Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt add Bundesliga air to Champions League qualifiers

This season’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 will feature a distinct Bundesliga twist, after four teams from Germany’s top division reached the round of 16 of the tournament.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt will be in Monday’s draw (12:00 CET) at UEFA headquarters, with Bayer Leverkusen – the fifth Bundesliga team to reach the group stage of European football competition this season – safely through to the UEFA Europa League play-offs.

After their respective spectacular feats over the course of a memorable group stage, Bundesliga teams make up a quarter of the teams remaining in the competition, with only the English Premier League able to match the amount of competitors.

On Tuesday, Bayern and Eintracht began the celebrations. Bundesliga champions and six-times European champions, Bayern had already secured their passage as winners of Group C, but the challenge for Julian Nagelsmann’s team was to become the first team to qualify for the round of 16 with a 100 percent record for the third time. A 2-0 win over Inter Milan ensured that.

“The Champions League is an incredible competition; we know it’s special to win six out of six in such a strong group,” said Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bayern’s current top scorer. The Cameroonian international has taken his current tally to eight goals in his last nine games – and seven in his last six games – with a growing rocket against the Nerazzurri, with Benjamin Pavard also in the win.

“Six wins out of six: it doesn’t get much better than that,” added Kingsley Coman after Bayern came out perfect from a so-called Group of Death, which also contained Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen. “We are very proud, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” added Coman.

Liverpool, Club Brugge, AC Milan and PSG are the next possible opponents for the Bavarians and a mouth-watering draw is guaranteed for whoever is drawn to face the mighty Bayern.

And things will be equally exciting for Eintracht, who have mounted a rollercoaster of emotions to reach the round of 16 in what is their tournament debut.

Losing to Sporting at half-time in Tuesday’s game, Eintracht left Europe as the bottom of Group D. However, the dramatic 45 minutes at Estádio José Alvalade and in the other game in the group, between Marseille and Tottenham, would give a complete turnaround. A penalty by Daichi Kamada and victory by Randal Kolo Muani took Die Adler to the promised land as he finished in second place.

“It’s crazy, what the players achieved and how they dealt with setbacks,” said Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner. “We are now in the round of 16 and we absolutely deserve to be there.”

“We made history again today,” added goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, as last season’s Europa League winners extended their continental celebrations. “It’s a really fun team to play with. We wanted to give something back to the fans – their support is gold.”

The qualification of the “Eagles” is even more worthy of praise, as they lost the opening game of Group D against Sporting, by 3-0. “This is just amazing,” Mario Götze, a summer newcomer, told Eintracht’s website. “If you look at how we were behind at halftime [in Lisbon] and totally out of the race in fourth place, and then we ended up going home with the win and moving on to the next round – that’s amazing.”

Leipzig’s achievement was equally impressive. Die Roten Bullen were at a disadvantage at the start of a campaign in which they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid and with a goal column that said one for and six against.

However, four straight victories – which included a 3-2 victory over reigning European champions Real – completed a superb renaissance under manager Marco Rose. Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Shakhtar in Warsaw – Leipzig’s second biggest win in European competition – was a fitting end for a club no one would want to face in the round of 16.

“It wasn’t certain that we would recover and qualify after starting the group with two defeats,” said captain Willi Orban. “I’m very proud of the team.”

Also proud are Leipzig fans, who have now seen their team reach the round of 16 of the Champions League for the third time in five seasons.

The Saxony-based side will join Dortmund in Monday’s draw, with Die Schwarzgelben completing his group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against Copenhagen. “It was a good group stage,” said Nico Schlotterbeck after Dortmund slipped past champions Manchester City. “Now we are looking forward to our round of 16 opponents,” added the defender.

BVB lost just once [away to City] in what was a tough section that also included La Liga side Sevilla. Securing qualification with a game to spare was a remarkable feat for Edin Terzic’s men.

“In a difficult season with a full game schedule, (qualifying) does wonders for our self-confidence; to have made it through the group and reached the round of 16,” Gio Reyna told UEFA after his team’s 0-0 draw with City on Matchday 5. “We are happy to have qualified. We have a very young team with a lot of energy going forward.”

Energy, commitment, style and emotion are what all of Germany’s round of 16 qualifiers will bring to the table when the Champions League knockout stage resumes in February/March.

That will be your Bundesliga Tuesday and Wednesday fix in the new year, but there will also be three more German clubs in action on Thursday nights as they look to emulate Eintracht in winning the Europa League.

Freiburg enjoyed an unbeaten group and qualified with two games remaining, having beaten Nantes, Olympiacos and Qarabag to successfully pass a UEFA group stage for the first time in their history.

“The Europa League is a great adventure,” said enigmatic manager Christian Streich, as he continues to change the football landscape in his decade in charge of the Black Forest club.

And the reward for the efforts of the third-placed Bundesliga is the goodbye to the round of 16, where they will face one of the eight victorious teams of the play-off.

Among those eight games are two more Bundesliga clubs, Union Berlin and Leverkusen.

Current Bundesliga leaders Union’s runner-up in the Europa League group offers them a potentially high-profile encounter with a side that has dropped out of the Champions League. It will be Ajax, Barcelona, ​​Sporting, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Seville or Juventus.

“Names are just music to our ears. We’re excited, whoever it is,” said Sven Michel after his away goal at Union Saint-Gilloise ensured Die Eisernen would continue in the Europa League and not drop down to the Conference League.

While the Berliners will be seeded, Leverkusen are on the opposite side of the tie after finishing ahead of Atletico Madrid and claiming third place in the Champions League group.

Manager Xabi Alonso will no doubt lick his lips at the prospect of taking on former rivals Manchester United or Jose Mourinho’s Roma in a two-legged draw. Die Werkself can also face PSV Eindhoven, Rennes, Nantes, Monaco or Midtylland.

What is certain is that the Bundesliga’s brightest will be formidable opponents when the races for European football’s biggest prizes resume in the spring.

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