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Given the limited number of matchdays, selecting the right starting squad is imperative for a good season performance. To help with this, we’ve done the number crunching in an attempt to project player performance for matchday 1.
The squad is selected by using projected player totals based on a player’s domestic form and historical performance in the UEFA Champions League. All players are given a projection and the best affordable squad is picked.
Fernando Muslera (€5.0m) Galatasaray vs Lokomotiv Moskva
Galatasaray start their campaign with a home fixture against a Lokomotiv Moskva team currently lying 10th in their domestic league and have failed to score in two of their four away trips this season. Galatasaray, on the other hand, sit top of the Turkish Süper Lig and have kept two clean sheets at home already.
Matúš Kozáčik (€4.5m) Plzeň vs CSKA Moskva
Having kept three clean sheets in their four home matches this season, Plzeň currently sit second in their domestic league. With the Czech side projected to keep a clean sheet against CSKA Moskva, Matúš Kozáčik represents a solid budget keeper should he be required on the Wednesday.
Sergio Ramos (€6.5m) Real Madrid vs Roma
Predicted to keep a clean sheet against Roma and one of the top scoring defenders in UEFA Champions League history, Sergio Ramos makes the projected best squad for matchday 1. With Ronaldo having departed, Ramos has been on the occasional free-kick this season, further boosting his already considerable goal threat.
Felipe (€5.0m) Schalke vs Porto
Facing a Schalke side who failed to score in their last home game, Felipe has clean sheet potential and is also a goal threat; he chipped in with a goal and an assist away from home in the group stage last year.
Sergi Roberto (€5.5m) Barcelona vs PSV
Barcelona conceded just one goal in last year’s UEFA Champions League group stage and are projected to start with a clean sheet at home to PSV. Sergi Roberto is the cheapest route into the Barcelona backline.
Mouctar Diakhaby (€4.0m) Valencia vs Juventus
Having started every league game for Valencia so far this season, Diakhaby represents a cheap option in the Valencia backline which allows money to be freed up for investment in other areas.
Yuto Nagatomo (€4.0m) Galatasaray vs Lokomotiv Moskva
Much like his goalkeeper, Nagatomo represents a budget option who is projected to keep a clean sheet in matchday 1 when his Galatasaray side host Lokomotiv Moskva. Priced at just €4.0, funds can be allocated elsewhere.
Sadio Mané (€9.0m) vs Liverpool vs Paris
Although not given as much hype as his illustrious team-mate Mohamed Salah (€11.0m), the Senegalese man is arguably the better value pick, coming in at €2.0m cheaper. Furthermore, while both scored ten goals in last season’s UEFA Champions League, Mané did it in fewer appearances than the Egyptian.
James Milner (€5.5m) Liverpool vs Paris
James Milner’s pedigree at this level was well established last season when he set the record for the number of assists in a single UEFA Champions League campaign with nine. On penalty duty and priced at an extremely reasonable €5.5m, Milner represents excellent value for money.
Raheem Sterling (€9.5m) Manchester City vs Lyon
The Manchester City winger scored three times at home in last season’s UEFA Champions League group stage. City have already scored 11 times at home this season in the Premier League, with Sterling accounting for two of those to take his tally to three for the campaign overall.
Philippe Coutinho (€8.5m) Barcelona vs PSV
If Coutinho can come close to matching what he did in last year’s UEFA Champions League group stage then he’ll soon become a must-have Fantasy asset. The Brazilian managed five goals and two assists in just five appearances for previous club Liverpool on his way to an impressive 4.67 points per appearance.
Piotr Zieliński (€6.5m) Crvena zvezda vs Napoli
Having already found the net twice for his club and once for his country this season, Piotr Zieliński will look to continue that form against Crvena zvezda, who are making their first ever appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Priced at just €5.5m, Zieliński is projected to be an excellent alternative pick for matchday 1.
Lionel Messi (€11.5m) Barcelona vs PSV
After reaching a century of goals in the UEFA Champions League last season, our attention is firmly with Lionel Messi. Barcelona welcome PSV to town in matchday 1; the Barcelona frontman scored the majority of his Fantasy points at home in the last campaign, with five goals and three assists coming at Camp Nou.
Vincent Aboubakar (€6.5m) Schalke vs Porto
Vincent Aboubakar scored five goals and registered two assists in last season’s competition, and at a price of just €6.5m, the Porto man is projected to be a bargain forward in matchday 1.
José Callejón (€8.5m) Crvena zvezda vs Napoli
Rounding out the front three is Napoli forward José Callejón. The Spaniard started all of Napoli’s UEFA Champions League matches last year and currently averages an impressive 5.4 key passes in every 90 minutes in domestic matches this season.