The sporting calendar has returned to normal this season, so the UCL is expected to kick off this week on Tuesday. The first two clashes come from groups F&G: Sevilla host RB Salzburg and Man United travel to Switzerland to face Young Boys. The rest of Tuesday’s games will start a few hours later.
MD-1 clashes include world-class clashes. On Tuesday, Bayern Munich welcome Barcelona in the ultimate test to measure the Catalan club’s recovery since Bayern inflicted eight goals a few years ago at UCL. Personally, I’m going to switch channels with another game: Villarreal vs Atalanta – Both teams have grown over the past couple of years to be forces to be reckoned with in Europe.
A complaint signed by all football fans around the world should have been submitted to UEFA to bring one of the strongest games to the top spot. It’s just one of those days I’m sure I’ll miss a lot of goals when I switch my screen from Inter Milan v Real Madrid to Atletico Madrid v Porto, or Liverpool v AC Milan to Man City against RB Leipzig.
MD-1 FANTASY GUIDE
- Young boys vs United man
- Malmö vs Juventus
- Chelsea vs Zenit
- Besiktas versus Dortmund
- Club Brugge vs. PSG
- Seville vs RB Salzburg
I’m on the fence when it comes to Juventus keeping their clean sheet this season because they haven’t done well since manager Massimiliano Allegri returned. The other questionable clean sheet in the matches listed is Sevilla who managed to keep four clean sheets in the group stage last season, but Salzburg are an attacking team with young talent showing up every season.
The sure values are on PSG, Man United, Chelsea and Dortmund. The Germans have the best way forward from there, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy is proof against the must-haves. On the bench, the best strategy for a keeper and defenders is to pick up players from Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter as they will cruise from MD-2 to MD-5 before activating unlimited chip on MD-6.
Painters and cleaners
- Group A: PSG could break one or two records in their match against Bruges. The French are hungry for a UCL title and they will spare no effort to gain the upper hand before facing Man City and Leipzig in the next rounds. Choosing only a player or two from this group is the best solution. These players should be the first to be transferred to bring players with a game against Brugge in the next round.
- Group B: This is the most unpredictable group in my opinion. It’s unclear how AC Milan will measure up against Liverpool or how Atletico will react to leaving last season’s round of 16 at the hands of Porto when they meet them again in MD-1. I would completely avoid this group in all positions.
- Group C: Portuguese champions Sporting beat Porto domestically last season so their strength could be at the level of their opponents Ajax making it a tough game to call. On the other hand, Dortmund visit Turkey with Erling Haaland in great shape. He should be able to put one or two at the bottom of Besiktas’ nets. It will be a surprise if the Norwegian striker does not achieve a 100% choice percentage in fantasy.
- Group D: Inter Milan and Real Madrid have fun when they face each other. Goals are expected, so picking a few players from these teams in midfield and attacking should help you with easier choices in MD-2 to MD-5. Shakhtar Donetsk plays the sheriff. Choosing the right player in Donetsk can be a huge difference factor in MD-1
- Group E: Barcelona and Bayern will try to dominate early when they face each other. The fantastic picks should focus on the next rounds for this group. Certainly not worth watching Benfica or Dynamo Kyiv as they are ready to play against the Giants from the next game.
- Group F: Similar to Group A, a player or two must be chosen from Man United and then transferred to Atalanta and Villarreal when playing against Young Boys.
- Group G: Sevilla are favored, so storing as many Spanish team players as possible in midfield and attacking is a valid strategy. They will play against Salzburg in MD-1. The quality of the Lille and Wolfsburg teams is high but not enough to make the choice compared to other UCL teams.
- Group H: Juventus are in a difficult situation this season. Federico Chiesa is a highlight in the dark right now, so he should have a place in your fantastic squad. Chelsea are champions, and Thomas Tuchel doesn’t seem to want to stop climbing the ladder to more glory anytime soon.
Risk of rotation
It is very unlikely that a team is likely to rotate and rest first team players this round, unless medically indicated. Hence, it’s a good week for fantasy players to pick some top starters. The risk is still present, however. All leagues have been on hiatus for ten days to host national team matches. However, COVID-19 quarantine restrictions imposed between countries have become a major problem, with clubs refusing to release players in their countries and countries imposing long quarantine periods on returning players.
La Liga is one of the leagues facing controversy due to these restrictions. La Liga requested the postponement of two matches involving three UCL participants, but the request was rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), causing further political unrest in football.
#The league will challenge the Resolution of the President of the Competition Committee, issued by delegation of the President of the RFEF, to reject the postponement requests submitted by Villarreal CF, Sevilla FC and LaLiga. pic.twitter.com/G39bQR2OU6
– English LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) September 2, 2021
Different websites now show both Sevilla vs Barcelona and Villarreal vs Alavis as postponed, so this should be taken into account by fantasy managers in terms of physical condition and player readiness!
Notable injuries / Injury returns
Many injuries are said to be recoverable by mid-September, making most of the listed players doubtful to play at UCL. As this article was researched and written before September 11, readers are advised to follow National League lineups for teams they are interested in. The NMA will update this list in the Pre-deadline and live chat article to keep you posted!
UCL MD-1 Injury / Suspension List
|City of man||Kevin De Bruyne||Muscular||September||Doubtful|
|Benjamin mendy||Suspended by the club|
|AC Milan||Franck Kessie||Tendon||September||Doubtful|
|Inter Milan||Cristian Eriksen||To manage||Unknown||Outside|
|real Madrid||Toni Kroos||Elder||September||Doubtful|
|Bayern Munich||Marcel sabitzer||Elder||September||Outside|
|Male Utd||Alex Such||Peg||September||Doubtful|
MD-1 DIFFICULTY INDEX
To help guide your player selections, here are my difficulty tables for MD-1:
Rules, tips and advice
For the scoop on how to beat your mini-league rivals, please read Dhivakhar’s article on Secrets to UCL Fantasy Success.
Group by group analysis
The authors of NMA have put together a feed of articles covering every group in the tournament. Make sure to check it out for info on players who should be on your fantastic watchlists.
NMA UCL Fantasy Mini-League
If you played our UCL mini-league last season, or if you played our Euros mini-league over the summer, you should automatically be enrolled in the 2021-22 NMA mini-league as soon as you create a team. Head toward gaming.uefa.com and at work!
If you are new to us, once you have created a team you will be able to join our mini-league manually with the following information. Come join us, we would love to have you!
- Coded: 71MQALVG07
REINFORCEMENT OF GAME DAY 1
My UCL expert colleague Dhivakhar will publish his point of view on player choice for the 1st day tomorrow, and Olakunlé will publish a Rate my team article Monday, and you can keep coming back here to discuss and ask questions before the deadline. And of course I will post the UCL live To discuss article on Tuesday – be sure to participate!
Do you have something to add ? Still have questions ? Please post in the comments below!