We’re entering the harsh depths of winter, which means it’s time to start separating the men from the boys in the Champions League.
With just one round of group games remaining, 11 teams have sealed their passage to the knockout stages in 2022.
But who has qualified, how did they get there and will they be seeded in December’s draw? Step right up…
Seeding: Group E winners
While top spot is already secure thanks to their 100% winning record, Julian Nagelsmann’s side also have the pleasure of being able to eliminate Barcelona if they beat them on matchday six. Tasty.
Seeding: Group B winners
Jurgen Klopp admitted that he did not expect to qualify for the last 16 after just four games following Liverpool’s double over Atletico Madrid, but here he and his men are.
Like Bayern, the Reds are searching for a seventh Champions League crown.
Seeding: Group C winners
After a couple of years out of the spotlight following their memorable 2018/19 run, Erik ten Hag’s Ajax are back in the Champions League knockouts having won their first four group games – including back-to-back victories over Borussia Dortmund.
Seeding: Group H, TBD
While Juventus‘ domestic woes continue and they’re facing an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League next season, they can at least be comforted with the fact they’ll still be in this year’s competition come February.
Their thrashing at the hands of Chelsea might unnerve them moving forward, however…
Seeding: Group F winners
In spite of the crisis that’s threatening to get way out of hand at Manchester United, at least they’re through to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in three seasons.
For all of his group stage antics, Cristiano Ronaldo is also looking to break a knockout stage duck of his own by advancing past the last 16 stage for the first time in three seasons…
Seeding: Group H, TBD
Can anyone stop Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea from being the first team not named Real Madrid to retain the title in the Champions League era? Stay tuned…
Seeding: Group D runners-up
For the first time in ten years, Inter have secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League – hooray!
The Nerazzurri had the chance to secure top spot with a win at the Santiago Bernabeu on matchday six, but were beaten 2-0.
Seeding: Group D winners
Pipping Inter to first place is old nemesis Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid side, who have been going from strength to strength in recent weeks with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr in the form of their lives.
Seeding: Group A winners
Beaten finalists Man City are ready to have another crack at Europe’s grandest trophy after topping a group featuring Paris Saint-Germain.
Can Pep Guardiola win his first European Cup in over a decade? God, I’m getting old.
Seeding: Group A runners-up
While PSG were beaten in their crunch showdown with Man City on matchday five, RB Leipzig’s demolition of Club Brugge ensured that the Ligue 1 side had qualification in the bag heading into the last round of group games. Well done, you have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.
Seeding: Group C runners-up
Props to Sporting Club de Portugal for a) winning their first league title in forever last season and b) knocking Borussia Dortmund out in the Champions League group stages to seal their own path to the knockouts!
Seeding: Group B runners-up
Squeezing through by the skin of their teeth are Atletico Madrid, who were the beneficiaries of a thrilling final matchday in Group B.
Diego Simeone’s men knew they needed a win away to Porto to advance, and that’s exactly what they got – with a sprinkling of Cholo nonsense dashed in between the three goals they grabbed on the night.