The UEFA Champions League returns to action this week, and for some of us, we’d probably forgotten that we were even playing UCL fantasy! After more than three months away, and distracted by the small matter of a World Cup, I’ve finally taken a look at my team and tried to set it up for the Round of 16.
I haven’t had great success in this competition in the past. I put that down to a combination of lack of knowledge and holding on to chips for too long. So this year I made use of both limitless and wildcard chips early on, and I’ve done a bit better than in previous years. Still, a disappointing last game-week saw me slip in the rankings, so now I’m ranked 14,186 overall and 134th in the highly competitive Never Manage Alone league.
One consequence of having already played my wildcard is that there is more pressure to pick henceforth from teams that won’t get knocked out, since the number of free transfers after this round will be severely limited — after 3 between legs to react to early upsets, we will have just 5 to handle half of all current players vanishing into the ether of broken dreams. So I have tried to pick players from teams I think will win this round at least.
Typically the number of points on offer drops in each successive knockout round since teams are more evenly matched and the smaller number of games to pick from means picking some less-productive choices in each. So I’m not yet looking beyond the current round. Since PSG and Bayern face each other, and I can’t see a clear winner at this stage, I’m avoiding them completely.
In this round, we’re limited to four players from any one team, and we’ve been given an extra 5m budget since, theoretically at least, there are fewer cheaper players available after the minnows have been removed and the stars have had their salaries bumped. Hopefully you locked in a couple of those stars months ago before their prices moved much.
As it happens, Chris has produced an excellent article where he proposes a lot of similar thinking, so it’s good to know I am not alone in my thoughts (and he’s 28 points ahead of me, so I should be listening!). The teams I’ve gone for primarily are Real Madrid (4 players), Borussia Dortmund (3 players) and Benfica (3 players). Add in two each from Manchester City and Napoli and then just one from Spurs and here’s my team:
I have to say I’m not completely satisfied by this, and I still have 2.6m euros in the bank, which is Alehouse WAGs level cash (quite a lot) in this format. Benfica players in particular are pretty cheap, and while I expect them to advance to the quarter finals, that may be their limit. That could also be true of Dortmund, so potentially I’m storing up some trouble. Still, we’ll have three free transfers for damage control before the second leg, and then we get a further five before the quarterfinals, so that should lessen the effect of any false prophesies.
I have players on each day, although only Kane on day one, hence he starts with the armband. Other likely captains are:
- 2) Bellingham
- 3) Benzema
- 4) Haaland
What do you think of my team?
Where should I improve / switch / make the most of my spare 2.6m? Are you thinking only of R16 or looking further ahead? Is it sensible to avoid Bayern and PSG players, or should I cherry-pick one of each so I get their points with one sure to survive? Have I plumped for players from teams you don’t think will do well? Please login to rate my team, share your own, and take our poll.
Do you have any chips left?
This poll is closed
Both wildcard and limitless
No, they’re long gone