The final two days of UEFA Champions League matches for the Group Stages were completed on Tuesday and Wednesday. There was some compelling drama that unfolded as knockout competitors faced elimination. For starters the group that contained the likes of Napoli, Dortmund and Arsenal came down to the waning minutes to determine who’d go forward into the round of 16. The game between Napoli and Arsenal was in Italy, which put the Gunners at a disadvantage as they tried to win the stage outright. What happened in the last 13 minutes of the group stage proved to be more than dramatic.
Borussia Dortmund was last year’s runner up to Bayern München in Wembley, but for most of the day it seemed as though they were going to be on the outside looking in. An early goal by superstar Robert Lewandowski in the fourth minute was equaled by Marseille just ten minutes later. The score would remain tied at 1-1 for a good portion of the match. Meanwhile back in Naples, Gonzalo Higuaín would score in the 73rd minute to open the scoring for Napoli. Arsenal knew at this point that they needed to lose by three goals in order to be knocked out of the tournament and for the most part just played for that result not to happen. At this point it’s looking very dim for Dortmund who need a result in France to not be sent home. The fans in Naples were watching on the scoreboard as the times for both games were running concurrently to keep everyone up to date with what was happening. In the 87th BVB got their answer as F Kevin Großkreuts scored to give his team the golden goal which would not only save their European season, but win the group stage and set themselves up for a favorable matchup in the round of 16. Arsenal would go on to lose the game 0-2, but the victory was short lived for Napoli as the scoreboard from France would seal their fate as the odd man out in Group F.
The remaining teams that advanced to the round of 16 were pretty much expected given the way the groups were arranged. The eight group winners were: Manchester United (Group A), Real Madrid (Group B), Paris-St.Germain (Group C), Bayern München (Group D), Chelsea (Group E), BVB (Group F), Athlético Madrid (Group G), and Barcelona (Group H).
The eight runners up: Bayern Leverksun, Galatasaray, Olympiacos, Manchester City, Schalke, Arsenal, Zenit, and AC Milan. All of the group winners will be paired with a runner up in the next round and play a home-and home that’ll be determined by amount of points from the group stage as well as goal differential.