After an exciting first leg, the rubber hits the road. What should we expect from the start of the second leg?
Liverpool v. FC Porto
In round 1, Liverpool made quick and easy work of Porto, with a comprehensive 5-0 victory at Estadio do Dragao. Led by Sadio Mane’s hat trick, the Reds also saw scores from Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Returning to Anfield with a seemingly insurmountable lead, and with a big trip to Old Trafford awaiting on the weekend, Jurgen Klopp could be tempted to start some of his stars on the bench. That would be a big monkey wrench for fantasy managers who have invested heavily in the high-flying side.
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
In the first leg, things were looking positively promising for PSG after taking a 1-0 lead on a composed Adrien Rabiot goal. Then everything unraveled — Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice, and Marcelo made it 3-1, with the final pair of goals coming at 83+’.
PSG returns to Parc des Princes in crisis mode: Neymar will miss out through injury, Angel Di Maria his expected replacement. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are expected to be fit for the visitors, as Zinedine Zidane faces an interesting choice of whether to start Gareth Bale or use him as a super sub as done in the first leg. Can PSG grab a 2-0 victory to survive, or will Real Madrid be able to hold off the French side and continue its defense of the crown?
Manchester City v. FC Basel
A la Liverpool, fellow Premier League side Manchester City took care of away business at St. Jakob-Park with a rousing 4-0 victory, thanks to a brace from Ilkay Gundogan plus scores by Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva. The Citizens have become healthier, with Gabriel Jesus, Vincent Kompany and Leroy Sane returning recently. Although Raheem Sterling is not expected to pass fit, Pep Guardiola has no shortage of options if he chooses to freshen his squad.
Tottenham v. Juventus
Last season’s Champions League runners-up took a 2-0 lead with a brace from Gonzalo Higuaín in the first 10 minutes... in Turin, where Juve had not allowed a goal since early November. After Tottenham conceded the second penalty, the Italian giants could easily have pushed to 3-0. But Higuaín hit the crossbar, and then Spurs showed impressive fortitude, clawing their way back with goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
Returning to Wembley with a 2-2 score line, Tottenham now only need a 0-0 or 1-1 draw to advance. Can a team playing in the Champions League for just the fourth time in its history get past the two-time winners?
I got 65 points from the first leg. Here’s hoping the second leg turns out well.
- GK: A. Areola
- DEF: J. Alba / N. Otamendi / C. Smalling / K. Walker
- MF: K. De Bruyne / Marlos / R. Petretta
- FW: H. Kane / L. Messi / C. Ronaldo (C)
- BENCH: S. Ulreich / M. Hummels / A. Vidal / A. Farias
- BANK: €0.1
I’m expecting to bring Ulreich, Hummels and Vidal in from the bench next week. Hopefully Ronaldo has another big game, but if not, there are plenty of options for a captaincy change as well. I made my two free moves early, but now given the injury news to Sterling, I am electingd to take a -4 hit to bring in Kevin De Bruyne, so hopefully KDB starts and has a big game.
Which games are you watching most closely? How do you expect things to turn out, and whom do you have going in your fantasy teams? Let us know in the comments!