Champions League Knockout Rd. 1- 2/17/21
Champions League came back Tuesday and was not kind to me one bit! I broke even on DK but lost on FD, Leipzig were atrocious and Mbappe broke the slate with a hat-trick. Well, as my buddy Mike says, turn the page and that’s just what we will be doing, as here are two more games set for Wednesday in the UCL. Oh and bonus, there is a 2 game EPL slate as well! The UCL games both kick off at 3pm EST while the EPL is split start, the first at 1pm EST the other at 3:15pm EST! I’ll have some cores and notes for the EPL slate in discord so don’t forget to join that today! Anyways, let’s start by breaking down the current odds:
FC Porto vs. Juventus (+105)
Sevilla (+130) vs. Borussia Dortmund
For this slate we get a slight home favorite in Sevilla and a slight road favorite in Juventus where we get Ronaldo back home in Portugal. Both road teams won the first legs Tuesday, so just keep that in mind. Let’s jump into our Game by Game Breakdown for more info.
Porto vs. Juventus-
This one is tricky for me. I originally saw this and thought, Porto at home, vs. an okay but not elite Juve squad? Should be a 0-0 kind of game or maybe even eke out a 1-0 win. But the more I think about it, the more I go towards the “it’s the Champions League and stars shine brightest” kind of thinking, just like we saw Tuesday (Goal Scorers: Messi, Mbappe x3, Salah, Mane, Kean… okay maybe not the last one but you get my point). Juve have an exceptionally bright star and Porto have, well a bunch of guys who play tough and very solidly together.
Okay so here’s the pitch for Porto- They had 3 Clean Sheets in the group stage, including against a Man City squad that, yes already had clinched, but still fielded a very strong outfit. They are very methodical in how they play and have scored 43 goals in just 19 league matches this year while conceding only 21. Here’s what’s against them- Juventus are light years ahead of the Primeira Liga competition, they themselves have scored 41 goals in 21 matches and only conceded 19, against stiffer competition I may add. Also Porto’s form is lacking, they have 3 straight draws and have 4 red cards in the last 3 matches! Their most recent draw was to 17th place Boavista too. Moussa Marega ($18/$6000) is the main striker for this Porto side but Sergio Oliveira ($15/$5900) may be the safest play for them; he has nice open play value and is on PK duty. Mehdi Taremi ($9/$6500) is a great FD value if he starts up high again too. Joao Mario ($6/$3500) could be super value if he starts as a left winger. Defensively, Zaidu Sanusi ($10/$4700) is the best play; he has offensive ability and does plenty working back, only issue is he may be solely defensive to deal with Juve’s attack. Porto should try and get out of this 0-0 or even 1-1 and then sneak one out in Italy in a few weeks. Agustin Marchesin ($8/$4300) is the GPP play as he should see plenty of shots from Juventus, just matters if his defense makes them easier shots for him to handle or not.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($24/$10300) is a stud and should be similarly owned to Messi Tuesday. He does it all for this team and even when he doesn’t score he can put 5 shots on goal and rack up chances created. Alvaro Morata ($20/$7500) had a great group stage (6 goals and 1 assist in 6 matches) and is the benefactor from attention being spent on CR7. Federico Chiesa ($15/$8300) has the blow up game in him (31.2 DK points vs. Dinamo Kyiv) but is usually a side-kick, at best. Weston McKennie ($9/$5000) is interesting to me if he starts on the right wing like I see him projected. The young American could be a cheap secondary or tertiary piece of Juve. Defensively Danilo ($8/$4200) is pretty cheap for the upside he can provide, but he doesn’t cross or get forward as much as Alex Sandro ($14/$5300). Wojciech Szczesny ($14/$5300) is the most expensive keeper on the slate and probably has the best chance of a clean sheet and win as the other game is a little more evenly matched, at least on paper.
Prediction: Porto 0 – Juventus 2
Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund-
This one is going to come down to if Borussia Dortmund can score on the road. They have struggled in the past on the road (losing 3-1 at Lazio in the group stage as a recent display) and Sevilla have been iron clad of late, reeling off 9 straight wins and they have not conceded a goal in 7 straight matches.
Sevilla is a very well rounded club and they even added a bonafide stud midfielder at the deadline in Papu Gomez ($18/$8000) from Atalanta. Youseff En-Nesyri ($20/$8200) is the main striker for this squad and has the ability to score in bunches (2 vs. Rennes last UCL game). Ivan Rakitic ($15/$4900) is still kicking it and pulls a lot of the strings in the midfield for this squad; Joan Jordan ($15/$5500) is an exciting player for Sevilla but is more of a facilitator than a finisher. Suso ($12/$6700) is projected to start on the right wing and that is the weaker side of the Dortmund defense in my opinion. Defensively, Jesus Navas is a game time call and if he is in, he’s a great upside play but don’t expect him to go 90 with 5 subs available. Aleix Vidal ($6/$4300) is projected to start as the right full back and if he’s in, that’s good value as Sevilla does push forward a good amount and like I said, this is the side I like to attack of Dortmund. Bono/Yassine Bounou ($12/$5100) has been fantastic this year as Sevilla have only conceded 16 goals this season (2nd fewest in La Liga) in 22 games. Dortmund are a very good offensive team but I still like Bono’s upside here, especially at home in Spain.
The Champions League starlet is back for this battle as Erling Haaland ($21/$8900) leads his squad into Spain. Haaland is a wonder kid (still) at scoring goals and just doesn’t know any other way to play the game. Jadon Sancho ($19/$9000) is another high profile player but one I rarely like to play. His floor hasn’t been there this season but he still has elite upside, especially with Haaland lurking in the middle. I prefer Gio Reyna ($13/$5600) as a secondary piece to the Dortmund attack and also like Marco Reus ($17/$7000) a bit too for a GPP kind of line. Raphael Guerreiro ($12/$5600) is a midfielder on FD but defender on DK, and I much prefer him on DK in that role, there are other forward/midfielders I like over him and not a ton of great defenders to play on this slate. Manuel Akanji ($11) is a nice value for a CB on an away underdog that will see plenty of action. Marwin Hitz ($9/$4500) is not a great keeper and I think the loss of Roman Burki will be felt in this one.
Prediction: Sevilla 2 – Borussia Dortmund 0
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)