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Champions League Matchday 6 Wednesday Wrap: Chelsea win but fail to qualify, Celtic and Galatasaray advance to last 16

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Chelsea became the first winners of the Champions League to fail to make the knock-out rounds the following season despite picking up a thumping 6-1 win against a hapless Nordsjaelland side at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. The Blues will have to make do with playing in the Europa League in February, losing out on qualification as a result of Juventus' narrow 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Donbass arena. That win for Juve sent them top of Group E, while Shakhtar, who has already qualified to the knock-out rounds finished as the runners-up courtesy of their better head-to-head record against Chelsea.

Meanwhile Group F saw last season's Champions League runners-up Bayern Munich come out on top with Valencia grabbing second place. Scottish giants Celtic advanced from Group G at the expense of Benfica, who fired blanks at the Camp Nou, while Group H saw Galatasaray pip CFR Cluj to second place despite the Romanian outfit picking up a memorable 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.


Olympiakos 2-1 Arsenal: Player ratings

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The semi-dead rubber Group B clash in the UEFA Champions League between a second string Arsenal side and Olympiakos in Athens ended in a familiar script with the hosts Olympiakos edging out their London based opponents 2-1 in what turned out be a very open game. Arsenal opened the scoring with Czech international Tomas Rosicky slotting home with a wonderful strike from the edge of the penalty area. Trailing 1-0, the hosts came back with the perfect response in the second half with a Miniatis equalizer, having capitalized on a defensive mishap from a set piece.

That goal turned the tide in favour of Olympiakos as the home side pressed hard thereafter and produced a winner through Mitroglu. The result meant that Arsenal missed out on the opportunity to go top of their Group, however, considering the team that Arsene Wenger put out for the game it was clear that was not his priority on Tuesday night.


Champions League Matchday 6 Tuesday Wrap: Arsenal lose in Greece, Man City knocked out of Europe

Invariably Matchday 6 doesn't quite offer the kind of excitement that one would usually expect from the final round of Group stage matches in the world's leading club competition with most teams having already booked their places in the knock-out rounds of the UEFA Champions League. The case of Tuesday's fixtures was that all three qualifiers from Groups A and B were already decided, though top spot in both groups was up for grabs. The Champions League qualifiers from Groups C and D were also in, but Europa League spots were still on offer.

Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg finally fulfilled their promise by picking up a rare win at the San Siro to take third place in Group C at the expense of Anderlecht, while former Champions League winners, Ajax were hammered 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu by Real Madrid, but still it made it through to the Europa League as English champions Manchester City were soundly beaten 1-0 by Borussia Dortmund to end their European sojourn far sooner than they would have liked.


Chelsea need the stars to align perfectly for Champions League miracle

As the group stages of this year’s UEFA Champions League reach their climax, Group E presents an interesting conundrum. Group E features Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian Serie A champions Juventus, defending European champions Chelsea and the newly included Nordsjaelland. Matchday 6 sees Juventus head over to the Donbass Arena to take on Shakhtar, while Chelsea are at home against Nordsjaelland.

While Nordsjaelland are already out of the competition, here is what the rest of the teams need to do to qualify for the knockout rounds.


Gervinho targets Champions League success for Arsenal

Ivory Coast winger Gervinho believes his side Arsenal can emulate fellow Londoners Chelsea and win the Champions League this season. The former Lille player doesn’t seem to think of any side as a firm favorite in Europe this year and is not overawed by Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Gervinho was quoted in an interview with the People saying, “I don't think Barcelona and Real Madrid have been at their best this season. Chelsea are not through yet and Manchester United have had to work hard to win their games too. There is no big favourite"


Champions League to have 64 teams from 2015?

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In what could be a huge and interesting change to its format, the UEFA Champions League could soon have 64 teams participating in the main stages of the competition, if president Michel Platini has his way.

The new rules would see the Europa League being scrapped, and the changes would allow seven English and five Scottish teams to enter a preliminary qualifying stage, and could come into effect as early as 2015. The news would be a massive fillip for English sides continuously battling for that fourth and final Champions League spot, and the massive financial reward that comes with it. This would make the Premier League more attractive, and allow teams that are currently playing in the Europa League an opportunity to attract and retain better talent because of the opportunity to compete at the highest level.


Chelsea's Champions League hopes dealt a blow as Shakhtar lose key player for final group game

Chelsea's hopes of making it through to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League have been dealt a massive indirect blow as Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk have lost their key striker Luis Adriano through suspension for their final group stage clash against Italian Serie A champions Juventus.

Champions Chelsea must get 3 points in their corresponding group stage game against newbies Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge and hope for a Shakhtar victory against the Juventus next week to qualify for the knockout rounds.


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