The players who had the best match-ups in MD-1 won’t see those opponents again until MD-6 when rotation (and limitless chips) will rule the day. For that reason, many managers went all-in on one-week plays last week and are now already playing their wildcards to start from scratch for MD-2 through MD-5.
Whether that’s your plan or you want the minimum free transfers, read on — NMA has you covered at all positions and price levels.
Ivan Provedel (€5.0m, Celtic vs Lazio)
Lazio’s Goalkeeper Provedel was the star of the show in MD-1 for his goal-scoring heroics against Atletico. This week, the Lazio #1 has good potential to score points in a more conventional way. Celtic recorded an xG of 0.30 against Feyenoord and looked blunt in attack. Celtic’s Md-2 opponents Lazio have good clean sheet potential as a consequence, making Provedel a good goalkeeping option for day two of MD-2
Sven Ulreich (€4.5m, F.C. Copenhagen vs Bayern)
Despite generating an xG of just 0.65, Copenhagen managed to score twice against Galatasaray in MD-1. Although Bayern’s defensive record isn’t the best, the German champions should dominate possession and restrict Copenhagen, making Bayern’s deputy keeper Ulreich a stand-out for day one of MD-2.
Achraf Hakimi (€6.0, Newcastle vs Paris Saint Germain)
Newcastle United recorded an xG of 0.28 against AC Milan — second lowest behind Union Berlin’s 0.24 away at Real Madrid in UCL MD-1. Along with good clean sheet potential, Hakimi also offers good ball recovery and attacking potential, having already netted three goals in eight appearances this season, including a goal against Dortmund in UCL MD-1.
Ben White (€5.5m, RC Lens vs Arsenal)
The Gunners have kept clean sheets in four of their last five games. Ben White can earn points through assists, ball recoveries, and clean sheets. Although the fullback isn’t often on the score sheet, he netted a goal in Arsenal’s recent league outing against Bournemouth. A sign of things to come, perhaps?
Robin Gosens (€5.0m, Union Berlin vs Sporting Braga)
Union Berlin isn’t in the best form defensively, letting in eight goals in their last five outings. But, Braga isn’t doing great defensively either, having conceded at least a goal in each of five most recent games. So, although Gosens’ clean sheet odds are bleak, the German has good potential for attacking returns, as he has scored three goals in six Bundesliga appearances.
If you are on the lookout for cheaper defensive options, Lazio’s Adam Marusic at €4.5m is a good pick. Lazio has good clean sheet odds against Celtic. The Montenegrin also has good ball recovery potential.
Denzel Dumfries (€5.5m, Inter vs Benfica)
Benfica was down to 10 men by the 13th minute of UCL MD-1 and still generated an xG of 1.48 against Salzburg, with no goals to show for the effort. So, a clean sheet is not a given. But Dumfries has other avenues for points. The Dutchman has scored two goals and provided two assists in six Serie-A appearances, making him a good pick for MD-2 against an iffy Benfica defense that has conceded nine goals in eight games this season.
João Cancelo (€6.0m, Porto vs Barcelona)
Cancelo is back to his best at Barcelona. The Portuguese fullback has scored two goals and provided an assist in six appearances. Keeping a clean sheet away at Porto isn’t easy, but the Barcelona defense is rock solid, and Cancelo has good enough odds for attacking returns & ball recoveries to make him one of the standouts for MD-2.
Leroy Sané (€9.0m, F.C. Copenhagen vs Bayern)
Sané is in red hot form. The German winger has already netted six goals in seven appearances this season. There aren’t many players who are “essential” to own, but Sané playing against a leaky Copenhagen defense is close.
Jude Bellingham (€7.5m, Napoli vs Real Madrid)
Bellingham can’t stop scoring. The Englishman has netted seven goals and provided two assists in eight appearances. In MD-1, he scored a late winner against Union Berlin to secure three points for the Los Blancos. Although playing away at Napoli won’t be a cakewalk, Bellingham is Madrid’s talisman and should get plenty of chances. The 20-year-old should be your priority transfer if you don’t already have him.
Phil Foden (€8.0m, Leipzig vs Man City)
Foden has made a steady start to his 2023-24 season, having scored once and provided three assists in seven starts. Despite posting an xG of 0.88 and looking sharp, the Englishman was unable to get on the scoresheet in City’s UCL opener against Belgrade. He should get plenty of opportunities to open his UCL goal-scoring account for the season against a notoriously leaky Leipzig defense.
Martin Ødegaard (€9.0m, RC Lens vs Arsenal)
Ødegaard is the lynch-pin of the Arsenal attack. The Arsenal captain has netted four goals and provided two assists in eight appearances this season. Ødegaard scored a goal, provided an assist, and won the player of the match award to cap off a brilliant 4-0 win for Arsenal in MD-1.
Ødegaard’s teammate Bukayo Saka (€9.5m) is an equally good option. Making his UCL debut, Saka was one of Arsenal’s stand-out performers in MD-1, as the winger scored a goal and provided an assist. If you’re planning to play the limitless chip, having both Ødegaard & Saka could be the way to go. Saka was substituted due to a knock in Arsenal’s recent Premier League outing. Stay tuned to NMA’s live chat for further updates on the Saka injury situation
Ander Barrenetxea (€4.5m, Salzburg vs Real Sociedad)
Barrenetxea is the best budget-enabling midfielder in the game. The Spaniard has scored three goals from six league starts and could be a bargain €4.5m as there aren’t many noteworthy attacking options at this price point. Salzburg conceded an xG of 1.48 to a Benfica side, that was reduced to 10 men early in the first half. The free-flowing Real Sociedad attack should get plenty of chances to breach the Salzburg defense, making Barrenetxea a solid pick for MD-2.
Elsewhere, Salzburg’s Oscar Gloukh (€5.0m) and Lazio’s Luis Alberto (€6.0m) are good alternatives. Gloukh scored in Salzburg’s 2-0 win over Benfica and Luis Alberto provided the assist for Provedel’s dramatic equalizer against Atletico Madrid in UCL MD-1.
Erling Haaland (€11.5m, Leipzig vs Manchester City)
Historically, the Leipzig - City game always has plenty of goals, City beating Leipzig 7-0 in their most recent meeting in the second leg of last season’s Round of 16. Haaland scored five of the seven goals. The Norwegian is the stand-out captain option for day two of MD-2. Don’t leave him out.
Harry Kane (€10.0m, F.C. Copenhagen vs Bayern Munich)
Kane has made a brilliant start to his life in Germany. The Englishman has netted nine goals and provided four assists in seven appearances. The Bayern #9 scored a goal and provided an assist in Bayern’s 4-3 win over Man United in UCL MD-1. Harry Kane is the stand-out captaincy option for day one of MD-2.
Lautaro Martínez (€9.0m, Inter Milan vs Benfica)
Martínez is in the form of his life. The Argentine has already scored ten goals from eight appearances. Martínez scored Inter’s only goal in the draw with Real Sociedad in MD-1. If you need a bit more convincing, the Inter #10 came off the bench to score four goals in Inter’s recent Serie-A win.
If you are looking for budget forward options, Man City’s Julián Álvarez (€7.0m) and Real Sociedad’s Takefusa Kubo (€5.0m) are the standouts. Alvarez has scored five goals in eight appearances and is City’s best attacker after Haaland. Kubo is Real Sociedad’s talisman, having scored five goals in eight appearances this season. The Japanese international could be a bargain at €5.0m if he emulates his domestic form in the Champions League.
The stats used in this article are sourced from Fotmob and the official UCL Fantasy website.
What holes do you have to fill? Are you playing a chip to buy a whole new roster? What questions do you have? Please register and log in to post your thoughts in the comments!