The second round of UEFA Champions League games of 2021/22 is here and there are some massive ties lying ahead. Here’s a run-through of what you need to know for your UCL Fantasy captains and the player picks ahead of Matchday Two.
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TEAMS TO BACK
A total of 22 goals in their last four games highlights the sort of devastating attacking form this Ajax side are in. They face a Besiktas side riddled with injuries across the pitch which should give assets like MD1 hero Sebastian Haller (8.5m), Antony (7m) and Noussair Mazraoui (4.5m) a great opportunity to score big yet again.
Three goals against Manchester City was far better than anyone expected Jesse Marsch’s side to get in MD1 and they’re fresh from a 6-0 weekend win over Hertha Berlin. They’ve reverted to the 4-2-2-2 Marsch was famous for at RB Salzburg and it has paid dividends, especially for Christopher Nkunku (7.5m), Nordi Mukiele (7m) and Emil Forsberg (5m).
Top of La Liga with a goal difference of +21, Ancelotti’s Real side have quality across the pitch. They face Moldovan minnows Sheriff and are led by a resurgent Karim Benzema (10m), who has 15 goal contributions in just seven games. Although Sheriff got a MD1 win against a poor Shakhtar Donetsk side, Real should have far too much quality for them to repeat their earlier heroics.
Whatever their domestic form is, Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side always seem to turn up in the UCL. They battled to a 2-2 draw with Inter Milan at the weekend and now face a Young Boys side who beat Manchester United on MD1 but aren’t even top of their domestic league. The win over United was far more due to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s failings than Young Boys’ own brilliance and Atalanta should put them back in their place.
ZENIT ST PETERSBURG
Zenit impressed against Chelsea in MD1 and were inches away from securing a draw against the European champions. They face a Malmo side who were one of the poorest on MD1 and Zenit should be able to take advantage of that. Veteran striker Artem Dzyuba (8m) nearly scored on MD1, has re-secured his spot in their starting line-up, is on penalties and has three goals in his last two games.
Bayern have won eight games in a row under Julian Nagelsmann and have 22 goals in their last five in all competitions. They’re a far superior side to a Dynamo Kyiv team which lost 3-0 to Shakhtar in midweek’s Ukrainian Cup final. Robert Lewandowski (11.5m), Thomas Müller (9.5m), Joshua Kimmich (6.5m) and co will likely continue their great form and run riot in Munich.
Although they lost to Manchester City at the weekend, this Chelsea side is still one of the best teams in the world and far superior to the Juventus side they’re playing. This game looks great for their defence, as Juventus are missing some key attacking pieces and Thomas Tuchel’s side have kept four clean sheets in six Premier League games.
BIG TEAMS TO AVOID
It’s sad to see a side like Barcelona in this state, but they’re in complete disarray. Their weekend win over 17th placed Levante was their first in three games, after draws with La Liga minnows Cadiz and a very poor Granada side. Benfica are a solid side and may well have enough to overpower Ronald Koeman’s pedestrian team.
After losing their last UCL game and a weekend defeat to Aston Villa, Ole’s United now face a Villarreal side who beat them in May’s Europa League Final. Something isn’t working for the Red Devils at the moment and they’re best avoided until they have broken through this rough patch.
The Old Lady are tenth in Serie A and likely to be missing both Paulo Dybala (9m) and Alvaro Morata (9.5m) up front. They host the European Champions in Turin and can only be expected to come out second best.
PSG & MANCHESTER CITY
These are both top sides in great form. Whilst they are likely to play out a great game on Tuesday evening, it’s incredibly hard to predict and probably best left alone in UCL Fantasy terms.
TUESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER
Captain Sensible: Karim Benzema
Eight goals and seven assists in seven La Liga games shows what sort of form the talismanic Frenchman is in under Carlo Ancelotti. Real are flying in La Liga and should sweep aside Sheriff Tiraspol, with Benzema set to star.
Captain Differential (under 10% owned): Sebastian Haller
Haller has nine goals in five games for club and country and Ajax have 22 goals in their last four games. A player in great form playing for a club in great form with an easy fixture. Haller is a great value captaincy option.
WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
Captain Sensible: Robert Lewandowski
Lewy got a brace in MD1 and Bayern have been quality under Nagelsmann. The visit of Dynamo Kyiv presents a great opportunity for the Polish striker to add to his MD1 brace and get back on the scoresheet after failing to score for the first time in 19 club games against Greuther Fürth on Friday.
Captain Differential (under 10% owned): Artem Dzyuba
Dzyuba has form and fixture here, with three goals in his last two games. He faces a poor Malmo side and could score big as Zenit’s attacking talisman.
SPOT THE DIFFERENTIAL
Five differential picks to give your squad an edge over your competitors.
- Raphael Guerreiro (6m) – 3% – An attacking defender who’s been in great form recently for Marco Rose’s side, Guerreiro will be even more important to a Dortmund side likely missing both Marco Reus (8m) and Erling Haaland (11m). Sporting Lisbon were poor on MD1 and Guerreiro is well placed to take advantage of that on MD2.
- Antony (7m) – 3% – Three assists in MD1, playing for an attacking side in great form, with a great fixture. For his price, Antony is a brilliant MD2 option.
- Edin Dzeko (7.5m) – 1% – Dzeko has four goals in his last three league games for Inter and is outperforming the more expensive Lautaro Martinez (10.5m). A proven goalscorer in good form against poor opposition in a Shakhtar Donetsk side which were turned over by Sheriff Tiraspol on MD1.
- Karim Adeyemi (7m) – 1% – Adeyemi won three penalties against Sevilla and has much easier MD2 opposition in a Lille side struggling for form. The German starlet has seven goals in nine Austrian Bundesliga games for Salzburg.
- Ruslan Malinovskyi (7.5) – 0% – The Ukrainian midfielder scored against Inter Milan at the weekend and has a great fixture against Young Boys Bern. He’s on most set-pieces for Atalanta and will be involved in whatever they do against the Swiss minnows.