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UCL MD-4 Fantasy Preview

An early look at UCL MD-4 with long-range radar on some fantasy prospects.

Robert Lewandowski - FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

UCL is back again midweek, this time following a congested schedule for all clubs. While Spain, Italy and most other European countries played an additional domestic league game-week, England, Germany and the remainder of Europe played cup matches. The major news items since MD-3 were the sacking of Ronald Koeman, the fall of Man City at home to Crystal Palace, and back to back losses for Juventus to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.

From a fantasy perspective, MD-4 is the most straight forward of them all. It is usually “The Matchday” for fantasy managers, and its tab on your application should show the highest number of points among all tabs by next weekend.

In addition to that revelation, MD-4 is also the only guilt-free week there is since the games are exactly the same as MD-3 with a change of venue. Also all teams will put their best starting XI since there is no more room to experiment (thinking of the one and only) even if you are playing against Club Brugge.


Success vs Failure

Even clubs with perfect marks until now (9 points) will play to secure qualification with the potential of winning the group this early. Here is a summary of which teams can secure qualification and which may consider this their last chance!

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Group A: PSG can secure qualification with a win over RB Leipzig only if Man City defeats Club Brugge. Expect the Germans to go all out in Paris since this is their last chance; any result except winning knocks them out of the UCL.

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Group B: Liverpool has a rare chance to not only qualify but win the group by beating Atletico Madrid if Porto does not win over AC Milan. The Italians could be knocked out of the competition only if they lose to Porto; a draw or a victory should keep their hopes alive.

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Group C: Ajax may exert dominance against injury-struck Dortmund again in order to end MD-4 with a group win. Then Ajax could play the last two matches with the youth team. If Dortmund does not lose, then Besiktas could lose all chance with a loss or even a draw vs Sporting CP.

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Group D: It is impossible for any of Inter Milan, Sheriff or Real Madrid to secure qualification at this point. On the other hand, the results of this round will determine if this group will become a real threat by MD-5 or if they will play clawing for points towards the end hoping for the Europa League spot.

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Group E: Three points are enough to seal the group in Bayern Munich’s favor. Benfica, Barcelona and Dynamo Kyiv may need to play to the end for the second qualification spot.

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Group F: My favorite group hardly disappointed this season with hot competition. All teams; Man United, Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys will most probably continue until the end, shuffling group standing positions until the final whistle of MD-6.

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Group G: Surprisingly, Salzburg can end MD-4 with qualification secured by defeating Wolfsburg if Lille does not win over Sevilla which is the most probable scenario of MD4!

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Group H: Juventus is the only team with a chance to secure qualification from this group, needing only to win again over Zenit. Considering recent form, this group is in line for rude awakening and probably a third consecutive defeat for the Old Lady. At the bottom, Malmo will lose all hope if / when the minnows cannot somehow shake the foundation of football and steal three points from Chelsea.


MD-4 FIXTURES


MD-3 FANTASY GUIDE

Paris Saint-Germain v Lille OSC - Ligue 1 Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Quarantine Zone:

Similar to MD-3, four ties stand out as the most fertile fields for clean sheets, and those are the top four matches in the above list. Villarreal however conceded a late goal in MD-3. Villarreal also lost two key players to injury (Gerard Moreno and Juan Foyth). Inter Milan was able to defeat Sheriff with a clean sheet as well.

The remaining three matches at the bottom of the list are still concerning; Juventus has two straight league matches, Barcelona is without a manager, and Bayern conceded seven goals in the last two games. Adding to that, clean sheet records usually dwindle towards the end of the group stage since the stakes are raised and some more risk is taken.


Painters and Net Rattlers

  • Group A: RB Leipzig posed a big threat against PSG scoring two goals but still lost 2-3. A total of 11 goals were scored in this group on MD-3. Any attacker or midfielder in this group should have high chances to score and/or assist.
Liverpool v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
  • Group B: 6 goals were scored during MD-3 with the same fixtures, but only one of them was scored in the first 90 mints of Porto vs Milan. With Milan on the brink of elimination from UCL, more risks will be taken by Stefano Pioli to recover the team’s position in group B. Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool is always an entertaining match with many goals, but how is Klopp going to line up his attack for this one? Is it time for Salah to rest with this busy schedule or will Klopp only think of qualification?
  • Group C: Even though nine goals were score in this group, both matches were one-sided. It is a safer bet to consider an attacker or midfielder from Sporting CP for a repeat win over Besiktas than relying on Ajax when they face revenge bound Dortmund.
Heracles Almelo v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images
  • Group D: Inter Milan and Real Madrid won comfortably over Sheriff and Shakhtar Donetsk in MD3 scoring 3 and 5 goals respectively. It would be a surprise if the results were not repeated.
  • Group E: It took Bayern 70 minutes to break the deadlock against Benfica but it also took the Bavarians 15 minutes to score four goals. Barcelona are still in danger of elimination and have their work cut out for them against Dynamo Kyiv but it is unknown how they are going to perform without a manager at the helm.
FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
  • Group F: Atalanta and Man United are set for a second date. The English club has been extremely inconsistent so picking any player should be done at your own risk. The Italians on the other hand are still suffering an injury crisis missing at least four key players. Villarreal should be able to collect three more points from Young Boys with ease.
  • Group G: Salzburg is a team that will go all out to bring in the qualification ticket home so they not rest until they manage a comfortable lead against Wolfsburg. Sevilla continue to underperform but consider Lille are not pushovers, it is hard to consider this match will go any different from MD-3 which ended in a goalless draw.
FC Red Bull Salzburg v Sturm Graz - Admiral Bundesliga Photo by Andreas Schaad - FC Red Bull Salzburg/FC Red Bull Salzburg via Getty Images
  • Group H: Chelsea is one of the few consistent teams in Europe at the moment and there is no question that they will defeat Malmo again this week. Juventus and Max Allegri are scaring their own fans with unexpected defeats since last week. Zenit must be thinking of taking an advantage to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Rotation Risk

This is just my humble opinion but if any manager thinks of resting any key player in MD-4 then that manager should be immediately sacked. There are a few examples where rotation is somewhat acceptable such as Diogo Jota for Firmino and Rodri for Fernandinho. However, resting on fire Salah with Jota is something out of the question.


Notable Injuries / Returns from Injury and Suspensions

Keep an eye out for the weekend domestic league matches for new injuries / returns. This table will be updated in our Live Chat on Tuesday.

MD4 Injury/Suspension List

Club Player Injury Expected Return Status
Club Player Injury Expected Return Status
PSG Keylor Navas Hip November Doubtful
Marco Verratti Hip November Out
Sergio Ramos Calf November Doubtful
Leandro Parades Thigh November Out
Kilyan Mbappe Ilness November Doubtful
Angel Di Maria Returned from suspension
Man City Benjamin Mendy Suspended by club until 1st Jan 2022
Ferran Torres Foot January Out
RB Leipzig Dani Olmo Returned
Marcel Halstenberg Knee December Out
Lukas Klostermann Muscle November Out
Adams Returned
Liverpool Williams Returned
Fabinho Knee November Doubtful
Harvey Elliott Ankle January Out
Milner Hamstring November Out
AC Milan Krunic Returned
Tiemoue Bakayoko Returned
Yannick Kessie Returned from suspension
Ante Rebic Ankle November Doubtful
Atletico Stefan Savic Suspended until MD-4
Griezman Suspended
Marcos Llorente Returned
Jose Gimenez Returned
Dortmund Raphael Guerreiro Hamstring November Doubtful
Mahmoud Dahoud Knee November Doubtful
Giovanni Reyna Thigh November Doubtful
Mateu Morey Ligament June Out
Haaland Hip November Out
Nico Schulz Muscle November Doubtful
Emre Can Muscle November Out
Ajax Stekelenburg Unknown End of Season Out
Andrea Onana Suspended until MD-4
Inter Milan Cristian Eriksen Head Unknown Out
Arturo Vidal Returned
Stefano Sensi Returned
Real Madrid Rodrygo Unknown Unknown Out
Gateth Bale Returned
David Alaba Returned
Marco Asensio Returned
Daniel Carvajal Returned
Eder Militao Returned
Barcelona Sergio Aguero Knock Unknown Doubtful
Jordi Alba Returned
Martin Braithwaite Knee November Out
Masour Dembele Hamstring November Doubtful
Pedri Meniscus Unknown Doubtful
Sergi Roberto Physical discomfort November Out
Ronald Araujo Hamstring November Doubtful
Bayern Munich Chuopo-Moting Thigh November Out
Leon Goretzka Ankle November Doubtful
Kingsley Coman Knock November Doubtful
Man Utd Luke Shaw Returned
Raphael Varane Returned
Martial Knock November Doubtful
Amad Diallo Returned
Villarreal Gerard Moreno Muscle November Out
Juan Foyth Hamstring November Out
Atalanta Djimisti Hand November Doubtful
Pessina Hamstring November Doubtful
Toloi Thigh November Doubtful
Robin Gosens Hamstring November Doubtful
Hans Hatebour Muscle November Doubtful
Juventus Alvaro Morata Returned
Paulo Dybala Returned
Adrien Rabiot Returned
Ramsey Physical discomfort November Out
Bernardeschi Shoulder November Doubtful
Moise Kean Muscle November Out
Federico Chiesa Muscle November Out
Chelsea Romelo Lukaku Ankle November Out
Kovacic Hamstring November Out
Christian Pulisic Ankle November Doubtful
Azpilicueta Shoulder November Doubtful
Timo Werner Hamstring November Out
Loftus-Cheek Hip November Doubtful
Zenit Dejan Lovren Returned
Vyacheslav Karavaev Leg October Out
Sevilla Youssef Nesyri Returned
Papu Gomez Muscle November Out
Wolfsburg Roussillon Calf November Out
Waldschmidt Hip November Out
William Cruciate Ligament January Out
Schlager Cruciate Ligament April Out
Salzburg Vallci Tendon November Out
Solet Knee November Out
Piatowski Ankle Unknown Out
Nicolas Capaldo Suspended
Sesko Muscle November Out
Sheriff Sebastien Thill Returned from suspension
Malmo Anel Ahmedhodzic Returned from suspension
Shakhtar Lassina Traore Knee February Out
Lille Leo Jardim Neck November Doubtful
Botman Groin November Doubtful
Malmo Toivonen Knee June Out
Knudsen Unknown June Out
Brugge Fabian Alvarez Suspended

MD-DIFFICULTY INDEX

To help guide your player selections, here are my difficulty tables:


Rules, Tricks, and Tips

For the inside scoop on how to beat your mini-league rivals, please read Dhivakhar’s article on the secrets to success in fantasy UCL.

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Group-by-Group Analysis

NMA’s authors have put together an article stream covering each group in the tournament. Be sure to check it out for the lowdown on the players who should be on your fantasy watch-lists.

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MD3 How did you do

Sraxan shared his experience throughout MD3 including a well detailed summary of the all fixtures. Read his article for insights.

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NMA UCL Fantasy Mini-League

If you played our UCL mini-league last season, or if you played our Euros mini-league over the summer, you should automatically be entered into NMA’s 2021-22 mini-league as soon as you create a team. Head to gaming.uefa.com and get to work!

If you are new to us, then once you create a team you can join our mini-league manually with the following info. Come join us, we’d love to have you!

  • League: Never Manage Alone
  • Code: 71MQALVG07

MATCHDAY 4 BUILD UP

Rate My Team article was posted on Saturday. On Monday, I will be exploring MD4 player picks based on this preview and you may keep coming back to this page for pre-deadline chat and questions. And of course, I will be posting the UCL Live Chat article on Tuesday — be sure to join in!

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Have anything to add? Still have questions? Please post in the comments below!

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