Here’s my article for the knockout stages of the Champions League in Telegraph fantasy football Europe format. There’s an FFGeek team plus a league code to join.
Telegraph fantasy football Europe – the Champions League knockout stages
With only 20 transfers to use throughout the 29 games of the Champions League knockout stage, I’ve tried to find a balance between this week’s fixtures, next week’s fixtures, and the teams that I think will go through to the next stage of the competition.
Man City look well placed to go through against Basel and Bayern Munich will surely progress at the expense of Besiktas. These two teams make up the core of my TFF Europe team. I’d also be surprised if Barcelona don’t progress against Chelsea and Manchester United, Liverpool and Roma don’t join those three in the quarters. Real Madrid v PSG and Spurs v Juventus are much harder to call.
I’ve started some what controversially with Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, mainly because he’s great value at just £2.7m and the signing of Virgil van Dijk has only strengthened their defence. Two clean sheets in their last three Premier League outings show early signs of that improvement.
Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker is the obvious choice from the City defence. With four fit central defenders to choose from and the left-back slot up for debate, Walker looks like the most secure option.
£4.2m rated left-back David Alaba of Bayern Munich is my next defender. Although he only managed one key contribution in the four games he played in the Group Stage, he does have great attacking potential with four goals and four assists for Bayern in last season’s Bundesliga.
Next in defence is the similarly-named left back Jordi Alba of Barcelona, who are up against an out-of-sorts Chelsea side. The Blues are lacking Morata with Giroud just getting up to match fitness after warming the bench this season for Arsenal. Alba may not have got any attacking returns in his three starts in the Group Stage but in La Liga this season he has been a steady source with a goal and seven assists in his 18 starts for the Catalans.
It wouldn’t be a defensive line-up without representation from an Italian team and I’ve gone for, seemingly, every big clubs’ target in the last two transfer windows – Juventus’s Alex Sandro.
With Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus possibly sharing minutes further on in the competition I’ve gone to the midfield for my Manchester City players. As they are the first game on Tuesday we will see the team sheet before the transfer amnesty finishes and can adjust our line-ups accordingly.
No player in Europe’s main leagues has more assists this season than £5.5m Kevin De Bruyne’s 14 and he brought that form into the Champions League Group Stage with four key contributions and a goal in five starts.
Raheem Sterling’s incredible Premier League form has seen 15 goals from midfield and he’s at a great price at just £4.5m. He also produced four goals in the Group Stage.
It’s impossible to ignore the claims of £4.6m Mohamed Salah after a season in the premier league with 22 goals and seven assists.
Lastly in midfield I’ve taken a gamble on Shaktar Donesk’s Brazilian born Ukrainian international Marlos. He’s great value at just £2.9m and showed good form in the Group Stage with two goals and three key contributions in his six games. On the domestic front he’s scored eight goals and produced four assists in his 17 starts.
It feels impossible to have a Champions League team without Barcelona’s £6.9m Lionel Messi in it, especially facing a Chelsea defence going through a difficult patch. Messi produced three goals and three key contributions in the Group Stage and his form in La Liga remains stunning with 20 goals and 11 assists in 22 starts.
Lastly, I’ve gone for Bayern’s Polish International striker £6.6m Robert Lewandoski who’s scored 19 goals and added an assist in 20 starts for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season. The now faces arguably the weakest side in the Round of 16.
Here’s the team:
Good luck to everyone. I’ll update my season on our website www.fantasyfootballgeek.co.uk and will tweet any changes to the team before the deadline @fantasyfoot20.
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