Champions League Matchday 5 is here, and several teams find themselves either on the brink of qualification or elimination -- with the metaphorical purgatory on offer that is the Europa League. Meanwhile, several others have already progressed and will now look at these games as an opportunity to rest their star players while giving fringe players a much needed run.
We’ll primarily keep our sights trained on the teams that need to take care of business in our search for coveted fantasy league points. However, there is room for a punt or two on some left field prospects who may feature in this round.
Here are the fixtures for CL Matchday 5:
Tuesday 21st November
Besiktas vs FC Porto
Spartak Moscow vs Maribor
Apoel Nicosia vs Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City vs Feyenoord
Monaco vs RB Leipzig
Napoli vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Wednesday 22nd November
CSKA Moscow vs Benfica
Qarabag FK vs Chelsea
Anderlecht vs Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid vs Roma
Basel vs Manchester United
Paris Saint-Germain vs Celtic
Sporting Lisbon vs Olympiakos FC
Here are the player picks for CL Matchday 5:
Sven Ulreich (Bayern Munich - 5m)
Bayern face an Anderlecht team that is yet to register a solitary point in UCL competition. Veteran goalkeeper Ulreich will be confident of a shutout here.
Alfonse Areola (PSG - 4.7m)
He’s everyone’s favorite budget keeper at a world class team, so he’s pretty much a fixture in these picks. Celtic roll up to the Parc Des Princes with little in the way of genuine threat to trouble the hosts.
Claudio Bravo (Manchester City - 5.5m)
Manchester City’s out of favour goalkeeper Bravo could be set for action as Guardiola promises to ring the changes against Feyenoord. If so, the Chilean shotstopper will have to show good form to prove himself a suitable alternative for first choice Ederson.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea - 6.0m )
With progression to the knockout stages on the line, Chelsea will give their all against plucky Azerbaijan champions Qarabag. The group minnows have proven to be a stern prospect, but the Blues will not want to leave qualification hanging on the final group game. Courtois is a good shout for the clean sheet with possible save points included.
Mile Svilar (Benfica - 3.9m)
Benfica’s young prodigy goalkeeper has shown flashes of absolute brilliance in between a few rookie errors. But at a tasty 3.9m with all to play for against CSKA Moscow with 2nd place on the line in Group A, he’s a great shout for point returns.
Mario Rui (Napoli - 4.0m)
The unfortunate long term injury to first choice left back Ghoulam brings his deputy Mario Rui into the fold. It is now or never for Napoli who must beat Shakhtar Donetsk to stand any chance of progression to the knockout stages. A possible clean sheet prospect with a shout for attacking returns in his position for the dynamic Italian outfit.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid - 6.0m)
Atletico Madrid are at home to Roma in a do or die fixture as Group C approaches its climax. With Chelsea looking to seal qualification in the other group fixture, nothing but a win for Atletico will keep them in the hunt for qualification. They will need Godin to deliver on his immense set piece threat as well as on the defensive end.
Thomas Meunier (PSG - 5.5m)
The Belgian wing back is always an attacking threat for the French giants. With porous Celtic up next, he’ll be looking to cash in on both ends of the field.
Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich - 4.9m)
Bayern has been nothing short of extraordinary since Jupp Heynckes appointment. Sule seems to have nailed down a position in the back line and should be backed for a clean sheet against the group’s basement dwellers.
Victor Lindelof (Manchester United - 5.5m)
Yes you’re reading right. The stopper has had a miserable start to his Old Trafford career, averaging at least one catastrophic error per game started. But with group qualification in the bag and with first choice pair Phil Jones and Eric Bailly nursing injuries, he should be given another opportunity to find his feat in an away fixture against Basel.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea - 10.6m)
Hazard has found his feet to devastating effect after coming back from injury and is back to his very best. He’ll be the one to watch for Chelsea as they travel to Qarabag on the hunt for 3 invaluable points.
Fernando (Spartak Moscow - 5.5m)
Everyone’s favorite plate of food, Maribor, now visit a Spartak Moscow team trying to keep pace in a tight Group E race. Expect the Russians to take full advantage of the Slovenian minnows accomodating defense, with Fernando the best attacking option in their midfield.
Talisca (Besiktas - 7.6m)
Besiktas form in Group G has been extraordinary and they will want to continue against the visiting Porto. With probably the most vociferous home support in Europe, they always can be backed in home games, and Talisca in the number 10 role is a great shout for attacking returns in what should be a pulsating fixture.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City - 8.6m)
Guardiola promise to ring the changes means that “Raz” Sterling should have the run of the park to torment visiting Feyenoord. City will want to prove that they can maintain their momentum through rotation, and Sterling should be their primary attacking outlet for the marauding English table toppers.
Marek Hamsik (Napoli - 9.0m)
I’m backing Hamsik for a goal primarily because he is currently one goal shy of equalling Diego Maradona’s record of 115 goals for Napoli. Can he draw level with the great one here?
Julian Draxler (PSG - 8.4m)
PSG’s German winger has found games hard to come by with the wealth of talent at their disposal. However, with qualification in the bag, I’m looking for Draxler to get a game and show his worth against visiting Celtic.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City - 10.5m)
The weekend EPL fixture saw Jesus get the start with Aguero returning from international duty with health concerns. Guardiola’s striker rotation means that it is Kun’s “turn to play” - which usually means goals for the Argentinian front man.
Cenk Tosun (Besiktas - 8.2m)
Has there been a more prolific striker in the UCL so far this season? The Turkish striker seems to score in every game so I’m backing him to continue his fine run against the Portuguese champions.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund - 11.0m)
Between poor form, injuries, fatigue and disciplinary issues, it has been a season to forget so far for the Dortmund marksman. Coach Peter Bosz has confirmed that Aubameyang will play against Spurs with the Germans’ hopes hanging by a thread. Can he turn it around here?
Luiz Adriano (Spartak Moscow - 6.5m)
The Brazilian striker will relish the prospect of facing Maribor as Spartak Moscow aim to set up a final day showdown for qualification in Group E. With 3 goals in his last 2 games, the Brazilian is a great punt for at least a goal.
Mo Salah (Liverpool - 9.6m)
The Egyptian has been the signing of the season in the EPL and is in red hot form having scored 2 goals over the weekend. Sevilla represents a tough test but Salah’s pedigree simply cannot be ignored as the battle ensues in a tough group.
Neymar (PSG - 11.2m)
The Brazilian star will remember his last encounter against Celtic when he was goaded by a 19 year old defender and will probably want to teach them a lesson. For added measure, Cavani has said that Neymar will take the next penalty. Excellent shout for a big points haul.
Alvaro Morata (Chelsea FC - 10.0m)
Chelsea will need their striker to deliver the goods against Qarabag with qualification on offer. Morata has had a say in more goals in his opening 11 league matches than any other Chelsea striker, which is a testament to how well he has adapted.