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FC Barcelona won 2-0 at Celtic Park are into the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 13th time in a row. Not only that, but even though there is still one game to go, the Catalans are already guaranteed first place in Group C.
Barça are not alone. Leicester City, Atlético Madrid and Monaco clinched first place in their groups this week too. Those four sides will all be seeded for the round of 16 draw on December 12 and therefore won’t be able to play each other.
But this week has also seen Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen confirmed as runners-up in their groups. Barça will kept apart from City (plus any Liga teams that finish second), meaning that a trip to Germany is very much on the cards as things stand.
Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Arsenal, PSG and Juventus are also through to the last sixteen, but it’s not yet decided whether that will be as group winners or not.
Other possible second round opponents for Barça are Napoli, Benfica, Besiktas, FC Porto, FC Copenhagen and Lyon – all of which will be looking to secure qualification on the final day.
But all of that belongs to the future. In the meantime, here are some key facts and stats from Wednesday’s game at Celtic Park:
- Messi’s first goal was the team’s 400th of the Luis Enrique era (competitive games only). And it was also the 100th for the Argentinian in international club competitions.
- Ivan Rakitic and Neymar Jr both got yellow carded against Celtic and will therefore sit out the final game in Group C, at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Leo Messi has scored a sensational 18 goals in 15 official games for Barça this season, and on an active evening in Glasgow he delivered 59 completed passes.
Sergio Busquets won ten balls against Celtic, more than any other player.
Leo Messi has shot ten times on target in this year’s Champions League and those shots have produced nine goals. That’s quite some conversion rate! He's the top goalscorer so far in the competition and was named UEFA Player of the Week for his performance in Scotland.
Neymar Jr had played all 90 minutes of fourteen consecutive games before going to Celtic Park, but last night he was replaced by Arda Turan after 77 minutes. That means Javier Mascherano is now the longest consecutive player for Barça. The Argentinian has played eight full games in a row.
Marlon Santos became the eleventh player to make his first team debut since Luis Enrique took charge of the team. The Brazilian centre back came on for Gerard Piqué after 72 minutes and coped handsomely with the responsibility.
Neymar Jr provided the splendid chip that led to Messi’s first goal, and that consolidates his position as the top assist-provider in the Champions league. Seven goals have been set up by the Brazilian ace.
Leo Messi’s nine goals in the Champions League are more than 20 of the 32 teams in the competition have scored in total, and he’s tied with five other sides!
Barça have more away wins than any other club in the Champions League era, 48. They have also won more groups than another else, 18.
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