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Champions League Roundup

The final round of the UEFA Champions League didn't produce any real surprises and in the end the usual suspects went through to the knockout stages.

After their impressive showing earlier on in the campaign Werder Bremen and CSKA Moscow would feel hard done by having failed to reach the next stage of the Champions League. As for Werder Bremen, I think this was mainly because they found themselves in a very difficult group and having to play the deciding match at the Nou camp didn't help them either.

In Group A, Chelsea and Barcelona have gone through leaving Werder Bremen to drop to the UEFA Cup. I think Chelsea and Barcelona showed their class in this group and deserve to go to the knockout stages. In any other group Werder Bremen could possibly have qualified but they were in a tough group and they will have to show what they are made of in the UEFA Cup.

An intense battle for the UEFA Cup place ensued in Group B where Spartak Moscow had to beat Sporting Lisbon away to secure it. At the top Inter started the campaign badly but recovered in time to take second place behind Bayern Munich.

2004 winners Liverpool had a straight-forward run to clinch top spot in Group C ahead of PSV. This was to be expected in a group where Bordeaux and Galatasaray were expected to fight it out for the UEFA place which eventually went to Bordeaux.

Valencia made it look so easy in Group D losing just the final match to Roma who themselves needed a to win to secure second spot. In the end Roma's win wasn't as important as Shakhtar Donetsk could only get a point against Olympiacos to finish with six points and get the UEFA place. Olympiacos required a win in their final match to get third place and the draw means Europe will now have to wait until next year.

Lyon and Real Madrid had Group E to themselves with Lyon finishing top. Lyon conceded just three goals in their six matches finishing with the best goal difference in group qualifying of nine. Steaua Bucuresti grabbed third place ahead of winless Dynamo Kiev who finished last.

Group F was probably the tightest group of them all the with team finishing last, FC Copenhagen, amassing seven points. This is more than what Steaua Bucuresti(5), Spartak Moscow(5) and Shakhtar Donetsk(6) amassed but still qualified for the UEFA Cup. Manchester United finished top winning the last day match against Benfica who dropped into the UEFA Cup while Celtic who won all their home games and lost all the away ones finished second.

A three way battle raged between Arsenal, Porto and CSKA Moscow which was won by Arsenal and Porto with CSKA Moscow having to settle for third place. Hamburg was disappointing and the win against CSKA Moscow on the last day just helped them avoid finishing with zero points.

Finally, AC Milan achieved top post with a match to spare and therefore the last day loss to Lille wasn't surprising. However, that loss helped Lille reach the qualifying stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history. AEK Athens had a great chance to secure second but their failure to get all the points against Anderlecht means their European adventure will now continue in the UEFA Cup.

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