Football

Hot picks ahead of the Champions League

The fifth and final round of the group stage is coming up! Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Porto have already won their group, but for the rest, there is a lot to play for. Can you choose the best players who will help their teams getting a good result?

PSV Eindhoven v FC Barcelona – Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in action with PSV Eindhoven’s Nick Viergever REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters

As usual, there are two early Champions League matches starting at 18:55 CET and six late matches starting at 21:00, on both Tuesday and Wednesday. There are separate contests for each period, with the Late Tuesday and Late Wednesday offering the biggest prize pools: 5,000 euro guaranteed for a buy-in of 10+1 euro.

Tottenham have to get the three points

Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi in action against Tottenham.
REUTERS/Toby Melville

The situation is quite interesting in group B. While Barcelona already has won the group, Tottenham and Inter are levels in points. Inter welcome PSV to Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and will go all-in in order to secure three points, which likely would see them through the knockout-round. BORJA VALERO (8.5M) and MATTEO POLITANO (12.6M) were both rested at the weekend, for this purpose. Still, Inter’s number one attacker is MAURO ICARDI (13.2M), who has scored eight times in Serie A and three in Champions League so far this season. We expect him to score again on Tuesday, but it will not be easy, as PSV were a bit unlucky to lose the reverse fixture 1-2. We expect the Dutch side to put up a good fight, even though they are doomed to be last in the group.

Frankly, we believe the other match in the group will have more goals. If Inter wins their match, Tottenham will still advance from the group if they beat Barcelona. The head to head goal difference is 2-2, but Tottenham has the advantage of one away goal. Therefore, Tottenham will have some hope. If Inter takes the lead in their match, Tottenham will try to beat Barcelona with all means. As Barcelona do not have to win, it is possible that Tottenham can beat them, but we suspect it will be very hard, and Tottenham will open themselves up for counter attacks. LUIS SUAREZ (10.8M) is back from his two weeks long spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury. He is expected to lead the line, as he seemed fine, playing the full La Liga game this the weekend. The price below 11M seems favorable to us! There is speculation that LIONEL MESSI (12.2M) may be rested. His manager may have his sights on the next La Liga game, an away game to 6th placed Levante. After all, this Champions League match does not have a big significance for Barcelona. We recommend aspiring fantasy managers to check the line up at 20:00, to find out if Messi is in the starting XI. If he is, he should be included in the team.

Dark times ahead for Monaco

Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus giving instructions.
Bildbyrån – COP 39

Atletico Madrid is leading group A before the last match. If they win their away game at Brugge, they will be seeded as group winners. However, if they draw, Dortmund can pass them by beating out-of-form Monaco. Unbelievably, but in Ligue 1, Monaco are second from the bottom right now! An injury list longer than the Great Wall of China and historic corruption amongst the ownership may have played a part in the bad mood inside the dressing room. Monaco cannot escape ending at the bottom of the group table, and we suspect they will have an encounter against Lyon on Sunday in the back of their head. Dortmund, on the other hand, dominated totally a game we watched against Club Brugge, but somehow could not score.  One player who was very lively in that game was CHRISTIAN PULISIC (10.5M) out on the right side. If you are looking a good Dortmund attacker who is a bit cheaper than premium options PACO ALCACER (12.6M) and MARCO REUS (12.0M), Pulisic may be a good alternative.

Perhaps just as interesting is putting a Dortmund trio in defense, as we expect Monaco to get few chances to score. LUKASZ PISZCEK (10.0) is by far the Dortmund defender with the biggest attacking potential, so he should be the first choice. MANUEL AKANJI (8.6M) and ACHRAF HAKIMI (8.3M) are both cheap and solid options. If you need a keeper with a moderate price tag, ROMAN BURKI (8.2M) is great too.

Will a Sixth clean sheet in a row be possible?

Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci celebrates scoring their third goal with Giorgio Chiellini.
REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Juventus have kept a clean sheet five matches in a row. We think they can add another one, after 90 minutes against Young Boys. The Swiss outfit has scored only twice in five group matches, while Juventus have conceded the same number. While advancement is in the bag for the Italians, Manchester United have a chance to pass them if Juventus do not win their match. Consequently, Juventus will be motivated to do well even in this final group stage match. MATTIA DE SCIGLIO (7.6M) is the cheap option of the Juve defenders. It looks like he will be in the starting XI unless Sandro makes a quick recovery. At this price, Sciglio should be the first defender to be put on the fantasy team. Obviously, line-ups should be checked for this on Wednesday at 20:00. LEONARDO BONUCCI (9.5M), JOAO CANCELO (10.3M) and GIORGIO CHIELLINI (9.8M) should all be certain starters.

Fireworks expected

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Junior Moraes celebrates scoring their second goal against Lyon.
REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

In group F, Manchester City are already through, but in order to win the group and get seeded, they want to win their last match against Hoffenheim. Lyon, on the other side, can become group winners if they beat Shakhtar and Manchester City do not win their match. Lyon have to be careful though, as Shakhtar still have a chance to push the French club out of the Champions League. In fact, that will happen if Shakhtar win the match! The scenario is complicated but seems to be more or less perfect for a lot of goals in the two matches. Looking at the prices, some Shakhtar players seem to offer nice value. JUNIOR MORAES (10.5M) is Shakhtar’s topscorer this season. He has scored five goals in the last ten matches. He did not score in the last Champions League encounter against Hoffenheim, where Shakhtar took a strong 3-2 away win. Instead, TAISON (10.2M) scored twice and even got an additional assist! It is rare that Taison is on fire like that, but he is an interesting candidate in this match. Watch out for MARLOS (10.6M) too. He has been out injured for some weeks, but reports say he may be ready to start this match. As someone who has scored seven goals in the league for Shakhtar, he should be taken seriously.

Good luck!

The author of this article has been playing fantasy football for real money extensively for several years and is considered an expert in the field.