We’re halfway through the first leg of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-finals and there’s plenty more action to come this evening.
Let’s have a look at last night’s games and who the best UCL Fantasy players are for captaining or substituting in ahead of tonight’s matches.
Last Night’s Matches
Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund proved to be a lot closer than some people had predicted. From a Fantasy point of view, it’s left the game wide open for next week and we should see full-strength sides sent out from both teams. Kevin De Bruyne (11.3m) pulled the strings in midfield for City, scoring the opening goal from Riyad Mahrez’s (8.7m) cute pull-back.
Dortmund really should’ve equalised after Jude Bellingham’s (6.5m) goal was ruled out. They defended well throughout and had a few good chances, with Erling Haaland (11.1m) not quite at his clinical best. When they did finally equalise through Marco Reus (8.4m), Haaland got the assist.
However, De Bruyne’s beautiful deep ball into Ilkay Gundogan (6.5m) then set up Phil Foden (7.1m) to take the game away from Dortmund. BVB will be well aware that they only need one goal in next Wednesday’s reverse leg to see them through and will likely go out early to attack through Haaland and Reus.
Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1, as the game’s previous highest-scoring defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold (6.7m), was exposed by Toni Kroos’s (8.1m) pinpoint passing. As the Reds have shown before in the competition, they can come back in even the most unlikely of circumstances. Between sides with such winning mentalities and UCL histories, the second leg will be incredibly hard to predict and may well bear no resemblance to last night’s smooth Real win against a pedestrian Liverpool.
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain meet in a repeat of last season’s final but there are key players missing on both sides.
The absence of Robert Lewandowski (12.1m) and Serge Gnabry (9.8m) should leave the door open for PSG’s quarter-final hero of last season, Eric Choupo-Moting (6.6m), to start up top for Bayern. Behind him, Thomas Muller (10m), Leroy Sane (9.5m) and Kingsley Coman (8.7m) all offer great options in midfield, with each of them capable of big hauls on their day. Leon Goretzka (7.7m) has developed a knack of scoring big goals for this Bayern team, not least in their 1-0 win over RB Leipzig last weekend and the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund. All of these midfielders are great Fantasy options with the potential to explode at any given time.
In defence, Joshua Kimmich (6.6m) is clearly the strongest option for Bayern because he actually lines up alongside Goretzka in midfield. Alphonso Davies (6m) is a good pick on the left-hand side of the backline, but will likely have more defensive duties than usual to contain PSG’s über-talented attack. In bringing substitutes on from both teams in this game, prioritise attack over defence.
For PSG, Kylian Mbappe (11m) and Neymar (11.6m) will hold the keys to their chances of success. Mbappe’s runs in behind caused Bayern problems in last season’s final and will likely do the same this evening, as PSG can expect to have to play on the counter against this fierce Bayern attack. Mbappe’s performance in PSG’s last-16 first-leg win over Barcelona marks him as a standout captaincy option for this evening, even with the Ligue I side expected to have a tough night. For the braver people among us, Choupo-Moting is a stronger player than he’s often given credit for and could score well as Lewandowski’s stand-in.
Chelsea and Porto’s fixture will likely be much more defensively focused. Porto are missing two key attacking talents in Sergio Oliveira (6.7m) and Mehdi Taremi (6.5m), which should play well into the hands of Thomas Tuchel’s side. This gives Chelsea a great opportunity to take a lead into the second leg, as they know Porto will have to defend more than they’re perhaps used to. As a result, Chelsea’s attacking options like Mason Mount (6.9m), Kai Havertz (8.5m) and Olivier Giroud (7.7m) are well placed to score well tonight, even against Sergio Conceicao’s robust 4-4-2.
Edouard Mendy (5.2m) is the highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game and can keep up that form tonight against Porto’s diminished attack. In front of him, Cesar Azpilicueta (5m), Reece James (4.9m) and Ben Chilwell (5.3m) should all start and offer threat at both ends of the pitch. Chelsea defenders should be a priority to substitute on this evening. The Bayern-PSG game is likely to produce higher-scoring players overall, but Mount, Havertz, Giroud and Chilwell are all differential captaincy options tonight.
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