over Napoli in Italy. The competition’s record holders were far more comfortable in their two games against Braga taking a 2-1 win away and delivering a 3-0 thrashing at home.
Real Sociedad’s return to the Champions League after eight games was memorable for them as they managed to reach the knockout rounds for the second time in their history. The Spanish side also leads their group with 11 points from five matches, the same as last season’s runners-up Inter in second but having a better goal difference. La Real started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against the Italian giants in a game they almost won. Next, they picked up a fine 2-0 victory in their trip to Salzburg before defeating Portuguese league holders Benfica home and away with an aggregate score of 4-1. However, they were held by the Austrian champions 0-0 at home meaning they have all to do in the group-deciding clash against Inter in the final game week.
Similarly, Inter also stayed unbeaten after their draw in their Champions League opener against Real Sociedad. The Nerazzurri picked up consecutive wins at San Siro over Benfica and Salzburg before sealing their last-16 berth in the reverse fixture against the latter. Simone Inzaghi’s side had to pull out one of the most stunning comebacks in the Champions League after trailing 3-0 at half-time to Benfica in Lisbon. A remarkable showing in the second half saw them to eventually end the game 3-3 but the draw keeps them at second with the group deciding clash against leaders Real Sociedad next. Regardless, Inter will be tasting Round of 16 football for the eleventh time and for the third consecutive year.
With a 3-1 victory against Feyenoord at De Kuip, Atletico Madrid finalized their place in the Round of 16. An improved showing from last season where they missed out not only on the knockout stage of the Champions League but also failed to qualify for the Europa League. Los Colchoneros are only left to play for the top spot in the group against Lazio at home in the reverse fixture on the final match day. It will prove vital for them to draw one of the runners-up from other groups in the next round. Diego Simeone’s team started with a dramatic 1-1 away draw against Lazio, a 3-2 thrilling comeback over Eredivisie winners at Metropolitano and a pulsating 2-2 draw with Celtic before thrashing the Hoops 6-0 in the home clash.
Lazio also sealed their last-16 berth with a 2-0 victory over Celtic from a late Ciro Immobile brace. They will now have to beat leaders Atletico Madrid away in the final group game to move into the knockouts as group winners. Maurizio Sarri’s team is guaranteed to finish at least a point above Feyenoord, settled for Europa League football in third, even if they lose their remaining match. The Biancocelesti had to rescue a late draw through their goalkeeper Ivan Provodel against Atletico before winning against Celtic. Joy was short-lived as they suffered 3-1 in the away trip to Feyenoord but victories in the next two group matches, played at home as well, did the trick for them.
Group F was coined as the ‘group of death’ and it lived up to its billings with an intense fight between Dortmund, PSG, Newcastle and Milan roared on. With a match round still to go, it was the German giants that sealed their qualification first by beating Milan 3-1 at San Siro. Edin Terzic’s team will participate in the last-16 stage for back-to-back seasons and for the ninth time in total. Leaders Dortmund were also arguably the better side among the four despite starting the campaign slowly with a loss to PSG and a goalless draw against the Rossoneri in the reverse clash. They will now battle the Ligue 1 winners at home on the final matchday to decide the group winners.
From Group G, Manchester City will join the rest of the lot in the last-16 having won all of their matches so far. It will be their 11th straight appearance in the knockout rounds since their first qualification in 2013-14. The competition winners also confirmed their status as group winners after making a stunning second-half turnaround, from two goals down to win 3-2 against RB Leipzig. City is no new to making memorable second-half turnarounds doing the same against Red Star Belgrade who took a shock lead at Etihad in the opener. The holders also picked up their first victory at Leipzig in the reverse clash and won both encounters with Young Boys for last-16 qualification.
Even after suffering defeat at Etihad, RB Leipzig also advanced to the knockout stages for the third time. They sealed qualification with a game to spare and will remain two points clear of Young Boys in third even if they lose to the Swiss champions in the final game. The only two losses suffered by the Bundesliga side in the group stage this stage was against Manchester City but they managed to win the reverse clash against Young Boys and twice against bottom-placed Red Star Belgrade.
Despite going behind on the hour-mark, Barcelona made a splendid comeback against FC Porto at home to seal their spot in the last-16. It is their first participation at this stage in three seasons. The Catalan giants also had bounced back from their shock loss against Shakhtar Donetsk in the earlier game in the Champions League having won their first three group matches. Now with 12 points, Barcelona are guaranteed the top spot with a better head-to-head record and superior goal difference. That leaves FC Porto and Shakhtar, second and third, to battle for the remaining spot with both collecting nine points from five matches.