What Newcastle United need to qualify for Champions League Round of 16: Knockout permutations, results needed

Newcastle United are back in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years and to stay in the competition they’ll need to progress from what’s been labelled the ‘Group of Death’. 

The Magpies are in Group F, which consists of Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan, an incredibly high level of opponent.

Newcastle started the group with a 0-0 draw in Milan in the opening week before thrashing PSG at St. James’ Park 4-1 at the start of October. They were then narrowly beaten by Dortmund twice in succession by 1-0 and 2-0 score lines, before a controversial 1-1 draw with PSG where they arguably should have got all three points.

This leaves the English club in third place in group F with five points – two behind PSG and five behind leaders Dortmund.

The Sporting News takes a look at how Newcastle United can make it to the knockout stages of the competition.

MORE: Champions League group-stage standings 2023/24

How can Newcastle United qualify for the Champions League knockout stages?

The European Cup, now known as the Champions League, debuted in 1955/56 with 16 teams. In 1992/93, it transformed into the Champions League and now features 78 clubs in the 2023/24 season. Qualification involves three rounds and a play-off in the summer, leading to the group stage, which consists of 32 teams and begins from September every season.

There are eight groups, each with four teams that play each other home and away, with the top two advancing to the round of 16, while the third-placed team moves to the UEFA Europa League. The knockout phase includes two-legged rounds from the round of 16 to the semifinals and finishes in a final hosted by a pre-selected stadium. This season the final will be held at Wembley Stadium in London.

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⏱️ A narrow defeat at St. James’ Park.#NEWBVB // #NUFC pic.twitter.com/OGjv1j8fS5

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 25, 2023

To get out of the group, 10 points will almost guarantee Newcastle a place in the knockout rounds, though they need to win both of their remaining two matches to achieve that tally. 

Anywhere from seven to nine points may just about be enough, though picking up just seven points would be cutting it close.

After five games, Newcastle are third with five points, only ahead of bottom-placed Milan on goal difference.

Newcastle’s Champions League fate is no longer in their own hands, with the Magpies needing to defeat Milan firstly to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stage – any other result will see them eliminated.

If they secure three points at home against Milan, Newcastle need Dortmund to get a win or draw against PSG at Signal Iduna Park to guarantee progression to the round-of-16.

A draw by Dortmund against PSG will be enough for a victorious Newcastle to leapfrog PSG as their goal difference against the French giants in their matches is plus-three – despite possibly finishing on equal overall goal difference.


Group F table


Team PTS GP W L D GF GA GD 1. Bor. Dortmund  10 5 3 1 1 6 3 +3 2. PSG 7 5 2 2 1 8 7 +1 3. Newcastle 5 5 1 2 2 5 5 0 4. AC Milan 5 5 1 2 2 3 7 -4Group F schedule and results Date Match Tue, Sept. 19 Milan 0-0 Newcastle Tue, Sept. 19 PSG 2-0 Dortmund Wed, Oct. 4 Newcastle 4-1 PSG Wed, Oct. 4 Dortmund 0-0 Milan Wed, Oct. 25 PSG 3-0 Milan Wed, Oct. 25 Newcastle 0-1 Dortmund Tue, Nov. 7 Dortmund 2-0 Newcastle Tue, Nov. 7 Milan 2-1 PSG Tue, Nov. 28 Milan 1-3 Dortmund Tue, Nov. 28 PSG 1-1 Newcastle Wed, Dec. 13 Dortmund vs PSG Wed, Dec. 13 Newcastle vs Milan

How many English teams have won the Champions League?

The Champions League has only seen six different English teams claim the title. Manchester United were the first English side to lift the European Cup back in 1968. Less than a decade later, in 1976/77 Bob Paisley led Liverpool to a 3-1 win against Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome. Nottingham Forest’s ‘miracle men’ were the side who won it back-to-back in 1979 and 1980 before Aston Villa won their first in 1982. 

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In 2008, United defeated Chelsea in an all-English final, while Chelsea avenged their loss in 2012 against Bayern Munich. Manchester City then lifted the title in Istanbul when they beat Inter Milan in 2023.

England boasts 15 European Cup/Champions League titles, led by Liverpool with six wins. Manchester United have three, Chelsea and Nottingham Forest each have two, and Aston Villa and Manchester City have one apiece.

In the 2023/24 Champions League group stages, reigning champions Man City, Man United, Arsenal, and Newcastle United represent the Premier League.

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