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UCL MD-11 Semifinals Fantasy Preview

England and Spain split both semifinals, leaving no doubt about the superiority of EPL and La Liga

Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola - Champions League Semifinals Photo by Laurence Griffiths - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Real Madrid, led by Karim Benzema, will once again play a first leg away from home, hosted by Man City at the Etihad Stadium. In the other bracket, Liverpool hosts darkhorse Villarreal managed by tactician Unai Emery. The English Premier League clubs are favored to achieve positive results in the first leg against their Spanish visitors.

The two English clubs are also competing for the domestic league title, just one point separating them at the start of play this weekend. Villarreal is also competing for a spot in next season’s European tournaments; bowing out to Liverpool will mean Villarreal will not be in any European tier next season. On the other hand, Real Madrid are extremely comfortable atop La Liga with a 15 point lead over Barcelona and Sevilla. The royal Spanish club needs only four points from the remaining five matches to secure yet another La Liga title.


MD-11 is the first leg of the semifinals, to be played on April 26 & 27.

With Bayern Munich and Chelsea knocked out, the five free transfers will surely come handy... and may not even be enough. UCL fantasy now also allows us as many as six players from each team.

So the suspended Joao Cancelo could warm your bench if you need all five free transfers to replace Chelsea and Bayern players (not to mention Benfica and Atletico, plus any injuries). I would suggest keeping an eye on Villarreal’s domestic games and performances to be able to make the best picks.


Liverpool vs Villarreal

Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are enjoying a great run of form, overcoming Benfica in the UCL Quarterfinal 6-4 on aggregate, keeping the pressure on Man City in EPL with a 2-2 draw, defeating the same 3-2 in the FA Cup Semifinal, and finally humbling Man United with a 4-0 victory.

On Sunday, Liverpool will host Everton, needing a win to keep up with the Citizens after their comprehensive 5-1 drubbing of Watford on Saturday. Liverpool qualified to the UCL knockout stages from Group B with full marks, winning all six matches against Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan. Then, they knocked out Inter Milan with a 2-1 aggregate victory in the round of 16.

Liverpool Training Session Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Unai Emery and Villarreal navigated Group F collecting ten points from three victories, a draw and two losses to finish second behind Man United while knocking out Atalanta and Young Boys. The yellow submarines took out Juventus in style with a 4-0 aggregate score in the round of 16 to then knockout perennial contenders Bayern Munich by an aggregate 2-1, causing death threats to reach Bayern head coach Julian Negelsmann.

Villarreal sits 7th in La Liga, three points below even a Europa Conference League qualification spot. Since the now famous 1-1 draw in Munich, Villarreal won 2-1 against Getafe and convinced with a 2-0 victory over Valencia. The club will not be playing any domestic league match this weekend so has six days to prepare for Tuesday’s UCL tie against Liverpool.

Getafe CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Manchester City vs Real Madrid

After a shaky start in UCL this season, Manchester City powered to the top of a Group A that included PSG, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge. The 10 goals conceded in the group stage were a wake up call for Pep Guardiola to notice his defensive leaks and recover without losing ground in any competition. However, Ruben Dias’ injury has caused a minor setback defensively, but not enough to cause any major harm. Unlike Liverpool, navigating the quarterfinals was more difficult, Atletico Madrid causing noticeable trouble to the Citizens’ style of play. The difficult run of matches ended with City losing to Liverpool 2-3 in an FA Cup semifinal. City thrashed Watford 5-1 today as a warm-up to hosting the historically best European club on Tuesday.

Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s early shock loss to Sheriff in the UCL group stage was enough to motivate the side to win the five remaining matches of Group D, which included Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk as well. Extra motivation came in the form of UEFA’s poor round of 16 draw management that changed Real’s opponent from Benfica to PSG within hours. Carlo Ancelotti and Benzema did not disappoint and knocked out the allstar club.

The quarterfinals pitted Real Madrid against title-holders Chelsea. The English club’s recent formations and starting lineups struggles was enough for Real Madrid’s quality to triumph in an exciting and thrilling 5-4 aggregate tie. Real Madrid has moved on to secure two more victories in La Liga; 3-2 on the road against Sevilla and 3-1 over Osasuna this Wednesday. There will be no weekend match for Real Madrid, allowing the club more time than Man City to prepare for the first leg match.

Osasuna v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images


My fellow UCL expert Dhivakhar is studying MD-11 player picks to give you some ideas for transfers and chip strategies tomorrow, and Sraven will publish his strategies and team development for your rating and advice.

You are welcome to post tactics chat and questions in the comments section of this article as well. And of course, I will be posting the UCL Live Chat article on Tuesday. Injuries and suspensions lists will be covered there, so be sure to check in.


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 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