Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are the teams to focus on in the next round of UEFA Champions League Fantasy matches.
The second batch of last-sixteen ties certainly have a lot to live up to after Erling Haaland (€11.1m) and Kylian Mbappe (€10.9m) stole the show last week but there are still plenty of points on offer.
With four more games left in the UCL Fantasy Gameweek, here is a run down of captaincy options and possible substitutions to optimise your team’s chances.
With two match days remaining, there is still room for at least one captaincy risk. Ten points or more is definitely the captaincy score to be aiming for. Regarding substitutions, make sure that every player you’re bringing in is definitely starting, with the deadline for each day at kick-off.
Three or four points is normally low risk enough to be worth taking a chance on a substitution, as long as the player you’re bringing on is starting!
Tuesday, February 23
Lazio v Bayern Munich
Having not won either of their last two games, Bayern Munich actually come into the Lazio fixture in some of their worst form of the season. The last time they went three games without a win in all competitions was October 2018.
Their 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend followed a shock 3-3 draw to relegation strugglers Arminia Bielefeld, but for a side ravaged by injury, which has played five games in 15 days, that is not overly surprising.
Due to injuries, Bayern’s line-up is fairly predictable, and, as with all the games, we will get it before the substitution deadline. The return of Leon Goretzka (€7.5m) will be a massive boost to the side, with the former Schalke man likely lining up behind Robert Lewandowski (€12.1m), with Thomas Müller (€10m) still in isolation. He could be a great differential pick in that number 10 role.
Of course, Lewandowski is still the star man in this team. Four goals in his last four games takes him to 31 goals in 30 games this season. He is my top captain pick for Tuesday night’s fixtures.
Kingsley Coman (€8.4m) is constantly improving as a player and already has three goals and two assists in his four games in the Champions League this season. Playing opposite Leroy Sane (€9.4m), who produced a magical assist for Lewandowski on Saturday, they should be well placed to stretch Lazio’s sometimes suspect defence.
In defence, Joshua Kimmich (€6.6m) remains the best option, mainly because he plays in central midfield. He loves a goal or assist in a big game, but Bayern’s back line has been shown to be relatively suspect recently, so I wouldn’t go too far into their defensive options.
Although they are unbeaten in their last seven home games, Lazio look likely to come out second best in this fixture. The only man from their team I would put my faith in is Ciro Immobile (€10.6m), one of Europe’s finest strikers. Although he hasn’t scored in their last two games, Immobile has 14 goals in 21 league games and has scored in all his Champions League games this season. If anyone is going to take advantage of Bayern’s high line, it will be Italy’s number nine.
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea
I will never bet against Atletico Madrid in a Champions League knockout game at home. Diego Simeone knows how to win these matches and has a great game here against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Although the German is unbeaten so far, he is yet to be really tested. Atletico are top of La Liga and playing some really great football. Although, like Bayern, they do not come into this game in top form, we learned from last week’s fixtures that form can go out of the window in these games (thanks Dortmund!).
Luis Suarez (€9.9m) is my favourite pick for this game. He knows how to bully shaky centre-backs, and all of Chelsea’s defenders have proven that they have a mistake in them recently. He’ll be joined by Joao Felix (€9.0m) up front, with the Portuguese international yet to rediscover his pre-season form. For their prices, Marcos Llorente (€6.5m) and Mario Hermoso (€4.3m) are two more great picks for this game. Llorente has scored two in his last three and Hermoso, along with all of the Atleti defence, should be helped out by Chelsea’s stuttering and unconfident attack.
Thomas Tuchel will likely bank on keeping this as low scoring a game as possible, which may well suit Diego Simeone. Being honest, I am struggling to recommend any Chelsea players here, with Marcos Alonso (€4.7m) being the best pick if he starts. Atletico’s 3-5-2 approach of late is far more attacking and open than some of their classic sides and should have the tactical nous and individual strength to deliver against Tuchel’s fledgling side.
Wednesday, February 24
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City
This write-up is really very simple. If you own Manchester City players and they start, make sure they’re in your starting XI and that one has the captain’s armband if needed.
They have won 18 games in a row and Gladbach, as attractive a side as they are, were beaten by relegation strugglers Mainz in their last match. Anyone with the foresight to pick Kevin de Bruyne (€11.4m) should reap the rewards, with the Belgian likely back on penalties. He is my favourite captaincy option for the Wednesday games.
Ilkay Gundogan (€6.6m) and Raheem Sterling (€10.5m) are two more great picks from this City side. As always, check the line-up before making your substitutions for this game as Pep can always spring a surprise. Phil Foden (€7.1m) was rested at the weekend and is going from strength to strength. Behind them, Joao Cancelo (€5.8m) is always an attacking threat, but may well be due a rest. John Stones (€5.1m) always has a goal in him so if he starts, he could well be one of the best options in this side.
Given City’s form at both ends, avoid Gladbach players like the plague.
Atalanta v Real Madrid
Real Madrid go into this game with a serious injury crisis. Although they have not conceded in their last three games, Atalanta have an electric attack on their day and will be looking to recapture their form from last year, when they put eight goals past Valencia over two legs. Although Gasperini’s men tend to struggle defensively, Real are in a poor position to take advantage of that with Karim Benzema (€10.4m) out. This could well be a big win for Atalanta.
Atalanta have a few great options. The top points scorer of the group stages, Cristian Romero (€5.1m), scored against Napoli at the weekend and will continue to rack up balls recovered points. Robin Gosens (€5.7m) also scored on Sunday and is always a good option at both ends.
Up-front, Duvan Zapata (€9.7m) was their top scorer in the group stages, but it is Luis Muriel (€8.2m) who has been in the best form of late. Three goals and three assists in his last four league games will make scary reading for Real Madrid’s back line and he could be a great differential captaincy pick for the Bergamo side.
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