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In Group A Barcelona know what they have to do, beat Werder Bremen at home and they will be in. Anything else they will drop into the UEFA Cup. Although Werder Bremen are a good team, I think Barcelona will win that match and progress to the next stage and I think Chelsea will easily top that group.
In Group B, after a stuttering start, Inter Milan have ensured qualification to the next stage by winning three straight matches. In their first two matches, they failed to score a single goal and were pointless and now they go to play Bayern Munich fighting to top the group.
In the end Group C was a straight fight between Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven with Liverpool taking the honours. Galatasaray have been disappointing with just one draw and in the process conceding ten goals and will now say bye to Europe with Bordeaux getting the UEFA place.
Valencia are home and dry in Group D leaving Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk to fight it out for second place. Olympiacos still have a chance to get third place but they have to get their first win of the campaign to do that.
As predicted, Group E was a tussle between Real Madrid and Olympic Lyon, a tussle which the French team. For the second year running Lyon got the better of Real Madrid netting four points from their two matches and winning the group.
I was happy to see Celtic qualify for the knockout stage for the first time after four unsuccessful attempts. Manchester United will now have to make sure that Benfica will not go away with full points from Old Trafford or else they will drop into the UEFA Cup in Group G. I expect that match to be a tense one given that last year Benfica ousted Man U from the competition and three years ago another Portuguese team Porto also knocked them out of the competition.
And still talking about Porto, their win over CSKA Moscow means they can decide their fate and could easily knock Arsenal out of the competition. This group has been very competitive despite Hamburg being winless so far and I should add that I was very disappointed with Hamburg.
In Group H, as expected AC Milan have qualified for the next stage but there is a very interesting contest for the other place. I think AEK Athens have a better chance of qualifying because they play still winless Anderlecht and Lille have to go to Milan for their last match. It would be good for Greek football for AEK Athens to qualify for the knockout stage and all they need to do that is win their last game.
So it will interesting to see whether Barcelona and Manchester United will progress to the next round or whether it
will be Werder Bremen and Sporting Lisbon. In two short weeks we will know the answer.
Its important just to reach the second phase of the competition and whoever you meet is likely to give you a tough match. In other words, no easy games at this stage.
In the second leg you know exactly what you have to do to qualify for the next stage and playing that at that at home gives you a bit of an advantage.
You are right, apart from that I don't see any other advantage.