These games should feel awfully familiar as we just saw the reverse fixture two weeks prior. In some cases home field can flip the advantage, though in others there is such a clear difference in quality there is little the home side can do. Let’s take a look at the matches.
FC Astana v. Atletico Madrid
Astana rested a number of their starters last gameweek and were handled easily by the Atleti. They did manage to win an away match against their top domestic competition so congratulations to them on that. At home they may hang with Atleti a bit better but not to the point that we’d consider using any of their players on our fantasy teams. Not to mention most operators won’t be including this early game anyhow.
For that same reason we won’t focus much on Atleti here either. They shouldn’t have much trouble in Kazakhstan, though it’s snowy and cold which is not ideal. They will need to escape injury. Probably reason enough not to risk Koke who has proven fragile.
PREDICTION: Visitors hang on 1-0.
Benfica v. Galatasaray
After a loss in Turkey despite an early 1-0 lead, Benfica will look to take care of business in Portugal. Despite 1 in 9 domestically, Nic Gaitan has 3 in 3 Champions League matches and will be a popular play heading home. If his price is still reasonable it’s difficult to bet against him. For our money though, we will take Jonas despite his goalless effort in CL thus far. Benfica also have a decent chance at keeping a clean sheet, and may prove slightly contrarian as others move towards United and Shakhtar.
Galatasaray made the group much more interesting with their win in Turkey and could further make a case for advancing if they can repeat the feat. Sneijder and Inan are options at midfield while Yilmaz is back fit up front alongside Podolski. Galatasaray are reserved as contrarian plays, however, as despite the high profile names they are considerable underdogs.
PREDICTION: Benfica reverse the result with a 2-1 home win.
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Juventus
We check in on these teams sporadically and the story with Gladbach has turned drastically around in the recent weeks. They opened with 5 consecutive Bundesliga defeats, and have rallied off 6 straight wins. We’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use Raffael and this will be one of the better ones. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in league play but has yet to perform well in Champions which should keep him unpopular. That said, Juventus is still not an ideal opponent. Stindl and Xhaka are other players to consider here if Gladbach can control the ball at home.
While Gladbach has turned around their domestic form, Juventus remains a mystery, sitting 10th in Serie A. They have been largely unlucky based on expected goals, and have been considerably better in Champions. Pogba has become more aggressive in attack which should bode well for his fantasy potential. They have 4 viable strikers which makes selection difficult there as they could come off early, but Morata has a nice goal scoring record in Champions League play.
PREDICTION: Pretty evenly matched with the game in Borussia, let’s call it 1-1.
Manchester United v. CSKA Moscow
United were content to take a draw in Moscow – van Gaal may be content to take a draw in every match from what we can tell – but they should go for a win here to separate from Moscow on the reverse set of fixtures. Martial has been their most effective attacker and as we know Mondogoal refuse to accept that pricing him near the minimum. Mata is the most complete attacking player and will be very popular here, while Herrera and Rooney are also in the discussion. De Gea has a great shot at a clean sheet but will not be found at a discount, nor will his back line.
With Wolfsburg sitting atop the group and heading towards another match with PSV, CSKA will see this as a match they need a result from. The trip from Moscow is not easy, and their attacking players do not look like good values. Doumbia can always score but serves as a contrarian play in a large contest only. None of the defenders are priced at enough of a discount to justify use either, so we’ll just pass on CSKA.
PREDICTION: We know LvG can get a draw when he wants one, but can he get a win when he needs one? In this case, we like 1-0 to United.
PSV Eindhoven v. Wolfsburg
With Lestienne likely to miss out again, PSV will have to count on de Jong and Narsingh to carry the attack. This game projects to be more wide open as PSV will need to go for the win and have no semblance of a defence as it is. de Jong scores enough of their goals that if you want a piece of the PSV attack, he should be enough of it.
Wolfsburg are comfortable in an open game and have the weapons to take advantage. Bas Dost remains the lead striker as Max Kruse will miss out with a thigh injury. Chelsea castoff Andre Schurrle has been starting and could be a solid option depending on where he lands in the formation. Midfielders Draxler and Caligiuri are in good form as well, though we’d take the discount on Draxler given the option. Caligiuri may be somewhat overpriced due to his nice performances thus far in group play. While we like Ricardo Rodriguez, a clean sheet seems like a stretch so you’d need him for his attacking efforts.
PREDICTION: PSV are game but lose 3-2.
Real Madrid v. Paris Saint-Germain
The 0-0 draw in Paris was a mild surprise given the attacking quality on both sides of the pitch, but we don’t expect it to be so quiet in Madrid. Benzema and Bale are expected to miss out, while James continues to work his way back. That leaves Ronaldo and Isco as the primary attacking threats, with Marcelo in support. Though there could be goals, Real players are still priced extraordinarily highly. You can make an effort to squeeze in Ronaldo as he is always a candidate to score at the Bernebeu, but make sure you are content with the rest of the team as well.
PSG were unable to score at home and will be ready to play in this one as well. With Ligue 1 all but wrapped up by the start of November, PSG may turn their full attention to Champions League. They should field a first choice lineup, though away to Real is about as difficult a match as they could have. Di Maria has several strong fantasy performances in his past 6 matches and Ibrahimovic can score on anyone.
PREDICTION: 2-1 Real.
Sevilla v. Manchester City
Sevilla were heartbroken by a late Kevin de Bruyne goal in the last gameweek and will look to avenge that loss in Spain. Konoplyanka has worked his way into the starting lineup and will be counted on to star here in what is likely a must win for the two time defending Europa champions. Ever Banega is the other option from the Sevilla attack. Gameiro is likely on pens if he starts but is just not a particularly gifted striker. The Sevilla defence would be an ambitious play but Sergio Rico carries a reasonable value.
Without Silva and Aguero City have managed to hold the team together but the signs of cracking are evident. This could be the toughest match they’ve faced since the injuries and it would not be a shock to see them drop points in Sevilla. de Bruyne’s price is such that we can safely avoid him this week in a tricky fixture, though Bony and Kolarov are still options at their price in larger contests.
PREDICTION: Sevilla look to avoid Europa again and are able to dispatch City 2-1.
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Malmo FF
Shakhtar were a disappointment in Sweden though that is a tougher trip than some may realise. Malmo is several hours from Stockholm and they were coming from the Ukraine. This leg should be kinder to Shakhtar and we like Alex Teixeira to get back on track. Pyatov will likely miss due to injury which puts Kanabolotskiy as a top choice keeper. Midfielder Bernard has done well in Champions League play though his price has come up in the process. Srna is listed as a mid on Mondogoal, but Shevchuk is a nice choice at defender.
Getting a win in Malmo was a big deal, but asking them to go to Ukraine and do the same is a tall order. We won’t be looking to Malmo for much here.
PREDICTION: Shakhtar have been unimpressive but should work themselves to a 2-0 win.