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Five Champions League dropouts West Ham could face confirmed and Barca still possible
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Five Champions League dropouts West Ham could face confirmed and Barca still possible

Five of the eight Champions League dropouts West Ham could face in the Europa League last 16 have been confirmed and Barca is still possible.

West Ham sailed through their Europa League group with a game to spare.

It means David Moyes is afforded the rare luxury of a dead rubber in the final group game against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night.

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That will give the Hammers boss a welcome chance to rest his key players and try out some youngsters.

Winning the group also effectively rewarded West Ham with a four-month break from European football.

When West Ham resume for the last 16 knockouts in March, they will be just three ties from the final.

In February everyone connected with West Ham can sit back and relax as they watch the second placed teams from the Europa League group stages face off against the third place dropouts of each of the eight Champions League groups for the right to play against the Hammers and the other seven group winners in the last 16.

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The Champions League dropouts will play against the Europa group runners-up in a two-legged play-off.

And now five of the eight Champions League dropouts West Ham could end up facing have been confirmed.

Meanwhile Barcelona could still be very much on the cards depending on their result when they face already qualified Bayern away on Wednesday night.

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Five CL dropouts West Ham could face confirmed and Barca still possible

RB Leipzig, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff and Zenit St Petersburg are confirmed as five of the eight dropouts from Europe’s elite competition. Zenit play tonight but cannot move up or down from third place in their group regardless of results.

One of the remaining three slots will be filled by either Barca or Benfica. A win for Benfica against Dynamo Kyiv and defeat for Barca at Bayern will dump the Camp Nou side into the Europa League play-off and open up the possibility of a dream clash of the claret and blues.

The other two spots will go down to the wire in tight groups on Wednesday night.

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In CL group F Manchester United have already qualified and one of Villarreal, Atalanta or Young Boys will end up in the Europa.

In group G, all four sides are separated by just three points going into the final game. So West Ham could welcome any one of Lille, Sevilla, RB Salzburg or Wolfsburg into the Europa League.

West Ham were favourites to win the Europa League as of last week.

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But Moyes pointed out that the competition changes dramatically when the Champions League dropouts parachute in.

And there are clearly some big hitters in there.

West Ham would have nothing to fear from any of them, though. The Hammers have beaten the best teams in the world’s best league this season including Liverpool and Chelsea. And they went toe-to-toe with Man City too.

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Let’s not forget the CL dropouts also have to win their play-offs first before they are even in the mix to face the likes of West Ham.

And the second placed Europa sides already confirmed for the play-offs are Rangers, Lazio and Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis.

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