Champions League Knockout Return Leg- 3/10/21
What a wild Tuesday in the Champions League! Haaland aka Baby Goat, scored another brace for Dortmund but Sevilla equalized late to draw on the night but Dortmund still went through on aggregate 5-4. Then in Turin, Juventus went down early to Porto but stormed back in part thanks to a red card but couldn’t finish off the Portuguese side in regulation so onto extra time they went and what an insane last 15 minutes occurred. Porto scored on an absolute laser of a free kick by Oliviera, then Juve scored on the other end right away but they couldn’t get 1 more so Porto advances on away goals 4-4 on aggregate. Can we expect more fireworks Wednesday? Let’s see by starting with breaking down the current odds:
Paris Saint Germain (+145) vs. Barcelona
Liverpool (+145) vs. Red Bull Leipzig
-For this slate we get two extremely even matches on paper but both ties are pretty well in hand for the home teams on this day. PSG rocked Barca 4-1 at the Camp Nou 3 weeks ago and Liverpool blanked Leipzig 2-0 in Budapest on that day as well. Let’s jump into our Game by Game Breakdown for more info.
Paris Saint Germain vs. Barcelona
Boy does Barcelona have a mountain to climb here as PSG have 4 away goals in their pocket heading back home to Paris. Neymar has been ruled out for this one as he has only returned to solo training but should PSG make it to the final 8 (all but done and dusted) he should be back. Angel Di Maria should be back though for the hosts, while the visitors will still be without Coutinho, Roberto, Fati and Pique.
Paris Saint Germain:
Just like I mentioned last time, no Neymar is a big loss for PSG, but the attack is still very potent with Kylian Mbappe ($22/$10500) leading the charge for the Parisians. Of course I didn’t play Mbappe when he went off for a hat trick in Spain last matchup and single handedly destroyed the Catalans hope for advancing to the quarterfinals. Angel Di Maria ($15/$10200) has recently returned from a thigh injury and is an easy fade at that price on DK but boy that FD price is tempting. I don’t see PSG just sitting back and controlling the game. They love to play an open game and they firmly believe they can do this and still beat Barcelona. Mauro Icardi ($18/$6500) should be back in the starting lineup here and is a nice cheap option on DK but he had this same spot last matchup and only mustered 6.4 DK points. Leandro Paredes ($9/$4300) is a super value play on this slate in my opinion. He contributes on both ends of the pitch and should go 90 for the Parisians. On defense, I don’t love any of the full backs really for them and their center backs are too expensive for me on FD. I will be fading their defense most likely. Keylor Navas ($11/$5000) was solid in Spain vs. this squad of Messi and scrubs. I view this match very similarly, Barca will push as much as they can but they just don’t have the fire power to really bother Navas too much.
Lionel Messi ($24/$11000) is the most expensive player on the slate on both sites (minus a not playing Neymar) for a reason; he is truly one of the best in the world. The only issue with Barca is who to stack him with and in the first match this was so obviously the issue it was sad. I think Barca will give it a good go here but they have shifted their focus on La Liga as Atletico have slipped recently and the title is firmly up for grabs now. All the sites I use have Ousmane Dembele ($18/$8200) as the second forward with Messi. Dembele has been really monitored for minutes mostly preparing him for this big game, so he should be pretty fresh and he has excellent speed to test the PSG backline. The value play of the squad would be Pedri ($13/$5300) who is projected to start in midfield but is listed as F only on DK just for your info. Pedri is not a big goal scorer yet in his career but he has always been active in building up the attack, and he did score 5.4 DK points last match. Defensively, Barca will be without their main man Pique again and it’s unsure what formation they will come out with. Some places have a 3-man back line with Lenglet in the middle with Mingueza and Umtiti on the outsides. Jordi Alba ($14/$6000) is today’s Jesus Navas (I don’t think he will reach the Cuadrado level of 32 crosses!). The young American Sergino Dest ($9/$4500) is projected to grab the start as a wing back, and if that’s the case I love his upside. Like I said about the back 3, Samuel Umtiti ($7) may get a start in it, and is the cheapest projected defensive starter on FD so he will get plenty of ownership. Marc-Andre ter Stegen ($9/$4600) now has 3 straight clean sheets under his belt from league and cup play but this is a tough spot. On DK all the goalies are priced so close together, it’s that much harder to nail the play.
Prediction: Paris Saint Germain 3 – Barcelona 2
Liverpool vs. Red Bull Leipzig-
This is the exact same way the first leg was set up… Leipzig coming in rested and off a few nice wins… and Liverpool struggling in the league and not playing well at all… then Liverpool came in and smacked the Germans around to grab two away goals. Liverpool does have a few members back, like Diogo Jota and Fabinho but man it’s tough to love the way this squad is playing. I did mention previously that Liverpool has given up on the league and is focusing solely on Europe, so be aware, but I’m riding the Red Bull train again here.
Liverpool goes as Mo Salah ($20/$9900) goes but he needs help and Diogo Jota ($17/$7200) has returned from a lengthy injury and even started on the weekend. Sadio Mane ($18/$9300) has had a tough season but did net one in Hungary in the first leg. I’ve been loving Curtis Jones ($13/$5100), but with Jota returning his role in the offense takes a step back and I’d rather spend up on the full backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15/$7100) and Andrew Robertson ($13/$5600). TAA has been playing with much more confidence of late and I prefer him to a lot of middle of the road forward or midfield picks. Ozan Kabak may be back but if he isn’t it sounds like Nathaniel Phillips ($10) will start alongside Fabinho ($12) who I like a lot here. Alisson ($13/$4800) is hard to trust but of course he had a 2 save clean sheet win last matchup against this squad.
Like I said, Leipzig is coming into this one feeling good after a nice weekend win. This team is still priced WAY down on FD and pretty low on DK too considering that they are going to have to push hard to get at least 2 goals without conceding. I backed this squad hard in the first meeting and was proven very wrong but I’m going back to the well here and think they get some nice scores even if they don’t win the match and advance. Angelino is out for this game and that means Christopher Nkunku ($15/$9600) should take all the set pieces for the squad. Alexander Sorloth ($12/$6400) has been in excellent form of late and scored on the weekend but most sites think Emil Forsberg ($14/$5500) starts up front. He too scored on the weekend in a sub appearance; both are great value options in my opinion. Marcel Sabitizer ($13/$6300) has been playing really solid football for the last month plus and is well rested after serving a domestic suspension. I think Dani Olmo ($17/$5700) is a little overpriced on FD but is a nice Sabitizer pivot on DK if you want the upside over the floor. Tyler Adams ($7/$3500) has been playing as a wing back lately and has been producing excellent defensive stats, just no big offensive outputs yet for the young American. I don’t really love any of the back 3 of this squad. Peter Gulacsi ($7/$4400) is a solid option that can open up some bigger names on the offensive end for FD, all goalies are within $600 on DK so it’s more important to nail the right one there, since there is no big savings to be had.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 – Red Bull Leipzig 3
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-Ram (DFSKarma Soccer Lead)