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Sunday, December 4, 2011
ESPNsoccernet: December 6, 10:39 PM UK
Champions League permutations

Dale Johnson


Bayern Munich have already qualified as group winners. The battle for second place is between Napoli and Manchester City, with the Italian side a point better off and they also have the head-to-head with City in their favour. City have to beat Bayern Munich at Eastlands and hope Napoli fail to win away to Villarreal, who have lost all five matches. Any other results will send Napoli through in second and condemn City to the Europa League.


Inter Milan will go through to the first knockout round as group winners. But with Trabzonspor, Lille and CSKA Moscow separated by just a single point, it promises to be a tense final day. For unfancied Trabzonspor, the task is simple: if they win in Lille they will be through. A draw in France and they would be relying on CSKA failing to win in the San Siro to keep second place. As CSKA go to Inter, Trabzonspor may feel a draw will be enough. A draw for Trabzonspor guarantees Europa League football at worst. If they lose to Lille, CSKA can take the Europa League place, on head-to-head, with a draw in Italy. Lille's requirements are just as straightforward: they must win at home to Trabzonspor or face elimination. And if they win they are guaranteed to finish second due to their head-to-head record with CSKA. If CSKA better Lille's result then the French side will be eliminated completely. CSKA have things out of their hands somewhat with Lille and Trabzonspor facing off. The only way the Russian side can qualify is if they win at Inter and the other match ends in a draw. They will definitely be in the Europa League with a draw coupled with a positive result in Lille.


Benfica have qualified, level on points with Manchester United on nine points with FC Basel on eight. As United and Basel play each other Benfica cannot finish outside the top two. Benfica are firm favourites to win the group, being at home to Otelul Galati, who have lost every match, on MatchDay Six. Victory guarantees top spot and they will also finish first with a draw if the other match also finishes level. If Benfica lose they will definitely finish second. Manchester United travel to Switzerland knowing they need a point to go through, and can top the group by bettering Benfica's result. FC Basel can only qualify with a win; any other result means Europa League football.


Real Madrid have secured top spot, while Ajax have a three-point cushion over Lyon. As both matches between these two sides finished goalless, the head-to-head record is level, so only overall goal difference will matter. Lyon need a seven-goal swing at least to overhaul Ajax, and with the Dutch side facing Real and Lyon playing Dinamo Zagreb it is possible if improbable. If the two sides finish with identical records, including goals for and against, then it goes to combined club and country coefficient - on which Lyon have a considerable lead. That could happen if Ajax lose 3-0 and Lyon win 4-0. Dinamo have lost every game so are out of the picture. Follow @dalejohnsonESPN

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