Champions League Match Day 3- 11/3/20
Two match days in and it’s been a lot of fun for UCL! Another really good week for Champions League for us at DFS Karma. What are you waiting for? Join us today https://www.dfskarma.com/shop/all/soccer/
After Wednesday, we will officially be halfway through the Group Stages and this is the last “first meeting” for teams in their groups. Then we see the return matches commence later in December. Like usual, UEFA went to having 2 early games on these group stages but we still get a tasty 6 game main slate. The main slate is back to a 3pm EST kickoff after Daylight Savings Time ended here in the US. There are some serious Covid-19 issues on this slate. Much will change from when I post this to when lineups release, so make sure you hop into discord or hit me up on Twitter for updates. Let’s start by breaking down the current odds:
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich (-303)
Real Madrid (-118) vs. Inter Milan
FC Porto (-120) vs. Olympique de Marseille
Manchester City (-500) vs. Olympiacos
Atalanta vs. Liverpool (+110)
Midtjylland FC vs. Ajax (+120)
We get a HUGE home favorite in Manchester City headlining this day, while Bayern Munich is a large away favorite as well. Liverpool and Ajax are slight road favorites, while Real Madrid and Porto are slight home favorites. Let’s jump into our game-by-game breakdown for more info.
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich-
The Bayern machine heads on a short jaunt over to Austria for a showdown in Salzburg. Bayern has already secured 6 points in two games. They have scored 6 goals while allowing just 1, while the Red Bull sit in last in the group with 1 point. They have scored 4 and conceded 5 in two games. This is not a good sign for the Red Bull’s chances to advance out of this tough group, and a draw would be an excellent result for them.
Red Bull Salzburg:
This team sure is fun, I’ll give them that! They dropped a 3-2 thriller in Madrid last week and really should have secured at least a point. They are very free and open and while that is a fun style to watch and it produces goals, it also allows many goals. Bayern Munich is not the kind of team you want to give open space to. I for one do not see myself playing any RBS pieces against the German giants but these are the ones to target if you want to get weird in GPPs: Dominik Szoboszlai ($19/$7500), Patson Daka ($18/$6300) If healthy, and Zlatko Junuzovic ($14/$5300). Defensively, Andreas Ulmer ($9/$4700) looks like the only guy I like, maybe Rasmus Kristensen ($8) on FD. RB goalie Cican Stankovic ($8/$3800) is a good GPP play as he should see plenty of volume.
It all starts with “Big Rob”, Robert Lewandowski ($23/$11200) for Bayern, and while he has had a very quiet campaign so far, I love him to break through with 2 goals Tuesday. I think he is the best “pay up” forward on the slate by far. Kingsley Coman ($20/$8500) has one slate breaking game scoring 2 and assisting on 1, but then he put up a zero on FD last week. He’s not as safe as Lew, but has an equally high ceiling. Thomas Muller ($18/$7600) is the ageless one and has continued to produce, but is definitely not going 90 minutes with the 5 subs allowed in UCL play. Joshua Kimmich ($16/$8200) remains WAY too cheap on FD. He has set pieces and his open play value remains high, oh and he’s AVERAGING 33.25 fan. pts. per game so far in groups. He is a cash LOCK for me. Leon Goretzka is out, and it looks like they’ll slot Javi Martinez ($8/$3300) in his place. He’s listed as a defender on FD, and a midfielder on DK. Defensively, Bayern aren’t a wealth of DFS fun. I think Benjamin Pavard ($11/$5100) is the better full back play and the center backs are useless as they don’t get involved in attack, and rarely see a ton of clearance opportunities. Manuel Neuer ($13/$5700) is a good play. I think his CS chances are lower than a few other high dollar guys, but his ceiling is higher as he should see 5-6 shots from a free-flowing Red Bull side.
Prediction: Red Bull Salzburg 1- Bayern Munich 4
Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan
Madrid shocked us all by losing to Shaktar Donetsk at home. Then they came out and drew away to Borussia M’Gladbach 2-2, needing a goal in the 87th and 93rd minute to get a point. They are sitting last in the group with 1 point and desperately need a win in this game to have a real chance to progress through this very tough group. Meanwhile, Inter have drawn games, 0-0, and 2-2, and could use at least a point from their trip to Madrid to make them feel good about the return trips coming up next month.
Madrid need this result. Karim Benzema ($22/$8100) got a goal vs. Gladbach but he had 5 chances created too for 42.6 FD pts! Casemiro ($11/$5200) was the real hero though with a goal and an assist (36.5 FD pts) as a defensive midfielder, and remains a solid value for some cheap exposure. Eden Hazard ($5/$5700) has been working on his fitness and had a less than stellar 20 minutes appearance last week, but if he starts he is DIRT cheap on FD and decently priced on DK for a stack with Benzema. Defensively Sergio Ramos ($15/$4900) is always the guy since he has PK duty, but is pricey. Marcelo ($14/$5800) is the more open play defender and has a higher ceiling but didn’t start last game. GK Thibaut Courtois ($12/$5100) is never in my player pool as he is a shell of his former self.
Inter will have a very big hole to fill up front as Romelu Lukaku did not travel to Madrid. Lautaro Martinez ($18/$6500) will probably move up and start in the middle. Possibly Alexis Sanchez ($17/$6300) will even be coming into the squad but you can’t fool me again Alexis; don’t pay for him. Achraf Hakimi ($14/$5700) is healthier this week after recovering from Covid-19 and I really like him to give Madrid issues on the wings. Defensively, Ashley Young ($8/$5100), a midfielder on DK, looked good vs. Shaktar and is definitely in play as a secondary piece to this game. Goalie Samir Handanovic ($10/$4400) is not the guy I trust in most matchups and this one is not the best.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2 – Inter 1
Manchester City vs. Olympiacos:
Olympiacos proved exactly what most of us thought already. At home they are very, very difficult, but on the road they are pedestrian at best after losing in Portugal 2-0. Meanwhile, Man City is top of the group with two wins in two games, and has scored 6 while only conceding 1. They are massive favorites here and a win would all but secure a spot in the knockout stage for them even with 3 games left to go. Olympiacos would love a draw here and to end the first round on 4 points.
It all starts for City with Kevin De Bruyne ($22/$10900), who does everything for the squad, and assisted on 2 of the 3 City goals in their 3-0 win over Marseille. Raheem Sterling ($20/$8800) remains a solid option but I can never seem to get him right when he pops off. Ferran Torres ($16/$6500) has gotten a few starts in a row. While he let me down big time vs. Sheffield (5 big chances missed… come-on man), he bagged a goal in each of the group games so far and is a nice cheaper piece to the City attack. Defensively, Joao Cancelo ($9/$5400) has been really good in the league and I hope he gets the start in Europe. On the other side, Kyle Walker ($12/$4400), bagged the lone goal on the weekend and is a nice pivot on DK. Ederson ($14/$5900) is a guy I cannot stand rostering, but he has been really good and that defense is only getting better in front of him. If Gundogan starts in midfield again, I think he might be worth the pay up on FD at least.
I really thought they’d come out, and park the bus, and grab a counter goal in Portugal but they were totally complacent and got beaten soundly. Offensively, the Greeks don’t have a ton of upside. Mathieu Valbuena ($16/$7900) is the real deal and does just about everything for them. He’s averaging almost 20 DK pts. a game. Defensively, Rafinha ($6/$3300) is still super cheap, even after two good matches. Jose Holebas ($10/$3600) has similar upside, but is pricier on both sites. I’d probably lean Rafinha but don’t hate either. Jose Sa ($7/$3600) is an interesting GPP play as City has not been fully clicking and they don’t put a ton of shots on net. They are more meticulous and dissect their opponents for quality finishes. I could see him getting 4-5 saves though, and if City mentally lapses, Olympiacos could make this very uncomfortable for the Citizens at home.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 – Olympiacos 0
Porto vs. Marseille:
Porto rebounded well at home last week vs. Olympiacos. Marseille continued to struggle in group stage, dropping another game and have yet to score in the competition. This is a must win for Marseille in my opinion.
Moussa Marega ($16/$7200) is the best scoring option on the squad and is priced pretty well for the matchup. Frosty nailed Sergio Oliveira ($14/$5100) last game, and I love him here too. Luis Diaz ($14/$6900) came back into the squad for their domestic match Friday and played 45 minutes, so I would assume he starts and at least goes 60 mins. here. Zaidu Sanusi ($10/$3600) is a nice cheap play on DK for Porto vs. a lackluster Marseille attack. Agustin Marchesin ($11/$5300) will be probably one of the most popular cash plays. We should see solid defense at home vs. an offensively anemic opponent. Upside is not enormous, but if he does keep a CS he could put up 15-20 pts.
They have been atrocious in the final third in both games so far this competition. I really don’t like any of the plays, but here is who I would target: Dmitri Payet ($13/$6100) is probably my favorite while Florian Thauvin ($16/$6700) and Dario Benedetto ($10/$3800) who is DIRT cheap are both viable as well. Jordan Amavi ($7/$4100) is a do it all full back and definitely in play on both sites. Steve Mandanda ($8/$4200) might have to be in play only because of the amount of shots Porto can put up.
Prediction: Porto 2 – Marseille 1
Midtjylland vs. Ajax
This is the most interesting part of the slate… and Ajax was a huge away favorite… until Covid hit. Dusan Tadic, Davy Klaasen, Andre Onana and Maarten Stekelenberg all were among the players who DID NOT travel to Denmark. I LOVED Tadic in my first run, now Ajax is going to be sending out a B squad vs. a very plucky Midtjylland squad, who played really well vs. Liverpool B squad in England last week. What’s even worse is Ajax MUST win this game. If they could go into the second set of games on 4 points, they will like their chances to advance over Atalanta.
They played really well, and still have not scored in the competition, and have allowed 6 goals in 2 matches. Evander ($13/$7200) continues to be a sub and is pretty useless. No defensive plays on DK, but on FD Erik Sviatchenko ($8) racked up nearly 20 fan pts. vs. Atalanta, but only had 8 vs. Liverpool. Jesper Hansen ($6/$3900) is probably back in net, and if so, I like him a lot as a GPP play. This team is going to really come out and try to steal 3 points. They play better usually domestically, so hopefully that translates to European play too. Ajax let it fly a decent amount, and the younger players may get a little excited to fire from distance, making easy pickings for Jesper.
I was all excited to lock Tadic/ Traore/Onana into my FD build… but alas Covid ruins yet another thing in this world! Lassina Traore ($7/$6400) was one of my great calls last week, and helped make a good stars/scrubs kind of lineup price wise. He certainly is still viable this week, but Tadic missing out hurts him a bit. Antony ($14/$6700) will have to step up, and is coming off a monster game in which he had no assists or goals and still had 31.2 FD pts! It sounds like Tagliafico is in doubt too defensively, so Lisandro Martinez ($14/$3300) may get a start. If so, he is a great play on DK. I have no clue who starts in goal. Maybe Scherpen? He will be a good option, and will be $5 on FD. This is minimum price, and as long as the lineup isn’t a complete clown show for Ajax, they should be considered a decent favorite in a must win.
Prediction: Midtjylland 1 – Ajax 3
Atalanta vs. Liverpool
Probably the best game of the slate, these two teams are very good and have very contrasting styles. Liverpool loves to take possession, lull you to sleep, and pounce. Atalanta flys all over the pitch and plays extremely open. Liverpool played their B squad last week and needed some help later on, but won easily 2-0, while Atlanta drew an entertaining game 2-2 with Ajax.
They are still the most fun team to watch in this competition that isn’t Bayern in my opinion. Duvan Zapata ($17/$8900) was the man again! He’s averaging nearly 50 FD pts in the two games. Yes, 50. He has 3 goals and an assist, as well as tons of peripherals. Alejandro (Papu) Gomez ($20/$8700) does a lot of the heavy lifting for this squad as well, and while he only had an assist last time out, he is still a vital piece to their attack. Mario Pasalic ($16/$5600) was one of my good value calls last week too, and is still in play at a cheaper price on DK. There could be a lot of different pieces in their defense, including goalkeeper. Berat Djimsiti ($11/$2600) and Rafael Toloi ($6/$2500) are the cheap plays and should be a little busier than last time. Pierluigi Gollini ($5/$4500) is min price on FD, and Liverpool have not lit anyone up in a long time. This is still a tough matchup, but he seems to be back from a PCL knee injury quicker than originally thought, and is better than Sportiello.
Liverpool continues to frustrate people… I have not been on them myself in league or in the UCL much this year and it’s mainly due to their lack of peripherals and injuries. But you cannot deny their potential as we have seen them perform at super high levels as recently as last season. Offensively, Mo Salah ($21/$8400) is the main threat and has PK duty. In a game that should be open, he should be able to utilize his skill a bit more than he has been able to so far domestically this season. Sadio Mane ($19/$8000) is the obvious pivot or secondary piece for a Liverpool stack. He has the speed and skill to terrorize any back line, especially one that is shaky like Atalanta’s. Last offensive piece I like is Diogo Jota ($17/$7100). He has been their saving grace a few times now and has looked like a sensational signing from Wolves. Defensively, Andrew Robertson ($14/$6900) and Trent Alexander- Arnold ($15/$6600) are both elite options, even after their huge let down games vs. Midtjylland last week. Nat Phillips ($5) is a good punt on FD, as he should have plenty to deal with in the back and was flying all over the box defending on Saturday. Alisson ($12/$4900) is a good GPP play. He has the upside of 7-8 saves, but you could also see him being beaten 2 times early, then Atalanta sits back.
Prediction: Atalanta 1 – Liverpool 2
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown and will join us on the DFSKarma discord channel when lineups release around 2pm EST!