The UEFA Champions League group stage has almost come to a conclusion, with just eight (and a bit) ties to go before the competition has a two-month hiatus.
Fantasy managers playing the UEFA Champions League Fantasy game have one last chance to tweak their Matchday Six teams this afternoon, with substitutions and changes to captaincy allowed – with a few conditions – before the 17:55 GMT deadline.
This article will thus focus on some detailed team news ahead of Wednesday’s games and where Fantasy managers should focus their substitutions.
We’ll start by discussing the abandonment of last night’s match in France. It goes without saying that racism and discrimination of any kind has absolutely no place in football, and there are more serious issues at play here than a Fantasy game.
Within the world of UEFA Champions League Fantasy, though, it has created a unique situation. With many managers owning multiple Paris Saint-Germain players ahead of their plum home game against Istanbul Basaksehir, we are going to have to pick and choose our substitutions more carefully than normal due to a lack of options to take off.
With regards to the PSG players left in our teams, there are still 76 minutes remaining to play in that match. The shorter game-time will slightly advantage the defenders and disadvantage the attackers, with less time for goals to be scored, but with PSG in need of a win, this should not present too much of an issue. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are still excellent captaincy options up front and Alessandro Florenzi and Marquinhos should still have a solid game at the back.
Now onto the other eight games being played this evening. For Midtjylland v Liverpool and Ajax v Atalanta, we will see the line-ups before we have to make substitutions, which should make decisions there relatively easy. After his rest at the weekend, Diogo Jota is anticipated to feature for Liverpool and Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to start his first game since recovering from injury. Atalanta will likely play their strongest line-up, with Josip Ilicic, Papu Gomez and Duvan Zapata up front. Robin Gosens travelled and should start, with Cristian Romero nailed and Pierluigi Gollini back from injury. For Ajax, David Neres, Dusan Tadic and Antony should be the front three, with Noussair Mazraoui back fit and Daley Blind out injured.
For Bayern Munich, Manuel Neuer gave the pre-match press conference so is expected to start. Serge Gnabry and Douglas Costa should feature on either wing after being rested at the weekend, with Eric Choupo-Moting playing in front of Jamal Musiala. Lokomotiv will field a full-strength side as they go all out in an attempt to secure Europa League football. For Atletico Madrid, Luis Suarez and Joao Felix should start up top, with a backline of Mario Hermoso, Stephan Savic, Felipe and Kieran Trippier looking likely due to injuries to Renan Lodi and Jose Maria Giminez. RB Salzburg will likely be unchanged from last week, with Dominik Szoboszlai and Mergim Berisha their star men.
Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are both back for Real Madrid, with the former expected to start. Ramy Bensebaini is still out for Gladbach, but expect a full-strength side from both apart from that, with Karim Benzema, Alessane Plea, Marcus Thuram and Lars Stindl likely to star in a high-scoring contest. Ramos will be back on penalties but maybe rusty after a few weeks out.
Nicolo Barella is likely out for an otherwise full-strength Inter Milan side who need a win to qualify for the knockout rounds and who will surely go for broke for goals in order to do so. Achraf Hakimi scored a brace with his weak foot at the weekend and Romelu Lukaku is in incredible form, so expect both to feature heavily if Antonio Conte’s men do the business. There should be goals from both sides in this game.
For Manchester City, Zach Steffen will start in goal, while Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne may get rests after they played 90 minutes at the weekend. Bernardo Silva and Ferran Torres should both play, with Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko the most likely full-backs. Marseille should bring a full-strength side knowing that a win may secure third place, so don’t expect an easy victory or a clean sheet for City.
Olympiacos are their competitors for a Europa League spot and they should have a good chance of doing so against a Porto side who have qualified for the last 16. Sergio Oliviera is likely to be benched for the Portuguese outfit as he has already collected two yellow cards.
Good luck to all – let’s finish the group stage with a bang!
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