Champions League Group Stage Match Day 4
We are halfway through group stage and we will now see the return legs of each of the first 3 weeks to determine who advances to the coveted knockout stage! We continue to have 2 early games on these group stages but then we get 6 game slate main slates. To kick of the second half of the stage we get the return legs from 3 weeks ago. Let’s start by breaking down the current odds with all games starting a 3pm EST:
Borussia Dortmund (-400) vs. Club Brugge
Lazio (-152) vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Barcelona (-154)
Juventus (-1111) vs. Ferencvarosi TC
Manchester United (-400) vs. Basaksehir FK
Paris Saint Germain (-189) vs. RB Leipzig
-We get a HUGE home favorite in Juventus headlining this day while Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund also see large odds in their favors. Barcelona odds have gone way down since the announcement that Lionel Messi will not play. PSG are back to being healthy and could be dangerous while Lazio also got healthier and could finally wake up as small home favorites. Let’s jump into our Game by Game Breakdown for more info.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Club Brugge-
Dortmund won this match easily in Bruges last time out 3-0. Haaland had a brace and this was done and dusted by 32 minutes.
Erling Haaland ($23) is an absolute monster… the man only knows one thing, and that’s scoring goals. I’m interested to see who else rounds out the lineup… Thorgan Hazard ($17) played well and scored the other goal in the other match, but the young American Gio Reyna ($11) has been slowly trending upwards and has taken over some PT from veterans such as Hazard/Reus/Brandt etc. Jadon Sancho ($19) is always in play but his floor is just so low on FD it’s hard to trust him at that price tag… on DK it makes more sense but Dortmund are a team that does not cross it a ton and just don’t rack up peripherals like other big squads do. Defensively, they are pretty pricey on FD but if I had to choose one, it’d be Manuel Akanji ($11) he does a lot of dirty work (tackles/interceptions) to get his points but Brugge will need a result here and will push all game. Roman Burki ($13) is a good keeper but he has not been at his best this season. Yet he still hasn’t been scored on in 2 group games and had 29 FD points at Brugge.
This squad doesn’t have a ton of talent but they work well as a unit. Unfortunately one of their best players, striker Emmanuel Dennis is suspended for disciplinary reasons. Hans Vanaken ($16) is the only guy I like from this squad offensively. Defensively, Odilon Kossounou ($9) is a relatively cheap CB but like I said in the Dortmund part, they don’t cross a ton and therefore don’t give up a ton of peripherals. Goalie Simon Mignolet ($9) is fine but I don’t see a ton of saves coming his way.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3 – Club Brugge 1
Lazio vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
These two squads drew 1-1 in Russia with Lazio very short handed due to Covid issues. Now they get their stars back and somehow are very cheap, even less than Zenit even though they are home favorites.
Lazio was missing a few guys last time, the biggest was Ciro Immobile ($17) their top striker. Immobile has only played 1 group game so far but he had a goal and an assist at home vs. Dortmund. He is a very good cash play. Luis Alberto ($13) would be the other guy I’d target offensively from Lazio as Milinkovic-Savic is out with Covid still. Joaquin Correa ($12) isn’t a bad option either… I really like this spot for Lazio to rebound and take a much needed 3 points. Defensively, Francesco Acerbi ($15) is a top spend up spot but I tend to look at cheap defenders more than anything else, and Stefan Radu/Patric/Wesley Hoedt are all $7 and if Radu starts at CB, I think I jump on that one big time. Pepe Reina ($11) is over the hill but still a decent enough keeper, but I think there are better spots on this slate than that middle range.
Not sure why these guys like Artem Dyzuba ($18) or Sardar Azmoun ($17) are so expensive. Malcolm at $16 makes more sense and is more active in peripherals but I just don’t see the Russian squad doing much in Italy this game. Wilmar Barrios ($7) is a solid option for cheap as he averages 10 FD fpts a game so far. Defensively, Dejan Lovren ($13) leads the back line and is a solid option while Douglas Santos ($12) would be the offensively minded defensive fullback. Yaroslav Rakitskiy ($8) is fine but just doesn’t see enough work to really help you. Goalie Mikhail Kerzhakov ($10) is that middle price keeper I just don’t love on this slate.
-Prediction: Lazio 3 – Zenit 1
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Barcelona:
If Barcelona were actually fielding a full squad, this would be something like -400 odds but since they announced today that Messi, De Jong and Fati are all out of the match tomorrow, it is much closer.
Tough spot for the Ukranians but they did play very well at the Camp Nou 3 weeks ago losing just 2-1 to a full strength Barca. They sit in 3rd place though as this group is all but decided that Barcelona and Juventus will go through. Carlos De Pena ($12) and Mykola Sharpenko ($10) are the two guys to target offensively but I can’t see myself playing much from them. Defensively, Vitali Mykolenko ($13) is really the only guy who tends to provide much offensively or even defensively in peripherals. Goalie Georgi Buschan ($5) is in play mostly due to the fact he is minimum price on FD and sees a watered down Barca attack at home.
Well we don’t have to worry about finding $25 for Messi since he is not traveling. This opens up some value but how much do we really want of a team that isn’t that dominating, traveling to Ukraine, without a handful of their best players? Philippe Coutinho ($18) interests me the most; he should see set pieces and will play that Messi “role” of ball control and roaming all around the pitch. Miralem Pjanic ($11) is a nice value piece to grab; he could be in for a big role tomorrow. I also don’t mind Trincao ($9) or Martin Braithwaite ($5) if either starts. Defensively, Jordi Alba ($14) should try and get involved in the attack even more than usual due to the squad and if Oscar Mingueza ($5) get’s a random start, he’s hard to pass up at minimum price. I will not be spending up for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen ($14) in this matchup.
-Prediction: Dynamo Kyiv 1 – Barcelona 2
Juventus vs. Ferencvarosi:
Juve are a monster favorite here and deservedly so. They won the last match 4-1 vs. this squad and now they get to face them 3 weeks later at home. I’m interested to see if they take a similar approach to this game as Barcelona has, resting players. Unfortunately, we won’t know until lineups come out since they don’t have to travel.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($21) seems super cheap… he only had an assist last game out and only had 23 FD fpts but was still very involved and if starting, I could see him trying to run up a few more champions league goals to his name. Alvaro Morata ($20) stole the show with the brace last time out and is definitely in play if starting up top again. Paulo Dybala ($15) seems cheap and if the lineup looks right, he is definitely in play. Defensively, Matthijs De Ligt ($5) is finally back and is a great play since he is a minimum price CB for a heavily favored side. Alex Sandro ($9) is interesting as well if he gets a start. Wojciech Szczesny ($14) is the most expensive GK, but he has the best chance at a CS/W, the upside isn’t super high as he only faced 2 shots last time out and let 1 in.
Franck Boli ($12) has 2 goals for this squad in the UCL, including one vs. this Juve squad 3 weeks ago. He is all I’m interested in and is super, super cheap on DK ($3700) if you need a punt. Adnan Kovacevic ($9) is a nicely priced CB on a big underdog… which is what I like to target a lot since they should in theory, see the most opportunities to get defensive stats. Denes Dibusz ($6) is a deep GPP option as he did see 9 shots last time out, just couldn’t stop 4 of them unfortunately.
-Prediction: Juventus 4 – Ferencvarosi 0
Manchester United vs. Basakehir FK-
Large home favorites United are, but can they finally find some form? They lost to this Basakehir squad in Turkey 3 weeks ago after fielding a suspect squad. That was Basakehir’s first UCL win in history, so they might be playing with some extra confidence in England now.
Why does Fanduel keep under pricing Bruno Fernandes ($19)? He is their PK taker (albeit suspect after the weekend shenanigans), and is the main set piece taker as well. Marcus Rashford ($22) seems overpriced and his stats will be inflated by his substitute hat trick vs. Leipzig. Anthony Martial ($20) has been horrific this season but given the potential matchup both strikers are in play. If Juan Mata ($9) gets the start he is viable, but not optimal in my opinion. Defensively, Alex Telles ($14) came back from Covid on the weekend and looked very solid, but not his explosive self yet… this would be the time for him to pop though, as they desperately need to right the ship in a very competitive group. Harry Maguire ($9) is intriguing since he has huge set piece value and I think United put the clamps on the Turkish side. I have to assume David De Gea ($12) gets the nod here after Henderson’s horrible game last time out, but FD finally priced a backup correctly so either one is in play.
I felt like it was 2012 or something as Demba Ba ($14) scored a goal and Martin Skrtel ($12) was a brick wall. It was bizarre and I do not see it happening twice in one month. Deniz Turuc ($12) is the only other guy I think is worth a look from this squad. Defensively, Skrtel is the only guy I’d pay for; most of them are too pricey. Fehmi Gunok ($8) doesn’t interest me a ton… he only saw 2 shots on goal last time out, even if he sees 5-6 how many does he stop?
-Prediction: Manchester United 3 – Basaksehir 0
Paris Saint Germain vs. RB Leipzig-
Probably the best game of the slate, two teams who are very good and have very open attacking styles. Leipzig won a wild one in which PSG was down to 9 players in the end. Yet this one could be very different since Mbappe and Neymar are both fit after missing out last time.
If Angel Di Maria ($18) doesn’t miss that PK I probably get a takedown last time out… it was brutal. But this time his buddies are back and Neymar ($21) and Kylian Mbappe ($20) star for the Parisians. This game could be a lot of fun… I really think Gueye being suspended makes it more open too. Defensively, Alessandro Florenzi ($8) is a nice cheap fullback; issue is he tends to get subbed early. I am definitely not touching Keylor Navas ($11) as PSG are not a good defensive squad.
Leipzig seems to have righted the ship after their embarrassing thrashing in England a month ago. The best part is they are finally healthy. Christopher Nkunku ($17) is a vital part to their attack and takes some set pieces, while Emil Forsberg ($16) and Dani Olmo ($13) are dangerous attackers that can find space against a very leaky PSG back line. Marcel Sabitizer ($9) is too cheap for this matchup and I like him a lot to return to the form he showed last year. Defensively, Angelino ($15) is the most expensive “defender” on the slate, since he really is a wing-back/midfielder. He is coming off 26.8 FD Fpts in the 2-1 win and will certainly be leaned on to push the attack if they intend to keep their lead on the second spot in Group H. Just like Navas, I have no desire to play Peter Gulasci ($7) even at his very cheap price.
-Prediction: Paris Saint Germain 3 – RB Leipzig 2
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown and will join us on the DFSKarma discord channel and check out our core plays at https://www.dfskarma.com/shop/all/soccer/