The semifinals of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League tournament features another repeat from last season as Real Madrid and Man City go head to head once again. Meanwhile, the other side of the bracket speaks to the resurgence of Italian football as two Serie A teams face off against each other for the chance to play for the trophy.
Both Real Madrid and Man City return with the same managers at the helm. Pep Guardiola is still in search of his first Champions League Cup with Man City, while Carlo Ancelotti is looking to repeat last season’s achievement, especially considering that the domestic league is all but lost to rival Barcelona.
Later today, PPQ will be asking for your help to rate his team and on Monday, Rae will post our MD-11 player picks. On Tuesday, ahead of the kickoff time, come back for the latest team news and injury reports in order to avoid missteps with your fantasy team!
MATCH-DAY 11 FANTASY GUIDE
To deal with the carnage of the quarters, we now have five free transfers of semifinal leg-1, and fantasy managers (like me) who were expecting better showings from Benfica and Napoli may now want to bring in some players from the Milan clubs. Most of my experience in football is from Serie A, and I believe that Inter Milan has the upper hand. However, this is football, and AC Milan has the UCL history, so it is probably going to be a tight match. Both Milan clubs utilize the same grounds so the only difference between legs will be the percentage of fans for each club in the stadium.
In Erling Haaland, Manchester City may have found the missing puzzle piece to finally win the UCL. Odds are in their favor to knockout Real Madrid, but like the Milan bracket, history says Real Madrid can’t be counted out. This semi will be a spectacle that will rival a final.
Keep in mind that fantasy managers are now allowed up to six players from any team in MD-11, but I plan on four from City, four from Madrid, five from Inter, and three from Milan.
Also keep in mind that we will get three more free transfers between legs, so we can finish clearing quarterfinal deadwood (if any) and shift balance based on Leg-1 results.
Real Madrid may be the most comfortable among the four clubs left in the UCL. The Spanish giants’ domestic campaign essentially ends after winning one more point to secure qualification to the next season’s Champions League. AC_Milan and Inter Milan are both fighting for UCL qualification, the race expected to continue until the last minute of the season with six clubs involved. Inter is also “burdened” with the Italian Cup final on 24th May against Fiorentina. Depending on the progress of the UCL and Serie A, a sudden rotation risk may emerge to due to developments in the domestic league season.
Manchester City is still battling on three fronts, leading the Premier League by one point plus a match in hand over Arsenal. The Citizens will also play the FA cup final against derby rival Manchester United on 3rd June. May will not be an easy month for Pep as he leads City to face a rejuvenated Chelsea, a Europe-aspiring Brighton, and a difficult Brentford in EPL.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City
Santiago Bernabeu will play host to the first leg of the most anticipated clash of giants, Real Madrid vs Manchester City. On Saturday, Manchester City defeated Leeds 2-1 to maintain its lead over Arsenal. Gundogan played the hero in the match, scoring both goals for City early, assisted twice by Riyad Mahrez. In classic Pep fashion he rotated the squad, resting Jack Grealish, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and John Stones.
Real Madrid played the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna with a squad that was very close to its best XI. Rodrygo scored twice for the royal club to win 2-1 and end the night in celebrations of their first trophy this year. Vinicius Junior made his mark on the match, assisting the first goal just two minutes from the start. The only player rested by Ancelotti was veteran Luka Modric, who got a mere 8-minute late runout to close the match and bring home the win.
AC Milan vs Inter Milan
AC Milan will be the official host of the first leg as decided by the last UCL draw. On Saturday, AC Milan comfortably defeated second-place Lazio 2-0 at the San Siro. Juventus took advantage and claimed second place behind Serie-A winner Napoli, but the win also put only six points between second and seventh place, which makes the last four matches more complicated for European qualifications.
Inter Milan has been in top form since the UCL quarterfinal return leg 3-3 draw with Benfica. Inter has won all five matches in all competitions, scoring a total of 15 goals while conceding only one. They qualified to the Italian cup final after defeating Juventus 1-0. They have kept four clean sheets, which speaks volumes to the defensive strength of the blue Milan side. It will be difficult for Milan to breakthrough without some individual magic combined with the advantage of their UCL experience and pedigree.
There are five free transfers available ahead of the first leg of the semifinals — will that be enough for you to fill holes in your squad plus bring in the players you want? Are you playing a chip in MD-11? And how is your budget? Have the eliminations of top-drawer stars from fallen teams left you with plenty of cash for anyone you would consider buying now? Please log in and let us know your plans and questions!