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Champions League Semi-Final Fantasy Picks

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We're down to the last four and the best options are very expensive. So, where should you spend your funds?

Could we see an all-Madrid final?
Could we see an all-Madrid final?
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Picking your team may seem easier with only four teams left in the Champions League, but the teams remaining have made it this far on the back of some exceptional performances that have made the most desirable players difficult to afford. I'll take a look at each of the remaining teams to help you determine whether to splurge on the star player or look for a cheaper differential. Here's what's on tap for the first leg:

Tuesday, April 26

Manchester City v. Real Madrid

Wednesday April 27

Atletico Madrid v. Bayern Munich

We've got two very different matches ahead, by the looks of things. Tuesday's clash should be very attack-minded, while the Wednesday game looks more likely to be a tactical, defense-driven encounter. That should play a part in your planning for the first leg, while home field advantage may not come into play as much as you'd expect. Here are my recommendations:

Goalkeepers

Manuel Neuer - If you can manage to bring in the world's best keeper, you should do it. Bayern are favorites to reach the final, though they will have a very determined and confident Atletico side to contend with. Still, Neuer is class and will be a major influence on the team's performance.

Jan Oblak - If you can't afford Neuer, his opposite counterpart on Tuesday is probably your best bet. Despite not having the imperious Diego Godin in front of him, Oblak will have one of the best defenses in Europe doing their utmost to make his job easier. With the potential for higher fantasy returns from other positions, a bargain approach in goal may be a good strategy to help afford the big guns as well.

Defenders

Marcelo - Much like with Neuer, Marcelo is one of those players you bring into your side if you can afford him. He's pricy for a defender, but his attacking contributions make him a threat to pick up points on both sides of the ball.

Dani Carvajal - A cheaper alternative to Marcelo, Carvajal has been the preferred starter at right back for Los Galacticos, and brings plenty of his own attacking flair to the pitch.

David Alaba - Bayern play in a very fluid formation, seemingly fielding an entire team of midfielders at times. Alaba fits that mold, and listed as a defender has the potential to pick up clean sheet points in addition to his attacking returns.

Filipe Luis - If you haven't noticed already, I'm a bigger fan of defenders who can also contribute with goals and/or assists in the event their side isn't able to keep a clean sheet. I'm not expecting Atletico to be able to keep Bayern at bay without Godin, but Filipe Luis is a cheap option who does a good job of delivering crosses into the box.

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne - The Belgian doesn't look like he's missed a long portion of this season with injury. His form since returning to the starting lineup for the Citizens has been incredible, and his influence from midfield will be vital if the Sky Blues are to take an advantage into the second leg.

Toni Kroos / Luka Modric - The midfield duo are among the best at controlling play in the game right now. Modric is the more likely to provide the assist, while Kroos has a bit more of a goalscoring streak in his locker. I'll go for the goalscorer, though the lower price for Modric makes him an almost equally attractive option. You could certainly do worse than having both.

Douglas Costa - With Arjen Robben out and Franck Ribery almost prohibitively expensive, Costa is an excellent option for your midfield this week. He is a bargain compared to his teammates and has delivered a bunch of points so far.

Casemiro - Finding a few low-cost options to round out your team is essential this week, and Real Madrid's young holding midfielder is just that. While he's unlikely to bring in a huge score, he is likely to start and play the majority of the match.

Joshua Kimmich - Another excellent bargain, though the Bayern youth is likely to line up in an unfamiliar center back role. Still, you'll want to be able to afford the expensive strikers for your team, so Kimmich could be an essential piece of your team as you try to fit in as many stars as possible without taking any zeroes.

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo - Passed fit by Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo is in line for a start and pretty much has to be in your team if you can manage the huge price tag. Considering he's amassed 35 points more than the nearest remaining player available, there's no reason you shouldn't be making every effort to have him in your team.

Robert Lewandowski - With a whole team of midfielders behind him, the striker is primed for a big performance, especially since he won't have Diego Godin in his pocket. I'm expecting Bayern to score at least one away goal, and I would not be at all shocked to see Lewa's name on the score sheet.

Sergio Aguero - We all know what Kun is capable of at any given moment. Even with Real Madrid as the opponent, the Argentine will fancy his chances of adding to his impressive goal tally this season. The supply from midfield will be essential, but if he gets any time on the ball you can expect Aguero to show how dangerous he is.

Antoine Griezmann - I'd be remiss not to include the giant-killer after his two-goal performance against Barcelona. Bayern are favorites, but Griezmann is a handful on the counterattack, and Atleti will be looking for him at every opportunity.

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Who are you bringing into your team for this round? Who will you be captaining? Share your thoughts in the comments!