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Champions League Fantasy Preview: UCL Group-D

Benfica, Inter, RB Salzburg, Real Sociedad

Angel Di Maria - SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League
Angel Di Maria has returned to SL Benfica.
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Group-D is one of the most balanced, so any of the teams could qualify. Benfica, seeded first, was eliminated by second-seeded Inter in the quarterfinals last season, while Salzburg and Real Sociedad have consistently participated in European competitions in recent years.

SL Benfica

UEFA Rank - 15th

Benfica, the top seed in this group, is the favorite to secure the group’s top spot. Benfica’s advantage lies in their team stability, as they’ve managed to retain most of their players from the previous season.

Di Maria’s return to Benfica shouldn’t be mistaken for a retirement move. He has been consistently starting and making a significant impact in every game since the start of the new season.

From a fantasy perspective, despite elimination in the quarterfinals last season, Joao Mario was one of the top point-scorers throughout the competition. Though Di Maria has taken over set-piece duties, Benfica, the second-highest scoring team last season, will continue to provide plenty of opportunities for Joao Mario.


Predicted Starting 11

(4-2-3-1): Soares, Bah - Silva - Otamendi - Aursnes, Neves - Kokcu, Di Maria - Silva - Mario, Musa

Penalty takers - Di Maria

Free kicks - Di Maria

Corners - Di Maria

Fantasy Picks - Di Maria, Joao Mario

Inter Milan

UEFA Rank - 8th

Inter Milan had a bustling summer transfer window bidding farewell to key players Andre Onana, Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic plus several important rotational players. While the club has brought in capable replacements, the overall chemistry and competitiveness don’t quite match up to the coefficient ranking earned last season.

As fantasy prospects, one Inter Milan asset to consider is defender Bastoni (5.5). He accumulated the second-highest number of points in the game last season, trailing only Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Junior. Additionally, you might want to keep an eye on set piece specialist Hakan Calhanoglu and wing-back Dimarco, as they are other strong options.


Predicted Starting 11 (3-5-2) - Sommer, Darmian - de Vrij - Bastoni, Dumfries - Barella - Calhanoglu - Mkhitaryan - Dimarco, Martinez - Thuram

Penalty takers - Hakan Calhanoglu

Free kicks - Hakan Calhanoglu

Corners - Hakan Calhanoglu

Fantasy Picks - Bastoni, Dimarco, Calhanoglu

FC Red Bull Salzburg

UEFA Rank - 32nd

You might not be very familiar with RB Salzburg as a club, but you’ve likely heard of some players who have emerged from its academy (e.g. Erling Haaland, Dominik Szoboszlai, Dayot Upamecano, Sadio Mane...). That track record demonstrates that the club consistently produces top-quality players. It’ll be worth watching to see if any new talents will emerge from Salzburg’s academy in this season.

Mining for fantasy assets, defender Dedic has played the full 540 minutes in the new season and has been particularly impressive. He has scored two goals and provided two assists in just six matches. You might also want to keep an eye on Konate, who is currently the top scorer for the team.


Predicted Starting 11 (4-4-2) - Schlager, Dedic - Solet - Pavlovic - Terzic, Bidstrup - Douath - Kjaergaard - Amankwah, Simic - Konate

Penalty takers - Konate

Free kicks - Bidstrup

Corners - Bidstrup

Fantasy Picks - Konate, Dedic

Real Sociedad

UEFA Rank - 44th

Real Sociedad’s return to the UEFA Champions League after a decade is a significant achievement. The club participated in the Europa League for three consecutive seasons before this. David Silva’s retirement this summer was undoubtedly a blow, as the attacking system was built around him last season, playing a crucial role in the fourth-place domestic finish that qualified Sociedad for UCL. Also missing is Andre Silva, a new buy who is recovering from a hamstring injury.

Fantasy managers may take interest in Oyarzabal, the main striker and primary penalty taker. Japanese right-winger Kubo is also worth a look — He has been driving the attack and scoring in league games since the beginning of the season.


Predicted Starting 11 (4-3-3) - Remiro, Traore - Zubeldia - Le Normand - Tierny, Mendez - Zubimendi - Merino, Kubo - Oyarzabal - Barrenetxea

Penalty takers - Oyarzabal

Free kicks - Oyarzabal

Corners - Kubo

Fantasy Picks - Oyarzabal , Kubo

Stats and info for this article were sourced from


Who’s on your watch list from Group-D? Please log in and tell us your initial impressions in the comments.



Which club will win Group D?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (18 votes)
  • 45%
    Inter Milan
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Red Bull Salzburg
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Real Sociedad
    (0 votes)
33 votes total Vote Now