The UEFA Champions league rolls around again this week for Matchday 2.
The first round of matches saw big point returns from a number of unfancied options. The likes of Mislav Orsic, Erling Braut Haland, Marin Leovac, Edson Alvarez, Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Mathieu Valbuena made a mockery of our pre-match predictions to top the scoring tables.
The heavyweight picks largely disappointed, with only Robert Lewandowski justifying his significant outlay.
All this translated into a tough start out of the blocks for my UCL Fantasy team:
However, I’m backing my troops to come good in Matchday 2 when the big guns make their belated arrival to the party.
Here are the fixtures for UCL Matchday 2.
Tuesday 1st October
· Real Madrid vs Club Brugge
· Atalanta vs Shakhtar Donetsk
· Galatasaray vs PSG
· Tottenham vs Bayern München
· Crvena Zvezda vs Olympiakos Piraeus
· Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb
· Lokomotiv Moscow vs Atletico Madrid
Wednesday 2nd October
· Genk vs Napoli
· Slavia Prague vs Borussia Dortmund
· Liverpool vs Salzburg
· Zenit vs Benfica
· RB Leipzig vs Olympique Lyonnais
· Barcelona vs Internazionale
· Valencia vs Ajax
· Lille vs Chelsea
Alex Meret (Napoli, €4.5m)
The Napoli shot stopper makes his debut in the picks on the back of a strong matchday 1 clean sheet return against defending champs Liverpool. With Carlo Ancelotti’s men looking to cement their group standing away to Genk, Meret is a great shout for more returns.
Ederson (Manchester City, €6.0m)
The Brazilian shot stopper was called into action several times during an EPL weekend win against Everton. The visit of Dinamo Zagreb is a great opportunity for another UCL clean sheet.
Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus, €5.5m)
The Polish shot stopper could be in for a clean sheet and save points when Leverkusen visit Turin in Matchday 2.
Jose Sa (Olympiakos, €4.0m)
The dirt cheap Brazilian goalkeeper performed creditably in a difficult matchday 1 tie. An away game against Zenit is another good opportunity for the Greeks to boost their reputation.
Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, €6.0m)
The return of captain Sergio Ramos has added much needed steel to the Real Madrid defense. Zinedine Zidane’s troops will be looking for a reaction after their round 1 humiliation in Paris, and the visit of Brugge is a perfect opportunity to do so.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, )
Real Madrid’s talismanic skipper makes his long awaited return from suspension in UCL Matchday 2. With penalty kicks and a huge set piece threat against unfancied Club Brugge, he could be in for major points.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, €7.0m)
The English wing-back disappointed us in matchday 1, so we’re giving him another chance to impress this week as Liverpool welcome Salzburg to Anfield.
Matthias De Ligt (Juventus, €6.5m)
The highly rated Dutch center-back has been finding his feet at the heart of the Juve defense. The visit of Bayer Leverkusen gives him a good chance to establish his credentials and also deliver on his significant set piece threat.
Renan Lodi (Atletic Madrid, €4.0m)
Atletico’s bargain-priced Uruguayan left back faces a tricky trip to Moscow. However, he has shown enough attacking verve for Diego Simeone that he warrants a selection here.
Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax, €5.0m)
Justified our punt with a mammoth 18 points in round 1. His huge attacking threat has led us to overlook a tricky trip to Valencia to insert him in our picks.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea, €5.5m)
An injury to first choice left back Emerson Palmieri sees Marcos Alonso reclaim his starting role for the visit of Lille. On the back of Chelsea’s first clean sheet of the season, the marauding Spanish full back is also a strong attacking outlet for Frank Lampard’s men. Note: Emerson has been back in training and could be available — so watch the late news before committing.
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid, €8.0m)
Atletico’s young sensation can be backed to open his Champions League account when Atletico Madrid tackle Lokomotiv Moscow in Matchday 2.
David Silva (Manchester City, €7.5m)
With reports suggesting that Kevin De Bruyne could be a slight injury doubt, it is David Silva who gets our nod for the visit of Dinamo Zagreb. Manager Pep Guardiola has already confirmed his start, saying “In Champions League, the first game, David and Sergio didn’t play and I will let them play the second game.”
Mo Salah (Liverpool, €11.0m)
With just 1 goal in his last 4 matches, the Egyptian should relish a home matchup against an open Salzburg team to get back to scoring ways. But watch the news on his ankle that kept him out on the weekend.
Mathieu Valbuena (Olympiakos, €6.0m)
The veteran French midfielder is at the heart of Olympiakos best attacking moves and also has ownership of set pieces.
Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund, €9.5m)
An away trip to Slavia Prague will hold little worry for the German winger as Dortmund aim to put their first win on the board.
Mason Mount (Chelsea, €6.0m)
Chelsea’s youthful attacking midfielder was taken off early in round 1 due to injury. He has been sensational so far this season and will need to be at his best if Chelsea are to get their first points of the campaign.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, €10.5m)
The Argentinian hotshot was rested at the weekend so will be rearing to go when Croatian champs Dinamo Zagreb visit the Etihad.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, €12.0m)
It would take a brave man to bet against CR7 opening his Champions League account when Leverkusen visit in Matchday 2.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, €9.5m)
The French target man has been in good nick recently and will likely be the main attacking threat against an underdog Brugge team.
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig, €8.5)
RB Leipzig welcome a Lyon team that has been in shaky form recently. The German striker should provide a significant goal threat here.
Dries Mertens (Napoli, €8.5)
The enigmatic Belgium attacker has been amongst the goals for Napoli in domestic and European competition. Genk were obliterated in matchday one, so it’s another chance for Dries Mertens to deliver for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Erik Braun Haland (RB Salzburg, €4.5)
The breakout performer in Matchday 1, this 19 year old striker announced himself to the world with a first half hattrick against hapless Genk. A trip to Liverpool will undoubtedly be more difficult, but it’s another chance to add to his growing reputation as one of football’s best prospects.
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 saved 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!