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  • Writer's pictureDaniele Proch

UEFA Champions League: Standings, Qualification Scenarios And Prize Money For The Four Italian Clubs

~ Original article here!

The fifth and penultimate matchday of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League group stage wrapped up on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Of the four Italian clubs involved in this UEFA Champions League edition, Juventus have already qualified for the prestigious Round of 16, while Inter, Atalanta, and Lazio will have to wait another week to know their fate.

Featuring among the best 16 European clubs is not just a matter of pride but also represents a big monetary incentive.

The website Goal broke down the prize money that European clubs received during last year’s UEFA Champions League edition, specifying the amounts distributed through each phase of the tournament.

In the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, a group stage win was worth €2.7 million, while a draw paid €900 thousand. Qualifying for the Round of 16 earned clubs another €9.5 million.

Below are the current UEFA Champions League standings and qualification scenarios of Inter, Atalanta, Lazio, and Juventus as well as an estimate of the prize money they have so far collected through their group stage results.

Inter: Last In Group B, But There’s Hope

Group B has arguably been the toughest and most competitive across all Champions League groups, as well as the one that could store the biggest surprises entering the last matchday.

German club Borussia Mönchengladbach have a very fragile lead. They currently sit first with eight points, just one more than both La Liga reigning champions Real Madrid and Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. Putting pressure from behind, with five points, are Inter.

To access the Round of 16, the Nerazzurri have only one available scenario: beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home and hope that the Real Madrid-Borussia Mönchengladbach match will not end in a draw.

Based on the prize money established in the last UEFA Champions League edition, Inter’s financial reward coming from the potential 2-2-2 record in the group stage will be €7.2 million.

This figure, along with the estimated €9.5 million that would come from qualifying to the Round of 16, adds up to €16.7 million, roughly the combined annual salaries of three key players on Inter’s roster - midfielder Arturo Vidal, winger Ivan Perišić, and wing-back Achraf Hakimi.

Atalanta: Not Losing Against Ajax Will Suffice

After tying 1-1 against Danish underdog Midtjylland last Tuesday, Atalanta have advanced to second place in Group D.

In the first five matches, La Dea has recorded two wins - one of which being a surprising 2-0 victory away at Anfield against the English Premier League champions of Liverpool - two draws, and one loss.

According to the financial rewards in place during the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League edition, these results should earn Atalanta about €7.2 million.

Next Wednesday, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men just need to come away with a tie from the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, where they pay a visit to Ajax, the Dutch club that currently sits one point behind Atalanta in the Group D standings.

A draw will be enough for Atalanta to qualify as second in Group D behind Liverpool, who have already clinched the first position. A loss, however, would eliminate Atalanta and push Ajax to the next UEFA Champions League stage.

A spot in the Round of 16 would earn Atalanta an extra €9.5 million. This figure alone would cover almost a fourth of the club’s annual spending on players’ wages, which currently lays just below €43 million.

Lazio: Chances To Win Group F

The 1-1 draw at Signal Iduna Park against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday put Lazio second in the Group F standings, just one point shy of the Germans. Lazio will host Club Brugge on matchday 6 and will need either a tie or a win to arithmetically advance to the Round of 16.

The Biancocelesti will qualify as first in their group with either one of these two scenarios: They beat Club Brugge and Borussia Dortmund do not win against Zenit, or they tie with Club Brugge and Borussia Dortmund lose against Zenit. The last outcome would put Lazio and Borussia Dortmund leveled on 10 points, but Lazio would be considered ahead because they won the head-to-head.

Clubs that qualify as first in their group enjoy two main benefits entering the Round of 16: They will host the second match of the two-legged knockout ties, and, in the Dec. 14 UEFA Champions League draw, they will be paired with a team that qualified as second in their group.

Manager Simone Inzaghi can be confident of Lazio’s chances to come away from the last group stage match with a positive result, as they are still undefeated in this 2020/21 UEFA Champions League edition.

Lazio’s 2-3-0 record means that they will receive prize money for each of the first five matches played so far. Based on last year’s UEFA Champions League figures, that number is currently estimated to be around €8.1 million.

Juventus: Ronaldo Vs. Messi For Group G’s First Seed

Juventus had arithmetically qualified to the Round of 16 after just four matches in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Now, with one game left and a 4-0-1 record, they will try to beat Barcelona at Camp Nou with a three-goal margin to qualify as first in Group G. This is the only scenario that would put Juventus ahead of the Blaugrana, who had secured the first head-to-head in Turin with a 2-0 victory back in October.

Almost a decade after the last time they battle each other in a UEFA Champions League game, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are ready to face off again on Tuesday, Dec. 8!

According to the prize money set for last year’s UEFA Champions League, Juventus have accumulated a total of €20.3 million through their group stage wins and qualification to the Round of 16.

This figure is about €10 million shy of Ronaldo’s annual net wage, and about €12 million higher than the salary of Matthijs de Ligt, the second highest-paid player on Juventus’s roster, according to estimates by Italy’s daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

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