NMA – Fantastic UEFA Champions League preview: MD-1
Focus remains on Group A as PSG’s new look welcomes back City of man in a repeat of last season’s semi-final. The Parisians failed to take the three points expected from Club Brugge in MD-1 while they were held in check. After Man City, they will play two consecutive matches against RB Leipzig.
The waters should calm down in groups D and E with Inter Milan, real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona facing lesser opponents. The spotlight of excitement (but not necessarily the whimsical attention) in MD-2 moves to Groups F and H where champions Chelsea fly to Turin to face the injured Juventus, plus Villarreal will play the Europa League title last season against the visitors United man and UCL world champion Cristiano Ronaldo. Will the recent loss to another Villa haunt the Red Devils’ sleep?
MD-2 FANTASY GUIDE
- Shakhtar Donetsk versus Inter Milan
- real Madrid against the sheriff
- Dortmund vs Sportsman
- Ajax against Besiktas
- Atalanta against young boys
- Zenit against MalmÃ¶
- Bayern Munich against Dynamo Kiev
Unlike the MD-1, there is a lot of potential for clean sheets this round. The combination of Manuel Neuer and Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic or Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois should ensure a clean sheet in every round until the end of MD-5.
Plus, picking all of your defenders out of those three teams should generate the best returns from the back line, especially (apart from Real Madrid) as the full-backs are in great shape.
Such a strategy can however limit your options in midfield or in attack, so it won’t be a bad idea to add a defender or two from other teams like Robin Gosens or TAA as they tend to compensate with assists. and goals. Zenit defenders could prove to be solid differential choices this round. I would consider Douglas Santos against Malmo.
Painters and cleaners
- Group A: City’s defense is not what it was last season, although it could be argued that the rotation against Leipzig in MD-1 was the reason Christopher Nkunku recorded a historic treble. PSG must win this round or hope for a result in their favor between Leipzig and Club Brugge. A great differential choice in this group may be Noa Lang (Bruges winger), as Leipzig isn’t exactly the best at keeping the sheets clean.
- Group B: MD-1 was proof of the unpredictability of this group. What remained unchanged was the defensive strength of Porto and Atletico; however, Milan and Liverpool will push to break through. It’s an interesting group with games that are extremely hard to call on every game day so unless you have some real prophecy I would stay away from the fantasy and just enjoy the show.
- Group C: Dortmund and Ajax are set to repeat the easy wins in MD-1 when they trade opponents Besiktas and Sporting. However, Fantasy Managers may need to think twice and pick only the essential players, as these favorites will go head-to-head in the MD-3 and MD-4.
- Group D: Sheriff and Shakhtar Donetsk are unlikely to be a problem on paper for Real Madrid and Inter Milan for the next four matchdays, so we can expect a few mid / forward players take up strengths.
- Group E: Similar to Group D, Bayern and Barcelona are set for relatively easy games until they meet again in MD-6 (when a chip can solve many problems). Barcelona’s recent record against weaker teams suggests that hoarding only Bayern players is the best way forward in this group. Personally, I still consider Bayern two-tier above all other European clubs, and I would say that the loss to PSG last season was entirely due to the club’s crowded physiotherapy room.
- Group F: Unfortunately, United man is inconsistent (again) this season. Even though the English club has some extremely attractive fantasy options, they are all risky by day (high ceilings but low floors). Atalanta have the potential to destroy Young Boys this week unless the Swiss point against Man Utd is no fluke! (Okay, an early red card was probably a fluke)
- Group G: Sevilla’s summer transfers were applauded by most critics, and it made me forget that new names usually need time to adjust to a new style of play. Sevilla are currently weaker in offense and defense compared to last season, but that could change at any time as the new pieces fully integrate. It might as well happen against Wolfsburg in MD-2. Salzburg and Lille will have fun when they go head-to-head in MD-2; picking a star player for a week on each side can be a big difference.
- Group H: Juventus won domestically for the first time this season after beating MalmÃ¶ in MD-1, but Juve failed to beat AC Milan midweek. The Italian team will host the Chelsea Cup holders in MD-2. This game will see the return of board favorite Federico Chiesa who missed the MD-1 victory over MalmÃ¶, but will it be enough to protect Max Allegri from sacking? Meanwhile, Sardar Azmoun is also expected to return to the Zenit frontline against MalmÃ¶; another strong differential choice for MD-2.
Risk of rotation
It was a busy schedule for all UCL teams as they were playing midweek matches (league or cup). There is a high risk of rotation for teams playing against weaker opponents (eg Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Bayern and Barcelona).
Notable injuries / Injury returns and suspensions
Keep an eye out for the weekend’s National Championship games for further injuries / comebacks. This table will be updated in our Live Chat Tuesday.
List of day 2 injuries / suspensions
|Angel Di Maria||Suspended up to MD-3|
|City of man||Kevin De Bruyne||Returned|
|Benjamin mendy||Suspended by the club|
|RB Leipzig||Lukas Klostermann||Hip||October||Outside|
|AC Milan||Franck Kessie||Returned|
|Stefan Savic||Suspended up to MD-4|
|Andrea Onana||Suspended up to MD-4|
|Inter Milan||Cristian Eriksen||To manage||Unknown||Outside|
|real Madrid||Toni Kroos||Muscular||September||Doubtful|
|Bayern Munich||Marcel sabitzer||Returned|
|Male Utd||Alex Such||Returned|
|Wan bissaka||Suspended up to MD-3|
MD DIFFICULTY INDEX
To help guide your player selections, here are my difficulty charts for MD-2:
Rules, tips and advice
For the scoop on how to beat your mini-league rivals, please read Dhivakhar’s article on Secrets to UCL Fantasy Success.
Group by group analysis
The authors of NMA have put together a feed of articles covering every group in the tournament. Make sure to check it out for info on players who should be on your fantastic watchlists.
NMA UCL Fantasy Mini-League
If you played our UCL Mini-League last season, or if you played our Euros Mini-League over the summer, you should automatically be enrolled in the 2021-22 NMA Mini-League as soon as you create a team. Head toward gaming.uefa.com and at work!
If you are new to us, once you have created a team you will be able to join our mini-league manually with the following information. Come join us, we would love to have you!
- Coded: 71MQALVG07
REINFORCEMENT OF GAME DAY 2
My UCL expert colleague Dhivakhar will publish his point of view on player choice for the 2nd day tomorrow, and OlakunlÃ© will publish a Rate my team article Monday, and you can keep coming back here to discuss and ask questions before the deadline. And of course I will post the UCL live To discuss article on Tuesday – be sure to participate!
Do you have something to add ? Still have questions ? Please post in the comments below!