All that the Champions League aspired to be is encapsulated by Group B this season with Italian champions Inter Milan and Cypriot outsiders Anorthosis Famagusta seeking to progress with a game to spare.
The big-money teams from Europe's major leagues need to be involved in the knockout stages to maintain the glamour of UEFA's prestige club competition but the success of the underdogs adds much-needed variety.
Inter host Panathinaikos on Wednesday and will progress with a win or draw against the side they beat 2-0 in Athens in September.
Inter, flying atop Serie A, warmed up with a 1-0 home win over Juventus on Saturday and would have been through already had they beaten Anorthosis. But the Cypriots drew 3-3, could have won and are unbeaten at home in Europe for eight games.
Anorthosis host Werder Bremen, who they held to a goalless draw in Germany in their first taste of Champions League football, and a home win could be enough to secure an unlikely slot in the last 16.
They look set to be without first choice goalkeeper Arian Beqaj as the Albania international is struggling to overcome a finger injury that has kept him out since the game in Milan. Zoltan Nagy is standing by for a first Champions League start.
Group C is already settled with Barcelona and Sporting through while Juventus, who have already beaten Real Madrid home and away, have also qualified from Group H.
The Spaniards are still second, though, and would secure a slot in the knockpout phase with a win at Bate Borisov if Zenit St Petersburg fail to beat Juventus.
Atletico Madrid and Liverpool have eight points at the top of Group D and will advance with at least a point at home to PSV Eindhoven and Olympique Marseille respectively.
It is a similar situation in Group F where Olympique Lyon and Bayern Munich have eight points. The French champions will advance with a draw at Fiorentina as will Bayern with a similar result at home to Steaua Bucharest.
Holders Manchester United and Villarreal, who meet in Spain in Group E on Tuesday, also have eight points and a draw would probably suit both coaches.
AS Roma's 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the last round of games has opened up group A but last season's runners up still lead the way and will go through with a win at Girondins Bordeaux.
Roma, who won 3-0 at Lecce on Sunday but have struggled domestically this season, visit CFR Cluj, who with four points are still in with an outside chance of progressing.
Arsenal are enduring one of their worst domestic runs for years, with off-field problems adding to the gloom.
However, manager Arsene Wenger would gain some much-needed relief with a home win over Dynamo Kiev which would send them through with a game to spare from Group G.
Second-placed Porto could join them with a win at Fenerbahce.