The group stages of the Champions League 2023/24 concluded on December 13, 2023, with its fair share of thrills and spills. It was also the last group stage in the tournament history before the competition went to adopt the Swiss Model format from the next season. The 16 teams have been confirmed to begin the knockout stages with most familiar names making it through. Group winners Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Dortmund, Barcelona, Real Sociedad, Atlético de Madrid and Manchester City have progressed to the last-16. Joining them are the runners-up from their group, Copenhagen, PSV Eindhoven, Napoli, PSG, Inter, Lazio and RB Leipzig. Checkout the fixtures here Champions League 2023/24 Round of 16 Fixtures
However, some star names have failed to advance to the last 16 of the Champions League 2023/24 season. Most notably two English sides who finished bottom of their group, the first time it happened in the competition, Newcastle and Manchester United will not be experiencing last-16 football. Record Europa League holders Sevilla also faced the same faith. AC Milan and SL Benfica have also not made it past the competition's group stages but will at least have the Europa League to savor, qualifying for the playoffs.
Here are the five teams missing out on the Champions League last-16 stage:
Benfica had a brilliant run in the Champions League last season moving into the quarterfinals and beating the likes of PSG and Juventus in the group stages. However, the two-time champions of this competition have failed to replicate it this time. The Eagles finished third behind Inter, who eliminated them from the last eight earlier this year, and group winners Real Sociedad. In fact, the four points earned came in their last two matches of the group stage. The 3-1 win over bottom-placed Salzburg helped them edge the Austrian side on goals scored, with points and goal-difference equal, to qualify for the Europa League playoffs at least.
Europa League holders for the seventh time, Sevilla will not even enter their loved competition this time as they finish bottom of the group behind group winners Arsenal, runners-up PSV Eindhoven and even debutants RC Lens. The side failed to win any game in this season’s group stage collecting just two points from six matches. They started the campaign with back-to-back draws but then suffered four defeats on the spin opening a seven-point gap with a Champions League qualification spot and six points away from a place in the Europa League playoffs. Once again battling relegation in La Liga and making a third managerial change in five months, Sevilla are fearing for the worst.
Returning to the Champions League after 20 years in their first full season of PIF ownership, Newcastle United dreamt of making it out of the group stages. The road became tough for the Magpies as they were slotted in a ‘group of death’ containing former winners Dortmund and Milan with competition regulars PSG. Still, Newcastle started on a brighter note securing a 4-1 victory on a memorable night at St James’s Park over PSG after a goalless draw with Milan in San Siro. However, going winless in the next four games ended their hopes of entering the Champions League knockouts for the first time in their history. Successive defeats to Dortmund, a 1-1 draw with PSG and then a 2-1 loss to Milan despite leading the match in the final group game confined them to last place.
Having reached the semi-finals in the Champions League last time, AC Milan's run in the competition has ended in the group stages this season. Although the Rossoneri finished levels on points with PSG, eight collected from six, they lost the last qualification place on goal difference and also on head-to-head with the Ligue 1 holders. Starting with two straight goalless draws, Stefano Pioli’s team lost 3-0 in France despite taking a 2-1 success in the reverse clash in Italy. The 3-1 loss to group winners Dortmund ultimately sealed their faith. It is their second group stage elimination in two of three seasons since their return to the competition. However, Milan will continue their continental journey in the Europa League having settled for the third spot after beating Newcastle 2-1 away with a second-half comeback.
Another top name not to be seen in Champions League knockouts or even in European football for the rest of the season is Manchester United. Experiencing a disappointing campaign in the second campaign under Erik ten Hag, the club finished bottom of the pile even behind the likes of FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray and group winners Bayern Munich. The Red Devils only managed a win and a draw in the six matches at the group stages, losing in the rest of the four including against the Danish and the Turkish champions. They finished a point behind the pair with conceding the second most goals in the tournament this season with 15 which has been the major factor behind their elimination.