This week’s Champions League deciding fixtures promise action and drama in abundance. What can we expect from the upcoming second leg match-ups?
Manchester United vs Sevilla
The first leg matchup featured a typically professional showing from Manchester United to emerge with a favorable goalless draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizchuan Stadium. David De Gea was in extraterrestrial form to withstand the waves of Sevilla attacks.
United, currently in the midst of a rich vein of form, will fancy their chances of a win in front of the Old Trafford faithful. An early Sevilla away goal could make the tie interesting as United would then need two, so expect another conservative approach from Jose Mourinho.
For fantasy managers, the United defense could again be profitable, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling the best options here. Romelu Lukaku has been knocking on the door and could well deliver. For Sevilla, Clement Lenglet in defense is a goal threat from set pieces. Look to Luis Muriel, Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa to represent the main attacking threats.
Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk
This tie is evenly poised. Shakhtar won the first leg 2-1 but Roma snatched that crucial away goal to bring back to the Stadio Olimpico. Roma will be confident of overturning the result in front of an expectant home crowd, but Shakhtar are plucky opponents. Difficult one to call!
In fantasy terms, Edin Dzeko is the key goal threat; however, young Cengiz Under has emerged as a real prospect — cheap, out of position, and in red hot form, he’s definitely one to watch. Aleksander Kolarov as usual is the best defensive pick. For Shakhtar, look to their Brazilian trio of Marlos, Bernard and Taison and their Argentinian point man Ferreyra to hunt for the much needed goals.
Besiktas vs Bayern Munich (Note: Early Start Time)
Having been trounced in the first leg 5-0 at the Allianz Arena, this fixture represents much of a dead rubber with only pride on the line for Besiktas. However, their raucous home support will demand a performance.
Fantasy managers can look to Anderson Talisca to celebrate his surprise call up to the Brazilian national team with a goal. Ryan Babel and Ricardo Quaresma also offer great value. It is unclear how Bayern will line up for this one, but with Arjen Robben out of this tie, look to the in-form Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman to lead the charge.
Barcelona vs Chelsea (Usual Start Time)
I saved the best for last, this tie is must see TV!
Barcelona’s away goal at Stamford Bridge in the first leg 1-1 draw gives them a huge advantage in this tie. However, Chelsea have shown in past encounters that they are capable of anything against their Spanish rivals. Whatever happens, expect fireworks.
For fantasy managers, Leo Messi broke his Chelsea jinx and is the one to watch. Luis Suarez is also a goal threat, and Ousmane Dembele looked sharp in his domestic game. Andres Iniesta is an injury doubt.
Chelsea’s options lean heavily on the tactical approach favored by Antonio Conte. Willian and Hazard have shown that they have the ability to hurt Barcelona; however, it’s left to be seen if Alvaro Morata gets the nod. It would take a brave man to bank on a Chelsea clean sheet, but left back Marcos Alonso offers a huge attacking threat.
Here’s my lineup, manager substitutions already loaded:
- GK: Fabri
- DEF: Christensen, D. Alves, Sule
- MID: Under, Lingard, Marlos, De Bruyne
- FWD: Salah, Ronaldo (c), Lewandowski
- BENCH: Areola, Sterling, Rui, Jorge
It doesn’t look too promising as I’ll be short a player with the two City stars rested. I’m behind in all my leagues so I may switch my one goal captain Ronaldo to Lewandowski and hope for the best. Maybe even a left field punt on Under — a scoring midfielder is always gold.
Which games will you be following? What are your predictions and how are your fantasy teams shaping up? Let us know in the comments!