Champions League Fantasy Tips For UCL Fantasy Round of 16 (1st Leg)
Cue the famous music because the Champions League is back!
Two months have passed since the group stage, meaning Europe’s elite club competition returns this week with the first chunk of last 16 fixtures.
This article will provide a selection of tips for fantasy football managers including a look at clean sheets, attacking potential, bargain buys, differentials and in-form players.
Look towards Bayern Munich for clean sheets.
In the knockout stages, clean sheets are at a premium and are most highly sought after by the team hosting the first leg to avoid the concession of an away goal.
So, attention turns to Bayern Munich, who have been drawn against Arsenal for the fourth time in five Champions League campaigns.
The German champions boasted one of the meanest defences in the group stages, conceding just six times, and a single goal at the Allianz Arena, but only finished second to Atletico Madrid in Group D.
Still, with Bayern’s home Bundesliga form seeing them concede just five goals this season, Arsenal will have their work cut out to score against Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who are 7/5 to keep a clean sheet.
Barcelona are your best bet for goals.
Looking at Barcelona’s attack it’s almost a certainty that they will score at least one away goal against PSG on Tuesday.
Irrepressible going forward, Barca’s trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will likely wreak havoc when they face the French champions, who currently trail Ligue 1 leaders Monaco by three points.
Messi himself has ten goals and two assists in the Champions League this season, while Neymar has amassed seven assists and two goals. Messi can be backed at 6/5 to score any time.
Dries Mertens could prove a bargain buy.
At just €7.5m, Dries Mertens represents excellent value this week – even if he is up against the might of Real Madrid.
The diminutive Belgian has fired in seven goals from his last five away Serie A games, plus three assists, and is very much the form player in Italy.
Despite winning two of their three away group games, Napoli can expect a tough time at the Bernabeu, but will take confidence from the fact that they’ve scored 25 goals in their last nine away games in all competitions – scoring in each one.
Of those 25, Mertens has been involved in 13 having netted eight and assisted five more. He can be taken at 11/5 to score any time.
Benfica’s Jonas might be a great differential.
Having missed the entire group stage through injury, Benfica’s star striker has impressively returned to form in domestic competition.
Jonas has seven goals in eight home games since his comeback and will be looking to get stuck into a fragile Dortmund defence which last kept an away clean sheet in mid-September.
With a UCL Fantasy price of €7.5m, Jonas could also be considered for a bargain buy, but punters looking for an any time goalscorer must be tempted by his generous 15/8 pricing to breach the Dortmund back line.
Don’t forget Marek Hamsik’s domestic form.
Napoli’s crushing recent form owes much to the industry and end-product of their Slovakian talisman Marek Hamsik.
The bustling midfielder is almost single-handedly destroying his opposition in Serie A and scored a perfect hat trick last week in Napoli’s 7-1 victory over Bologna.
Add to that his two goals in the group stages and Real Madrid should be extremely wary of the Napoli skipper, who can be snapped up at 3/1 to score any time.