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Latest update: Who’s booking spots in 2012-13’s UEFA Champions League

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When we first started these updates (shortly after the blog was launched), three teams had booked their place in 2012-13’s Champions League. Now, only four of the competition’s 21 automatic group stage spots are left unclaimed:

  • In England, third place is still up for grabs, with four teams (Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Chelsea) still mathematically alive. Chelsea can also get in by winning the 2011-12 competition next Saturday against Bayern Munich, but if they do, England’s fourth place team heads to Europa.
  • With one round left in Ukraine, Shakhtar has a overtaken Dynamo and need only a point at home on Thursday (against last place Oleksandria) to win the Premier League.
  • In Turkey, Fenerbahçe will host Galatasaray on Saturday, the teams’ fourth derby of the year. If Fener wins, they claim Turkey’s group stage spot. Else, its’ Gala’s.
  • And in Denmark, Copenhagen lost a crucial match at Nordsjaelland last week. After their Sunday draw at home to OB, Copenhagen’s lead is down to one point with three rounds remaining.

Brief reminder: 12 league qualify teams directly into group play, placing between one and three clubs in the competition proper. Every league in Europe has a chance to place a club in group stage, though most teams have to play their way in through late-summer qualifiers.

England
(3 group stage spots plus one play-in qualifier)
Spain
(3 group stage spots plus one play-in qualifier)
1. Manchester City: 86 points, 37 games
2. Manchester United: 86 pts, 37 gp
3. Arsenal: 67 pts, 37 gp
4. Tottenham Hotspur: 66 pts, 37 gp
1. Real Madrid: 97 points, 37 games
2. Barcelona: 90 pts, 37 gp
3. Valencia: 61 pts, 37 gp
4. Málaga: 55 pts, 37 gp
Germany
(3 + 1)
Italy
(2 + 1)
1. Borussia Dortmund: 81 pts, 34 gp
2. Bayern Munich: 73 pts, 34 gp
3. Schalke: 64 pts, 34 gp
4. Borussia Moenchengladbach: 60 pts, 34 gp
1. Juventus: 81 pts, 37 gp
2. Milan: 77 pts, 37 gp
3. Udinese: 61 pts, 37 gp
France
(2 + 1)
Portugal
(2 + 1)
1. Montpellier: 76 pts, 36 gp
2. Paris Saint-Germain: 73 pts, 36 gp
3. Lille: 71 pts, 36 gp
1. Porto: 72 pts, 29 gp
2. Benfica: 66 pts, 29 gp
3. Sporting Braga: 62 pts, 29 gp
Russia
(1 + 1)
Ukraine
(1 + 1)
1. Zenit: 85 pts, 43 gp
2. CSKA Moscow: 72 pts, 42 gp
1. Shakhtar Donetsk: 76 pts, 29 gp
2. Dynamo Kyiv: 74 pts, 29 gp
Netherlands
(1 + 1)
Turkey
(1 + 1)
1. Ajax: 76 pts, 34 gp
2. Feyenoord: 70 pts, 34 gp
1. Galatasaray: 47 (adjusted) pts, 39 gp
2. Fenerbahce: 46 pts, 39 gp
Turkey has entered its four-team playoff round, where qualifiers’ season point totals are halved ahead of the six-match, home-and-home round-robin.
Greece
(1 + 1)
Denmark
(1 + 1)
1. Olympiacos – 73 points, 30 games
2. Panathinaikos – leading the four-team playoff
1. Copenhagen: 62 points, 30 games
2. FC Nordsjaelland: 61 pts, 30 gp

Bold – participants in 2011-12’s group stage.
Italic – entered into the 2012-13’s preliminary rounds.

Gerrard urges Liverpool to “try and bid for Van Dijk”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Virgil Van Dijk‘s quick rise in the Premier League has caught the attention of many around England, and one of the division’s greats has high hopes the Dutchman will join his former side in the future.

[ MORE: Saints wallop Leicester in complete effort ]

Steven Gerrard has suggested that Liverpool come out and pursue Van Dijk, who joined Southampton back in 2015 from Scottish side Celtic.

Gerrard — who is set to take a coaching position with Liverpool’s academy — believes the budding star would be a strong fit for the Reds, however, the ex-midfielder realizes it’ll be a hard sell.

“Who I think we need, I would go and try and bid for Van Dijk from Southampton,” Gerrard told BT Sport. “But we’ve had enough of their players so that will probably go down like a lead balloon.”

The 25-year-old has made waves in England’s top flight after quickly proving to be one of the division’s top defenders and helping guide the Saints towards the top half of the table since his arrival.

Report: San Diego making push to become future MLS expansion site

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With the NFL no longer the biggest show in town, San Diego could be bringing another football to the city in the near future.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Hyndman provides assist in Rangers debut win ]

According to NBC 7 San Diego, FS Investors founder Mike Stone and former Qualcomm Vice Chairman Steve Altman are prepared to reveal their proposal on Monday that will bring a future MLS franchise to San Diego.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The proposed move includes a stadium plan that will reside where the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium currently sits. With the NFL franchise now playing in Los Angeles, the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball are the only remaining professional team in the area, out of the five major sports in the U.S.

NBC 7 is also reporting that a future San Diego team would share its facility with the San Diego State Aztecs football team.

MLS is currently up to 22 teams entering the 2017 season, while Los Angeles FC is also tabbed to enter the league next year. David Beckham’s Miami project is also considered to be the league’s 24th team, and MLS is likely to hold off on further announcements regarding expansion until later in 2017.

If San Diego were to be chosen as an expansion site, the club would become the fourth to call California home in the current state of MLS, joining the San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy and LA FC (2018).

In addition to San Diego, several other cities are currently vying to enter MLS in the future, including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Sacramento and Charlotte.

Hull’s Ryan Mason hospitalized following collision with Gary Cahill

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Ryan Mason of Hull City lies injured after the collision with Gary Cahill of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on January 22, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Ryan Mason has undergone surgery following a scary collision with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill on Sunday.

[ MORE: Chelsea goes eight points clear at top of PL ]

The Hull City midfielder was injured after knocking heads with Cahill during first half of the 2-0 defeat to the Blues. Nine minutes of first-half stoppage time were needed after Mason stayed down on the pitch at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Xhaka’s red card makes him most sent-off player in Europe ]

It has been confirmed by the club that Mason suffered a skull fracture, while it is has also been speculated that the 25-year-old could have had bleeding on his brain.

Mason will remain hospitalized for the “next few days,” according to the Tigers.

“The Club can confirm that Ryan Mason sustained a skull fracture in our fixture at Chelsea this afternoon. He was taken to St Mary’s Hospital where he has undergone surgery.

“Ryan is in a stable condition and is expected to remain in hospital for the next few days.
“Everyone at the Club would like to express their sincere thanks for the excellent and swift care given to Ryan by both the Accident and Emergency department and Neurosurgery Unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

“A further update will be issued tomorrow.”

While Mason was forced off during the match due to the injury, Cahill managed to continue for Chelsea and scored the game’s second goal.

Watch: Scott Sinclair nets stunning curler in Celtic victory

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Celtic is enjoying another fine campaign in Scotland, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to the play of Scott Sinclair.

[ MORE: Burkina Faso, Cameroon progress at AFCON 2017 ]

The Englishman was at it again on Sunday during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Albion Rovers when the 27-year-old curled an absolutely sublime effort into the top corner for the game’s opening goal.

The finish, Sinclair’s 13th of the season in all competitions, came after the winger picked up the ball on the left side of the Albion penalty area. Sinclair then proceeded to slot his dipping shot just under the bar and into the far post.

Celtic now moves on to the fifth round of this season’s tournament, joining the likes of Rangers and Aberdeen. In addition to the team’s success in the competition, the Bhoys have yet to lose a match in the Scottish Premier League this campaign (19 W, 1 D).