The 2023/24 UEFA Champions League (UCL) begins next Tuesday – and so does the competition’s official Fantasy game.
We’ll have plenty of UCL Fantasy coverage in preparation for next week’s big kick-off, plus articles throughout the season.
If you’re new to the game or need reminding of the rules, check out our ‘how to play’ guide below.
Following a look at top goalkeeping options, our preview articles continue by picking out the best Champions League Fantasy midfielders.
With a squad of 15 players and substitutions possible between the evenings of a Matchday, having midfielders from both halves of the group draw is again the best way to maximise potential points.
Here’s a guide to who’s who.
Best Champions League Fantasy midfielders
Phil Foden/Jack Grealish (€8.0m) – Manchester City
With Kevin De Bruyne (€10.5m) injured, Foden’s impressive creative quality is catching the eye. He leads the Citizens’ expected assists (xA) and actual assists tallies after four Gameweeks, and he’s not just relying on set plays either. Grealish is also great for the same price but, honestly, all Man City midfielders have the potential to haul in the first game at home to Crvena Zvezda.
Bernardo Silva (€8.5m), Jeremy Doku (€7.0m) and Rodri (€6.5m) should be on everyone’s watchlist, in case we get early team news. The latter, who is currently in 29% of squads, has talked of playing further forward this season and is already well compensated for ball recoveries in UCL Fantasy.
Marco Asensio (€8.0m) – Paris Saint Germain
A fully-settled Randal Kolo Muani – not yet added to the UCL game – will likely play alongside Kylian Mbappe (€11.5m) and either Asensio or Ousmane Dembele (€8.0m) in a front three.
Dembele is a natural right winger, while the more versatile Asensio offers a solution either on the right wing or as a false nine. Either way, both guys have explosive potential in a ‘Group of Death’ where most teams are known for attacking tendencies rather than a solid defence.
Alternatively, AC Milan’s Christian Pulisic (€7.0m) also needs mentioning for Group F. It’s been an extremely good start in Serie A but I don’t trust last season’s semi-finalists to score as many as PSG. There are other outstanding options at a similar price.
Dani Olmo (€7.0m)/Xavi Simons (€6.5m) – RB Leipzig
After the departures of Christopher Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai, RB Leipzig’s attack has welcomed new names like Lois Openda (€7.5m), Benjamin Sesko (€7.5m) and Xavi Simons.
Amongst this amazing pool of talent, Dani Olmo is emerging as one of their star players. The Spaniard has already notched two Bundesliga goals and a hat-trick performance in the German Super Cup versus Bayern Munich.
Away from the two Man City games, there are some great attacking fixtures where Olmo can collect numerous attacking returns. Unfortunately, a knee injury puts him in doubt for next week’s opener. If Olmo isn’t available, Simons’ minutes will surely increase, therefore making the Dutchman a strong option.
Felipe Anderson (€6.5m)/Luis Alberto (€6.0m)/Mattia Zaccagni (€7.0m) – Lazio
Group E arguably looks better for defensive assets but Lazio midfielders are slightly underpriced. In other Serie A Fantasy games, they’re often considered to be top-class options and, although competition in UCL is on another level, all three of these get regular game time and play far up the pitch.
Their return rates are also very high. Zaccagni is the most consistent (ten goals and six assists last season), whilst Felipe Anderson is just as dangerous but slightly less creative (nine goals and two assists). Furthermore, Luis Alberto made up for his relative lack of goals by collecting more assists (six goals and seven assists).
Anthony Gordon (€5.5m) – Newcastle United
When going through all of the Champions League midfielders, what is apparent is a lack of viable budget options. However, Anthony Gordon stands out as a very offensive player compared to others at the same price.
Group F is very tough but Dortmund can easily concede and Milan are lacking quality at right-back. With this in mind, Gordon could assume the role that Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (€9.5m) had in last season’s drafts.
Possible rotation with Harvey Barnes (€6.0m) could become problematic, of course.
Bukayo Saka (€9.5m)/Martin Odegaard (€9.0m) – Arsenal
Arsenal fans will be delighted with their group stage draw. Sevilla, PSV and Lens are all manageable opposition, so the assets that usually perform in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) should do just as well here.
They are also very versatile, as the absence of a top-quality opponent means owners won’t be forced to play a chip during a particular Matchday in order to optimise their team. I don’t suggest a double-up on both Saka and Odegaard due to the abundance of great players for less money. But having one of them feels like an optimal choice.
Leroy Sane/Serge Gnabry (€9.0m)/Jamal Musiala (€8.5m) – Bayern Munich
Every single season, Bayern midfielders are top options in UCL Fantasy. This year is the same. The German champions host Manchester United in Matchday 1, who are without key defenders Raphael Varane (€5.0m) and Luke Shaw (€5.5m).
They then go on to face Galatasaray and Copenhagen for four consecutive Matchdays. It’s an extremely favourable schedule for them and going without at least one midfielder could spell disaster.
Jude Bellingham (€7.5m) – Real Madrid
Given his mindblowing start in La Liga – five goals in four games – the fact that Bellingham has retained his Dortmund price from last season feels almost like a cheat code.
He already deserves a price rise based on last season, as he ended the UCL campaign with four goals. Fantasy managers have noticed this pricing error and are flocking towards him.
As of now, Bellingham is the most-owned player (72%), which is even more than Erling Haaland (€11.5m). He genuinely feels like a must-own player.
Marcus Thuram (€6.5m) – Inter
There’s similar disbelief about Thuram’s price and position. Not only he is an out-of-position pick playing as a forward alongside Lautaro Martinez (€9.0m) but he’s also the cheapest starting ‘midfielder’ from June’s finalists.
After 13 Bundesliga goals last season, he now has a goal and two assists from three Serie A games. Additionally, he is second in the league for non-penalty expected goals (NPxG), meaning he will get the chance to hugely reward Fantasy managers for their objectively low investment.