Eight teams from five countries are still fighting for the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League trophy making the fight for Fantasy differentials even harder for managers.
As the player pool shrinks, the UCL Fantasy managers have fewer options to choose from so we are here to help provide some useful tips for the next round.
Tuesday, April 6
Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City have won 26 of their last 27 games and have their whole squad fit and raring to go. Their biggest obstacle ahead of this game will be psychological, as City haven’t made it past this stage of the competition under Pep Guardiola.
However, assuming 11 of their squad members can overcome that barrier, this should be a cakewalk for the blue side of Manchester.
Knowing the line-up before the deadline is a massive advantage here, one that most Fantasy Premier League players can only dream of.
After their benchings at the weekend, I’d expect to see Joao Cancelo (€5.9m), John Stones (€5.1m), Ilkay Gundogan (€6.6m), Raheem Sterling (€10.5m) and Bernardo Silva (€7.5m) all feature.
Gundogan is the cheapest of their attacking players and has been scoring goals for fun in 2021, so he’s still a great option. Kevin De Bruyne (€11.3m) is the heartbeat of this team, on penalties, and may well be worth his extortionate price tag.
At the back, this City side continued their ridiculous defensive form against Leicester on Saturday. Not much more needs to be said other than stock up on their defence.
Dortmund’s last-sixteen win over Sevilla flattered to deceive. They came into the first leg in poor form and Sevilla were looking great. However, that first leg coincided with a collapse in Sevilla’s form, especially their fabled defensive resilience, and Dortmund still managed to concede four goals to them over two legs.
Dortmund have picked up a bad habit of starting incredibly strong and then collapsing, as demonstrated by their 4-2 Der Klassiker loss, the second leg against Sevilla and their 2-2 draw against Köln.
With Jadon Sancho (€10.0m) out injured for both legs, they’re also totally reliant on Erling Haaland (€11.1m). There are definitely worse players to be reliant on, but his current four-game goal drought is the longest of his professional career. Marco Reus (€8.4m) has not scored a goal since December 15 and has developed a fear of shooting.
If Dortmund score, Haaland will almost undoubtedly be involved and we’ve seen that he considers the UCL to be his competition. He needs very few chances and very little space to score and is still a good fantasy option, even against this City team.
The only other Dortmund options I would consider are Mats Hummels (€5.4m) and Marwin Hitz (€4.1m). Hummels’ 67 balls recovered is the highest left in the competition and, as demonstrated against Frankfurt on Saturday, he knows where the goal is if needed.
Hitz is the cheapest starting keeper remaining in the tournament and, if Dortmund get anything from this game, he will likely score high. Even assuming they get knocked out, he could still have a place in your squad, allowing you to reallocate funds outfield.
Real Madrid v Liverpool
This is a battle of serious UCL pedigree. Both sides come into this game in decent form and plagued by defensive injuries. Raphael Varane (€5.7m), Dani Carvajal (€5.3m) and Sergio Ramos (€6.5m) have both been confirmed out for Real, with Virgil van Dijk (€6.0m), Joel Matip (€4.3m) and Joe Gomez (€6.1m) all long term absentees for the Reds.
However, the players both sides have on the pitch will still be of the highest quality. Diogo Jota’s (€7.9m) brace off the bench against Arsenal highlighted his future importance to this side, and he should line up alongside Sadio Mane (€11.0m) and Mohamed Salah (€12.7m) ready to terrorise Real’s weak backline. Salah is on penalties, but Jota should start up-front and has tended to at least match Salah when they play together, for nearly half the price.
At the back, Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.7m) is the joint-highest scoring defender in the game and looked back to his best against Arsenal. Alongside him, Nat Phillips (€4.5m) had 12 balls recovered in the second leg against Leipzig. With Fabinho (€5.7m) sat in front of him and Ozan Kabak (€4.5m), Phillips has been thriving and could be great value in defence.
The only two Real players I have confidence in are Karim Benzema (€10.4m) and Casemiro (€6.3m). Benzema has 25 goals and six assists in 32 starts this season and is the absolute key to this Real attack. He has bags of UCL experience and will be the key if Real are to get past Liverpool here.
Casemiro has a unique role. He has the most balls recovered for midfielders in the game and is also Real’s second-highest scorer this season, regularly arriving late in the box.
Wednesday, April 7
Porto v Chelsea
Porto’s win over Juventus gives them a very dangerous confidence coming into this tie. Although they’re missing key players Sergio Oliveira (€6.7m) and Mehdi Taremi (€6.5m) for the first leg, Sergio Conceicao has an experienced and united squad of players who will be ready to make Chelsea’s life potentially more difficult than they’re anticipating.
Zaidu Sanusi (€5.3m) is the joint-highest scoring defender in the game and is the best pick from a Porto side who will have to sit back and defend with their two best attacking players missing.
Provided Chelsea’s 5-2 weekend loss to West Brom was just a blip, they should have the quality to comfortably win this tie. N’Golo Kanté (€5.5m) and Christian Pulisic (€8.7m) are the only two Blues players out injured.
Thomas Tuchel confirmed that Antonio Rudiger (€4.7m) will start for sure, most likely alongside Cesar Azpilicueta (€5.0m) and one of Andreas Christensen (€4.8m) or Thiago Silva (€5.1m).
In midfield, Jorginho (€6.2m) has 47 balls recovered so far and is on penalties. Him and Mason Mount (€6.9m) are two of the best options under €7.0m in midfield, with the England international rested for this game on Saturday, although he scored off the bench.
If he starts, Olivier Giroud (€7.7m) could have a field day. He is exactly the sort of player Porto’s defence struggles to deal with and, with his top-level pedigree, he is a great differential ahead of this fixture.
Bayern Munich v PSG
This is a repeat of last year’s final, but it looks unlikely to be as close a scoreline. Hansi Flick’s Bayern side are terrifying and Mauricio Pochettino’s injury-ravaged PSG are have been markedly unimpressive since their 4-1 win over Barcelona.
Bayern are missing Robert Lewandowski (€12.1m) and potentially Serge Gnabry (€9.8m), but should still have the quality to overrun this PSG side.
Lewandowski will most likely be replaced by Eric Choupo-Moting (€6.6m). He isn’t as bad as his highlight reel of open-goal misses would have you believe and could be good value in this brilliant Bayern side.
Behind him, Thomas Muller (€9.9m) is in some of the finest form of his career and will have more attacking responsibility with Lewandowski out. Leroy Sané (€9.5m) and Kingsley Coman (€8.4m) will line-up on the wings and should be well placed to attack PSG’s replacement full backs.
Behind them, Joshua Kimmich (€6.6m) and Leon Goretzka (€7.7m) are both great value picks. Goretzka got Bayern’s only goal in their table-topping 1-0 win over RB Leipzig on Saturday and Kimmich, although a defender in game, will play in central midfield and is well placed for points at both ends.
For PSG, Kylian Mbappe (€11m) and Neymar (€11.6m) will be the key. Mbappe showed how he can threaten Bayern’s high-line with some great chances in last season’s final and will still be the main threat for this PSG side.
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