The UEFA Champions League Fantasy game allows managers to change their starting XIs and captains – with certain restrictions – following the culmination of the Tuesday matches and before the start of Wednesday’s games.
In this article, we’ll recap last night’s fixtures and summarise the captaincy and substitution options available to UCL Fantasy bosses before this evening’s 17:55 GMT deadline.
Last Night’s Review
Tuesday night saw a whopping 35 goals go in across eight games, with both German sides in action scoring six goals on the road. The star men for the evening were Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Alassane Plea (€8m) and Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (€7.5m), who both scored hat-tricks, with Plea also adding an assist. Both were playing away from home, meaning that on Matchday Four they will have the same fixtures, but with home advantage.
Gladbach’s 6-0 win at Shakhtar was definitely the unexpected talking point of the evening. Marco Rose’s side were utterly scintillating in front of a Ukrainian crowd, doing what neither Real Madrid nor Inter Milan could do in beating Shakhtar. Whilst Plea will take the plaudits, Lars Stindl (€7.9m) and Ramy Bensebaini (€5.5m) also got two goals and an assist between them. Gladbach’s star man from the Real Madrid draw, Marcus Thuram (€8.6m), was restricted to just one assist. Expect more of the same from the Bundesliga side in the reverse fixture in Matchday Four as they look to assert control over a tough group, but almost definitely not to the same extent.
European favourites Liverpool and Bayern Munich both had big wins on the road. Liverpool exposed Atalanta’s defensive frailties and whilst Gian Piero Gasperini’s defiance not to change his tactics under any circumstances is admirable, it really was their undoing yesterday evening. Sadio Mane (€11m) and Mohamed Salah (€11.5m) showed why they are always great options as both grabbed a goal and an assist, but as Liverpool are not far from qualifying for the last 16, we are much more likely to see more of Diogo Jota (€7.5m) going forward – and he really looks like the man to snap up in this team. Their defence also proved that it doesn’t need Virgil van Dijk to keep a clean sheet, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.6m) getting another UCL assist to highlight his quality as an asset.
Bayern’s late burst of goals was a welcome relief to owners of Robert Lewandowski (€12m), whose brace finally rewarded owners with a 10-point haul. Thomas Muller (€10m) proved that he is the second-best pick of the Bavarian outfit’s attacking assets with two assists, whilst Joshua Kimmich (€6.6m) continued his unbelievable Champions League form by setting up two goals.
Sergio Ramos (€6.5m) demonstrated why he’s a popular pick with his 100th Real Madrid goal, but in general, both the Spaniards and Inter Milan looked unsteady at both ends, making it difficult to pick any assets of real quality out of either team.
Manchester City and Porto both showcased their strengths in 3-0 wins, with Kevin De Bruyne (€11.5m) grabbing two assists and Sergio Oliviera (€6.5m) scoring another penalty for Porto.
An Ajax side much less COVID-stricken than we were led to believe beat Midtjylland on the road, with €6m forward Antony scoring and having another goal disallowed. At home and hopefully part of a full-strength team in Matchday Four, Antony should continue to start and be a great cheap asset for the Amsterdam side.
In the early kick-off, Lokomotiv Moscow held Atletico to a draw, with Joao Felix (€9m) repeatedly denied by an incredible Guilherme (€4.5m) performance.
Most captaincy options from yesterday evening proved successful, with Salah, De Bruyne, Kimmich and Lewandowski all scoring eight points or more. However, if you did not pick one of the successful players from yesterday evening, there is still a wealth of options available for tonight’s games.
We get to watch both Lionel Messi (€12.1m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (€12m) turn out tonight, with Ronaldo looking particularly ready to go against a defensively poor Ferencvaros side. Messi is facing a Dynamo Kyiv outfit destroyed by COVID, with just 13 players eligible to play. If he starts, expect a big haul from the Barcelona man against a Ukrainian side made up of a lot of youth prospects. Outside of the obvious two, Erling Haaland (€11m) should be fit for the visit to Brugge and, after scoring in both of his opening Champions League matches, will be looking to continue this form.
Slightly left-field captaincy options may come from the two English sides playing this evening, with Chelsea at home to Rennes and Manchester United visiting Istanbul Basaksehir. United have six points from their first two group games and will be looking to secure knockout qualification early. Marcus Rashford (€9m) has four Champions League goals so far and should be the talisman charged with securing a United victory. In London, Hakim Ziyech (€9m) has scored in his first two games for Chelsea and will likely line up again this evening after Christian Pulisic (€9m) was ruled out.
As always, the dilemma over whether to make a change or two depends on who UCL Fantasy managers have to bring on. You have to look at the ceiling and floor of the possible substitution against what you know you already have. If the player has four points or less, it is normally worth a gamble as long as your substitute has a decent fixture and generally positive prospects.
Expect Wilmar Barrios (€4.5m), who will be on a lot of benches, to continue his trend of scoring five points a game. Sevilla and Chelsea defenders have a great chance of a clean sheet and should be brought on where possible, as do Juventus and Barcelona options. Watch out for news of the Barcelona game, though – if one further Kyiv player tests positive for COVID the game will be postponed. This may also encourage Ronald Koeman to rotate his squad in anticipation of an easier game, so keep your eyes peeled for news of a Messi/Fati benching if you own either.