Five Tips for UEFA Champions League Fantasy Round of 16, Second Leg
Welcome to crunch time in the Champions League as the round of 16 second leg fixtures take centre stage after a week out.
Following on from several huge results, matchweek eight has high standards to live up to. The likes of Barcelona and Arsenal are tasked with erasing four-goal deficits so there is plenty of point-scoring potential.
This week we share another five tips in crucial areas as UCL fantasy managers look to utilise the two transfers available to them at this stage of the competition.
Look towards Atletico Madrid for a clean sheet
Diego Simeone’s team made light work of Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg, notching four away goals in a 4-2 win as Atleti’s counter-attacking proved too hot to handle for the Germans.
Leverkusen’s task at the Vicente Calderon looks unenviable and the fact they will have to hunt for goals will again play into Simeone’s tactics on the counter.
The Spaniards have conceded just four Champions League goals in seven matches – only one at home – and will likely get men behind the ball before breaking downfield.
UCL fantasy bosses could do worse than looking to Diego Godin and Juanfran for defensive points as Atleti look to starve Leverkusen of the away goals they need to progress.
Watch out for Barcelona forwards against PSG for goals
Beware the wounded animal. Barcelona were dismantled 4-0 by PSG in Paris and will be on a revenge mission at Camp Nou.
Nobody should write Barca off as they can humiliate the best of teams on their day. With the attacking riches of Lionel Messi, Luiz Suarez and Neymar, the Catalans will fancy their chances of scoring at least a couple of goals.
So, picking any player from that fabled trio should prove a wise choice. Neymar is the cheapest option at €11.1m but with a current tally of 60 points and ten UCL goals it might be worth splashing €12.5m on Messi.
If you fancy a miracle comeback, Barcelona can be snapped up at 35/1 to win 5-0.
Fabinho could be a great bargain buy
When you look at Monaco’s midfield you could be forgiven for ignoring Fabinho in favour of Joao Moutinho, Thomas Lemar or Bernardo Silva.
The former Real Madrid loan signing is as underrated as they come. A stats record armed with 17 goals in 89 games for the full-back, who is often used as a defensive midfielder, looks like prime fantasy point-scoring fodder.
With Fabinho also on spot-kick duty for the free-scoring Frenchmen, the Brazilian becomes an even more attractive prospect – especially with a cheap €5.4m price tag.
UCL Fantasy big cheeses have labelled Fabinho as a defender and, should he score, the rewards will be even greater for this bargain buy.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy might be a great differential
After a disappointing season to date, Jamie Vardy has arrived late to the party with three goals in his last three games.
A vital away goal to Sevilla in a 2-1 loss was the catalyst for a resurgence in form that saw him terrorise the Liverpool defence in grabbing a brilliant double last week.
Although he failed to score in the Foxes’ 3-1 win over Hull, Vardy managed an assist and it seems the confidence of last season is suddenly flowing through his veins again.
With Leicester at home and needing a slim 1-0 win to progress, Vardy’s good form and clinical finishing could be decisive and, at €7.3m, is a great alternative to other high-profile strikers.
Don’t forget Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s domestic form
Since missing a penalty and wasting a host of chances in Dortmund’s first leg away loss to Benfica, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has responded in fine fashion.
The coveted Gabon striker has four goals in Dortmund’s last two league games and has hit form at just the right time as the Germans look to overturn Benfica’s 1-0 advantage.
Despite a poor showing in the first leg, Aubameyang’s Champions League exploits have been excellent, with the Dortmund hitman bagging four goals and an assist this campaign.
Thomas Tuchel’s men need goals to advance and their star striker can be taken at 3/1 to score another brace.