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UCL MD-6 Rate My Team: Limitless Chip Edition

With a thorny matchday restricting my theoretically unlimited options, have I picked the right players?

Real Madrid v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Super Cup
Can’t go wrong selecting these two Real Madrid attacking stars, right?
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

As the rubber meets the road, it is not a relaxed ride but rather a slippery street with the long-awaited arrival of Matchday-6 for Champions League fantasy. So many teams’ fates lie in the balance, and key players will have to step up with strong performances in order to make it through to the knockout round of this tournament by finishing in the top two positions in their groups. Other sides find themselves fighting it out for third place, which brings with it the consolation prize of a Europa League spot.

All the while, many teams have no chance for advancement in Champions League or grabbing a Europa League spot and are left playing merely for pride, so their managers may want to keep their weary stars away from possible injury. On top of that, teams which are secured (or nearly secured) of first place in their groups, or even the second spot, will also be very tempted to rest their regulars, saving their legs for domestic league and/or cup competition during this extremely exhausting pre-World Cup period.

This means that for me, MD-6 is all about risk aversion. We have 15 positions to fill, and simply put, the more zeroes (or ones) we swallow from those players being left out of the starting line-up, the more dismal our total scores tend to end up. Do you really want to be stuck, for instance, with Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah as the high-priced stars of your team, with a good chance that two or even all three of them won’t start the final fixture of the group stage?


Before we go forward, it’s always important to look back to see how we got to where we are. I went into this UCL fantasy campaign with the following chip strategy:

  • Matchday-1: Focus purely on the mix of best players, match-ups and values in MD-1, because I was going to:
  • Matchday-2: Use the Wildcard Chip in MD-2, focusing on the mix of best players, match-ups and values for MD-2 through MD-5, because I was going to:
  • Matchday-6: Use the Limitless Chip in MD-6. We love having star players on our teams because they reliably tend to produce points. However, MD-6 always contains the biggest risk of those star players being rested. Why? Because star players tend to be on the best teams, which tend to do best in the competition, thus having the biggest likelihood of already being through to the next round by this point. Compared to playing the chip earlier, I do lose out on being able to pick from the full range of superstars since I am expecting many to be rested, but what I gain now is much more certainty that all or most of my players will actually start.

Naturally, there was always the chance that fate would force me to alter that strategy and use my limitless chip earlier than I had designed. Luckily, I was able to avoid a huge rash of injuries/suspensions/unexpected non-starters in any of the matchdays prior to this point and thankfully could afford to stick to my original plan. How has it worked out? Not brilliantly epic, but not too shabby, I’d say. These are my scores so far:

Matchday-1: 99 points

Matchday-2: 61 points

Matchday-3: 80 points

Matchday-4: 79 points

Matchday-5: 82 points

My total of 401 points through the first five matchdays has left me currently ranked at #125 in the NMA league, #247 in the USA and #15,313 overall globally. If I can put my limitless chip to good use, maybe I can move further up the ranks ahead of the group stage.


First I need to decide which teams I am focusing on, then I can pick from among their players.


Managers whose teams are not yet through to the next round but are still fighting for first or second place in their groups (Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting CP, Eintracht Frankfurt, Marseille, RB Leipzig, AC Milan, RB Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk) or whose teams are battling for third place (Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Maccabi Haifa), will be heavily incentivized to field their best XI possible.

Of the aforementioned teams, I think that the following sides have the most attractive match-ups: RB Leipzig, AC Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Porto and Sporting. Of course, that does not mean I will completely shy away from stars from the other teams, with Tottenham talisman Harry Kane coming easily to mind as someone not to rule out.



Squads which have secured going through to the knockout stage, but are still battling with a legitimate shot at first place, leave us in a bit of a tricky situation. Admittedly, there is some risk that their gaffers will be tempted to give the big stars a rest, but ultimately I think they will probably put forth their best XI in hopes of finishing first. The teams in this department: Brugge, Porto, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica. Of those, I think Real Madrid, Benfica, PSG and Porto have favorable match-ups.

With respect to the early games, it’s never a bad idea to target players from the first four teams on Tuesday, especially at this point. In Matchday-6 which promises so much line-up uncertainty, guaranteed starters became all the more valuable. These are the two early Tuesday match-ups (the Group B quartet): Porto v. Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen v. Club Brugge. While Porto and Brugge are dueling it out for the top spot in the group, unfortunately excitement will have to be tempered a bit since neither is a so-called traditional powerhouse full of superstars, and beyond that, their opponents will both be trying hard to win in an effort to grab the Europa League spot. Let’s just say that there was no shortage of groups we would have preferred to see in the early Tuesday slot instead, but hey, them’s the breaks!



Regular starters from teams with nothing to play for will be at elevated risk of being rested in favor of domestic designs with an added eye to giving younger/fringe players invaluable Champions League experience. There are many categories of teams in this department:

  • 1st place secured or reasonably secured: Napoli, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester City,
  • 2nd place secured and not reasonably alive for 1st place: Liverpool, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund,
  • 3rd place secured or fairly secured and not reasonably alive for 1st or 2nd place: Barcelona, Ajax and Sevilla, and
  • 4th place secured or fairly secured and not reasonably alive for 3rd place: Viktoria Plzen, Dinamo Zagreb, Rangers, Celtic and FC Copenhagen.

Now, a strategy that is not without its merits is to pick usual bench players from big teams whose teams are already through to the next round and will expect to slide into the XI. For instance, Manchester City attackers such as Jack Grealish and Julian Alvarez could pay off handsomely given a home match-up against Sevilla. But due to the uncertainty factor, I will probably avoid that type of selection. The only thing worse than picking a regular starter (such as Haaland or Kevin de Bruyne) who ends up resting is picking a usual benchwarmer (such as Grealish or Alvarez) you’re hoping will start but who ends up stuck on the bench. With uncertainty the theme of the day surrounding the sides in this section, everybody among these teams will carry a huge amount of risk whether they are a regular starter or usual benchwarmer since none have the benefit of featuring in Tuesday’s first four games.


I’ve got unlimited funds, but unfortunately as you have seen I have narrowed my focus to a very limited number of teams, so my total spend will surely not be astronomical as it would have been in one of the earlier matchdays. Even so, let’s start off in the pricey section of the store with the glory boys in attack.


My top target teams with favorable match-ups (RB Leipzig, AC Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Porto and Sporting) do not have an abundance of star forwards, so I’m going to go a bit outside and dip into my top target team tier with less favorable opponents (Tottenham) and my secondary target team tier (PSG and Real Madrid) to round out my range of choices. For Bayer Leverkusen, Patrik Schick has been out injured for a while, so even if he looks set to pass fit he seems too risky of a pick given the quality of other choices available.

Forwards on My Radar for MD-6

K. Mbappe PSG at JUV Wed. 49 438' 10 2 881'
L. Messi PSG at JUV Wed. 38 345' 6 9 967'
A. Silva RBL at SHK Wed. 29 334' 1 1 548'
T. Werner RBL at SHK Wed. 20 333' 3 2 558'
K. Benzema RMA v. CEL Wed. 5 210' 5 1 628'
M. Taremi POR v. ATM Tue. 31 350' 5 4 845'
R. Leao MIL v. SAL Tue. 22 402' 5 5 754'
M. Diaby LEV v. BRU Tue. 19 433' 2 3 922'
O. Giroud MIL v. SAL Tue. 17 340' 4 2 648'
H. Kane TOT at MAR Tue. 16 450' 10 1 1068'
Paulinho SPO v. FRA Tue. 13 145' 1 0 284'

Likely primary PK takers: Mbappe, Benzema, Taremi, Giroud, Diaby (if Schick does not pass fit) and Kane.

I’d normally start with Tuesday players, but as you can see by how I’ve arranged the chart above, instead my attention is on Wednesday. After all, Mbappe and Messi are tearing it up both in Champions League and League 1, and the French side has a favorable match-up at struggling Juventus despite traveling to Italy. (Following his third yellow card of the competition in MD-5, Neymar is flagged as being suspended for MD-6.) While PSG are securely through to the next round, they are fighting it out for the #1 spot in their group which usually (but not always) offers a benefit when it comes to having a more favorable opponent to start the knockout round. PSG generally win Ligue 1 in a cakewalk and this season looks to be no different as they currently hold a 5-point lead on second place Lens, so there is less need for their stars to be rested for domestic competition than would be for most (if not all) other teams in their predicament. So while there is a bit of a risk to their being rested, I feel fairly comfortable (fingers crossed!) that they will start. So I’m going to get my team started with Mbappe, their dynamic superduperstar and PK specialist.

Paris Saint-Germain v Maccabi Haifa FC: Group H - UEFA Champions League
Neymar is suspended, but Mbappe and Messi are still worthy options to consider.
Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

For my second striker, it is tempting to go with Messi following his recent two goal, two assist heroics. But PSG is not at home this time, and their opponent is not Maccabi Haifa. On top of that, after having moved from Barcelona, Messi is not his team’s PK taker of choice any more. Like PSG, Real Madrid play Wednesday and are through to the next round but still battling for the #1 spot in their group. With a favorable match-up at home against Celtic, Karim Benzema seems the standout selection, the caveat being if he passes fit. While Benzema has not done much this injury-riddled UCL season, who can forget his brilliant performance leading the line for last year’s champion? He also has still done plenty of damage domestically in La Liga despite limited game time. I will pencil in Benzema as my number two up front for now, pending any injury updates before the deadline.

For my third striker, it’s not an easy choice. That said, it never is! I don’t want all three of my strikers playing the same day, since forwards are generally the standout captain choices. Even though it is possible I could decide to go with a different position instead, I want a strong option at striker to captain on Tuesday, rather than three to decide from with Wednesday’s armband if my Tuesday captain blanks. So that rules out Messi, Silva and Werner.

Kane would at first glance seem the obvious choice due to his superstar status, but I harbor a few worries. First, while Kane has done very well in the EPL, he’s managed next to nothing in his five UCL appearances. Second, the match is at Marseille, and that tilts it so that the French side should be favored. Third, the Tottenham attack has looked limp in recent weeks without being able to feature either from the injured pair of Dejan Kulusevski or Richarlison. That leaves me leaning toward Mehdi Taremi of Porto. Taremi has lit it up in the UCL thus far (nearly doubling Kane’s production in fewer minutes), while also performing admirably in Liga Portugal. Like Kane, Taremi should be on PKs and like Tottenham, Porto are fighting for the #1 spot in their group. But while Spurs travel on the road to face Marseille, Porto will be at home against a disappointing Atletico Madrid side whose back line has looked unexpectedly suspect. I’m going with Taremi.



In midfield, the superstar likes of Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Sadio Mane may be too risky to pick, but there is still an abundance of attractive options at my disposal. As with the strikers, I want somewhat of a balance but I’d love for it to be more front-loaded (ideally three or four on Tuesday, one or two on Wednesday), but it not as much related to the captain choice. Instead, it has to do with flexibility in terms of bringing in players from the bench as needed; I want the likelihood of having enough low scores from Tuesday that I will need to bring in all my bench players for Wednesday, whereas if my team is back loaded, I may leave one or two players needlessly languishing on the bench. Ultimately, though, it’s usually more important just to pick the best options. Also, as with Kane in the striker part, I’m widening the view just a bit to include Tottenham in order to get fellow world class attacker Son into the mix of choices. Let’s see what we’ve got here in the engine room.

Midfielders on My Radar for MD-6

Galeno POR v. ATM Tue. 31 338' 3 1 416'
M. Edwards SPO v. FRA Tue. 31 294' 3 3 668'
H. Son TOT at MAR Tue. 26 422' 3 2 946'
F. Trincao SPO v. FRA Tue. 24 361' 2 1 742'
M. Uribe POR v. ATM Tue. 22 438' 1 0 832'
S. Tonali MIL v. SAL Tue. 22 427' 1 3 1174'
S. Eustaquio POR v. ATM Tue. 21 436' 1 3 534'
Otavio POR v. ATM Tue. 20 363' 1 0 517'
I. Bennacer MIL v. SAL Tue. 20 339' 1 0 1164'
R. Andrich LEV v. BRU Tue. 18 319' 0 2 713'
C. Hudson-Odoi LEV v. BRU Tue. 17 390' 0 1 368'
N. Snatos SPO v. FRA Tue. 15 265' 4 2 695'
P. Goncalves SPO v. FRA Tue. 10 274' 6 3 881'
J. Mario BEN at MAC Wed. 31 433' 4 3 681'
Vinicius Jr. RMA v. CEL Wed. 31 378' 5 3 961'
Rodrygo RMA v. CEL Wed. 29 333' 4 4 652'
C. Nkunku RBL at SHK Wed. 21 448' 8 0 931'
D. Szoboszlai RBL at SHK Wed. 21 427' 1 4 626'
M. Asensio RMA v. CEL Wed. 14 158' 1 1 59'

Likely primary PK takers: Goncalves (if he starts), Nkunku and J. Mario.

Nkunku is Leipzig’s #1 pen taker, so as much as I hate kicking things off with a Wednesday player, let’s start with him. Turning my attention to Tuesday next, I can’t say no to Son. I know, I know, what about the worries I have about the Tottenham attack that kept me from picking Kane? Well, there are only three forward spots, while there are five midfield positions to fill. Son shared the EPL Golden Boot last season, scoring 23 goals. (Also, full disclosure: I’m a Spurs fan.) He’s in.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League
We all love to see Son’s beautiful smile when he scores, which is often.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Otherwise, as much as I hate doing it, it seems unavoidable to turn back to Wednesday where we have Porto’s primary PK taker Joao Mario and otherworldly Real Madrid star Real Vinicius Jr. My fifth midfielder has to play on Tuesday. I’d love to grab Pedro Goncalves who is Sporting’s primary PK taker, but he is listed by the UCL fantasy portal as “Unlikely to start next game.” Do they know something the rest of us outside Portugal don’t know? I don’t know, but I’m worried. So let’s finish off the position with his teammate Marcus Edwards, who is faring quite well both in UCL and Liga Portugal this season.



The beauty in defense is that now I don’t necessarily have to focus on cheaper defenders, which was my strategy in the first five rounds. With my tilt toward Wednesday players so far (five Wednesday, three Tuesday), I do need to prioritize Tuesday defenders. While defenders — particularly central defenders — are not as likely to be rested as forwards or midfielders, there is still enough or a risk that I prefer to target the same teams as before. However, while there aren’t any players really jumping off the page with respect to Marseille attackers, I might as well open the field to both Tottenham and Marseille at the back end.

Defenders on My Radar for MD-6

Zaidu POR v. ATM Tue. 26 360' 0 0 532'
I. Perisic TOT at MAR Tue. 25 341' 0 3 625'
E. Dier TOT at MAR Tue. 22 438' 2 0 1072'
P. Porro SPO v. FRA Tue. 22 301' 0 3 526'
J. Clauss MAR v. TOT Tue. 21 342' 1 4 902'
P. Kalulu MIL v. SAL Tue. 20 450' 0 0 780'
P. Hinkapi LEV v. BRU Tue. 20 450' 1 0 651'
C. Mbemba MAR v. TOT Tue. 20 318' 1 0 1035'
M. Gabbia MIL v. SAL Tue. 17 205' 0 0 217'
T. Hernandez MIL v. SAL Tue. 15 330' 1 2 885'
N. Tavares MAR v. TOT Tue. 14 450' 3 0 877'
J. Frimpong LEV v. BRU Tue. 11 285' 5 0 888'
A. Grimaldo BEN at MAC Wed. 35 450 0 2 801'
M. Simakan RBL at SHK Wed. 35 420' 0 1 536'
A. Rudiger RMA v. CEL Wed. 23 315' 1 0 592'
D. Alaba RMA v. CEL Wed. 19 305' 1 3 896'
A. Bah BEN at MAC Wed. 17 414' 0 4 446'
A. Hakimi PSG at JUV Wed. 17 355' 2 1 896'
W. Orban RBL at SHK Wed. 17 450' 3 0 990'
N. Mendes PSG at JUV Wed. 7 246' 1 2 581'

As usual, I’m looking for a mix of Champions League and domestic league production, but with defenders it can be tougher to shake out than it is for forwards and midfielders since they tend to fly more under the radar with respect to name recognition. Some of the players have been very productive on a per 90’ basis, but if they haven’t played consistent UCL minutes, especially recently, they’re difficult to trust. For instance, as good as the stats for Alaba, he’s only come on as a sub in the past two UCL fixtures, so he’s probably best to avoid. And while I’d love to grab Jeremie Frimpong since he’s scored 5 Bundlesliga goals this season, his fantasy production has been minimal in UCL and the official portal has him listed merely as “In contention to start next game,” so I should pass.

I promised to prioritize Tuesday players in my back line, so I’m going with a minimum of three of them. Let’s start there. Marseille’s Jonathan Clauss has been decent but nothing special in UCL so far; however, what jumps off the page is his Ligue 1 production: 1 goal and 4 assists this season after netting 5 goals with 11 assists in 2021-22, which is not a surprise when you see that he’s actually listed in Transfermarkt as a midfielder. Hey, let’s take advantage of an out of position “defender” in UCL fantasy! Additionally, while I’m not exactly expecting a clean sheet at home against Tottenham per se, I don’t think that would shock anyone.

Likewise, Sporting’s Pedro Porro has been good in UCL fantasy, but his 3 assists in 7 Liga Portugal appearances this season, along with 4 goals and 4 assists in 2021-22, really stand out. A home tilt against Frankfurt brings a fair chance of a clean sheet. He’s my second choice.

My third Tuesday addition comes from Spurs. For now I’m going with Ivan Perisic who has been Tottenham’s best defender on a per 90’ basis, and he offers the best goal/assist chances. If it looks like he’s unlikely to start as the deadline approaches, I can switch to a more reliable starter in Eric Dier. It would not surprise me for Marseille v. Tottenham to end up as a measured, low wattage affair; maybe one of the two sides will get a clean sheet so perhaps by selecting one player from each side I’m hedging my bets, although 1-1 or 2-1 wouldn’t be a shock either.

I’m not overly high on the rest of the Tuesday field, so for my final two defenders I’m going with Wednesday. Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles. For my fourth defender, I’m choosing between the two highest scoring defenders I’ve targeted, Benfica’s Alejandro Grimalso and Leipzig’s Mohamed Simakan, who are both on 35 points in UCL fantasy so far. They’re both away. The balls recovered stat is basically a wash. The deciding factor? Grimaldo tallied a whopping 20 points in the reverse (MD-1) tilt with Maccabi Haifa, whereas Simakan returned “only” 6 points (despite actually scoring a goal) as Leipzig conceded four scores to Shakhtar Donetsk in MD-1. Grimaldo gets the spot!

For my fifth and final defender, I’m zeroing in on defending champion Real Madrid at home to Celtic which has only scored twice in the first five games. Antonio Rudiger, who has been known to pop up with the occasional goal in attack, seems like a solid choice.

RB Leipzig v Real Madrid: Group F - UEFA Champions League
FPL fans knew him from Chelsea, and now Antonio Rudiger remains a strong fantasy choice at Real Madrid.
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images



Likewise as with defenders, I’m not limited to budget keepers as has been my approach so far. As usual, I need one who plays Tuesday and another who plays Wednesday. Unlike defenders who can score goals, assists and get extra for ball recoveries, keepers’ value derives almost exclusively from their ability to garner clean sheets, although keepers do get extra for saves (with a huge boost for saving penalties).

I’m starting with Porto’s Diogo Costa, who is #1 in scoring at the position by a wide margin with 45 points thanks largely to three straight games with penalty saves. It’s impossible to imagine he could keep that streak going, but the important thing is that he’s full of confidence, which will carry over. At home against an Atletico Madrid side which has only scored 4 goals so far, Costa is difficult to pass up.

For my Wednesday keeper, I’ve already got three Real Madrid players, so I can’t go with Thibaut Courtois as much as I would want to. Given my team list, I think that leaves it between the backstops for AC Milan and Benfica. Both teams have conceded at roughly the same rate, and both sides’ opponents have scored at about the same clip. With Benfica traveling to Israel and AC Milan playing in Italy, I’m leaning toward AC Milan. I’d feel more comfortable about grabbing #1 Mike Maignan, but since he remains out injured I’ll roll the dice with his deputy Ciprian Tatarusanu who kept a clean sheet in MD-5 at Dinamo Zagreb.


So, this is what my team looks like:

The author’s provisional MD-6 team
Official UCL Fantasy Game

Pending any last minute changes as the deadling approaches, right now that leaves my team with the following breakdown:

  • By Day: Seven players on Tuesday, eight on Wednesday
  • By Team: Real Madrid (3), Benfica (2), Porto (2), Sporting (2), Tottenham (2), Leipzig (1), Marseille (1), AC Milan (1) and PSG (1)
  • By Combined UCL Production: 407 points in 67 games (6.07 ppg)
  • By Combined Cost: €108.0m


[SOURCE NOTE: Prices and statistics used in this post came from the official Champions League fantasy site as well as from Transfermarkt.]


What do you think of my Limitless chip player choices for MD-6? Do I have the right approach looking at a restricted number of teams, or do you think I should widen the range to include more stars (or their back-ups)? What players do you view as absolutely essential? Take the poll below and share your thoughts and questions in the comments section!



Are you playing a chip in Matchday-6?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Yes, the Wildcard chip
    (9 votes)
  • 46%
    Yes, the Limitless chip
    (26 votes)
  • 23%
    No, already played both chips
    (13 votes)
  • 14%
    No, saving one (or both) chips for later
    (8 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now