Champions League Knockout Stage- 2/23/21
Champions League returns again for Tuesday and Wednesday! We get some really great games Tuesday and they both kick off at 3pm EST. Let’s start by breaking down the current odds:
Atletico Madrid (+170) vs. Chelsea
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich (-137)
So far in the knockout stage, road teams are 3-1. Only Porto won as a home team vs. Juventus. Atletico is a very, very slight favorite but it’s important to note that the Atletico-Chelsea game is being played in Bucharest, Romania due to Covid restrictions in Spain. That is a big note, as Atletico are so good at home. Bayern are the away favorite as they are still the machine even with a few leaky oil spots of late. Let’s jump into our Game by Game Breakdown for more info.
Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea-
I will try not to let my Chelsea fandom get in the way here, but I really like the spot they are in. Traveling to Romania and playing on a neutral site vs. in Madrid is a big advantage for their away leg and I like the way they’ve been playing under Thomas Tuchel since the Lampard ousting a month ago. Atletico are still a very strong side and currently reside at the top of the La Liga standings ahead of the likes of other knockout teams Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla.
This is not your normal Atletico side, they have not had the iron clad defense of the past, (no clean sheets in 7 straight matches) but they’ve still only given up 16 league goals in 23 matches while they are second in the league in goals scored with 45. Joao Felix ($17/$7200) is priced down a bit for his upside. He takes most set pieces for the squad and his floor is pretty safe with chances created and shots on goal. Luis Suarez ($21/$7400) is no stranger to Chelsea; he tormented them as a former Liverpool player for years. His Champions League form has not been very good this season, but he does have 7 goals in the last 7 games played. Marcos Llorente ($13/$6200) is a nice play on FD, he seems a little too close to the bigger studs on DK to make it value. His attacking has been a big part of Atletico’s successes this season and will be very active on the right. Geoffrey Kondogbia ($7/$3700) is a defensive midfielder but especially on FD, tackles are a big stat and he does that better than anyone on the side. Might be a card risk on DK, but he’s a fine punt option for the midfield. Defensively, Trippier is suspended, so we probably see Renan Lodi ($11/$4500) in his place. Lodi had a great DK score on Saturday in their loss to Levante, mostly due to his 15 crosses. I’d say he’s an okay FD play but not high on my list. I’d rather spend the few extra bucks on Stefan Savic ($13/$2600) or Mario Hermoso ($12/$3800). Jan Oblak ($10/$4800) used to be one of the elite GK’s in the world. He has fallen off his perch a bit this season, but I still like his game and Chelsea haven’t been prolific in attack of late.
The new look Chelsea is something I’m all about. I love the use of the wing backs in Alonso, James and even Hudson-Odoi a lot too. It gives so much width and pace on the outside, it seems to create more channels for Werner and Mount to play in. They have been really solid in defense as well (just 2 goals conceded in Tuchel’s 7 total games coached). Now for whom to target: Mason Mount ($17/$7500) is a priced pretty low in my opinion. He has had most set pieces since the change in formation and even converted a PK (that he won) on the weekend. Timo Werner ($20/$6700) seems mispriced on DK and FD but for different reasons… DK he’s pretty cheap given he’s a forward and has been playing well, on FD he is priced near the top and hasn’t had the goal scoring prowess of others in the same range. Olivier Giroud ($18/$8000) is way over-priced on DK but is a nice spot on FD for being the lone striker in this system. He loves European football and I think he’s due. Defensively, I think Tuchel rolls out 5 guys. Reece James ($13/$5400) has been electric down the right and has never met a long distance shot he hasn’t liked. Marcos Alonso ($12/$4800) is a nice savings on DK and should do very similar things on the left side from that wing-back position. Kurt Zouma ($11/$3200) has been very active on set pieces this season and is a nice punt on DK for a CB goal chance and is decently priced for an “away” underdog. Edouard Mendy ($9/$4600) is a nice price, Atletico are a good team though so it’s a tough matchup but I think this is where I end up in GPPs.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1 – Chelsea 2
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich-
Bayern are just beasts, we know this. They won this competition last year as well as every tournament they played in and their league. They just won the Club World Cup 2 weeks ago but since then they tied 3-3 to the 16th place team and then lost 2-1 to Frankfurt on the weekend. Not sure if it was just a little fatigue from the travel and games or what but it definitely is a little alarming. Lazio on the other hand have played well of late but did drop a 3-1 decision to Inter last week.
They are currently in 6th place in Serie A and have give up 30 goals in 23 matches, so defense isn’t necessarily their strong suit, but they did just shut out 10th place Sampdoria without even giving up a shot on goal. If you’ve read my articles before, you’d know I love Ciro Immobile ($19/$9200) but man, that’s a tough price to swallow, even if Bayern aren’t the iron clad group we are used to seeing. Luis Alberto ($15/$7000) is much easier to fit in your lineups and is a really good player. He scored on the weekend and he’s been taking some if not all set pieces in matches Joaquin Correa ($13/$6800) plays as the other forward most of the time Sergej Milinkovic-Savic ($14/$5700) is the last m/f I’d play from Lazio, he’s a name that has been thrown around many of the giant clubs in Europe as the next big thing for a few years now but hasn’t gotten the big move yet. He needs a little more consistency but he has the ability to take over a game from the midfield and orchestrate some beautiful balls. Defensively, Mateo Musacchio ($5/$2800) will be super popular on FD as he unlocks just about anyone you want. He’s joined Lazio from Inter and while he’s more of a center-back by trait he is in a system where he plays in a 3 at the back line which diminishes his clearances but heightens tackles and interceptions due to the spacing it creates. He’s a cash lock if he starts. Pepe Reina ($7/$4000) should see plenty of shots but whether he can still stop them is the real question. I’d side on the, “he can’t” side of that argument, but you never know in the Champions League.
Robert Lewandowski ($23/$10500) is the first guy into your lineups for Tuesday. Just like Messi, Haaland, Ronaldo, and Mbappe he’s the stud of the slate and will be crazily owned, if he goes off and you faded, there’s no way back. But what second piece or even third piece do we want from the German Giants? Leroy Sane ($21/$7600) is really expensive on FD holy cow! He has been very solid in his appearances this season and due to a few injuries he is in line for the start here. Sane was electric during his City days before the injury and I think he is finally all the way back. Kingsley Coman ($19/$9600) should be on the other side and is the flip-flop from Sane, cheaper on FD and way more expensive on DK. Joshua Kimmich ($16/$8400) is the lock of the day on FD in the midfield. He does it all for Bayern, takes all sets and has massive open play value as well. Don’t over think it in cash. Best pivot on Bayern would be my buddy Mikey’s favorite, Leon Goretzka ($14/$5600) who no one ever likes to own. This guy quietly puts up goals and assists (2 goals and an assist in 4 UCL appearances in group stage), and will be much lower owned than any of the other Bayern attackers. Jerome Boateng ($7) is so ridiculously cheap on FD he seems like a lock, but will he see enough action if Bayern control the ball like they should? Tough call honestly but I like his safety in this defense. Alphonso Davies ($14/$4400) is pretty cheap on DK and has had some good looking starts of late after a rough patch. Manuel Neuer ($13/$5600) is the cash keeper for sure, I have no issue fading in GPP as he won’t get a huge work load and if one sneaks in, his ceiling is shot.
Prediction: Lazio 1 – Bayern Munich 3
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/
-Ram (DFSKarma Soccer Lead)