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UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Draw: Early Fantasy League Thoughts

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With the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 set, we have an early glance at the fixtures and some of the best prospects to consider for our UCL Fantasy teams.

View of the draw cards - UEFA Champions League 2019-20 Round of 16 Draw Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League is complete, confirming a mouthwatering slate of fixtures.

All remaining teams in the draw come from the five major European domestic leagues, guaranteeing a strong field of competitors vying for the trophy with the big ears.

Here are the full results of the Draw for the UCL Round of 16:

UCL draw match-ups Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

While much can (and will) change by the time the next round gets underway in February, the list of fixtures would be of interest to shrewd UCL Fantasy League managers.

With a clean slate available to fully revamp our teams, we’ll look to the fixtures for clues on where to focus our investment before the next round gets underway. Let’s dissect each to look at some Fantasy League prospects.

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Borussia Dortmund vs Paris St. Germain

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar - Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League
Paris St. Germain have a wealth of options in attack for the two legged tie against Borussia Dortmund.
Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

This is a tie that promises entertaining, attacking football from two teams who enjoy being on the front foot. Lucian Favre’s Dortmund team progressed from the Group of Death at the expense of Inter Milan and have goals in abundance. However, the French champions PSG boast one of Europe’s most fearsome front lines.

Verdict: PSG to advance through two scintillating legs of football.

Fantasy Highlights: In attack, Dortmund offer strong midfield options in Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Julian Brandt while Achraf Hakimi top the scoring for defenders in the Group Phase.

Kylian Mbappe is the best pick in attack for PSG, but Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Mauro Icardi are other options. Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat are good attacking options in defense in front of Keylor Navas’ goal.

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Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane - Manchester City v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League
Two of the world’s best managers will cross swords in the UCL Round of 16.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Manchester City have been installed as early bookmakers’ favorites to win, but the Citizens face a daunting task against Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid. This is the marquee match-up of the round.

Verdict: Manchester City to advance over two hard fought legs.

Fantasy Highlights: For Real Madrid, Karim Benzema looks like a great option for our front lines. It’s left to be seen if Eden Hazard or even Gareth Bale can round into form in time for the next round, but Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo as always provide great attacking options in defense.

Pep Guardiola’s team give us a number of healthy attacking options in Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, while Aymeric Laporte should be back to improve their defensive resolve.

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Atalanta vs Valencia

Rodrigo Moreno - Valencia CF: Group H - UEFA Champions League
The stage is set for Rodrigo to bolster his growing reputation against Atalanta.
Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

This tie pits first time qualifiers Atalanta against a resilient Valencia team that finished top of their UCL Group.

Verdict: Valencia to advance comfortably against an inexperienced Atalanta outfit.

Fantasy Highlights: For Atalanta, Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata are affordable striking options while Josep Ilicic and Timothy Castagne are ones to watch.

Valencia boast a great young prospect in striker Rodrigo with Kevin Gameiro another option. Carlos Soler is the creative influence in midfield with Gabriel Paulista the one to watch in defense.

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Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool

Virgil Van Dijk - Liverpool FC: Group E - UEFA Champions League
Virgil Van Dijk will face a stern test across two legs against Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16.
Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Defending champions Liverpool return to the venue of last year’s final triumph but face a hugely difficult task against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Verdict: Liverpool to emerge from this battle of attrition with a slender victory.

Fantasy Highlights: As always, Atletico Madrid’s fearsome defense offers the best value starting with goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Kieran Trippier’s set pieces and attacking involvement make him the defender of choice with Jose Maria Gimenez and Renan Lodi also worthy of attention. The attack will rely heavily on Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata.

For Jurgen Klopp’s men, the attacking trident of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino is where it begins – owning at least one of these is essential. In defense, the marauding wing backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson offer strong value at both ends of the pitch alongside the imposing Ballon D’Or nominee Virgil Van Dijk.

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Chelsea vs Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League
Polish hitman Robert Lewandowski will hope to carry his amazing scoring form into the Round of 16.
Photo by Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

This match-up sees the 2012 finalists drawn together. Bayern Munich are an ever present title contender and will fancy their chances against Frank Lampard’s young guns.

Verdict: Bayern to prevail on their superior pedigree and experience across the two legs.

Fantasy Highlights: Robert Lewandowski has been absolutely ruthless in the first half of the 2019-20 season, and the only question is whether he will carry his form into the new year. Elsewhere, Serge Gnabry has put English opposition to the sword in the group phase, so he’s the top midfield pick alongside Phillipe Coutinho and Kingsley Coman. Joshua Kimmich is the defender of choice in front of Manual Neuer’s goal.

With their transfer ban lifted, Chelsea may well dip into the market for reinforcements before this tie comes around. Yet they boast a number of tasty attacking options in Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount. Cesar Azpilicueta is the defender of choice.

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Lyon vs Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus FC - UEFA Champions League
Another chance for Cristiano Ronaldo to seal his legacy as he targets another UCL title for Juventus.
Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Italian champions would have looked at this draw favorably when it was announced. Lyon narrowly edged their way into the round of 16 but face a daunting prospect to progress further.

Verdict: Juventus to triumph comfortably across the two legs.

Fantasy Highlights: Rudi Garcia’s men were left reeling by the news of an ACL injury suffered by Dutch star player Memphis Depay that will see him miss the rest of the season. Without his services, Lyon will look to Moussa Dembele and Bertrand Traore to shoulder the responsibility in attack, with Houssem Aouar the best option in midfield.

For Maurizio Sarri’s men, all roads lead to Champions League record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo as he hunts the title that will forever etch his name into the record books. Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala are worthy mentions in attack, while in defense, the likes of Matthias De Ligt, Leonardo Bonucci and Danilo offer the best value.

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Tottenham vs RB Leipzig

Son Heung-min - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Heung-Min Son will relish the chance to take Spurs just one step further when the Round of 16 kicks off.
Photo by Daniel Hambury/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

The resurgence of Spurs under new Manager Jose Mourinho has renewed optimism around Tottenham Stadium about the possibility of gaining elusive silverware. Leipzig are debutants at this stage but are a strong attacking outfit.

Verdict: Leipzig to acquit themselves well but Spurs to survive under the tutelage of the Special One.

Fantasy Highlights: Tottenham’s turnaround has presented us with a number of strong attacking options. Harry Kane leads the line up front, but in midfield there is Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura all showing their class.

German strike sensation Timo Werner is the most dangerous attacking option for Leipzig with Emile Forsberg another to watch. In midfield, Marcel Sabitzer is the standout pick while in defense there are punt worthy options in Marcel Halstenburg and Dayotchanculle Upamecano.

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Napoli vs Barcelona

Lionel Messi - FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League
Lionel Messi will set his sights on another trophy when the Round of 16 kicks off.
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ordinarily, a tie against Serie A stalwarts Napoli would be a tricky one to negotiate for the Catalans. However, the turmoil engulfing Napoli leaves them with an uphill battle to climb. Can they sort it out before the knockout round rolls around?

Verdict: Messi and Co to make light work of a distracted Napoli outfit.

Fantasy Highlights: As always, Leo Messi is the big ticket item for Ernesto Valverde’s team. Luis Suarez is a man for the occasion with Antoine Griezmann also a strong shout for attacking returns. In midfield, Frenkie De Jong is the standout option while the defense gives us Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as nailed picks.

Napoli’s attack is where most of the value lies in Dries Mertens and Arkadius Milik (Jose Callejon and Hirving Lozano are outside the box options). Kalidou Koulibaly, Mario Rui and goalkeeper Alex Meret are also ones to watch in defensive areas.

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What do you think of the UCL draw? Do you see any must-haves for your team? Which match will you be tuning into when the knockouts get underway? Please tell us what you think in the comments below.

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