Champions League Knockout-Stage Return Leg 3/9/21
The Champions League returns! We’ve had some great EPL slates the last few days, but now we get the treat of European competition Tuesday, Wednesday and then Europa League on Thursday for DK only. Tuesday’s UCL games both kick off at 3pm EST and are the return legs from the first matches on 2/17. Let’s start by breaking down the current odds:
Juventus (-250) vs. FC Porto
Borussia Dortmund (+120) vs. Sevilla
The biggest favorite is Juve who lost the first leg 2-1 in Portugal, while Dortmund defeated Sevilla 3-2 in Spain and are a slight home favorite. Let’s jump into our game-by-game Breakdown for more info.
Juventus vs. Porto-
Juventus are home for this leg but trail 2-1 on aggregate in the match up. They did get an important away goal, which means they would advance with just a 1-0 win, if they tie 2-1, they will head to extra time and PKs if necessary, otherwise Juventus would need to score two goals for every one Porto scores in addition to that line since away goals are more valuable than home goals for tiebreakers.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($23/$11300) is a stud and should be 100 percent owned in cash games on both sites. He put up an absolute dud in the away leg, with next to nothing to show for his massive salary, but let’s be honest… these are the games he rises to the challenge in and grabs a hat trick. Alvaro Morata ($19/$8300) was suspiciously absent from the first leg’s starting lineup and I highly doubt Pirlo makes that mistake again. Morata had a great group stage (6 goals and 1 assist in 6 matches) and is usually the benefactor from attention being spent on CR7. Federico Chiesa ($16/$9200) scored Juve’s lone goal in Portugal and looked electric with 3 shots (2 on goal) and 5 crosses in that loss. Aaron Ramsey ($10/$6400) is projected to start in the midfield and has some upside for a bit of a value. Defensively Juan Cuadrado ($15/$6900) is back and is an elite full back. He used to be a midfielder so offense is no issue for him; he is the clear pay up defense play on the slate. Leonardo Bonucci ($9/$3700) is a great value defender but don’t bet on any clean sheets… Champions League second leg knockouts can be wild. Wojciech Szczesny ($14/$5800) is the most expensive keeper on the slate and probably has the best chance of a clean sheet and win, but like I said, don’t expect a shutout in Italy or Germany.
Porto shocked the footballing world a bit with a 2-1 victory at home vs. Italian giants Juventus, in the first leg of this matchup, but we all knew they were strong at home… it’s away from Portugal that is the trouble for this squad. Both strikers, Moussa Marega ($17/$6600) and Mehdi Taremi ($15/$6500) scored for Porto in the first game. Neither has much else going for them as peripheral stats are rare. Sergio Oliveira ($16/$6100) may be the safest play for them again; he has nice open play value and is on PK duty, he had double digit points without a goal or assist. It sounds like Corona may miss this game and if so that is a big hole to fill in the defensive midfield vs. this potent Juve attack. Defensively, Pepe sounds like he is a serious doubt in this one and if he misses Diogo Leite ($6/$2500) would be a nice punt play. Zaidu Sanusi ($8/$4300) is the best offensive option for Porto on defense but could be tough sledding for getting forward a ton. Agustin Marchesin ($8/$3800) is the GPP play as he should see plenty of shots from Juventus, but man, if Pepe misses; it’s tough to trust that defense in front of him.
Prediction: Juventus 3 – Porto 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. Sevilla-
Dortmund stormed into Spain 3 weeks ago and took a big early punch from Sevilla before countering nicely and escaping with 3 away goals and a 3-2 advantage heading back to Germany for this one. A few injury issues have arisen for the German squad as Sancho is out for the rest of March, Haaland left the Der Klassiker vs. Bayern Munich early with an injury, Raphael Guerreiro and Gio Reyna are both doubts as well. Jules Kounde and Bono are the only real injury questions mark for Sevilla, and both are expected to start. Sevilla needs to score 2 without conceding to win outright, or have a 3-2 score line again to get extra time/PKs.
This slate has serious injury news to wait on and decide on… Erling Haaland ($22/$10900) is an insane talent and participated in all 3 goals in Spain, scoring twice and assisting another. Without Sancho there we should see Thorgan Hazard ($15/$8500) take most sets, especially if Raphael Guerreiro ($11/$5200) misses out. As a reminder, Guerreiro is a midfielder on FD but defender on DK. Hazard would be a lock on FD for that cheap, but tough to fit on DK. Marco Reus ($17/$7300) is too pricey for me, a pure GPP hope and pray he shows up kid of play. I like some cheap Dortmund plays; Jude Bellingham ($8/$5100) and Thomas Delaney ($7/$4300) are both guys who can deliver value on a slate that is lacking a lot of great value. Emre Can ($9/$3800) is a defender on FD and midfielder on DK but has been playing a makeshift CB of late, if he does end up there again, he’s worth a punt on FD. Thomas Meunier ($12/ $4800) is the most interesting defender for Dortmund as he’s their most polished offensive weapon back there. Marwin Hitz ($11/$5200) is not a great keeper but the injury to Roman Burki has been long term and he has to try to channel his inner Burki for this one, Sevilla will be throwing everything it has at the German squad.
Sevilla is going to send an all out attack in Germany. They must get multiple goals and they will be bombing forward at every chance you can get. Papu Gomez ($17/$6000) only lasted 60 minutes in the first matchup but they will need his creativity going forward and he’s had 3 more weeks to mesh with this squad after his January transfer from Atalanta. Youseff En-Nesyri ($19/$7100) is the main striker for this squad and has the ability to score in bunches (2 vs. Rennes) but also went just 60 last time out and was very inefficient in attack. Ivan Rakitic ($12/$4400) only played a half last time out but should be in a very important role for this match as the cagey veteran in a must win game. Joan Jordan ($13/$5400) is an exciting player for Sevilla but is more of a facilitator still than a finisher but does have some set pieces. Lucas Ocampos ($9/$7400) is projected to start on the right wing and now that he’s back from a nasty ankle injury from a tackle, he should be able to run at this Dortmund back line, which Suso scored against in the same position back in Spain. Defensively, Jesus Navas ($13/$5100) is a walking cross (9 last time out vs. Dortmund) and he should be bombing them in all game as they need goals! Marcos Acuna ($10/$4900) should be on the other side for Sevilla and is equally as dangerous in attack. Bono/Yassine Bounou ($7/$4400) is a game time call with a finger injury but if he’s in, he’s a solid GPP play as Dortmund is very banged up but their need to push for goals will leave a lot of space for counters to run at him in this one.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1 – Sevilla 2
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-Ram (DFSKarma Soccer Lead)