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UEFA Champions League Round of 16, Leg 2: Player Picks

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The first leg of quarterfinals was truly eventful. Who will make it to the next round and where does the Fantasy value lie?

Being a real Real Madrid fan, the first leg brought me some unforgettable feelings: I felt miserable, watching Madrid defending with all eleven men and finally conceding a deserved first goal. It came not from the likes of Mbappe, Cavani or Neymar, but from Adrien Rabiot. It was a genius assist from Neymar in the build-up though. I felt rejuvenated and spirited at 60 minutes, as Los Blancos managed to turn the game around with three well-taken goals. Experience made the difference: PSG lacked it, and Real Madrid used it. Just waiting, pushing, crossing until the final whistle.

Now we are about to enjoy the second Leg, and only God knows what what will come for the teams. Some are doomed and will play for their pride (Porto, Basel, Besiktas). Some have a lead to defend (Shakhtar, Real Madrid). The others (Spurs, Juventus, Manchester United, Sevilla, Chelsea and Barcelona) have all to play for, and we should see a lot of beautiful and emotional minutes around Europe.

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday, March 6

Liverpool v. Porto FC

Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid

Wednesday, March 7

Manchester City v. Basel FC

Tottenham v. Juventus

Tuesday, March 13

Manchester United v. Sevilla

Roma v. Shakhtar Donetsk

Wednesday, March 14

Beşiktaş v. Bayern Munich

Barcelona v. Chelsea

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Your fantasy rosters probably have the maximum three (or at least two) of City, Bayern and Liverpool players, and you should have enjoyed watching the first leg. You can’t go wrong with picking the same teams for the second leg, because now both English teams will be playing at home, though possibly fielding mixed squads. The best of the rest should be the Barcelona defense, as Chelsea have shown absolutely no attacking desire against the ever-mighty Manchester City and are in general looking doomed and unwilling to fight for Antonio Conte. It may potentially be a long night for the Blues in Spain.

As for Manchester United, Tottenham and PSG home ties, I would recommend staying away and just enjoying the spectacles.

Last but not least, Roma will feel like they are favorites to advance, as they scored a vital away goal. However, Shakhtar remain especially unpredictable, so it is a coin toss as to what will happen in Rome. The hosts will be spirited after taking all three points from current Serie A leaders Napoli over the weekend, so they know they have the quality to advance if they click on that night.

With the above thoughts in mind, let’s quickly slice through the available candidates to bring even more glory and points to your UCL Fantasy season:

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Goalkeepers

Ederson

I can’t see Basel creating any problems for the high-flying City team. Even if Basel shoot, the Brazilian has been excellent this season, able to save anything.

David De Gea

Best keeper in the world (Don’t tell Crystal Palace)? Playing at home for a defensive-minded coach, Jose Mourinho, DDG must keep the goal shut if United are to advance.

Alisson Bekker

Another Brazilian taking Serie A by storm and being reported as the main transfer target for Liverpool, Bekker has been extremely reliable this season and should be heavily involved up against Shakhtar’s Brazilian attack.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

I picked the Barca keeper for the first leg and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Chelsea enjoy a spell of dominance that resulted in Willian’s bombarding and subsequent goal. Now the teams play in Spain, and Chelsea’s (league) form has worsened. With Conte’s tabloid position as weak as ever, he may be well sacked after this game. If both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are benched again, it should be a comfortable night for the German keeper. Then again, Maybe Conte’s anemic league tactics were his was holding out for this CL match... YMMV.

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Defenders

Virgil van Dijk

The big Dutchman is due a goal. Well, he is overdue a goal. And Liverpool will score in this one, no doubt about it.

Marcelo

The Brazilian showed his worth in Madrid with a well-taken third goal. He has enjoyed scoring lately, and I don’t expect this to be a close game in Paris.

Nicolas Otamendi

Another defender who is having a great season under Pep. After accustoming us to his scoring in autumn and early December, he is overdue for another goal.

Aleksandar Kolarov

Kolarov is known for his long-range shooting, and this is a must win game for Roma. He is their first choice defender, and he should be ripping apart Shakhtar’s defense with both his own shots and with crosses for Edin Dzeko (read below).

Mats Hummels

Mats enjoys scoring from corner kicks, and Besiktas should be playing for pride in front of their own fans, and they don’t leave many players behind. Goals are expected, and he can benefit.

Jordi Alba

I picked Jordi in the first leg, as I didn’t expect Chelsea’s goal. Well, I don’t expect such again, so he is my pick of Barcelona’s defenders who can also chip in one or two assists for Messi’s tap-ins.

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Midfielders

Kevin de Bruyne / Leroy Sane / David Silva / Bernardo Silva

I can’t pick just one. But you should have minimum of one from a top three club (and I’m now undervaluing them and giving credit to the rest of Europe) in the continental these days. Pep has built something very Barcelona-like, and it’s a joy to watch but a pain to play against.

Son Heung-Min

Supersonic is enjoying his best season in a Spurs’ shirt, and he is a beast at Wembley. We all know Juventus can tie-up and kill-off almost any game, but I’m betting that Spurs to rip this one to pieces.

Cengiz Under

I don’t know much about this guy yet, only that he scored in the first leg in Ukraine, and he can’t stop scoring since breaking into Roma’s first team. He will cost you only 7 million by the way.

Corentin Tolisso

Kingsley Coman’s injury gave the Frenchman a route into Bayern’s first eleven, and he didn’t disappoint. He scored a bullet against Freiburg in the Bundesliga and should start in Turkey.

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Forwards

Mo Salah / Roberto Firmino / Sadio Mane

Toss a coin and pick one, or better two. This trio is seemingly unplayable these days, and Jurgen Klopp should let them entertain once more. Reminder: Mane had a hat-trick in the first leg.

Cristiano Ronaldo / Lionel Messi

I have to mention both legends, as each is still able to go crazy, despite playing against over-defensive Chelsea (the Argentine) and over-spirited PSG (the Portuguese).

Edin Džeko

Dzeko scored a beauty against Napoli and was causing problems all day long. At home against spirited Shakhtar’s defense, but with the crazy support guaranteed inside the Stadio Olimpico, he has a chance to go big.

Harry Kane

I have a hunch that this will be a memorable night for Spurs, and Harry should be the focal point of it.

Angel di Maria

In Neymar’s absence, the Argentine took full responsibility for the Parisians’ attack. He is now showing the form that made him Real Madrid fans’ favorite before his transfer to Paris.

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I left City and Bayern forwards from my picks, as I can’t read Pep’s and Jupp’s brains. They could employ some rotation as they have quite potent attackers in reserve. YMMV.

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There are many questions to ask and answer, and we encourage you to post those in the chat, but I want to ask you one right here. Please vote:

Poll

How many Premier League teams will progress to the next round?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    all 5
    (6 votes)
  • 36%
    4
    (18 votes)
  • 36%
    3
    (18 votes)
  • 14%
    only City and Liverpool
    (7 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now

That’s all I have to share today. I believe you will make the right choices and push all the way to the top. But most importantly, I encourage you to enjoy watching the beautiful game of football. As one wise person said: “Out of all the unimportant things, football is the most important.”

Thank you for reading us.

Alexey

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Do you have your own questions to ask the group? Please share these and other thoughts in the chat below...