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.
With a squad of 15 players and substitutions possible between the evenings of a Matchday, having forwards from both halves of the group draw is a great way to maximise points. This way, you know that there’ll be options on each day.
Here’s a guide to who’s who.
Best Champions League Fantasy forwards
Erling Haaland (€11.5m) – Manchester City
The name on everyone’s lips when it comes to goalscoring. Haaland is in the form of his life, already scoring seven from five Premier League matches. Last year in UCL Fantasy, the forward netted 12 times to help Man City lift their first-ever Champions League crown.
Another reason that Haaland should be the first name in UCL Fantasy teams is Man City’s very favourable group with Crvena Zvezda, RB Leipzig and Young Boys.
Already owned by 71% of managers, that number will only rise as we inch closer to the start. At home to Crvena Zvezda in Matchday 1, Haaland will also be a great captaincy option.
Furthermore, an honourable mention goes to Julian Alvarez (€7.0m). With Kevin De Bruyne’s (€10.5m) long-term injury, this bargain forward is set to get an extended run in the Man City attack.
Kylian Mbappe (€11.5m) – PSG
Up next is one of the most consistent performers over the last two years both domestically and on the world’s biggest stage. We all remember his World Cup final heroics and, rightfully, he has been priced as one of the two most expensive forwards of Champions League Fantasy.
Last year’s continental campaign brought seven goals and three assists, also getting four ‘Player of the Match’ awards for an extra 12 points. Now playing as more of a left-winger at PSG, he’s running in from behind rather than being the out-and-out striker.
In four league starts, he has seven goals and a link-up slowly blossoming with French compatriot Ousmane Dembele (€8.0m). Both Neymar and Lionel Messi have left Paris over the summer.
Matchday 1 pits them against a leaky Dortmund, a team that recently conceded two late strikes to promoted side Heidenheim. It’s a great opportunity for Mbappe to get a big haul.
Robert Lewandowski (€10.5m) – FC Barcelona
Another huge name is next. Over many years, Robert Lewandowski has been the lead UCL Fantasy forward. You get exactly what you want for such a price tag and that is goals, goals, and more goals.
Lewandowski and Barcelona will be looking to make amends after last season’s very disappointing Champions League campaign, finishing third in their group behind Bayern Munich and Inter.
However, being a top seed has helped Barcelona avoid some big match-ups. They’ve been placed in a promising group with Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp.
Lewandowski will be licking his lips at facing the Belgian champions in Matchday 1 and we back him to go big by replicating his exploits from last year’s opening fixture, where he ended with 18 points.
At the time of writing, he’s in a surprisingly low 14% of UCL Fantasy teams.
Rafael Leao (€9.5m) – AC Milan
Milan talisman Rafael Leao continues to go from strength to strength and his stock keeps rising. He has bagged 26 goals and 16 assists over the last two seasons to become their main threat.
His first match is at home to Newcastle United, about to have their first Champions League match in 20 years. If there are nerves, Leao and his team-mates can take advantage of this.
On the other hand, a couple of factors that are a deterrent to Leao as a UCL Fantasy pick. Ideally, he would have been classified as a midfielder instead of a forward, whilst he’s also without penalty duties.
That responsibility is with fellow Milan forward Oliver Giroud (€8.0m). This season’s four Serie A starts have brought six goals involvements, showing once again that you can never completely rule him out.
Lois Openda (€7.5m) – RB Leipzig
Elsewhere, one of the summer’s low-key exciting transfers took Openda from Lens to RB Leipzig.
Last season in Ligue 1, Openda scored 21 times from 29 starts to help his side secure Champions League football for the first time in a while.
His time in Germany has started well enough, netting thrice in four starts. At only 1% ownership, he could be a great differential pick for Matchday 1 squads as Leipzig host Young Boys.
Santiago Gimenez (€7.5m) – Feyenoord
A big part of Feyenoord being crowned as Dutch champions over Ajax and PSV Eindhoven was because of Gimenez. 15 goals arrived in just 21 starts, with six more already coming in this season’s five outings.
Given that Feyenoord start their UCL quest at home to Celtic, the Mexican is another who can provide great early value.
Victor Osimhen (€10.0m) – Napoli
One of the world’s most prolific forwards right now, Osimhen is showing why Napoli paid almost €90m to buy him a few years ago. His 26 goals helped secure their first Scudetto in 33 years, with superb hold-up play, off-ball running and innate heading talent making him a force to be reckoned with.
With three goals in four domestic games, the early signs are that Osimhen is in for yet another successful campaign. He should definitely be in your UCL Fantasy thinking.
Nevertheless, the one downside is that he doesn’t have penalties unlike Haaland, Mbappe or Harry Kane (€10.0m).
Napoli start their UCL campaign away to Braga and it won’t be a surprise if Osimhen comes away from that with a goal or two to his name.
Mauro Icardi (€9.0m) – Galatasaray
Being a Milan fan, I remember Icardi always being a thorn by scoring goals for Inter. Now he’s doing the same in Turkey for Galatasaray, with a smart bit of transfer business getting him from PSG.
Last season’s 22 goals and seven assists took the Turkish club to domestic success and he’s continuing the same form by already notching five times in four starts. When Copenhagen come to visit, 3%-owned Icardi could be a great shout.
Angel Di Maria (€8.0m) – Benfica
Another player who has got a new lease of life is Di Maria. After getting a transfer from Juventus to Benfica, he has already amassed four goals and two assists from five matches. He isn’t taking long to re-settle on his return to Lisbon.
It would’ve been great if he was listed as a midfielder in UCL Fantasy but he’s one of several to be reclassified as a forward.
By combining good attacking numbers with penalty duties and an opener at home to Salzburg, he could turn out to be a great bargain.
Lautaro Martinez (€9.0m) – Inter Milan
Now that Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku have departed, Martinez is firmly established as Inter’s main man. With him, you get a consistent supply of returns – in fact, 51 from the last two Serie A seasons. This bodes well when selecting a Champions League Fantasy forward.
A strong start to 2023/24 means Martinez is in the form of his life heading into Matchday 1 against Real Sociedad.
Harry Kane (€10.0m) – Bayern Munich
Not only did Kane finally get the transfer that he had been wanting for several seasons but Bayern have eventually found a proper number nine to replace Lewandowski.
This feels like a great fit for both parties and there aren’t many reasons why Kane won’t be a huge success there.
Last season, Kane had one of his best-ever by scoring 30 times in the league. He’s just getting better with age and, in four Bayern games, he already has four goals and an assist.
Against Manchester United in the opening round of games, he’ll definitely be in the thinking from Matchday 2 onwards.