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UCL MD-10: Quarterfinals Fantasy Preview

Four clubs established advantages in the first leg. Can they now close the deal?

Pep Guardiola confronts Diego Simeone - Manchester City v Atletico Madrid Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

In the first leg of the quarterfinals, English clubs Liverpool and Man City each took an important step toward the semifinals. Liverpool defeated Benfica 3-1, and Man City was unlucky to win with only a 1-0 scoreline.

Wednesday matches went off-script: Favored Chelsea at Stamford Bridge fell victim to yet another Karim Benzema hatrick, losing 1-3. In an even more surprising result, Villarreal won 1-0, Bayern ruing 22 total shots and 4 on target without breaking through.


MD-10 is the second leg, the quarterfinals return matches, to be played over April 12-13. On Tuesday, Bayern Munich hosts Villarreal hoping to turn the tide. Chelsea will travel to Madrid to either have the full PSG experience or give the royal club a taste of its own medicine. On Wednesday, the Citizens visit Madrid to finish the job or suffer the same fate as their Manchester rivals did at the hands of Atletico. Also Liverpool welcomes Benfica for what most expect to be a formality.

With nobody crashing out between legs, MD-10 allows us only three free transfers compared to the five allowed for MD-9. All clubs except perhaps Liverpool will play their best available starting-XI. Fantasy managers should study patterns of the last three matches to see who will start and who could go the whole 90 minutes. I am still proud of playing Luis Diaz and wrapping the captain band around his arm.


Bayern Munich vs Villarreal

Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann surprised the European stage by starting Alphonso Davies who is just recovering from a heart problem. The Canadian wing-back was also surprisingly the best Bayern player out there. His choice of playing Jamal Musiala may have had the opposite effect since the attacking midfielder was playing out of position and Sabitzer is more accomplished, which could have stopped the yellow submarines’ dangerous counter attacks. Nagelsmann will hope Goretzka is ready to take his spot alongside Kimmich for the return leg. Villarreal is surfing a high wave of form recently and will try to extend the unlikely lead over the Bundesliga champions. Both Bayern and Villarreal play on Saturday in their respective domestic leagues against Augsberg and A. Bilbao.

Villarreal v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Real Madrid vs Chelsea

I am taken back to the round of 16 draw when Real Madrid was originally drawn against Benfica before the draw error debacle forced UEFA to redraw Real against PSG. This put the Spanish capital club on the worst course to the final. Pre-tournament favourite PSG suffered a humiliating defeat at the business end of a Benzema hattrick, and now the title-holders have suffered likewise. By January, odds started favoring Man City and Liverpool to lift the European title. Real Madrid will be facing Liverpool if they both advance. Chelsea has only six days to stabilize a formation. NMA’s MD-9 preview highlighted Tuchel’s strange timing of trying players out of position and in unfamiliar formations. Now he has only six days to find a proper solution to have a chance against Real Madrid, but he’ll be encouraged that his side put Southampton to the sword at St Mary’s today. Real Madrid hosted Getafe today, Benzema again the spearhead of the attack.

Chelsea FC v Real Madrid Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images


Liverpool vs Benfica

If true, Mo Salah’s so called downcast morale following recent international results should not pose a risk to Liverpool’s chances to advance. Jurgen Klopp has an abundance of wingers and strikers raring to go even though in my opinion, Salah’s performance left Grimaldo in poor form and was as strong as can be against a closed down defence. Benfica on the other hand will depend on young talents such as Darwin Nunez to overcome their two goal gap behind the English titans. It is a major task, and unlike Ajax and Barcelona before them, Liverpool remains in top form. Benfica will host Belenenses in the domestic league today, and Liverpool play Man City in an EPL title showdown on Sunday.

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


Man City vs Atletico Madrid

At the Emirates Stadium last Tuesday, Pep Guardiola added to his tally of victories over Diego Simeone. Now he will step into familiar ground at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in the return leg. It took Kevin De Bruyne a long time to find his previous years’ form, but he is finally back. Breaking a full-on Atletico Madrid defense maybe possible, but keeping a clean sheet in the face of a Los Blancos counterattack will be difficult. Atletico Madrid can also be praised for conceding only once against Man City’s relentless attack, but Simeone must find a way to counter and find the net at home this Wednesday. Atletico Madrid will play Mallorca on the road and will hope the Citizens’ energy will be depleted after hosting Liverpool.

Manchester City v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images


My fellow UCL expert Dhivakhar is studying MD-10 player picks to give you some ideas for transfers and chip strategies tomorrow, and Chris has published a MD-10 Rate My Team article.

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