Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag

Champions League permutations: How Newcastle & Man Utd can qualify for the knockouts or Europa League…

Newcastle and Manchester United are relying on results going their way in the final Champions League group stage matches if they are to qualify for the knockout stage.

Eddie Howe’s side were just moments away from claiming a historic victory away at PSG which would have left their destiny in their own hands. However, VAR and Kylian Mbappe had other ideas.

PSG’s late equaliser now means that Newcastle sit third in Group F and trail PSG with by two points with just one game to go. If Newcastle want to stand any chance of qualifying, they will need to beat Milan in their final group stage game.

Likewise, Manchester United will need to pick up a result against Bayern Munich if they are to qualify. Erik ten Hag’s side currently sit bottom of Group A, having only picked up four points in their five group stage matches so far.

Unlike the Premier League, where teams with the same amount of points are separated on goal difference, the Champions League has slightly different rules.

The Champions League separates the teams on their head-to-head record instead of the usual goal difference system. Points in head-to-head matches are first considered before goal difference is taken into consideration.

We’ve taken a closer look at each Champions League group and have worked out the permutations that each club will need to qualify for the next round.


1st: Bayern no matter what.

2nd: FC Copenhagen or Galatasaray depending on who wins. Manchester United if they beat Bayern and that game is a draw.

3rd: Manchester United will still at least qualify for Europa League if they beat Bayern. Or draw and Copenhagen win (almost certainly, based on goal difference).

Group B

1st: Arsenal no matter what.

2nd: PSV no matter what.

3rd: Lens or Sevilla depending on who wins. Lens can afford to draw their final group stage game to finish in third, while Sevilla need to win in order to draw level on five points. If Sevilla do beat Lens, they will overtake them thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

Group C

1st: Real Madrid no matter what.

2nd: Napoli or Braga depending on who wins. The Italian outfit currently has a three-point lead and a superior head-to-head record against Braga (2-1 win in the last meeting), although the Portuguese side could change this in their final group stage game.

3rd: Union Berlin or Braga. The German club will need to beat Real Madrid and hope that Braga lose to Napoli if they want to finish third in the group and qualify for the Europa League.

Group D

1st: Real Sociedad or Inter depending on who wins. If the game is a draw, Real Sociedad will qualify in first place due to their superior goal difference.

2nd: Real Sociedad or Inter depending on who loses. If the game is a draw, Inter will finish second due to goal difference.

3rd: RB Salzburg or Benfica. A win or draw would see RB Salzburg finish in third place while Benfica need to win by at least two goals to overturn RB Salzburg’s superior head-to-head record.

Group E

1st: Atletico Madrid or Lazio depending on who wins. If the game ends level, Atletico Madrid will top the group.

2nd: Atletico Madrid or Lazio depending on who loses. If the game ends level, Lazio will finish in second.

3rd: Feyenoord no matter what.

Group F

1st: Borussia Dortmund or PSG depending on who wins. If the game ends as a draw, Borussia Dortmund will top the group.

2nd: Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Newcastle and AC Milan could all still finish second. Dortmund will come second if they lose to PSG. PSG will come second if they draw with Dortmund and Newcastle draw with Milan or Milan win.

Newcastle will take second spot if they beat Milan and PSG drop points against Dortmund. For Milan to qualify in second, they will need to beat Newcastle and will need Dortmund to beat PSG.

3rd: PSG, Newcastle or Milan. PSG will finish in third if they draw or lose against Dortmund and Newcastle win or if they lose and Milan win. Newcastle will finish third if they draw or beat Milan, but PSG beat Dortmund. Milan will finish third if they beat Newcastle and PSG don’t lose against Dortmund.

Group G

1st: Man City no matter what.

2nd: RB Leipzig no matter what.

3rd: Young Boys no matter what.

All eyes on Group G come the final round of fixtures, then.

Group H

1st: Barcelona or Shakhtar Donetsk. Barcelona will top the group if they avoid defeat against Royal Antwerp. Shakhtar will take top spot if Barcelona lose, they beat Porto and overturn a seven goal difference swing.

2nd: Porto and Shakhtar are most likely going to battle it out for this spot. A win or draw would see Porto finish second, whereas Shakhtar need to win in order to finish second. Barcelona could theoretically finish second, although this would require a Shakhtar win and a huge goal difference swing from losing against Antwerp.

3rd: Porto or Shakhtar depending on the outcome of their game.

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