What a long and arduous international break that was! Now that it’s over, we can finally get back to the business of fantasy football. The Champions League is back, and with it comes another chance to revamp our teams.
Here are the fixtures for Matchday 3:
Tuesday 23rd October
- AEK Athens vs Bayern Munich
- SC Young Boys Bern vs Valencia
- Ajax vs Benfica
- Hoffenheim vs Lyon
- Manchester United vs Juventus
- Real Madrid vs FC Viktoria Plzen
- Roma vs CSKA Moscow
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City
Wednesday 24th October
- Club Brugge vs Monaco
- PSV Eindhoven vs Tottenham
- Barcelona vs Inter Milan
- Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid
- Galatasaray vs Schalke
- Liverpool vs Crvena Zvezda
- Lokomotiv Moscow vs FC Porto
- Paris Saint-Germain vs Napoli
Since the last round of matches, much has happened to influence our thinking on these upcoming games. Here are some of the factors that we’ll consider ahead of the coming round:
UCL Match-day 3 is the “turnaround point” in the Group Phase whereby teams are about to face each other in back to back fixtures. This should be a huge factor in transfer planning as you will want to load up on players who have two consecutive amenable fixtures. For example, Liverpool’s next 2 games are both against Crvena Zvezda who just shipped 5 goals to PSG.
Couple this with Lionel Messi’s injury, and I’m actually considering using my Wildcard for this round to exploit these mismatches, especially since we now have the new “Limitless Wildcard” booster to use later on in the tourney.
Another factor is the unexpected poor form of three UCL stalwarts. Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all suffering from horrendous starts to their seasons that have raised question marks over their respective coaches. These in turn have left a huge question mark over their coveted assets who would normally have been nailed on for our fantasy rosters. Do we back them to turn it around, or do we steer clear?
Finally, there is the “desperation factor”. Teams like Tottenham, Monaco and Hoffenheim find themselves at the bottoms of their respective groups. They absolutely need to deliver in the next two games if they are to avoid the precipice that is falling into the Europa League or being eliminated altogether. That puts the responsibility on their top players to deliver the goods.
Certainly much to consider before I swing the battleaxe at my faltering UCL Fantasy Team!
With that being said, here are the UCL Matchday 3 Player Picks:
Alisson Becker (€5.5m, Liverpool vs Crvena Zvezda)
A narrow loss to Napoli in UCL Match-day 2 put more emphasis on this tie for Liverpool in a difficult Group C. The Brazilian is likely the best shout for a clean sheet.
Fernando Muslera (€5.0m, Galatasaray vs Schalke)
The Uruguayan #1 will need to be at his agile best to withstand the German visitors in a favorable Group D tie.
Robin Olsen (€4.0m, Roma vs CSKA Moscow)
A win for Roma will see them go above the Russian visitors in the Group G standings. The favorably priced Swedish shot stopper will need to be big here.
Iker Casillas (€5.5m, Lokomotiv Moscow vs Porto)
A difficult trip to Moscow could also mean save points on offer for the veteran Spanish goalkeeper. A win here could see Porto take control of Group D.
Neto (€5.0m, Young Boys vs Valencia)
With just a solitary point from their opening 2 fixtures, Valencia desperately need to win this game. Neto should be a decent shout for a clean sheet and save points when the Spaniards go to Switzerland.
Manuel Neuer (€6.0m, AEK Athens vs Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich’s horrendous run of form was halted at the weekend with a crucial away win against Wolfsburg. The German #1 should see more action against the Greek champions.
Marcelo (€6.5m, Real Madrid vs Viktoria Plzen)
Real Madrid are in the midst of their worst run of form in years, culminating in a home loss to Levante in La Liga. Marcelo scored in that game and will need to replicate his attacking feats to help stop the bleeding.
Yuto Nagatomo (€4.0m, Galatasaray vs Schalke)
The Turk Telekom Stadium will be rocking on Wednesday for this fiery Group D encounter. That should play nicely into the hands of the bargain priced Japanese full back.
Kamil Glik (€5.5m, Club Brugge vs Monaco)
With new coach Thierry Henry on deck, I’m backing Monaco to begin their renaissance when they take on Belgian champs Club Brugge. Polish centre back Glik is a big threat from set pieces, and he could also grab an away clean sheet.
Nicolas Tagliafico (€4.5m, Ajax vs Benfica)
UCL Fantasy’s top scoring defender is a great shout for point returns as Ajax aim to solidify their position atop Group E.
Aleksander Kolarov (€5.5m, Roma vs Plzen)
Always a goal threat with his booming left foot, the Serbian full back seems to be a fixture in our picks.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (€5.5m, Liverpool vs Crvena zvezda)
Rested at the weekend, the young Liverpool fullback should be raring to go against the Group C minnows. He’s got crosses and free kicks in his locker.
Phillipe Coutinho (€8.5m, Barcelona vs Inter Milan)
The injury to Lionel Messi on the weekend means that the goal-scoring burden could fall to the Brazilian play-maker. The chance to top Group B is at stake when Inter Milan visit the Nou Camp.
Mo Salah (€11.0m, Liverpool vs Crvena Zvezda)
The Egyptian genius has had a tougher start to this season, but he’s showing signs of coming back to his fearsome best. A domestic goal at the weekend, and an accommodating Crvena defense could be the the keys that unlock the floodgates.
Isco (€8.0m, Real Madrid vs Viktoria Plzen)
The Spanish play-maker will need to be the chief architect here if Real Madrid are to reverse their recent fortunes with a home win. Surely they can’t lose this one too?!
Raheem Sterling (€9.5m, Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City)
An away trip to Ukrainia is always a tough proposition, so Manchester City will need to find top form to get a result here. Having recently broken his goal-scoring drought for England during the international break, Sterling will be fresh for this encounter after rest in the weekend’s domestic tie.
Lasse Schone (5.5m, Ajax vs Benfica)
The Danish midfielder is a decent shout for points as Ajax bid to maintain their position atop Group E, and the Eridivisie goal at the weekend must be great for his confidence.
Harry Kane (€11.0m, PSV vs Tottenham Hotspurs)
With zero points from their opening two Group B fixtures, it is do or die time for Spurs who travel to Eindhoven. The burden will fall to captain and talisman Harry Kane to deliver the goods if his team are to have any chance of advancing.
Paco Alcacer (€7.5m, Dortmund vs Atletico)
The Spanish frontman is Europe’s hottest striker at the moment, banging in goals for both club and country. Dortmund are an attacking outfit who should have enough force to breach even the miserly Atletico defense. If they do, expect Alcacer to be involved.
Robert Lewandowski (€11.0m, AEK Athens vs Bayern Munich)
The Polish striker brought a halt to Bayern’s terrible run of form with 2 goals against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. He will need to replicate this form when Bayern travel to Athens for their Group E match-up.
Edin Dzeko (€10.0m, Roma vs Plzen)
The Bosnian striker blessed his owners with a hattrick in UCL Match-day 2 and will be looking to continue in the same vein when Plzen visit the Capital.
Reiss Nelson (€5.0m, Hoffenheim vs Lyon)
The English striker is in a rich vein of form with 3 goals in his last 2 games for free scoring Hoffenheim. His price makes him an attractive option to leave funds available for upgrades elsewhere.
Kylian Mbappe (€10.0m, PSG vs Napoli)
The French speed-demon strikes fear into opposing defenders for club and country and has found consistency to match his world class talent. The duel with Group C leaders Napoli is the perfect opportunity to show his worth once again.
Memphis Depay (€8.5m, Hoffenheim vs Lyon)
The flamboyant Dutch striker has been in fine form for club and country as shown in a virtuoso display for the Netherlands against Germany. He’s up against a Hoffenheim team who concede as many as they score, so expect him to get some points here.
How did your team fare in Match-day 2? What changes are you making? Do you plan to use any of your chips? And which players are on your radar for this round of matches? Let us know in the comments below.