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July 2021

The Champions League group of death, possible scenarios, all the outcomes.

By Walter Broeckx

What might happen in the Group of death.

Standing now after 4 matches:

Arsenal 9
Napoli 9
Dortmund 6
Marseille 0

Let us first look at the Arsenal win scenarios:

Arsenal win + Napoli wins

Arsenal 12
Napoli 12
Dortmund 6
Marseille 0

Arsenal and Napoli are qualified but have to decide in the last game who will win the group.

Arsenal win and Dortmund win then the table would be

Arsenal 12
Dortmund 9
Napoli 9
Marseille 0

In that case Arsenal is still not 100% sure of qualification for the knockout round as crazy as that may sound. Because Dortmund and Napoli could also come to 12 points if they win their final match. And then the results of the 3 clubs amongst each other will be looked at to decide who will go to the knockout round and who will go to join Tottenham on Thursdays…

If Arsenal win and Napoli and Dortmund draw we get the following table:

Arsenal 12
Napoli 10
Dortmund 7
Marseille 0

Arsenal is then sure of qualification but not sure of the first place in the group.

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Next is the Arsenal draw scenario

If we draw and Napoli win then we get this league table:

Napoli 12
Arsenal 10
Dortmund 6
Marseille 1

Napoli and Arsenal qualify but have to decide who wins the group at the last day in Napoli.

If we draw and Napoli and Dortmund also we get this league table

Arsenal 10
Napoli 10
Dortmund 7
Marseille 1

Dortmund could still get level on points with Arsenal or Napoli. In that case a draw between Arsenal and Napoli on the final day would see them both qualified for the next round.

If we draw and Dormund wins against Napoli we get this table:

Arsenal 10
Dortmund 9
Napoli 9
Marseille 1

A draw in Napoli would see us to the knock out stages but maybe not as top of the group

Worst case scenarios now

Arsenal lose and Napoli wins  (updated!)

Napoli 12
Arsenal 9
Dortmund 6
Marseille 3

We then have to win at Napoli to be 100% sure to qualify.

Arsenal lose and Napoli and Dortmund draw

Napoli 10
Arsenal 9
Dortmund 7
Marseille 3

Again we will have to win in Napoli to be 100% sure to qualify and be top of the group

Arsenal lose and Dortmund wins

Napoli 9
Arsenal 9
Dortmund 9
Marseille 3

Again we then have to win and then we still are not sure of being top of the group, depending on goal difference.

A summary:

So when we look at just being sure to be in the next round we have to win and hope that Dortmund does not win. In fact each result and Dortmund losing will give us a ticket for the knockout stages. But in some cases we will have to win in Napoli to win the group.

So it is a bit of a tricky choice. Napoli winning will mean that we are as good as qualified if we take a point but it also means that we could end up in second place if we don’t win in Naples.

If we want to have peace in mind we should hope that Dortmund loses and we get at least one point. And then it is a battle between the two teams on top to see who finishes first and who second. And that could make a big difference to get an opponent.

If we take the current league tables and imagine that they will be like that at the end we know that we cannot play an English team in the first knock out round. And the other teams on top are:

Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona.  These are the possible teams to face if we don’t finish first in our group.

If we win our group the possible teams we could face are:

Olympiacos, Galatasary (unless Juventus beats them – only one point behind), Schalke 04 (or Basel), Zenit (or Porto), AC Milan (or Ajax?).

So with all respect the possible teams we would face if we don’t win our group are much stronger than the teams we could face if we win our group. And Schalke04 or hell Ajax give it your best shot and take that second place would be fantastic.

But imagine the possible scenario both Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli finishing with 12 points in our group. How will it be decided then?

Here are the rules from Uefa:

Rule 7.06 If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are

applied to determine the rankings (in descending order):

 a) higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;

b) superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;

c) higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;

d) higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;

 e) if, after having applied criteria a)  to d), two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria a) to d) are reapplied to determine the final ranking of the two teams.

If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria f) to h) apply; 

f) superior goal difference from all group matches played;

g) higher number of goals scored from all group matches played;

h) higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over

the previous five seasons (see paragraph 9.02)

So the best thing to do and to make sure is to win the last two games in the group.

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42 comments to The Champions League group of death, possible scenarios, all the outcomes.

  • As long as we take care of Marseille tonight I’d expect us to go through whatever. I fully expect us to pick up at least a point in Naples!

  • WalterBroeckx

    My hope is for an Arsenal win and Naples draw at Dortmund today. We would be qualified and then a point in Naples would see us top of the group.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I think we should be focused enough tonight to win at home. 2-0 for me . Then let the chips falls as they may .

  • WalterBroeckx

    The 3 teams with 12 points scenario would be very cruel and harsh on any of those teams to go out to the Europa League.
    But that is what can happen when you play in the strongest group of the CL…

  • The font

    I am still confused if we all finish on twelve and Dortmund beat Napoli 1-0 they will top the group with 2 away goals at the ems and 1 away goal at Napoli does that mean that Napoli will have to beat us by more than two for them to take the remaining spot

  • WalterBroeckx

    The font then they will recalculate the group with only the matches between the 3 teams. My maths are letting me down to start doing that 😉
    Okay an attempt and from the back of my head
    For now that would be

    Arsenal 3 matches 6 pts goals For 4 – Against 2 = +2
    Napoli 2 matches 3 pts goals F2 – A3 = -1
    Dortmund 3 matches 3 pts goals F3 – A4 = -1

  • The font

    Thanks Walter but I think i am going back to solving inter galactic travel. It seems simple now

  • WalterBroeckx

    If Napoli and Arsenal win today I think Napoli will have to win with 3-0 to take the first place from us. I think… 😉

    Okay the font, so what planet do you want to have as destination then… 😉

  • Armin

    I don’t even want to think about any other scenario than 3 points tonight, and than … well I d be happy with point in Italy.

  • Va Cong

    We win at the emirates then go for a win at Napoli and end up drawing simples oh yeah!

  • The font

    Walter I am not sure but I am on planet ozil at the Moment

  • colario

    Sometimes life throws up a mystery, tonight is a mystery for me. I’ve no idea why but my sports channel has chosen the Dortmund game as its live match.

    This means if I get a good stream I will be able to watch our game on my comp and their game on the box.

    I saw some of Napoli’s game against Parma and Parma won 1-0. It was a tame game, clearly Napoli were holding back.

    The helpful French allowed Marseille to play on Friday night so they have had more time to prepare for to night.

    As has been said above the key to progressing is winning to night.

    To help my brain understand the meaning of the results I am making a note of the present table.

    As to the result, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Ryan Giggs (note I say ‘attributed’ I’ve no proof that he actually said it.)

    ‘I never make predictions and I never will’.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Same here Colario. I also depend on finding an internet stream to see the game. Oh those lucky bastards who can go the Emirates to see it there 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    If you find something don’t be afraid to post it Colario. So will I 😉

  • WalterBroeckx also published an article about it. But must say I put more work in to it..

  • David Holmes

    Not quite right on “Arsenal lose and Napoli wins”, as Dortmund would then only have 6 points, not 9. Then I guess we’d need a point in Napoli to go through second, or a win would put us top (as we’d have beaten them home and away). If we lost in Napoli and Dortmund beat Marseille, Dortmund would go through as they would have scored more away goals in head-to-head against us. Is that right? My head hurts.

  • MK Gould

    Think that the analysis is slightly wrong:
    Arsenal lose and Napoli wins – you have Dortmund down as level on points with us, but actually they will still be 3 behind…

    Goal difference (excluding games v Marseille) could still come into it, but I think losing to Marseille tonight would still leave us only needing a draw in Napoli to qualify!

  • colario


    This is my link and our game is on their list.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    You might also try – not necessarily licensed to be viewed from UK though.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I’m at the Emirates tonight in my changed seat in the Clock end, re-located for Champions League games as UEFA require the block of seats where I normally sit. Should be a good game. COYG

  • WalterBroeckx

    OK thanks for pointing it out that I was wrong in one scenario. I updated the article.

    And now back to school and do my maths again.. 🙁

  • The only thing we must do is to WIN 2days game first

  • The onlything we must Do is to WIN 2days first

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Walter ,try this simple method to recalibrate your math brain.
    You guys who are similarly bored can join in .Take it as a mass mathematical mind freak test ! Kids are welcome !

    1) Pick a number from 1 to 9 ;
    2) Multiply (times) it by 2 ( that is x 2);
    3) Add (plus) 10 to that ( + 10 ) ,
    stop me if I’ m going too fast for you !
    4) Divide it by 2 ( where the hell is the divide icon ?)
    5)Minus the total with number you first picked at (1)

    6) And the answer is ….( pause for dramatic effect)….
    ……5 !

  • MK Gould

    At the end of the day, win tonight and we’re virtually home and dry. Napoli avoiding defeat or Dortmund beating them 3-0 would be a bonus!

    Makes me realise though what a huge result winning in Dortmund was! Never really thought that in the build up, but it really gave us the advantage in the Group.

    Bloody cold here today though…so I’ll definitely be wearing scarf, hat and gloves tonight for sure. I (almost) envy those that are watching it on TV or live stream!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Whatever the result..we are certain of European football later in the season 😉

  • In UK game is on ITV, (free to air) so most people here should be able to watch it, even it it means putting up with Andy Townsend and Adrian Charles etc

  • colario

    Brickfields Gunners

    I am sorry to your maths trick didn’t work for me!
    By the time I got to step 5 I had forgotten the number I started with! 🙁

  • TJ

    Walter and colario

    Try nirsportz on

    Always an excellent stream

    Can anyone tell me, if us and Dortmund win tonight, do they go ahead of us on away goals? That would mean if we score in Napoli, we would have to concede 4 to go out.

  • WalterBroeckx

    TJ, we are then top of the group with 3 points more. But we then have to make sure to get at least 1 point in Napoli and then we stay top of the group.

  • TJ

    Sorry, I should have added, if Dortmund also beat Marseille (no guarantee)and we lose to Napoli.

    Very true Walter, being in the Europa wouldn’t be the worst thing ever, we still get to watch the gunners- smashing the spuds in the final would be a bit special!

  • TJ

    Wheres Archimedes when you need him!

  • jambug

    If I’m not wrong a win tonight and we really would have to mess up big style at Napoli to not progress.

    So we win and Lets assume the worst and Dortmund win.

    Lets take it as read that Dortmund will beat Marseille on the final day. So thats them on 12 points.

    Lets assume the worst and we lose our game in Napoli. So thats Napoli and us all on 12 points.

    I know that thats already been said, but it’s at this point that our ‘head to head’ against Napoli becomes vital.

    If my maths are right, for Napoli to finnish above us they will have to beat us by at least 3 goals. ie 3-0 4-1 etc.

    2-0 is no good to them because that puts our ‘head to head’ level, at which point it goes to goal difference. We have to finnish with a better goal difference than them, it can’t be anything else. This is due to the fact that to even get to this scenario ours will have to improve tonight with a win, and Napolis worsen with a defeat.

    So in summery, win tonight, avoid a 3 goal defeat in Napoli, and we are through.

    PS. I did only get a CSE grade 5 in Maths so someone better check my workings !!!!!!

  • TJ

    i think your spot on Jambug.

    Well player Sir

  • TJ

    Q.Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?

    A. He worked it out with his pencil.

    I’ll get my coat…..

  • Gord

    Youth CL:

    Dortmund beat Napoli 2-1 in Youth CL (goes with 1-1 Arsenal-Marseille)
    Arsenal 5 2 3 0 11 5 +6 9
    Dortmund 5 2 2 1 9 6 +3 8
    Napoli 5 2 0 3 6 8 -2 6
    Marseille 5 1 1 3 6 13 -7 4

    Arsenal next play Napoli. If Arsenal win, they top the group. If Arsenal lose by more than 8 goals, they could be eliminated. So, it is most likely that Arsenal goes through, but whether top or not is is to be determined.


    It doesn’t matter what number you pick, it doesn’t have to be an integer, it doesn’t have to be positive, it doesn’t even have to be real.

    ((2 * N + 10) / 2) – N = 5

  • jambug


    1) I had a friend who was a Mathametician

    2) I used to suck the end of my pencil

    3) I feel a bit sick !!

  • jambug

    Nice to see Dixon, Wright and Keane dissing everything we’ve done so far.

    In the league we are lucky that City Chelsea and Utd etc. have been throwing points away.

    Nothing to do with our results at all then.

    And in the CL we are gonna get out of a group we should get out of !!

    Funny that as it was the ‘group of death’ when the draw was made.

    Never heard so much crap squeezed in to an opening 5 minutes in my life.

    Wait a minute they do this EVERY WEEK !!


  • jambug

    That Wright is a nasty piece of work.

    Can this ITV lot be any more negative if they tried.

    I know they don’t like us but this punditry is shameful !!

  • jambug,

    I hope TJ does not see your comments on Ian Wright. He would be so offended because Ian Wright has done more Arsenal than you ever can or will.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Having fully chewed out mathematicians ,lets move on…

    1. Lawyer and Engineer

    A lawyer and an engineer were fishing in the Caribbean when they got to talking. The lawyer mentioned, “I’m here because my house burned down and everything got destroyed by the fire. The insurance company paid for everything.”

    “That’s quite a coincidence,” remarked the engineer. “I’m here because my house and all my belongings were destroyed by a flood. My insurance company, too, paid for everything.”

    There was a brief pause, and then the puzzled lawyer asked, “How do you start a flood?”

    2. Fair and Square

    Taking his seat in chambers, the judge faced the opposing lawyers.
    “I have been presented by both of you with a bribe,” the judge began.
    Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably.

    “You, Attorney Leoni, gave me $15,000. And you, Attorney Campos, gave me $10,000.”

    The judge reached in his pocket a pulled out a check, which he handed to Leoni.

    “Now, then, I’m returning $5,000, and we are going to decide this case solely on its merits.”

    3. I’m Innocent!

    “How is it that you can’t get a lawyer to defend you?” the judge asked the prisoner.

    “Well, yer honor, it’s like this. As soon as those lawyers found out I didn’t steal the money, they wouldn’t have anything to do with me.”

    4. Lawyer on Vacation

    A lawyer was on vacation in a small farming town. While walking through the streets on a quiet Sunday morning, he came upon a large crowd gathered by the side of the road. Going by instinct, the lawyer figured that there was some sort of auto collision. He was eager to get to the injured
    parties but couldn’t get near the car.

    Being a clever sort, he started shouting loudly, “Let me through! Let me through! I am the son of the victim.”

    The crowd made way for him. Lying in front of the car was a donkey.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Gord @ Nov 26th.7:51 pm – for messing with my mind (what’s left of it anyway !) ,try this one for size !

    Goodnight ,guys !