Barcelona dumped out of Champions League in group stage for second year in a row

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    Barcelona have been dumped out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second season in a row after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen.

    The Catalan side needed Czech minnows Plzen to do them a huge favour against Inter to have any chance of keeping their knockout dreams alive. But their hopes came crashing down as Simone Inzaghi's side recorded a comfortable 4-0 victory at the San Siro.

    Inter are now on ten points in Group C, six clear of Barcelona in third before their match against Bayern Munich. Barcelona could finish level on points with their Italian counterparts, but it still wouldn't be enough to see them through.

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    That's because – unlike in the Premier League – teams who finish on the same amount of points are not separated by goal difference. In the Champions League, sides level on points are split by their head-to-head record.

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    Inter defeated Barcelona 1-0 at the San Siro before playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with the Catalan club at the Nou Camp, thus giving them a better head-to-head record.

    That means Xavi's side cannot finish above Inter, even if they win their final two games in Group C and finish level on points with the 19-time Serie A winners.

    With Viktoria Plzen guaranteed to finish bottom of the group, Barcelona will drop into the Europa League for the second season in a row, where they could eventually encounter sides including Juventus, Manchester United and Arsenal.

    UEFA's second-tier competition is stacked with big names, making it far from a foregone conclusion that Robert Lewandowski and co. will claim the trophy at the Puskas Arena in Budapest in May.

    Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League last season, before losing to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 on aggregate. They have never won the Europa League or it's previous incarnation, the UEFA Cup.


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