All four of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-final matches are still wide open. Ahead of the next round of fixtures, this is a run through the captaincy options and possible transfers for this Matchday in UCL Fantasy.
TUESDAY, APRIL 13
Chelsea (2) v Porto (0)
The first-leg scoreline makes this look far more comfortable for Chelsea than it actually was. Porto took more shots and created more chances, but Edouard Mendy (€5.3m) and the Chelsea backline held firm. However, Porto were missing two key attacking pieces in Mehdi Taremi (€6.5m) and Sérgio Oliveira (€6.9m). These two being back could be massive for the Portuguese side, with Oliveira their top scorer in the UCL and on all set-pieces.
However, after their stoic last-16 victory over Atletico Madrid, you have to assume Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will find a way to hold on here. Antonio Rüdiger (€4.7m), César Azpilicueta (€5.2m) and Kurt Zouma (€5.0m) are likely to form the heart of the Chelsea defence and are all good budget options at the back. Ben Chilwell (€5.2m) scored in the first leg and will likely get the nod ahead of Marcos Alonso (€4.7m) at left-back.
In attack, it’s more difficult to predict Tuchel’s line-up. After Mateo Kovačić’s (€5.5m) injury, N’Golo Kante (€5.5m) and Jorginho (€6.2m) should start in central midfield, with Jorginho the main penalty taker and good for balls recovered.
Up front, Mason Mount (€6.9m) is likely to be given the opportunity to build on his great form following his first-leg goal. He’s a great budget midfield option. There are unlikely to be enough goals in this game to back a captain from it, but Mount could well take advantage of a Porto side who have to come at Chelsea and attack.
PSG (3) vs Bayern Munich (2)
There were five goals in the first leg and there could well be five in the second. PSG’s first-leg goalscorer Marquinhos (€5.9m) is out injured for this leg and his replacement Danilo Pereira (€5.6m) was to blame for Eric Choupo-Moting’s (€6.6m) goal. Aside from Keylor Navas (€5.6m) between the posts, this PSG defence is paper-thin and has to face a Bayern Munich side who took 32 shots in the first match.
However, as shown in that game, Bayern Munich’s high line can be exploited by PSG’s world-class attackers. Neymar (€11.6m) got two assists and Kylian Mbappé (€11.1m) scored twice. Those two are the key assets for this PSG side and the only fantasy assets really worth considering given injuries elsewhere.
Robert Lewandowski (€12.1m) and Serge Gnabry (€9.7m) are still missing for Bayern, but the Bavarian side nevertheless have the quality to overturn the first-leg result. Choupo-Moting is no Lewandowski, but he did score last Wednesday and can do well for his price against Mauricio Pochettino’s decimated defence. Behind Choupo-Moting, these key games are Thomas Müller’s (€9.9m) stomping ground, as illustrated by his first-leg goal. He’ll be the key man in attack for Bayern. On the wings, Leroy Sane (€9.5m) and Kingsley Coman (€8.4m) are also good options simply by virtue of playing in this side. The best option at the back is Joshua Kimmich (€6.6m), who got an assist and created ten chances in the first leg in Munich.
This should be a fixture filled with goals. Mbappé, Neymar, Müller, Kimmich and even Choupo-Moting are decent captaincy options, with Mbappé and Neymar likely to have even more luck in this leg as Bayern have to attack and should commit even more players up the pitch.
Wednesday, April 14
Liverpool (1) vs Real Madrid (3)
Liverpool were terrible in the first leg and Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid knew how to capitalise. Of Real‘s strongest defence, only Ferland Mendy (€5.9m) started last week’s game and he will start again this week after a positive COVID test for Sergio Ramos (€6.5m). Éder Militão (€4.5m) had 11 balls recovered in the first leg and could be a good one-week punt at the back with a low baseline of points.
Real’s C-K-M midfield won them the first game and will undoubtedly be key in the second. Casemiro (€6.3m) had 13 balls recovered and now has 66 for the UCL season. He is another player with a high ceiling who knows how to find the back of the net.
Up front, Karim Benzema (€10.4m), Vinícius Júnior (€7.9m) and Marco Asensio (€7.9m) found the key to unlocking Liverpool’s defence behind Trent Alexander-Arnold (€6.8m) and could well continue their good form against a Liverpool side who need to score. Of course, Liverpool have form in terms of Champions League comebacks, but with Virgil Van Dijk (€6.0m) and Joe Gomez (€6.1m) missing and Alisson Becker (€6.0m) in poor form, it seems unlikely that this will be another of their celebrated European nights. Asensio has four goals in his last five and both he and Vinícius are great differential options.
For Liverpool, Diogo Jota (€7.9m) and Mo Salah (€11.8m) are still good worthwhile picks. If Liverpool are to have any chance of success here, those two will be the key against Real’s second-string at the back. Jota’s price makes him the better option of the two. With Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool’s UCL heritage this remains a tough game to call, but Zidane should have the strength in midfield to control this game and see his side through to the semi-final.
Borussia Dortmund (1) vs Manchester City (2)
This tie is still wide open and should probably be closer than it is. Dortmund impressed in the first leg, ignoring their poor domestic form to come within a shocking refereeing decision of a 2-2 draw. A rotated Manchester City squad lost to Leeds at the weekend, so their players should be both angry and fully fit ahead of this one. City are expected to win, but their long-term record of bottling it in the UCL may still be weighing heavily on their minds.
A week after I berated Marco Reus‘s (€8.5m) poor record in front of goal, he’s scored three goals in his last two games and seems to have his mojo back. Both him and Erling Haaland (€11.2m), who now hasn’t scored in six games, will be key for Dortmund’s chances and are the only fantasy assets of theirs really worth considering. Haaland was fairly well shut out by City in the first leg, but still registered an assist and had one great chance.
City played what seems to be their strongest eleven in the first leg and will likely do the same in Dortmund. Ederson (€6m), Rúben Dias (€5.7m), John Stones (€5.1m) and João Cancelo (€6.1m) are great options at the back as they look to repel Dortmund’s advances. Stones may be the best option of the quartet thanks to his set-piece threat and Dortmund’s woes in that department. Ahead of such a finely balanced match I wouldn’t buy, or sell, City’s defensive assets.
İlkay Gündoğan (€6.7m), Phil Foden (€7.1m) and Kevin de Bruyne (€11.3m) all got amongst the points in that first match and will be well placed to do so again. De Bruyne has been great of late and is a strong captaincy option, especially in the false-nine role he took up last week.
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