Matchday 2 of UEFA Champions League Fantasy got underway on Tuesday but managers still have the opportunity to make changes to their teams, be it via the captaincy or by bringing in a substitute or two.
There are eight more games this evening, so it’s time to take a look at what we learned from last night’s fixtures – including a shock defeat for Real Madrid – and what to expect from tonight’s matches.
You can read our suggestions for Wednesday captaincy, differentials and teams to target/avoid in our first UCL Fantasy piece of the week.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST NIGHT’S FIXTURES
Inter Milan continue to struggle on Europe’s biggest stage
The reigning Serie A champions struggled in last season’s Champions League under Antonio Conte and these problems seem to be continuing into 2021/22 under Simone Inzaghi. They were passed off the pitch by a Shakhtar Donetsk side that lost 3-0 to Sheriff Tiraspol last time out; 34% possession and two shots on target isn’t good enough for a side of this quality and, as with last season, there’s a clear disparity between their domestic and European performances. Even with two games against Sheriff coming up, I’m not sure we can trust this Inter side to produce reliable Fantasy assets.
We have to stop calling Sheriff Tiraspol ‘the Moldovan minnows’
What odds could we have got on Sheriff winning their first two proper UCL games? Whilst averaging 24.5% possession over two fixtures doesn’t seem like a sustainable way to win matches, it seems to be working for Sheriff. Whilst their victory over Shakhtar was impressive, beating an in-form Real Madrid side at the Bernabeu was nothing short of shocking. We have to start considering their players as genuine Fantasy options ahead of a double-header against an underperforming Inter Milan outfit.
RB Leipzig still have a lot of work to do under Jesse Marsch
Winning 6-0 against Hertha Berlin at the weekend and then losing 2-1 to Club Brugge three days later is a perfect example of how inconsistent RB Leipzig have been under Jesse Marsch so far. Christopher Nkunku (€7.5m) notched a brace at the weekend and has scored all four of Leipzig’s 2021/22 UCL goals, but they look clueless at the back and poor going forward if Nkunku isn’t involved. Ahead of two games against a scarily impressive PSG side, RBL could find themselves out of knock-out contention very early on. Avoid ‘die Roten Bullen’ at all costs.
This might be PSG’s year
They didn’t have to be overly impressive in doing it, but by beating Manchester City, PSG have vanquished their conquerors from last season. Lionel Messi (€11.0m) is finally on the scoresheet in navy blue and this side really seems to be coming together under Mauricio Pochettino. Their 2-0 win proves that they can beat the big boys when needed.
Mohamed Salah is inevitable
Mohamed Salah (€10.5m) remains one of the most underappreciated talents in world football and one of the best Fantasy assets in any competition he plays in. Liverpool are looking as impressive as ever going forward under Jürgen Klopp and even with two games against Atletico Madrid coming up, Salah is still a great Fantasy option.
Dortmund aren’t the same side without Haaland
Three shots on target against Sporting Lisbon and none against Gladbach at the weekend shows just how important Erling Haaland (€11.0m) is to this Borussia Dortmund side. If he doesn’t play, their Fantasy assets simply aren’t as good.
What to expect on Wednesday night
Atalanta and Zenit to sweep aside opposition in the early kick-offs
These are two sides who are traditionally hard to beat in Europe and tonight’s two early kick-offs should be no different. Artem Dzyuba (€8.0m), Claudinho (€6.0m), Robin Gosens (€5.5m) and Duvan Zapata (€9.5m) are all primed for big performances.
Chelsea to return to winning ways
Juventus are in poor form and struggling with injuries, whereas Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will be hurting after their weekend loss to Manchester City and keen to get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Expect a clinic from the European champions in Turin.
Manchester United to struggle against Villarreal once again
Poor recent results suggest that Manchester United are still in no position to get past the side who beat them in last season’s Europa League final. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled tactically of late and there seems to be something missing from United’s displays. Don’t expect big performances from Cristiano Ronaldo (€11.0m), Bruno Fernandes (€10.5m) or their leaky defence.
Barcelona could suffer second UCL loss in a row
Benfica are top of the Liga Bwin and haven’t lost a game since May. They host a Barcelona side who are seriously struggling at the moment and Luuk de Jong (€7.5m) is expected to lead the line for Ronald Koeman’s men. Barcelona could finish tonight with no points from two UCL games.
Sevilla and Wolfsburg to play out low-scoring affair
Neither of these sides have averaged two goals a game in their respective leagues this season and have both built strong starts based off their defences. This is likely to be a tight game that could well end 0-0.
Bayern Munich to continue impressive run of form
Bayern have been terrifyingly good under Julian Nagelsmann and should continue that form this evening as Dynamo Kyiv visit the Allianz Arena. It’s a tough enough game to expect the Germans to field a strong line-up and, after Kyiv’s 3-0 loss to Shakhtar in midweek, Bayern could make an example of the Ukrainians.