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UCL Fantasy: Best Players for MD1

The Champions League is back and so is UCL Fantasy!

The first match day offers some great matchups and we will see lots of diverse teams depending on the chosen chip strategy.

When you’re intending to use your Limitless and Wildcard chips will impact which players you choose for MD1.

If you’re going with an early strategy of using them in MD2 and MD3, then you can focus your team on MD1 only.

That way you can hone in on the teams with the easiest fixtures for MD1 and the most likely goalscorers.

Here are the best players to target for Champions League fantasy MD1.

Ivo Grbic

  • Price: €4.0m
  • Picked by: 12%
  • Fixture: Porto (H)

As Jan Oblak has picked up a thigh injury, Atletico Madrid’s backup goalkeeper Grbic will be nailed for the short-term.

A €4.0m starting goalkeeper for Atletico Madrid cannot be turned down.

Atletico have only conceded three goals in their first four games this season.

They start their Champions League campaign at home to Porto and our Champions League cheat sheet gives them a 47% chance of a clean sheet.

Lukas Hradecky

  • Price: €4.5m
  • Picked by: 1%
  • Fixture: Club Brugge (a)

Goalkeepers are unique in that if your first one doesn’t perform, you can replace him with no worry.

Bayer Leverkusen are not in great shape at the beginning of the season, having only won one out of four games so far.

Hradecky conceded 6 goals and made 8 saves. However, he only costs €4.5m and has the highest chance of keeping a clean sheet in that price category.

Also, their defence seemed tighter in their last game so he could certainly pick up enough points to warrant his price tag.

If you do select Hradecky make sure your other goalkeeper is playing on the Tuesday – Champions League fantasy 101!

Our other goalkeeper pick above, Grbic, plays on the same night, so do not pick them both!

Jules Kounde

  • Price: €5.0m
  • Picked by: 16%
  • Fixture: Viktoria Plzen (H)

Barcelona started the season in fine form. They have amassed 10 points out of 4 games in which they only conceded once.

They face Viktoria Plzen in MD1 which is the fixture with the highest chance of any team keeping a clean sheet. By that virtue alone, you should strong consider a Barcelona defender.

After their last league game, Xavi announced there will be rotation. This is why Barcelona fans expect Garcia and Araujo to be rested. This makes Kounde the stand-out pick in their defence.

He doesn’t carry a large goal threat and his interception rate is average but he already recorded two assists in his two starts and is a good option for the clean sheet potential alone.

He becomes even more of an option should you be planning to Wildcard in MD2.

If not, Barcelona go on to Bayern Munich and Inter Milan over the next four matchdays which doesn’t sound good for Barca defenders on paper.

Reinildo Mandava

  • Price: €4.5m
  • Picked by: 27%
  • Fixture: Porto (H)

Atletico Madrid are strong favourites to win the group and everyone who watches football knows that Simeone loves to defend.

Reinildo could join your team for a reasonable price of €4.5m and while watching Atletico games may not be as exciting, Reinildo ranking up recovery points will certainly compensate for that.

Last season he averaged 8.3 recoveries per 90 minutes.

All teams need to have budget players and Reinildo appears to be one of the stand-out options.

Christopher Nkunku

  • Price: €9.0m
  • Picked by: 17%
  • Fixture: Shakhtar Donetsk (H)

The Bundesliga player of the season is a great pick for UCL Fantasy, especially for MD1.

We all remember his performances in the group stage last year, where Nkunku managed to score 7(!) goals.

He has scored four goals in his first four Bundesliga matches and gathered a non-penalty expected goal involvement rate of 0.74 per 90 minutes. Furthermore, he’s on penalties.

Leipzig start the Champions League campaign with a home game against Shakthar who only have an outside chance of surviving the group stage.

They are not the Shakhtar of old and are considered one of the weaker teams in the competition.

Nkunku is a great pick for those who intend to play their Limitless chip in MD2 because you can avoid the Real Madrid fixture and get him back against Celtic.


  • Price: €5.5m
  • Picked by: 28%
  • Fixture: Dinamo Zagreb (a)

Template? Yes. Boring? Yes. Reliable? For sure!

Jorginho is a classic enabler in UCL fantasy.

He is a great pick because Chelsea are the favourites to win the group and he is one of the cheapest penalty takers in the game.

And even if he doesn’t get gifted a penalty, he will get points from ball recoveries (2.5 interceptions per 90).

Also, the Chelsea game is the early kickoff on Tuesday, so we will see the lineups and can check if he’s starting.

An alternative is Florentino (Benfica, €4.5m).

Update: Do not pick Jorginho, he isn’t starting MD1.

Robert Lewandowski

  • Price: €11.0m
  • Picked by: 38%
  • Fixture: Viktoria Plzen (H)

Lewandowski started his Barcelona career just like he finished at Bayern – red hot.

So far he scored four goals in three league games and offers an impressive non-penalty expected goal involvement rate of 0.98 per 90.

Viktoria Plzen are the team that is least likely to keep a clean sheet and Lewandowski will be motivated to take advantage of this before his reunion with Bayern Munich in MD2.

He also the premium captaincy option for the Wednesday fixtures in MD1. However, like Garcia, he has some tricky fixture to contend with after MD1.

Karim Benzema

  • Price: €11.0m
  • Picked by: 44%
  • Fixture: Celtic (a)

After last year’s Champions League campaign, it isn’t surprising he is, as of writing, the most picked player in Champions League fantasy.

Last year, Benzema got 15 goals and 4 MOTM awards.

He’s averaging one goal a game in La Liga so far and his non-penalty expected goal involvement rate is equal to 0.84 over the last year.

Despite being away, he is still one of the top captain picks for Tuesday.

Goncalo Ramos

  • Price: €9.0m
  • Picked by: 1%
  • Fixture: Maccabi Haifa (H)

The fourth most likely goalscorer in MD1 is only picked by a meager 1% of UCL Fantasy managers!

He has started every game for Benfica this season and has two goals and two assists in the 5 league games he has played.

Of course, the downside to Ramos is he faces Juventus and PSG over the next four matchdays.

However, as stated elsewhere, if you’re planning to use your Limitless in MD2 he’s a certain pick.