The UEFA Champions League kicks off this week as 32 European teams begin their group stage campaigns. It’s now time for us UCL Fantasy managers to construct our teams ahead of Matchday 1. If you have not already, be sure to read the NMA primer on rules, scoring and strategy that also covers changes from last season to this one.
Then join the NeverManageAlone mini-league (code 86QD7Y2TGE)
Here are this week’s fixtures covering Matchday 1:
Tuesday 17th September
- Inter Milan vs Slavia Prague
- Lyon vs Zenit St. Petersburg
- Ajax vs Lille
- Benfica vs RB Leipzig
- Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona
- Chelsea vs Valencia
- Napoli vs Liverpool
- Red Bull Salzburg vs Genk
Wednesday 18th September
- Club Brugge vs Galatasaray
- Olympiakos FC vs Tottenham
- Atletico Madrid vs Juventus
- Bayer Leverkusen vs Lokomotiv Moscow
- Bayern Munich vs Crvena Zvezda
- Dinamo Zagreb vs Atalanta
- Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City
Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan, €6.0m)
Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte has already started shaping this team in his own image, which bodes well for clean sheets. The veteran Slovenian shot stopper is good value for defensive returns here.
Andre Onana (Ajax, €5.0m)
We’re familiar with the capabilities of the Cameroonian #1 from Ajax’s blistering campaign last season. Save points, clean sheet potential and a favorable Group H elevate him into our thinking.
Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica, €4.0m)
Benfica’s Greek goalie has gotten off to a great start in the Portuguese Primeira Liga having already recorded four clean sheets. A home match against RB Leipzig gives him an opportunity to do more of the same.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, €6.0m)
Bayern Munich welcome Crvena Zvedza to the Allianz Arena and also find themselves in an accommodating Group B. Germany’s number one represents good value on opening day and beyond.
Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain,€5.5m)
Costa Rica’s goalie will relish the opportunity to show his former employers Real Madrid just what they are missing when they arrive in Paris to take on PSG in the marquee matchup of this round.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, €7.0m)
The youthful English right-back is by far the most attacking Liverpool defensive option available. In addition to his advanced overall positioning, he’s got free kicks and corners in his locker.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich, €6.5m)
The arrival of Benjammin Pavard has seen the German right back move further forward into the Bayern Munich midfield. This makes him an intriguing out of position pick for our fantasy teams.
Diego Godin (Inter Milan,€5.5m)
The Uruguayan hard man is a key cog in the Italian defense and carries a strong goal threat on set pieces. Good value for a clean sheet and more.
Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax, €5.0m)
A domestic double against Heerenveen in the Eredivisie bolsters the Argentinian’s reputation as a defender with huge potential for attacking returns.
Andre Ramalho (Red Bull Salzburg, €4.5m)
With two goals for the season, the Brazilian defender is the strongest option for RB Salzburg when they welcome Genk in their Champions League curtain raiser.
Alex Grimaldo (Benfica, €5.0m)
The Spanish full back is renowned for his attacking ability and is a strong shout for both defensive and attacking returns in Matchday 1 and beyond.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, €10.5m)
Rested at the weekend after his exertions during the international break, the Belgian should be in the thick of the action for Pep Guardiola’s men. The Citizens will be keen to produce a reaction after a shock domestic defeat to Norwich in the EPL.
Mo Salah (Liverpool, €11.0m)
The Egyptian dynamo has started the season in strong form for Jurgen Klopp’s men, and grabbing another goal at the weekend against Newcastle. An away trip to Napoli promises goals and excitement, which bodes well for Salah’s fantasy prospects.
Pizzi (Benfica, €6.0m)
Luis Miguel Afonso Fernandes (Pizzi for short) has had a lightning start to the 2019-20 season, having already registered six goals for Benfica. If Bruno Lage’s men are to establish themselves in Group G, the Portugal man should be the player to deliver the goods.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund, €9.0m)
All eyes will be on the young English winger when Dortmund welcome Barcelona in a huge Group F clash. This is a game that promises fireworks, so goals and assists could be on the menu.
Heung Min-Son (Tottenham, €9.5m )
A domestic double against Crystal Palace was the perfect warm up for the South Korean international ahead of Spurs’ trip to Olympiakos. With Harry Kane struggling for form, expect Son to shoulder the attacking burden for Mauricio Pocchetino’s men.
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid, €8.0m)
Atletico’s record signing is already justifying his enormous price tag with some scintillating performances. He’ll be keen to announce himself as the heir to the Portuguese throne when Diego Simeone’s men welcome Juventus in this top tier Group D matchup.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, €12.0m)
A difficult away trip to archrivals Atletico Madrid does little to dissuade us from having Cristiano Ronaldo in our UCL fantasy Picks. The Portuguese genius boasts 22 goals in 31 games against Atletico Madrid, and he dumped them out of the competition last season with a majestic hattrick. All eyes will be on him once again when Juventus visit the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Memphis Depay (Lyon, €8.0m)
The Dutch striker has had a solid start to the season and is the chief architect for Lyon. A home match against Zenit is the perfect opportunity to continue his strong form in attack.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea, €6.5m)
The youthful English striker has been given the responsibility of leading the line for the Londoners, responding well with seven goals for the season already. Hosting Valencia, Chelsea will welcome a team in transition that has just sacked its manager — giving Abraham another chance to further his credentials in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan, €5.5m)
The diminutive Argentinian striker has had a fairly decent start to the season. But it’s his bargain 5.5 price that turns heads. He’s a great punt that frees up funds to use elsewhere.
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain, €11.5m)
A superb scissor-kick goal in a weekend win for PSG was not enough to placate the home fans who made their feelings known to the want-away Brazilian star. The huge chip on his shoulder coupled with the injury absence of Kylian Mbappe could well translate to strong attacking returns for Neymar.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, €9.5m)
The French striker grabbed a pair of goals at the weekend in Real Madrid’s domestic win over Levante. He’ll be the focal point of the Los Blancos attack when Los Blancos travel to Paris in this tasty Group A match.
HOW TO JOIN US
FIRST SIGN UP FOR UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FANTASY
If you have not already done so, you will want to register at the UEFA site. Then you need to create your Champions League fantasy team, selecting all 15 players, your captain, a badge and your team name.
THEN JOIN THE NeverManageAlone LEAGUE
It’s great to play against everybody in the world, but it’s also brilliant fun competing against the whip-smart Never Manage Alone bloggers and our global gathering of savvy community members. So once you have registered and created your team, you will want to be sure to join the NMA league.
LEAGUE NAME: NeverManageAlone
LEAGUE CODE: 86QD7Y2TGE
(Enter the league name and code, then click on “Join.”)
Have you picked your team yet? Whom do you have your eyes on who has been mentioned above? Is there anyone who has been left out of this article that you would recommend? Which match do you most want to watch this week? Please let us know in the comments!