From the day the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group B draw was made, many had given it to Real Madrid and Inter Milan based on their playing personnel.
But after five games, both Real Madrid and Inter Milan are on the brink of elimination from the group as the initially predicted weeping boys, Shaktar Donetsk and Borussia Monchengladbach are topping the group.
Dentinho and Manor Solomon’s strikes were enough to secure victory for Shaktar, who won the reverse fixture 3-2 in Madrid.
Despite losing 3-2 to Inter at home, Borussia Monchengladbach is topping the group with eight-point while Shakhtar, which had won none of their three Champions League games since beating Real Madrid in October is second with 7. The Ukrainian Champions are on the same points as Real Madrid that is third on the log but has a superior head-to-head after winning both legs 3-2 and 2-0 respectively.
Inter on the other hand has five points after winning one, lost two, and drew two games. The Nerazurri got back into the hunt for the second spot courtsey of Romelu Lukaku’s brace in Germany in a game that ended 3-2 in their favour.
The present result has left Real Madrid’s hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 for a 24th consecutive season to hang in the balance.
How can Inter Milan and Real Madrid qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League?
From the look of things one must give way for the other or both decided to miss the spot.
Now let’s start with the negative. Madrid will welcome Monchenglaback at home on game day 6. If they lose, they are automatically out of the competition. This means they must at least get a draw to have hope of reaching the next round.
The only assurance that Zinedine Zidane’s side need is to get a win that will take them to 10 points and they will win the group. But if they draw, they get eight points and progress as group runners up provided Shakhtar loses at San Siro against Inter.
From the looks of things, the Ukrainians need just a draw to qualify, provided Monchengladbach holds Madrid to a draw. So, it means that there will be likely changes in the positions of each team as the group remains open for anyone to get the chance of qualifying.
The 13-time European champions are third in Group B with one game to play. Real Madrid has an injury crisis to battle already as their star man, Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard are out of action through injuries.
Madrid is currently fourth in La Liga and they are currently struggling to win games in the competition they last won in 2018.
After their 2-1 loss against Alaves during the weekend, Zidane must now find a way his lads must end their three matches winless streak.
Real started the Champions League this season on a bad note. losing 3-2 at home to Shakhtar, they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Moncheglabach before consecutive victories over Inter Milan. But another loss against Luis Castro’s side has blown qualification for the knockout stages wide open.
With four victories in their past 11 games in all competitions, Madrid sits seven points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad in Spain, albeit with a game in hand. This is a real concern for the club.
What lies in front of them is the very real prospect of an unthinkable early exit from Europe’s elite club competition heading into their final group match against Monchengladbach next Wednesday.
For Inter, they could be out of the Champions League group stage for the second consecutive seasons after returning to the competition last season.
Inter played two consecutive draws in their first two games. This was also followed up with two home and away losses against Madrid before sniffing out a win against tyhe Bundesliga side.
On the home front, they are curently second on the Serie A table, five points behind fellow city rivals, AC Milan after nine rounds of games.