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Champions League Preview: Group G

With Sevilla the slight favorite, this group is wide open.

Sevilla FC v Rayo Vallecano - La Liga Santander
Can En-Nesyri and new transfer Lamela deliver for Sevilla?
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

This is a group that could finish in any order, with divergent predictions depending on the pundits. With three new coaches and Sevilla’s veteran at a whopping two years with his club, tactics will be a challenge to predict from small sample sizes and a few vastly altered rosters. Overall, Sevilla is the favorite by the smallest of margins, with a real battle to ensue for the 2nd place spot. Let’s have a look at the clubs:


AS Saint-Etienne v Lille OSC - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Lille OSC (France)

  • Coach: Jocelyn Gourvennec
  • 2020-21 League finish: 1st (Ligue 1 Champions)
  • Odds to win the tournament: +15000
  • Penalties: Burak Yilmaz (€8m), Jonathan Ikoné (€7m)
  • Free kicks: Jonathan Ikoné (€7m), Benjamin André (€5.5m), Yusuf Yazıcı (€7.5m)
  • Corners: Yusuf Yazıcı (€7.5m), Benjamin André (€5.5m)
  • System of play: 4-4-2

Lille started this season with a new coach and only one win in four matches after a fairy-tale 2020-21 season that crowned them Ligue 1 champions on the strength of a defense that conceded a mere 23 goals. With Gourvennec at the helm, pieces are still being experimented with and rotation is a concern for fantasy assets.

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Fantasy assets to consider:

Striker: Burak Yilmaz (€8m) — The best option from a Lille team that looks to be struggling at the moment.


Elche CF v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander
En-Nesyri is a solid striker option at an affordable price.
Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sevilla FC (Spain)

  • Coach: Julen Lopetegui
  • 2020-21 League finish: 4th (La Liga)
  • Odds to win the tournament: +6600
  • Penalties: Youssef En-Nesyri (€8.5m)
  • Free kicks: Marcos Acuña (€4.5)
  • Corners: Marcos Acuña (€4.5), Érik Lamela (€6m)
  • System of play: 4-2-3-1

Sevilla is the only club in this group with multiple seasons under the same manager. Lopetegui’s men also have the experience and success of winning the UEFA Europa League a record six times. Finishing nine points behind champions Atlético Madrid, Sevilla was stout at the back in 2020-21, conceding the 3rd fewest goals. The side has started the season well, currently sitting in 2nd spot, with only one goal conceded while scoring five.

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Fantasy assets to consider:

Goalkeeper: Yassine Bounou (€5m) — Top goalkeeper in the group and could see some player of the match points.

Defense: Marcos Acuña and/or Diego Carlos (€4.5) — Both are solid defense picks, but Acuña is only 6% owned compared to Carlos at 12%. Acuña has been active so far with 14 crosses, 9 free-kicks, and 5 corners taken respectively.

Midfield: Érik Lamela (€6m) — has been excellent since his transfer from Tottenham, netting a team-leading thre goals in 121 minutes played. Second most corners taken.

Striker: Youssef En-Nesyri (€8.5m) — A nice start with two goals and an assist. On penalties.


FBL-WC-2022-QUALIFIERS-GER-ARM
The 19 year-old Adeyemi is on fire to start the season!
Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

FC Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)

  • Coach: Matthias Jaissle
  • 2020-21 League finish: 1st (Austrian Bundesliga)
  • Odds to win the tournament: +15000
  • Penalties: Karim Adeyemi (Not added yet)
  • System of play: 4-3-1-2

This is arguably RB Salzburg’s best chance to continue beyond the group stage, having long dominated the Austrian Bundesliga. The Red Bulls have already won 6 of 6 and score lots of goals. That said, their defense will need to step up. They also have the added challenge of a new starting XI, having lost outstanding players such as Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu to the English Premier League.

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Fantasy assets to consider:

Defense: Rasmus Kristensen (€4.5) — the 0% owned right-back is on fire in attack, with three goals, one assist, and two big chances created in five games. Sneaky differential if the defense performs well.

Midfield: Brenden Aaronson (€5.5m) — still finding form in the Bundesliga this season with just one assist so far, but the American played well in qualifying.

Striker: Karim Adeyemi (Not added yet) — The young man has been absolutely electric to kick off the season with six goals plus an assist in six matches. Also presumably on penalties.


VfL Wolfsburg v VfL Bochum - Bundesliga
Weghorst is on penalties and the best option for fantasy at Wolfsburg.
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

VfL Wolfsburg (Germany)

  • Coach: Mark van Bommel
  • 2020-21 League finish: 4th (German Bundesliga)
  • Odds to win the tournament: +15000
  • Penalties: Wout Weghorst (€8m)
  • Free kicks: Max Arnold (€6.5m), John Brooks (€4.5)
  • Corners: Max Arnold (€6.5m), Kevin Mbabu (€4.5m), Jérôme Roussillon (€4m)
  • System of play: 4-2-3-1

Wolfsburg has started the season well, currently topping the Bundesliga with three wins in three, conceding only one goal. During the 2020-21 season, they conceded the 2nd fewest goals on the way to a 4th place finish.

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Fantasy assets to consider:

Goalkeeper: Koen Casteels (€5m) - possible multiple clean sheets. Seven saves and 100% save rate so far.

Defense: Jérôme Roussillon (€4m) - cheaper than Brooks and has taken 2nd most corners this season as well as two free kicks. Kevin Mbabu (€4.5m) - 8 corners taken so far, the most for Wolfsburg.

Midfield: Ridle Baku (€5m) - Exciting young right-winger with an expected goal rate of 1.3 in 2021-22.

Striker: Wout Weghorst (€8m) - Dangerous and imposing. Scores goals. On penalties. The best option for a Wolfsburg asset.

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Stats and information for the article were sourced from: soccerwhizz.com , uefa.com , transfermarkt.us , vegasinsider.com , Wikipedia.com , sofascore.com , fbref.com

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NMA Group Stage Article Stream

For group-by-group analysis of each this season’s UCL teams, please see NMA’s Group Stage article stream. New articles are added to the stream daily.


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

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Do you see possible budget player of the match points in these clubs? Is this RB Salzburg’s best chance to finally make is through the group stage? Whom are your picks to shine in Group G? Please let us know in the comments below!

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