The penultimate round of Champions League group stage fixtures is already here, and this is where big names could start dropping into the Europa League -- or worse. Group B's Inter Milan are in grave danger of not even finishing third in what has been a disastrous European campaign so far, while Liverpool, Ajax and Atalanta are tightly bunched in Group D ahead of an important pair of matches.
With Bayern Munich and Manchester City already into the knockout rounds, there is decidedly less at stake in Groups A and C but the fight for Europa League qualification goes on with Shakhtar Donetsk, Lokomotiv Moscow and Olympiacos all in contention.
GROUP B: Inter Milan need a win in Germany
Borussia Monchengladbach have surprised many this season to lead Real Madrid, Shakhtar and Inter in Group B after some inspired performances -- notably against the Ukrainians.
The Italians have been underwhelming and went down 2-0 at home to Real last time out when they desperately needed to win.
With Antonio Conte continuing to prove a problematic fit with Inter, the pressure is great ahead of their trip to Germany.
The Serie A side need their first continental win of the season and they need it now but even that might be too late with five points separating them from second-placed Real and two between them and Shakhtar in third with only six points left to play for.
Europa League looks like the best possible outcome for last season's Serie A runners-up while Real hope to profit from any potential stalemate in Germany with a trip to face Shakhtar.
GROUP D: Liverpool in tricky Ajax clash after Atalanta loss
Liverpool's defeat at home to Atalanta last time out has really opened Group D up with Ajax and the Italians just two points behind Jurgen Klopp's men.
The Premier League giants continue to struggle for fitness and their form has taken a bit of a hit and the meeting with the Dutch at Anfield takes on greater importance with Atalanta expected to beat hapless Midtjylland.
Liverpool could conceivably find themselves behind both Ajax and Atalanta if results go against them on Tuesday, which makes at least a draw a must for the six-time Champions League winners. Taking a single point would be enough to ensure that Klopp and company advance, though to clinch first in the group this week, Liverpool would need to win and the unlikely result of Midjylland taking at least a point from Atalanta.
With Ajax and Atalanta to close out the group in Amsterdam, Group D is definitely the place to be ahead of these two final rounds.
GROUP A: Atletico Madrid need a win over Bayern Munich
With Bayern already through to the knockout phase, Atletico will be hoping that the Germans rest a few players for their meeting at Wanda Metropolitano.
Unfortunately for Diego Simeone and his men, the Bundesliga juggernaut possess arguably the strongest and deepest squad on the continent so it will still be a tough task.
Recent 1-0 wins over Barcelona and Valencia will buoy Atleti and they need to ensure that their pair of draws against Lokomotiv do not come back to haunt them with the Russians at home to Red Bull Salzburg.
A win against Bayern doesn't clinch a spot in the latter stages, at least not without Lokomotiv also dropping points, but it puts the Spaniards well on their way with only Salzburg left to play.
A win for Lokomotiv would make things interesting as far as Group A's second spot goes but it would more likely secure a Europa League berth.
GROUP C: Marseille's chance for Europa League salvation
Dropping down to Group C and there is little left to play for outside of the Europa League spot which should be decided by Marseille's meeting with Olympiacos at Stade Velodrome.
Manchester City and Porto are pretty much through, though Porto still need to take a point or have Olympiacos drop one to make it official, with only top spot left to fight for.
OM have set an unwanted record of 13 consecutive Champions League defeats that they will not want to extend and a win over Olympiacos would get them right back into the Europa League equation.