The UCL Community Panel is back. Once again we have enlisted the help of some keen members from the Fantasy Football Community to give you their top tips ahead of the start of the 21/22 edition which kicks off today. The format for this week is as follows, we give our top picks for each position and we also give our top differential pick with under 5% ownership. The only exception is the GK slot where we simply provide you with our preferred pairing.
Stats Don’t Lie: For the first time ever I think in UCL fantasy I was actually considering spending a bit more on GKs and going for Edouard Mendy (6.0m) due to Chelsea’s defensive prowess. However, after seeing some risk around potential rotation with Kepa Arrizabalaga (5.0m) I have returned to the cheap rotation approach choosing to pair Ersin Destanoğlu (4.0m) and Juan Musso (4.5m). Destenoglu is the only playing GK that comes in at 4.0m and has kept clean sheets in all 4 league games thus far, showcasing a defensive solidity that will need to be carried into what looks to be an evenly matched group. Musso meanwhile has filled the gap in goal left behind at Atalanta after Gollini’s move to Tottenham. Atalanta are slowly building a reputation on the European stage and with two kind fixtures to kick-off this year’s campaign, Musso should get some good points.
Darth_Krid: While many are going the route of Destenoglu and one other in GK, I’m looking to spend a bit more and pair Musso along with Sporting’s Antonio Adán (4.5m). Sporting’s group could really see anyone go through but Portuguese teams have a strong reputation on the European stage and I am hoping that Sporting can replicate the achievements of Porto last season, who were one of the top defensive outfits in the competition. The defence may be relied on even more given the current injury of starman Pedro Goncalves (8.0m)
FFFrog: I have looked to capitalise on the injury of Trubin at Shakhtar by putting Andriy Pyatov (4.5m) in as one of my GKs and pairing him with Musso. Shakhtar have had a solid start to the league season and have one of the most favourable fixtures against Moldovan outfit Sheriff. This gives them a good chance for a clean sheet along with potential save points. Pairing him with Musso means that I have at least one GK with a very solid fixture on the opening Matchdays (Atalanta play Young Boys on MD2) before chips are likely to come into play.
JK: Destonoglu is a clear go-to for me as the only 4.0 starter. I’d be happy to pair him with anyone, to be honest, just make sure that your second goalkeeper’s team plays on the opposite day to Besiktas.
Stats Don’t Lie: The presence of so many elite clubs at this level often leads to significant options and gives us as managers a plethora of options. Despite being just 22, my top defensive pick in Achraf Hakimi (6.5m) has already played at Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and now PSG. On the opening matchday he plays Club Brugge who PSG would be expected to steamroll as they look to finally pick up that UCL trophy with a stacked squad. Hakimi is renowned for his attacking threat and so should provide good potential not only this week but also in later games vs RB Leipzig and Manchester City. My differential pick is Ridle Baku (5.5m) at Wolfsburg. Listed as a 5.5m defender, he has been playing RM this season for Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg. With a match against out-of-sorts Lille up first and a good group as a whole, Baku could hopefully deliver some hauls.
Darth_Krid: Manchester United’s Raphael Varane (5.5m) is a strong favourite for clean sheets in a good group on paper for the Red Devils. He will also likely hoover up points for ball recoveries and is an aerial threat from set-pieces too which provides a stable floor but also a high ceiling. Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui (4.5m), meanwhile, has a goal and two assists in three games in the Eredivisie this season. Attacking defenders are always worth having and with an evenly matched group the Ajax man could put up good scores.
FFFrog: Joshua Kimmich (6.5m) is one of the safest picks in UCL Fantasy. He offers clean sheets, goals and assists as an OOP option. He is also on set pieces and hoovers up balls recovered – an all-around beast. Bayern are a dominant European force and have a good group. What more could you want? Ben Chilwell (5.5m) is currently owned by just 1% of players and was all but confirmed by Thomas Tuchel to start. An attacking wing-back in one of the best defensive teams in the world and of great value at 5.5m, especially with a kind group for Chelsea.
JK: I honestly don’t understand how Kimmich is still classed as a defender after two years of playing exclusively in midfield. Nevertheless, if the UCL fantasy team wants to give us this gift then I will welcome it with eyes wide open. My differential pick is also coincidentally from the Bundesliga. Honestly, all the Wolfsburg defenders have their merits with Jérôme Roussillon coming in at 4.0, Baku playing OOP and Kevin Mbabu (4.5m) and Maxence Lacroix (4.5m) likely to be standouts for Balls Recovered. I might just have to say take your pick but I’ll probably have at least one Wolfsburg defender in my side come MD1.
Stats Don’t Lie: Can we really look past Mo Salah (10.5m) as a standout? There’s not really much that needs to be said about him. Both him and Liverpool have had a very good start to the season after returns from injury eased their defensive woes and they are slowly returning to their machine-like performance levels from 2 years ago. With Serge Gnabry (10.0m) ruled out through injury, and Kingsley Coman (8.5m) only returning from one of his own, I really like the look of Leroy Sane at 9m. I think his pace and more direct approach will provide a key difference in many Bayern games and even in MD1 will help them expose a Barcelona side in turmoil.
Darth_Krid: Liverpool’s Salah has started the season with a bang and has penalties in his locker too. It’s extremely hard to overlook him in the first European night back at Anfield. Chelsea’s Kai Havertz (9.0m) is really growing into the team after a tricky start, and is now one of the main men for the holders in what is a relatively straightforward group. With Romelu Lukaku (10.5m) part of the Chelsea squad too now, he may also get a few more assists to add to the goal threat.
FFFrog: All FPL players know not to bet against Mo Salah. The second-highest scoring mid in UCL Fantasy last season opens his campaign against AC Milan and Porto and has shown himself to be in great form domestically. Marco Reus (8.0m) is still one of the star men in Dortmund’s high-scoring attack, is just 8m and 4% owned. He’s an incredible option in an easy group for Marco Rose’s side.
JK: Ilkay Gundogan (7.0m) always seems to be an under-the-radar star in UCL fantasy. Every year he comes in with a kind price tag and the scoring system really seems to suit him as someone capable of accruing significant numbers of balls recovered as well as chipping in with goals and assists. Another player in a similar role is Bayern’s Leon Goretzka (7.5m). He will line up against a much different Barca side, namely without a certain Lionel Messi. His runs from deep and ability to get in the box could make a big difference for Bayern.
Stats Don’t Lie: Much hype is made around Haaland at the moment but given that we get to see their lineups ahead of this week’s easier fixture, I don’t think I can back against UCL’s all time leading goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo (11.0m). Man United have a rather kind group and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ronaldo once again topping the goalscorer charts by the end of the group stage (provided his minutes aren’t managed too severely). Sebastian Haller (8.5m) has been on fire since moving to Ajax last season and has started this season with 4 goals and an assist in the opening 4 games. I think his group definitely provides potential for Haller to carry this form onto the European stage and at 8.5m he could present great value.
Darth_Krid: Erling Haaland (11.0m) is an absolute monster in the CL and I fancy him to continue the explosive start to his career with Borussia Dortmund having a fairly easy group. I mean 13 goals and 3 assists in 9 games for club and country this season says it all really. Paulo Dybala (9.0m) has secured the striker’s spot for Juventus after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and has a favourable fixture against Malmo first up. Juventus will definitely hope to use this game to put any league woes behind them and build form to carry into the league.
FFFrog: Erling Haaland has had a brilliant start to the Bundesliga season in a Dortmund side that are thriving by outscoring their opponents. They’ll aim to do the same against Besiktas and Sporting and Haaland will be at the heart of everything they do going forward. My differential is Youssef En-Nesyri (8.5m) who is Sevilla’s new star man, takes penalties and has an easy group. At just 8.5m, he could outscore some of the Premium options.
JK: Erling Haaland loves a Champions League game. He has 24 goals in 22 European appearances and has only failed to score against Man City out of the teams he has faced in the UCL. There simply seems to be no stopping this mercurial talent. Michy Batshuayi (5.5m) has got off to a flying start at new club Besiktas netting a brace in their most recent game. Besiktas seem a decent attacking side as a whole and could pose significant trouble for a leaky Dortmund defence.