NMA – Champions League MD-4 UCL-Fantasy Player Picks


This match-day is the mirror of last week, giving us some idea as to what we’re up against. The group stage fixtures are gathering pace now, with the gap between MD-4 and the last match-day being less than a month.

If you’re still holding your wildcard, now or the next match-day is a good time to use it because we get unlimited transfers after the group stage ends. Here are some budget picks to leave you with extra cash to burn as well!


Goalkeepers

Ederson (€6m, Copenhagen vs Man City)

Ederson and his fellow Brazilian Alisson face Copenhagen and Rangers respectively, neither of which have found the net yet. I would pick the former because City’s fixtures are slightly more favorable than Liverpool’s for the rest of the group stage, and Liverpool’s defense has been shaky.

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Simon Mignolet (€4.7m, Atletico vs Club Brugge)

Only two of the tournament’s 32 clubs have yet to concede a goal – Bayern and surprise package Club Brugge. Mignolet also tends to get a little more than the customary six-point CS because of his number of saves, 13 in 3 games.


Defenders

Any Man City defender (€4.1 – €6.7m, Copenhagen vs Man City)

I would’ve picked one out for you here, but nobody, including us, can predict what Pep will conjure while picking his team. Kyle Walker is out injured, so many fancied a cheap buy into City’s defense through Sergio Gomez, but Aké started instead.

Happily for us though, City has an early Tuesday fixture this time, so we will have an hour before kickoff to fill in this spot. I’d prefer a center-half over a fullback like Cancelo because, though we are forgoing the potential attacking returns, we’ll be assured (hopefully) that we earn the clean sheet bonus at the very least.

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Dayot Upamecano (€5.0m, Viktoria Plzen vs Bayern Munich)

Bayern has won all its games so far, so winning the return match at Plzen will book Bayern’s ticket to the knockout round. With Lucas Hernandez still out, Upamecano and De Ligt make the primary center-back pairing for this Bayern side that has yet to concede in the Champions League. Bayern did concede against Dortmund over the weekend, throwing away three points in what was virtually the last kick of the game. The bosses were visibly annoyed by this, so a clean sheet is the minimum you’d expect in the next game.

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Niklas Süle (€5.1m, Dortmund vs Sevilla)

The 6-foot-5 center-half is finding his footing at his new club, and a win over Sevilla would almost guarantee Dortmund’s spot in the knockouts. He also has 23 ball recoveries in the last 3 games and would only push that statistic more in the next game.

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Bargain Differentials

Mohamed Simakan (€4.6m, 1% ownership, Celtic vs Leipzig)

Initially brought in to replace Upamecano at the center of Leipzig’s defense, Simakan is employed higher up the pitch as a fullback in a back-four formation under new coach Marco Rose. He’s been making several key passes and is bound to get attacking returns sooner than later.

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Brandon Mechele (€4.2m, 2% ownership, Atletico vs Club Brugge)

Mechele plays at the heart of Brugge’s formidable defense, which shut out Leverkusen, Porto, and even Atletico Madrid. And as a center-back, he gets more ball recoveries and is less likely to get subbed off.


Midfielders

Leroy Sané (€9.2m, Viktoria Plzen vs Bayern Munich)

Sané is Bayern’s most consistent threat and continues his rich vein of form from last season’s fantasy, still topping the charts as the player with the most points yet. He plays against the Group of Death’s punching bag Plzen and looks to extend his lead at the top of the points chart. If there’s anyone worth the midfield premium, it’s Sané.

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Jude Bellingham (€7.3m, Dortmund vs Sevilla)

Age is just a number says Jude Bellingham, who is showing the world how complete a midfielder he is. The 19-year-old became the youngest-ever captain to score in a Champions League match. He scored in each of Dortmund’s three Group G fixtures, gaining four attacking returns in total including 17 ball recoveries. He will look to put his team in a commanding position in the group with another strong display against Sevilla.

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Noah Okafor (€7.6m, Dinamo Zagreb vs Salzburg)

Group E is turning out to be nervier than most expected, and Salzburg is leading with a number of tenacious displays put in. Okafor is one of the few other midfielders to have scored in every game so far. Oh, he’s on penalties as well.

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Mohammed Kudus (€5.3m, Napoli vs AFC Ajax)

Yes, Ajax did get schooled by Napoli the last time out. It was the club’s worst-ever defeat at home in European football. But Ajax doesn’t lack for quality or confidence, so I see the team putting up a fight in the return game. Kudus, who is listed as a midfielder, plays as a central striker and is Ajax’s top scorer this season.

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (€5.5m, Napoli vs Ajax)

What I do not expect is for Ajax to keep out this free-scoring Napoli side. Napoli leads Serie-A both on points and on goals-scored. The promising youngster continues to make headlines worldwide; he is Napoli’s most important attacker with six goals and five assists so far.


Forwards

Erling Haaland (€11.1m, FC Copenhagen vs Man City)

Well, this lad is pretty good at putting the ball in the net. Jokes apart, we get to see Manchester City’s team sheet before the deadline due to their early kickoff. As long as he’s in the squad, I’d keep him (or buy him if for some strange reason you don’t have him. He may not play the entire 90, but we’re counting his goals in minutes rather than matches now.

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Differentials

Thomas Müller (€10m, 1% ownership, Viktoria Plzen vs Bayern Munich)

Thomas Müller is back from Covid and is bound to replace Musiala or Gnabry in the return fixture at Plzen. After the domestic draw against Dortmund, there is pressure on Bayern to get back to winning ways. The veteran would look to lead the line and most probably oversee another drubbing of Viktoria.

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Andre Silva (€7.5m, 1% ownership, Celtic vs Leipzig)

Andre Silva looked like a man on a mission last time out against Celtic. He created space for Nkunku and Werner to run into and was there to finish 1-2s as well. He put in a clinical shift and earned 16 points, including 2 goals, an assist, and a well-deserved Player of the Match award.

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Youssoufa Moukoko (€5.1m, Dortmund vs Sevilla)

The 17-year-old striker, touted as one of Germany’s best talents, is getting into his groove with a goal and two assists in his last two games. He put up a valiant weekend display against Bayern, inspiring the comeback.


NMA Mini League

DTuron’s fantasy UCL strategy is a must-read for all fantasy managers. And of course, please join me, DTuron, and hundreds of others in NMA’s UCL mini-league, and be sure to follow www.nevermanagealone.com for comprehensive fantasy coverage of the Champions League (and EPL and World Cup too!).

Get a taste of things by going through MiQ’s Preview article, and take all the hints and tips from Dhivakhar’s upcoming Rate my Team article on Monday. Don’t forget to catch MiQ again with his pre-deadline article on Tuesday with all the latest team news.

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What shape is your UCL Fantasy team in? What holes do you need to fill, and what budget can you raise? Are you playing (or considering) a chip? Please log in and post your thoughts in the comments.

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