As UEFA Champions League MD-3 approaches, fantasy managers are strategizing their player selections (which may involve chip-play) for optimal performance over two rounds that mirror one another (MD-4 will be the reverse fixtures of MD-3). With several key match-ups on the horizon, here are some top picks to consider for your UCL Fantasy team, based on recent form, defensive vulnerabilities, and goal-scoring potential.
Inter’s early appearance on MD-3 allows for strategic player rotation in case of sub-par performance. Defensive strength, conceding only five goals in eight domestic matches, positions Inter as a favorable option. Sommer (€4.5m) has become the primary goalkeeper, contributing significantly to Inter’s defensive success. With his affordable price, he stands out.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Barcelona’s season has showcased strong defensive performances, with four clean sheets in nine domestic matches. In UCL, the Spanish side has kept clean sheets against both Antwerp and Porto in matchdays 1 and 2.
Upcoming opponent Shakhtar has been inconsistent in both domestic and UCL campaigns, struggling to dominate their league and lagging in goal-scoring compared to competitors.
Considering Barcelona’s defensive reliability and the potential for clean sheets in both MD-3 & MD-4, ter Stegen (€5.5m) looks prudent. Despite a slightly higher price, his track record positions him as a strong contender.
Inter’s strong start to the season, winning seven of 10 matches across all competitions, cements its position as one of Europe’s top teams. Upcoming opponent Salzburg has shown defensive vulnerabilities, particularly on the flanks, which could favor wing-backs in the back-three system.
Dumfries (€5.5m), known for his attacking threat, has a track record of vital contributions, including a goal plus two assists in the recent World Cup and two goals in the latest Euros qualifiers. Dumfries’ consistent presence in the opponent’s half and significant positioning in the opposition’s box underscore his strong attacking potential.
With an impressive record of two goals plus five assists in the 11 matches across all competitions this season, Dumfries is a top pick.
With an early kick-off on day two of MD-3, Barcelona allows fantasy managers to react to confirmed line-ups and make informed substitutions, providing a slight advantage to proactive managers.
Cancelo’s dynamic positioning resembles that of a central midfielder, indicating his involvement in the midfield along with frequent runs down the right flank and into the opponent’s box. With his potential for clean sheets and significant attacking contributions, he stands out as a valuable asset.
Trippier’s consistent creativity remains evident this season in his six assists over Newcastle’s last five matches across all competitions, including a UCL contribution. His proficiency on set pieces, particularly corners and free-kicks, further bolsters his potential for assists and MotM bonus. With a combination of clean sheet potential and significant attacking threat, Kieran Trippier firmly secures his place among the top picks.
Raum has maintained attacking threat, contributing three assists plus one goal in 10 matches for RB Leipzig. With his low price, impressive assist potential, goal-scoring capability, and the opportunity for clean sheets, David Raum solidifies his place among fire-and-forget picks for UCL Fantasy, full stop.
Analyzing Sane’s position on the pitch, we see him play in an advanced wing role for Bayern, despite being classified as a midfielder in the game. His frequent positioning in the opponent’s box further underscores his consistent goal threat, while his role in taking corners adds to his multifaceted contributions.
In both MD-3 and MD-4, Sane will face Turkish side Galatasaray, which has conceded two goals in each of two UCL matches so far. With Bayern’s potent scoring abilities and Sane’s exceptional form, he is always poised for a substantial return.
Sevilla is struggling, currently 14th in Spain with but a solitary win in their last five matches across all competitions and only two clean sheets all season. Up against that in MD-3, Arsenal offers a favorable opportunity, with recently-healed Bukayo Saka (€9.6m) poised to lead the charge.
Saka has cemented his status as one of the premier wingers in world football, exemplified by his remarkable output in recent seasons. Last season, in 38 league matches, Saka registered an impressive 14 goals plus 11 assists, a total of 25 attacking returns.
Saka’s impressive form, combined with his upcoming two fixtures against out-of-form Sevilla, plus his role as penalty taker, cements his position as a top pick.
Having scored in his recent UCL match, Foden enters the new round with heightened confidence. Not only is he evolving into a more influential player for Man City, but his increased minutes and output further solidify his status. Considering the upcoming two-round opposition, Phil Foden firmly secures his place among the top picks for MD-3.
Bellingham’s stellar form in all competitions cannot be overlooked, as evidenced by his impressive record of eleven goals plus five assists in 14 matches, a remarkable total of 16 goal contributions. Notably, in Real Madrid’s two Champions League matches, he has secured two double-digit hauls, including two goals, one assist, and two Player of the Match awards.
Emerging as Los Blancos’ key player this season, Bellingham’s consistent output solidifies his status as a crucial fantasy asset, particularly at his bargain-basement price of €7.6m. Taking all these factors into consideration, Jude Bellingham is nailed-on as the top pick in UCL Fantasy this season, full stop. He may even have displaced Erling Haaland as the top captain choice, especially this week when Bellingham plays on Tuesday, but Haaland doesn’t play until Wednesday. YMMV.
Injured in MD-1, Vinicius returned to action in MD-2 to earn +6 points. Domestically, he has maintained a consistent output over multiple years: 17 goals plus 10 assists in 35 matches in 2021-22, followed by another impressive tally of ten goals plus nine assists last season.
Analyzing Vinicius’ heatmap from the previous season, it is apparent that his primary position is on the left, with significant involvement in the opponent’s box, reinforcing his consistent goal-scoring threat.
Thriving in the Champions League — He was UCL Fantasy’s top point-earner in 2022-23, and he netted a goal in MD-2 — Vinicius offers a premium rate of return at a premium price (€11.0). Given Bragga as an enticing two-round opponent, and considering his proven European form, Vinicius is among UCL Fantasy’s top picks to park the cash you saved elsewhere.
Alert: He was a midfielder in last season’s UCL Fantasy game, but this season he is classified as a forward.
Haaland set an impressive record of eleven goals plus an assist in eleven UCL matches during the same season. This season, Haaland has continued his impressive form, netting twelve goals and providing one assist in 15 matches played for club and country. He has also solidified his role as a penalty taker, thereby adding to his overall appeal.
Given his exceptional potential and Man City’s upcoming two fixtures against Young Boys, Haaland not only offers an excellent option for MD-3 but also stands as a strong candidate for the captaincy-2 choice, securing his place among UCL Fantasy’s top picks.
Thriving in European competitions, Alvarez has already demonstrated his capabilities in the UCL with three goals and one assist in just two matches. With his recent strong form and an opportunity to face a struggling Young Boys defense in consecutive rounds, Alvarez is a top pick. Caveat: Man City plays late on Wednesday, providing no protection against Pep Roulette.
Despite initial concerns about his performance for Bayern this season, Kane swiftly silenced his critics. Boasting an impressive record of twelve goals plus six assists for both club and country in just 13 games, Kane has contributed to a total of 18, a testament to his remarkable form.
Furthermore, Kane has taken up penalty duties, further enhancing his significance for MD-3. Neglecting Kane could cost, and considering his potential as a captaincy option, he emerges as an essential choice for the new round.
How many of these players do you already have? What holes do you need to patch? Are you playing a chip to maximize returns across two rounds with identical match-ups? Please log in and let us know what you’re thinking!