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
Tuesday, March 13
Roma v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Wednesday, March 14
Beşiktaş v. Bayern Munich
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
How many Premier League teams will progress to the next round?
This poll is closed
only City and Liverpool
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.
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