UEFA Champions League 2012-13: Predicting Last Three Clubs to Enter Round of 16

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 01:  Claudio Marchisio (R) of Juventus celebrates his goal with team-mates  Sebastian Giovinco during the Serie A match between Juventus and Torino FC at Juventus Arena on December 1, 2012 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Three spots remain unfilled in the Round of 16 as group play comes to an end in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League, and six squads have a shot at being included.

Juventus, Chelsea, SL Benfica, Celtic, Galatasaray and CFR 1907 Cluj all enter the final two days of the group stage with a chance to advance.

With six teams in contention and only three spots available, the action on the pitch over the next two days is sure to be fast and furious.

Who is going to join Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04, Arsenal, Málaga, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Dontesk, Bayern München, Valencia CF, Barcelona and Manchester United in the Round of 16?

Here's who we see advancing to the knockout stage.



The Bianconeri need only one point to advance to the knockout round, so a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk, who sits atop Group E with 10 points would be enough to push them through.

While Juventus will be without Claudio Marchisio, suspended after picking up his third yellow card against Chelsea on Matchday 5, the midfielder says that his club will be looking to improve upon the draw they played to the last time these two sides met (h/t Goal.com):

A draw is not what we're after. It's a risk for both teams to play for a draw. We have to go there to play our own game and try to win the match.

We are aware of their quality. They sit atop of the group and are the strongest team we have faced so far. It's true that we put in a great performance against Chelsea, but we aren't there yet.

It will not be an easy game and we will have to put in a performance similar to the one against Chelsea. We have to remain cautious and cannot let them surprise us.

The two sides played to a draw in their first match in Italy, and the same result is certainly possible here.

Yet I'm calling for a 2-1 Juventus victory, with the Bianconeri motivated after dropping matches to AC Milan and Inter over the past few weeks.



While Celtic and Benfica sit second in Group G with seven points each, the Portuguese club has the advantage over them on head-to-head record, meaning that Celtic needs help from Barcelona to advance to the next round for the first time since the 2007-08 UCL.

Before they can worry about Benfica, Celtic needs to deal with Spartak Moscow, whom they defeated 3-2 in Moscow.

Brazilian striker Ari is promising to walk into Glasgow and send Celtic packing: "Celtic beat us in Moscow and now we want our revenge in Scotland," he said (h/t Daily Express), but that's easier said than done.

I like Celtic to make it two matches in a row over Spartak, winning 2-1 while Barcelona downs Benfica, sending the leaders on the Scottish Premier League table into the knockout round.



Since losing 2-0 to SC Braga on October 2, Galatasaray has gone 2-1-0, moving up to second place in Group H where they sit tied with CFR 1907 Cluj at seven points apiece.

The Turkish club holds their fate in their hands, needing to only match what CFR does against Manchester United to advance to the knockout round.

I'm taking Galatasaray to advance to the next round not so much because I believe they'll triumph over Braga, but because I don't believe that CFR can find success against Manchester.