The all important MD-3 is finally here — Teams that play each other this week will do so again (with a reversal of venue) in MD-4. Thus a good fantasy setup now could pay double dividends, which may prompt more than a few wildcard chips this week.
A few of the 32 UCL clubs will look to plant one foot in the Round of 16, others will try to keep hope alive, and still others will begin to see life in the Europa League as a worthwhile consolation prize.
Most UCL teams played domestic league matches on Saturday in preparation for MD-3. Now eyes turn to Europe, especially anticipation of the next match-ups in the group of death. Fourth-seed Newcastle defeated first-seed PSG last round, disrupting expectations in one of the most entertaining matches of the campaign.
Bayern (6 points) - Galatasaray (4 points) - Copenhagen (1 point)- Man United (0 points)
After two consecutive victories, Bayern leads the group with ease ahead of hosting Galatasaray in MD-3. Another victory will mean near-certain qualification and a stranglehold on the group’s top spot. The Bavarians defeated Freiburg 3-0 right after MD-2 and went on to easily defeat Mainz on Saturday after the international break.
After embarrassing Man United at the Old Trafford in MD-2, Galatasaray also recorded two domestic victories, defeating Antalyaspor 2-0 and rival Besiktas 2-1.
Man United was saved by an unexpected hero in midfielder Scott McTominay in their two matches since MD-2 — He scored two last minute goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit against Brentford before the international break and then another to help United defeat Sheffield 2-1 on Saturday.
Old Trafford will be hosting Danish champions in MD-3. Copenhagen drew Aarhus 1-1 and defeated Vejle 2-1 domestically ahead of MD-3.
Lens (4 points) - Arsenal (3 points) - Sevilla (2 points) - PSV (1 point)
French outfit Lens took over the top spot of Group B by defeating Arsenal 2-1 in MD-2. The group is expected to become a three-way battle between these two and Sevilla for the two top spots. Domestically, the Spaniards held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw on Saturday to continue a three-match streak of draws after drawing 2-2 against Rayo Vallecano before the international break and 2-2 with PSV on UCL MD-2.
Sevilla will host Arsenal in MD-3. The Gunners put an end to a 15-game winless streak against Man City by defeating the Sky Blues 1-0 in the EPL on 8 October. The Gunners also came back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with London rival Chelsea on Saturday.
Lens will try to take advantage of the clash between Sevilla and Arsenal in MDs 3 & 4 by collecting points from two matches against PSV Eindhoven. After defeating Arsenal FC 2-1 in MD-2, Lens drew twice domestically; 1-1 with Lille and 0-0 with Le Havre. The recent lack of goals is worrying for Lens fans ahead of the tie with Dutch champion PSV since Lens had been able to score seven goals in two domestic matches ahead of MD-2. For its part, PSV defeated Sparta Rotterdam 4-0 and Fortuna Sittard 3-1 in Eredivisie.
Real Madrid (6 points) - Napoli (3 points) - Braga (3 points) - Union Berlin (0 points)
Group C has been straightforward so far but may take a surprising turn in MD-3 if Braga or Union Berlin can take points from Real Madrid or Napoli respectively. The Portuguese outfit Braga unexpectedly defeated Union Berlin 3-2 away from home in MD-2. Braga also continued its winning ways domestically by defeating Rio Ave 2-1 and Redordosa 2-0 ahead of preparing to host Real Madrid in MD-3.
Real Madrid will look to continue its good form despite Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla which came after a 4-0 victory over Osasuna and a 3-2 victory over Napoli in MD-2.
Union Berlin is on an eight-match losing streak. After MD-2’s loss to Braga, Berlin was thrashed by Dortmund 4-2 and Stuttgart 3-0. Napoli is expected to steer the group in the expected direction in MD-3 as the Italians visit Germany.
After Napoli suffered a 2-3 defeat to Real Madrid in MD-2, Fiorentina exploited the same weaknesses to beat Rudi Garcia’s team 3-1. Napoli recovered morale on Saturday by defeating Hellas Verona 3-1.
Real Sociedad (4 points) - Inter (4 points) - Salzburg (3 points) - Benfica (0 points)
In MD-2, Inter Milan showed that they intend to go all the way to the final again, defeating strong opponent Benfica 1-0. The Italians drew 2-2 with Bologna before the international break and defeated Torino 3-0 on the road this Saturday. They return home to host another difficult UCL opponent Salzburg. The Austrian outfit fell victim to Real Sociedad (0-2) in MD-2 to drop from first place to third in Group D. Since then, Salzburg drew 2-2 with Klagenfurt, defeated SV Reid 1-0 and lost 0-1 to LASK.
Real Sociedad looks to confirm its dark horse status in this season’s UCL against last season’s dark horse Benfica. The Portuguese defeated Estoril on the road before the international break and Lusitania 4-1 on Friday. They must take all three points in MD-3 or consider themselves out of the round of 16.
Opponent, Real Sociedad, continued strong domestic performances, pushing Atletico Madrid to the limit but losing 2-1 in the end. The Spanish club also defeated Mallorca 1-0 on Saturday.
Atletico (4 points) - Lazio (4 points) - Feyenoord (3 points) - Celtic (0 points)
Feyenoord failed to retain Group E’s top spot after MD-1, losing 2-3 to Atletico Madrid in MD-2. Feyenoord will host tough Italian opponents in MD-3 hoping to keep qualification dreams alive. The Dutch outfit defeated Zwolle 2-0 and Vitesse 4-0 in preparation for MD-3.
Since MD-2’s victory over Celtic 2-1, visiting Lazio has continued strong form, winning over Atalanta 3-2 and Sassuolo 2-0.
The other match of the group will be played in Scotland as Celtic hosts Atletico Madrid. Since MD-2, Celtic has played twice, defeating Kilmarnock 3-1 before the break and Hearts 1-4 on Sunday.
A six match winning streak in all competitions for the Spanish giants will back them when they travel to Celtic’s grounds. Atletico defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 and Celta Vigo 3-0 since MD-2.
Newcastle (4 points) - PSG (3 points) - AC Milan (2 points) - Dortmund (1 point)
Newcastle held Milan to a goalless draw in MD-1 and defeated PSG 4-1 in MD-2 to rightfully sit at atop of the group of death. The Magpies are on an eight match undefeated streak in all competitions after drawing 2-2 with West Ham before the international break and defeating Crystal Palace 4-0 on Saturday.
Dortmund visits Newcastle in MD-3. The Germans are faring well only outside of UCL. They defeated Union Berlin domestically 4-2 before the break and Werder Bremen 1-0 this Saturday. Failing to record at least a point against Newcastle will make advancement nearly impossible.
PSG recovered domestically after the Newcastle defeat to run over Rennes 3-1 and Strasbourg 3-0. The Parisians facing an uncomfortable Milan test with only three points from two matches.
Visiting AC Milan ended both UCL matches in goalless draws against Newcastle and Dortmund, and a similar result will not be bad away at Parc des Princes in MD-3. Milan defeated Genoa 1-0 before the international break and is hosting Juventus in a tiring match on Sunday before the trip to Paris.
Man City (6 points) - RB Leipzig (3 points) - Crvena zvezda (1 points) - Young Boys (1 points)
RB Leipzig lost the first battle for the top spot in MD-2 to Man City 1-3, so they will start a two-match test against Crvena Zvezda (Redstar Belgrade) to qualify before facing Man City again in MD-5. The Germans drew with Bochum 0-0 before the international break and defeated Darmstadl 3-1 on Saturday.
Belgrade won domestically 4-3 against Radnicki, 6-0 against Trajal and 3-2 against Javor since MD-2. As they travel to Germany, the Serbs hope to cause an upset in their first UCL participation.
Man City travels to Switzerland to play Young Boys. The Swiss outfit defeated country rivals Basel 3-0 and drew 0-0 with Zurich since MD-2. Visiting City lost to Arsenal 1-0 in EPL’s top-of-table clash before the break. On Saturday, City returned to winning ways by defeating Brighton 2-1.
Barcelona (6 points) - Porto (3 points) - Shakhtar Donetsk (3 points) - Antwerp (0 points)
Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk each secured an important three points in MD-2. The Spanish giants host the Ukrainian champions in MD-3. As La Liga’s title race heats early in the season, Barcelona is off balance with a lengthy injury list. Barcelona drew 2-2 against Granada before the international break and will play on Sunday against Atletico Bilbao. Shakhtar continued winning ways from continental football to domestic football by defeating Cherkasy 3-0 on Saturday.
UCL debutant Antwerp is yet to earn a point so will hope to hold Porto to a draw in MD-3. The Belgians recovered from the 2-3 loss to Shakhtar in MD-2 by defeating KAS Eupen 4-1 domestically before the break, but they lost 2-3 to Charleroi on Saturday.
Porto looks to add to its points tally to help its qualification bid to the Round of 16. Domestically, Porto recorded important 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Portimonense and Vilar de Perdizes respectively.
The following difficulty tables are subjective and do not rely on specific criteria, but we hope they’ll serve as a simple guide to help readers navigate the group stages and plan for chips.
Good luck to you this season; we’ll be with you all the way!
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