Real Madrid must beat PSG to have any chance of avoiding second-placed finish in Champions League group… and that could mean horror last-16 tie against Liverpool, Bayern Munich or Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus
- Real Madrid are five points behind PSG going into Tuesday evening’s clash
- Zinedine Zidane’s side lost to the French team first up, and drew to Club Brugge
- Anything but a victory tonight for Real will see PSG claim top-spot in Group A
- A runners-up spot means they could face a string of top teams in the last-16
- Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus and Bayern Munich could be next up
Real Madrid must beat PSG this evening at the Bernabeu to avoid a runners-up spot in Group A and a potentially tougher last-16 tie come February.
Madrid are currently on seven points from four games following a 3-0 defeat to the Ligue 1 champions on matchday one, as well as a 2-2 draw at home to Club Brugge two weeks later.
Although likely to qualify given closest rivals Brugge are only on two points, 13-time winners Real are looking as though they will have to settle for second best, meaning potential knockout ties against current table-toppers Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, or defending champions Liverpool.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid need to beat PSG to keep alive their top-spot chances
Madrid were always facing a uphill task after losing 3-0 to PSG – Angel Di Maria scored twice
In order to finish top, Real need an unlikely chain of events. They need to beat PSG tonight to get within two points of Thomas Tuchel’s side, and then need to hope PSG drop points at home to bottom side Galatasaray on matchday six.
Unlikely as it is, if PSG lose to the Turkish side, Real can go top with a win in Belgium against Brugge.
If PSG draw and Real Madrid win, the teams would be level on 13 points, by which point it would go to head-to-head and stretching that, the goal-difference within those two games – Real would need to beat PSG by at least three goals tonight, should it come down to that.
The state of play in Group A – Real Madrid can be assured of qualification with a point tonight
However, everything does point towards Real Madrid finishing second in Group A.
As things currently stand, a second-placed Madrid team could be drawn against Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester City, last year’s semi-finalists Ajax, or Red Bull Leipzig.
They could not be drawn against Barcelona or any other Spanish club as teams from the same country cannot be drawn together until the quarter-final stage.
All that being said, the last time Madrid finished second in their group they won the entire competition, in 2018.
(L-R) Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe train at the Bernabeu on Monday
In fact, PSG were the unlucky recipients on that occasion, as a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired team won 3-1 in the first-leg and 2-1 in the second-leg for a comfortable aggregate scoreline.
They went onto beat Liverpool in the final to win the competition for the third time in a row – it was also Zidane’s last match in charge before deciding to resign.
Now in his second stint as manager, a trickier last-16 tie certainly won’t faze Zidane, but it would be the result of what has been a topsy-turvy start to the season.
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