After more than a two month hiatus, the Champions League is back. UCL Fantasy returns with Matchday 7 featuring some tantalising last 16 fixtures.
As per the UCL Fantasy rules, managers have unlimited transfers to use ahead of MD7. Essentially this is a forced wildcard.
Here are the best Champions League players to bring in ahead of MD7.
This list will have budget in mind, so the total cost of these players won’t exceed much more than €110m. While the official budget is €105m, we’re using €110m as most managers will have close to this available following price rises.
If you are using a Limitless Wildcard, then pack your team with premium Bayern, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City assets. However, given the free wildcard ahead of the knockout stages, we’d recommend saving it if you still have it.
With Chelsea, Man City and Bayern Munich the most likely teams to keep a clean sheet in UCL Fantasy MD7, the likes of Ederson, Edouard Mendy and Manuel Neuer will be the lead contenders.
All of them are expensive though and as such you may be forced to look for cheaper alternatives.
Interestingly, Neuer will actually miss both last 16 legs through injury. In his absence Ulreich deputised for him at the weekend in Bundesliga.
The significance of this is there is now a cheap route into the Bayern defence. Ulreich costs a mere €4.5m.
However, after conceding four at the weekend, there are murmurings Christian Fruchtl may even replace him. Nevertheless, considering the likelihood of this, Ulreich is worth taking the chance on.
With Ulreich featuring in the second round of fixtures, it would be wise to select a second goalkeeper from teams playing on the third or fourth day of the last 16. This is because you can have a safer option to come after the riskier Ulreich.
One such option is Ajax’s, Pasveer (€5.1m). Andre Onana is back in the fold following a doping suspension but Pasveer has kept his place.
With Ajax having a 31% chance of a clean sheet and a return home leg to come, the Dutch goalkeeper should be a popular choice.
None of the top 10 highest point scorers in UCL Fantasy are defenders. There are 6 in the top 20, though.
Don’t underestimate how important they are to your team, especially now teams are more closely match than in the group stages.
There aren’t too many players which are immune from ‘Pep roulette’ but Cancelo (€6.5m) is arguably one of them.
The Portuguese has been in incredible form this season. He has amassed 41 points in UCL Fantasy and 141 in Fantasy Premier League.
With Man City having an impressive 48% chance of a clean sheet in MD7, and a fair chance of attacking points to boot, Cancelo is a must have for any manager.
There is one downside to Cancelo though, he is one booking away from a suspension.
With Man City assets at the top of the UCL wish list, Ruben Dias (€6.0m) and Aymeric Laporte (€5.1m) are also strong options.
Additionally, you could even take a punt on Oleksandr Zinchenko (€5.4m) as Kyle Walker is currently suspended for three Champions League games.
Over both UCL Fantasy and FPL, Alexander-Arnold has actually scored more points than Cancelo.
Despite playing just 264 minutes in the Champions League this season, TAA has already contributed three assists.
He is also cheap in comparison to Fantasy Premier League, costing €6.6m.
An alternative Liverpool option is Andrew Robertson at €6.4m, who shares set piece taking responsibilities. However, the general consensus is that Alexander-Arnold is the superior option, which the stats back up.
An out of position defender that is a near certain starter for Bayern Munich is always going to be a good pick.
Kimmich (€6.8m) regularly lines up in the Bayern midfield and often has an assist or goal in his locker, too.
Admittedly, Bayern haven’t been keeping clean sheets as frequently as they would like, having failed to do so in their last three matches.
They appear to take the Champions League far more seriously as they only conceded three goals in the group stage.
Rudiger (€5.9m) seems to be the safest Chelsea defender to go for. Appearances so far this season strongly suggest the German is Chelsea’s most likely starter in defence.
Furthermore, he has three goals and three assists to his name across the Premier League and Champions League.
Interestingly, Andreas Christensen (€5.7m) is the Blue’s highest point scorer in UCL Fantasy but as he appears to be out of favour behind Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevor Chalobah (as of late) and the aforementioned Rugier, he is a risk not worth taking.
Elsewhere, Marcos Alonso (€5.3m) is another Chelsea defensive option. In the past he has chipped in with plenty of attacking returns but has been less prolific so far this season.
Anytime a wildcard (of sorts) is available Salah (€10.9m) will be a consideration. He already has 7 goals in UCL this season, in addition to being the top scorer in the Premier League.
He is the 4th most likely goalscorer in UCL Fantasy MD7. When you add to the equation he is somehow still listed as a midfielder, he becomes almost too risky to not have.
Outside of Cancelo, Mahrez (€9.4m) has been Man City’s best performer in terms of UCL Fantasy points so far this season.
While not a certain starter, he has become a regular fixture in the City side. Also, with Gabriel Jesus currently sidelined, he has less competition on the right hand side of the Citizens front three.
Mahrez, like Salah, boasts an already impressive CL campaign, with 5 goals to his name already.
The odds say the Man City Sporting tie is the least competitive and therefore their attacking assets are essential.
The same applies to Phil Foden (€8.2m), Raheem Sterling (€10.2m) and Kevin De Bruyne (€10.9m) who could all haul in MD7. There is no harm in doubling up on these players either.
Sane (€9.4m) is currently the top points scorer in the Champions League fantasy game.
5 goals, four assists and two UEFA Player of the Match awards and it is no wonder the German international has performed so well.
There is little risk about him not starting as well. Outside of illness, he has started every game since October, including all 6 of Bayern’s group stage games.
Alongside Man City, Bayern have the best chance of scoring the most goals in the last 16 which further increases Sane’s appeal.
Another option from Bayern is Serge Gnabry (€10.4m) and Kingsley Coman (€8.6m). However, the former is quite expensive under current form.
The Salzburg midfielder has been on the best value players in UCL Fantasy so far.
With so many premium midfield options, Okafor (€5.4m) is a welcomed cheap alternative. After all, you have to buy some budget options.
He won’t be expected to accrue too many points against Bayern but in the absence of Neuer there is an increased chance.
It should also be noted that you’ll likely need to use a transfer on Okafor following MD8.
Not too many UCL Fantasy managers will be without Lewandowksi (€12.0m).
Currently picked by 47%, not having him will actually be the differential play. When you take into account his captaincy percentage, if he fails to return then non-owners can celebrate that more than their own player’s goals.
Don’t hold your breathe on him not scoring, however. He has a massive 68% chance of doing so and is a guaranteed to starter.
PSG might have a close tie with Real Madrid but Mbappe (€10.9m) is still the fourth most likely goalscorer in MD7.
He already has 10 goal involvements in the UCL this season and has also scored three in his last four league games.
- See More: UCL Fantasy MD7 Preview
An equal, or even better alternative, is Lionel Messi (€11.3m). The all-time Barcelona top goalscorer may be playing deeper these days but has the advantage of being free kick taker and first choice penalty taker, too.
In truth choosing between the two is somewhat 50/50, should you want to risk the tough Real Madrid tie.
Despite 9 goals for Lewandowski, it is Haller (€9.3m) that leads the Champions League goalscoring table with 10.
Outside of Lewandowski, Mbappe and Romelu Lukaku (€10.6m) he is the most likely to score in Matchday 7.
He also at least €1.3m cheaper than all the above options, which will likely mean he features in a lot of UCL Fantasy sides to begin the knockout stages. Furthermore, he is coming off a hat-trick in Ajax’s Eredivisie match against Twente.
The above selections are the best on paper but don’t take into account differential opportunities.
It is also vital to have viable captain choices across all four days, as well as the opportunity to sub poorly performing players out.