This edition of the Champions League is the first in which video refereeing has been used in the group stage. Up to 26 occasions this tool has intervened, on 25 of them to change the decision of the field umpire. Their influence has been decisive for the composition of two groups, as there would be two teams that would have been left out without the VAR.
In Group C, Manchester City would have remained first, but would have changed second place. Atalanta, second, would not have qualified and if Dinamo Zagreb had done so. This is because on the fourth day, when Shakhtar and Atalanta faced off, a penalty was scored on Pyatov at the discount, which allowed the Ukrainians to score a point. Without the VAR, Zagreb would have taken all three points and tied seven points in the standings, which would allow the Ukrainians to go round as they had better balance in the individual matchups.
In Group G, change would have been more radical without the VAR. Leipzig and Lyon would not have finished first and second in the group. The French would have been first, while Benfica would rank as second, leaving the Germans third and in the Europa League. This is due to two interventions that changed the sign of two parties, both in Leipzig’s prejudice. On the first day Werner was awarded a badly annulled offside goal and allowed the Germans to add up to three. In the sixth, from the VAR he was warned of a penalty on Poulsen and that he ended up transforming Forsberg and that allowed Leipzig to score a point.
As for the Spaniards, the VAR has not changed the composition of their groups, but they have experienced several interventions. In real Madrid’s group he has intervened five times. Always in matches where the whites have been, although he did not change the sign in any of them. On three occasions he went to the benefit of Madrid and two were injured by his intervention. Atletico have lived two, both against Lokomotiv, and Valencia two others. Barcelona is the only Spanish team that has not experienced any intervention during the group stage.