Champions League Group Stage Review + Knockout Draw

With the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League in the books, fans now await the first knockout round draw which comes December 20th, 2012 from Nyon. We quickly take a look back at the group stage, highs and lows and shattered records, courtesy of UEFA.com.

This is the first time title holders have exited so early in the tournament. Chelsea looks to be experiencing some uncertainty with Roberto DiMatteo sacked by Blues boss Roman Abramovich. Newly appointed coach Rafael Benitez has a tough order to fill with the struggling Blues. Chelsea and CFR Cluj Napoca join a short list of seven other clubs who failed to advance from group stage with 10 points.

Iker Casillas made his 127th appearance in the competition, from group stage to finals. Only Ryan Giggs (132) and Raúl (142) have more appearances. Jose Mourinho also accomplished a similar feat in the coaching realm, making his 100th appearance in the competition, while Arsene Wegner oversaw his 150th match in the competition. Only two other coaches are in the 100+ club, Sir Alex Ferguson (188) and Carlo Ancelotti (113).

Barcelona has finished at the top of their group for the 14th time, for the 6th season in a row. Meanwhile, star Argentine striker Leo Messi now has 56 goals across all appearances in the UEFA Champions League, tying Ruud van Nistelrooy and now only behind Raúl (71).

Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic first goal this year against Dynamo Kyiv marked a goal scored with six different clubs in the competition: Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale, AC Milan, Barcelona and now Paris Saint-Germain.

The draw on December 20th will take each group winner and seed them, and draw runners up into position. Teams cannot face one another if they were in the same group, or are from the same national federation. A final look at the teams to advance from each group:

A
1: Paris Saint-Germain
2: FC Porto
E
1: Juventus
2: Shakthar Donetsk
B
1: Shalke 04
2: Arsenal
F
1: Bayern Munich
2: Valencia
C
1: Malaga
2: AC Milan
G
1: Barcelona
2: Celtic
D
1: Borussia Dortmund
2: Real Madrid
H
1: Manchester United
2: Galatasaray

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