Eight spots up for grabs
© AFP

Eight places remain in the UEFA Champions League last 16 and 15 sides will be vying to fill them in the final round of group games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

English clubs Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have already qualified for the knockout phase, along with Spanish trio Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid plus holders Bayern Munich and French hopefuls Paris Saint-Germain.

The tension is palpable for the teams hoping to join them, in contrast, and the list of sides facing tests of nerve this week includes four former winners. Italian duo Juventus and AC Milan can at least content themselves with draws to seal their progress, but the situation is far more fraught for Porto and Benfica, who no longer control their own destinies.

Match of the day
Galatasaray-Juventus (Group B)

The equation is simple for both teams, with Juventus knowing a point will send them through and Galatasaray unable to settle for anything less than victory. The visitors may be riding high at the top of Serie A but it has been a different story for them in Europe, particularly away from home. I Bianconeri have drawn one and lost one of their two trips abroad so far in Group B, and they will also have to cope without injured midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo.

Galatasaray, meanwhile, will again look to evergreen centre-forward Didier Drogba to make the difference, though they will need to tighten up a defence that conceded ten goals in their two games against Real Madrid. The history books suggest this will be a tight encounter, however, with the two clubs recording a win apiece and three draws from their five previous meetings at this level.

The other matches 

Tuesday 10 December

Group A
Manchester United-Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Sociedad-Bayer Leverkusen

Manchester United sealed their advance before their recent domestic slump, and it is Shakhtar Donetsk who hold the advantage in the race to join them in the last 16. A win at Old Trafford would guarantee their qualification, but a draw or loss would leave them nervously checking Bayer Leverkusen's result in San Sebastian, where Real Sociedad have yet to post a single victory in the section.

Group B
Copenhagen-Real Madrid

Danish outfit Copenhagen can still hope to come away with a place in the UEFA Europa League, but only if they defeat Madrid or Galatasaray lose to Juventus.

Group C
Benfica-Paris Saint-Germain
Olympiakos-Anderlecht

Olympiakos boast a superior head-to-head record against Benfica so will reach the last 16 if they prevail against Anderlecht, no matter what happens in the other match. For their part, Benfica must hope for a misstep from their Greek rivals as they take on section leaders PSG.

Group D
Bayern Munich-Manchester City
Viktoria Plzen-CSKA Moscow

The top two have already been decided, though Bayern and City still need to settle who will finish in first place. Having already triumphed in Manchester and fresh from sweeping aside Werder Bremen 7-0, the holders will be confident of progressing at the head of the pack.

Wednesday 11 December

Group E
Schalke-Basel
Chelsea-Steaua Bucharest

With Chelsea through since matchday five, Basel and Schalke will face off to determine who will accompany them in the round of 16. The Swiss challengers lie one point clear of their upcoming opponents and can make do with a draw. They lost 1-0 at home to Schalke at the start of October but have beaten Chelsea twice and have been impressively solid on their travels, posting a win and a draw. As for Schalke, they have gone three games without scoring in Europe and are desperate to rediscover their spark in front of goal.  

Group F
Marseille-Borussia Dortmund
Napoli-Arsenal

The so-called 'group of death' is still bursting with suspense and will go right down to the wire, with several different outcomes possible. Dortmund and Arsenal remain masters of their own destiny, but Napoli will be sure of advancing if they win by three goals – and need only post a better result than Dortmund if the Bundesliga side fail to prevail in France.

Group G
Austria Vienna-Zenit St. Petersburg
Atletico Madrid-Porto

A long way behind group winners Atletico, Zenit know they can sew up second spot with victory in Vienna. Porto are not out of the running, though, and despite facing a daunting test at the Vicente Calderon, they can still leapfrog Luciano Spalletti's men as long as they triumph in Spain and Zenit drop points.

Group H
AC Milan-Ajax
Barcelona-Celtic

Barcelona require no more than a draw to tie down top spot, and the same result would also assure Milan of an 11th consecutive qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds.

Player to watch
Basel's Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah has been one of the revelations of this season's group phase. Capped 26 times by his country, and having already struck 17 goals on the international stage, the 21-year-old scored in both of Basel's wins against Chelsea and shone throughout thanks to his talent, technique and finishing ability. Equally comfortable on both flanks, Salah was named Most Promising Talent of the Year by CAF in 2012.

The stat
59.5 per cent of the 84 goals Shakhtar Donetsk have scored in the Champions League – a total of 50 overall – have been struck by Brazilian players.

What they said
"In any other group we should be through with 12 points. We've got a tough game in Naples. We've seen English teams in the past struggle over there so we know what to expect," Jack Wilshere, Arsenal midfielder.

Have your say
Can Galatasaray pull off an upset and qualify at Juventus's expense?