UEFA Champions League Fantasy managers have just a few hours left to select their squads for the new season.
Make sure you read up on our introductory articles for the game, as the clock winds down until the Matchday One deadline.
As you add the finishing touches, we have provided some last-minute tips and advice on captaincy, team selection and chip usage.
Champions League match tickets, Playstation 5 consoles and cash in the UEFA store are up for grabs, while Premium Memberships will also be dished out to the leaders in our Fantasy Football Scout mini-league (PIN: 65KAB8EHX307).
In the UEFA Champions League Fantasy game, managers can pick two captains per week; one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday.
That means we can afford to take a more balanced approach to the game with ‘sensible’ and ‘differential’ options available on both nights.
Tuesday, October 20
If you want a sensible call for Tuesday’s games, it has to be (arguably) the best player of all time at home to the Hungarian minnows Ferencvaros.
Yes, Lionel Messi (€12m) and his Barcelona side lost 1-0 to Getafe at the weekend, but they rested Philippe Coutinho (€9m) and Ansu Fati (€8m), who we’ve already seen work well with the Argentinian so far this season.
We all know Messi can score a hat-trick whenever he feels like it and this seems like the perfect fixture for the Blaugrauna to redeem themselves for the weekend and re-announce themselves onto the European stage. Messi has to be your man for this Tuesday night fixture.
Selecting a differential for Tuesday is a tough prospect, as most of the good options for Tuesday evening are fairly highly owned.
However, the deadline for transfers is at kick-off, so we will have the luxury of seeing the start line-ups.
Therefore, assuming he starts, I’m recommending Artem Dzyuba (€8m) as the differential option for the armband.
With just 1% ownership, Zenit’s talisman has seven goals and four assists so far this season and is on penalties for the Russian giants, who have a plum fixture at home to Club Brugge.
Wednesday, October 21
Six goals in his last two league games, playing in the best team in Europe, European Player of the Year, 102 goals in his last 100 games. Am I missing anything?
Oh yes, 15 goals in 11 games in last season’s Champions League-winning campaign. He might be playing Atlético, but this is Robert Lewandowski (€12m). The form man of Europe.
There are some great differential options for Wednesday’s games and I could only whittle them down as far these two: Duvan Zapata (€9.5m) and Romelu Lukaku (€11m).
Zapata is only owned by 2% and will start as the main striker for Atalanta against Danish minnows Midtjylland. The Italian outfit have a ruthless habit of scoring four or more goals a game, which they’ve already done in three of their four games so far this season. If they do it in Denmark, Zapata will be involved.
Lukaku seems less of a secret, but he is still only in 4% of squads. The former Manchester United striker scored for Inter in the Milan derby this weekend to make it four goals in four Serie A games under Antonio Conte.
Their fixture at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, who currently sit 11th in the Bundesliga, makes Lukaku a very appealing prospect for this week.
The 1% Club
When there’s 32 teams in a football tournament, there is always an instant saturation of good options in every position. As such, I didn’t think the standard 10%, or even 5% ownership, could be considered quite different enough to be a real ‘differential’.
Even then, I’ve found eight great options with 1% ownership or less which could fire your team to glory. Welcome to the 1% Club.
Up first are three midfielders priced between 8.5-9m. Florian Thauvin (€8.5m) is Marseille’s talisman, scoring against Bordeaux at the weekend playing as part of a front two. He’s also on penalties (although he missed one at the weekend).
Next up is Dortmund’s Marco Reus (€8.5m), who came off the bench to score the winning goal on Saturday. He looks back to full fitness and sharpness while both him and Erling Haaland (€11m) were benched on Saturday to make sure they’re fully fit for the game against an unconvincing Lazio side on Tuesday evening.
When both mentally and physically fit, Atalanta’s Josip Ilicic (€9m) is the most feared piece in one of Europe’s most feared attacking teams. He returned to the Atalanta side with 63 minutes in the loss to Napoli this weekend and should be ready for the trip to Denmark on Wednesday. Assuming he finds his form of last season, he could be the most dangerous differential of the lot.
Two 5m defenders from big teams also find themselves in the 1% Club. PSG’s Alessandro Florenzi (€5m) and Juventus’s Danilo (€5m) both seem nailed in their respective teams.
Both have four great group games of the six, and Florenzi is becoming a key piece for PSG at both ends, scoring in their victory against Amiens on Friday evening.
The final few are slightly lesser known players, but by no means lesser options. I discussed Zenit’s Dzyuba above, but the man who’s been playing behind him in the league also has 1% ownership.
Attacking midfielder Alexsandr Erokhin (€5.0m) has three goals in his last three games for Zenit and if he keeps that form up with games against Club Brugge and Lazio, he could be a massive bargain.
Olympiacos’ Youssef El-Arabi (€8m) and Rennes’ Sehrou Guirassy (€6.5m) are both 1% owned and have the potential to score big in the group stages.
Both have form coming into this Champions League campaign too. El-Arabi scored a hat-trick in just 50 minutes on the pitch this weekend. In groups full of favourable defences including Porto, Krasnodar, Marseille and Chelsea, they should both tick along nicely as the talisman of their respective teams.
I’ll finish with a few key points to discuss how to make the most of your 15-man squad in the group stages.
First up, it is important to make sure you’ve got 15 players who’re likely to start, split fairly evenly across the two Gamedays of each Matchday, so there will always be good options to substitute in between Gamedays.
This is a key feature of the game so it’s important to be hands on in changing your team between Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
As I mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to make sure you have a strong captaincy option for both days of each Matchday, to give yourself the best chance of catching a mega-haul every week.
Also, have an idea of when you want to use your Wildcard. It is normally most sensible to use it at some point in the group stages, due to the massive amount of transfers available throughout the knockout stages and the unlimited transfers after the group stage.
While the Wildcard would often be employed after the first two Matchdays, this year the group stage is split into two three week chunks, separated by an international break.
As we saw in the most recent IB, stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo (€12m) and Jules Kounde (€4m) were ruled out by COVID-19. We can only expect similar trends in the next international break so it seems sensible to hold the Wildcard until after then, potentially for Matchday Four or Five.
The other chip available in UEFA Champions League Fantasy is Limitless. Similarly to FPL’s Free Hit, you can change your team entirely for one week.
Unlike this more familiar chip, there is no budget when you use your Limitless chip, meaning you can afford big hitters at every position if you so desire.
I usually use this in conjunction with my Wildcard in the group stage – either the week before I Wildcard or for Matchday Six.
The final round of matches often features rotation of teams who have qualified for the knockout stages early and some big performances from teams desperate to sneak through at the last – so this can be a great way of making up points.
Best of luck to everyone in picking their Matchday One squads.
I’ll be back on Wednesday with a review of the first Gameday and tips for the second.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 5
- Everton 2-2 Liverpool
- Chelsea 3-3 Southampton
- Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal
- Newcastle United 1-4 Manchester United
- Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 West Ham United
- Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa
- West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Burnley
- Leeds United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
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