The group stage matches of the UEFA Champions League 2020-21 campaign has come to an end and now this is the time for the competition to move towards the business end of the season. The draw for Round of 16 has already been held, and the opponents of each and every time who has progressed through to the next round has also been revealed to everyone. After completion of the group stage matches, the tournament will come back with more excitement and fun in mid-February, after two months of break.
However, during this idle time, the UCL Fantasy managers must be concerned with how to make their squads stronger for the knockout rounds and how to gain maximum points. Some of the fantasy managers have gained a healthy amount of points during group stage matches and are worried about maintaining their high point tally while some others might have suffered some heavy losses during a few group stage matches and are trying to form a strategy to make up for their losses in knock out stages. There is no need for you to worry because we have got your issues covered in our UCL Fantasy Guide articles. Follow this UCL Fantasy Knockout stage Guide as well as the upcoming ones in order to stay updated and gain the best tips for your UCL fantasy squad.
UCL Fantasy Knockout stage Guide: 5 things to remember
1. Know the detailed transfer rules
With the group stage coming to an end, there will be some changes in the transfer rules for the knockout stage, quite different from the usual rules of the group stage. While you were given a budget of 100 million during the group stage to build your squad, you’ll get a budget of 105 million fro the Round of 16 and onwards.
In addition to that, there will be a change in the maximum number of transfers allowed between the knockout stage matchdays. Before the beginning of the Round of 16, you will have a wildcard just like you had before matchday 1 of Group stage. This gives you a chance to take a very good look at the available players who made it to the knockouts and build your squad from the scratch. This time you will have the luxury to evaluate their group stage performances and can compare players based on their points earned during group stage matches.
However, after the Round of 16 first leg, you will again have limited available free transfers for your squad and the limit will vary from one matchday to another. For every transfer you make exceeding your limit of free transfers, you will have 4 points deducted from your total points tally.
Here are the free transfer limits before every matchday during knockout stage :
|Phase||Number of Free Transfers|
|Before Round of 16 1st Leg||Unlimited|
|Before Round of 16 2nd Leg||3|
|Before Quarter-final 1st Leg||5|
|Before Quarter-final 2nd Leg||3|
|Before Semi-final 1st Leg||5|
|Before Semi-final 2nd Leg||3|
2. Keep an eye on the Injury list
Selecting the nailed-on starters is always going to increase your chances of success in the UCL Fantasy knockout stages. Also one of the main key factors for your success will be to avoid any last-minute injuries of your players. So remember to keep an eye on our UCL Fantasy Injury list to make sure which players make the final cut for the individual teams and on whom you should remain cautious about or avoid totally.
3. . Watch the opponents of Every Matchday
A very important factor that determines how many points your team can collect is the opponents against which the players are playing. Remember once you build your team with unlimited transfers, you can only make limited transfers in between two legs or two rounds. So take a good look at the opponents your players will be facing in the round of 16 initially. In addition to that, although it is very difficult to predict the outcome of UCL knockout stages, try to make some calculative predictions of which teams have more odds in their favour to proceed in the next round and try to have more players in your squad from those teams. As there will be half number of teams eliminated from each round if most of the players from your squad are eliminated and you won’t be able to replace all of them in the next round with limited transfers in your hand. This is very important for your fantasy squad for a long term benefit.
For example, let’s say from your 15 men squad in the round of 16 there are 9 or 10 players who belong to the teams that got eliminated in the round of 16. Now, before quarter-final 1st leg you will have only 5 free transfers and you can only replace 5 of the eliminated players which will leave another 4 or 5 eliminated players in your fantasy squad. Now those players won’t give you any point for next matchday at all as they are already eliminated from the competition and you’ll be at a disadvantage.
4. Monitor Player Ownership, Prices and points earned regularly
The ‘Selected by %‘ in each player’s profile is a useful statistic to monitor as it allows the managers to see how popular their player picks are. For those who need to gain some points in their mini-leagues and climb up the rankings, there are plenty of tempting options with low ownership amongst the remaining teams. If your differential produces the results, you are bound to fly up in the rankings. However, remember certain players are highly-owned for a reason, and going without them represents a significant risk, so balance is key. Try to maintain a proper balance between differentials and highly owned players in your squad. Along with the ownership info, also don’t forget to check the points earned by your selected players on every matchday and also total points earned so far in this season. This will give you a brief idea about the recent form and consistency of your selected players.
5. Change your Captain and make substitutions efficiently
Choosing the right captain can make or break your matchday since the point of your captain is multiplied by two and added to your total points. With the knock out stage scheduled, it is worth looking at who the top candidates are from each of the fixtures and building your squad around those players as well as picking a captain. However, you can change the captain between two matchdays of one round, but only the player selected as captain at the end of the game week will be awarded a double point. Also, choose your substitutions carefully and have players in your squad in a well-distributed way so that you have players who will play on a different day of a particular round. This gives you a very good opportunity to make substitutions of your squad players if any player has not performed well enough on their respective match and if you have substitute players available to replace them. This might help you to gain more points eventually and increase your points tally. Since the selection is more thus so is the hassle of getting the correct choice. Don’t worry we have your issues covered in our UCL Fantasy article.
Premium Options for your Initial Squad for the Knockout Stage
Since you have unlimited transfers available and you can build your squad from the scratch, you should have a look at all the best choices available in each category for your fantasy squad. Here is the list of some must-have choices for your fantasy squad based on their group-stage performances, who are most likely to give you healthy points in the knock out stage.
1. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – 5.2 million
The London club will be facing Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 and their goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is one of the most important players for Frank Lampard’s team. The Senegal goalkeeper has seen an impressive start in his Chelsea career after joining the club last summer, although recently he has faced some criticism due to his poor performance in recent Premier League matches still he is the first choice of Frank Lampard under the bar. Mendy started in the first five matches for Chelsea during the group stage and was rested on matchday 6. Despite missing one match in the group stage, Mendy has earned the most number of points among all the goalkeepers in the group stage. He has a tally of a total of 29 points from 5 matches in the UCL group stage where he has kept 4 clean sheets among the 5 matches he played. In addition to that, he has saved 15 shots and conceded only 1 goal from matches which is nothing less than magical. Given his records, Edouard Mendy automatically appears as the first choice for any UCL fantasy squad in the knockout stages.
2. Ederson (Manchester City) – 6 million
The Manchester City goalkeeper has also been very impressive during group stage matches with 26 points beside his name. Like Mendy, Ederson was also rested on matchday 6 as Manchester City had already qualified for knockout stage before their last group match against Porto. Ederson has also managed to keep 4 clean sheets in the 5 matches he played and conceded only 1 goal during the group stage. Also, Manchester City will be facing a weaker opponent Borussia Mönchengladbach compared to other clubs which indicates that Ederson has a higher possibility of keeping a clean sheet.
3. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) – 6 million
Manuel Neuer, the Bayern Munich captain is the third peak in the list of Goalkeepers and undoubtedly he is the most favourite among the fantasy managers who want to play it safe. The German veteran goalkeeper was recently awarded with FIFA Best Goalkeeper 2020 after his brilliant performance in Champions League and Bundesliga last season, and he has been carrying that form in this season as well.
In 5 matches he played in the group stage, Neuer collected total 24 points. Although he managed to keep only 2 clean sheets at the same time he has made 27 saves which is more than any other goalkeeper in the group stage. As Bayern Munich is scheduled to face Italian club Lazio in the knockouts, Manuel Neuer is always a player to be trusted in big matches. If you want to play it safe, Manuel Neuer is your choice for the Goalkeeper position.
1. Cristian Romero (Atalanta) – 5.1 million
The Atalanta defender Cristian Romero has earned a whopping 50 points tally in 5 matches from Group stage, being highest points earning defender among all. Atalanta will be facing Real Madrid in their next match of Round of 16, with Romero being their starting defender. The Argentine has some serious statistics to look into from the group stage which includes 3 clean sheets, 1 assist, 1 goal scored and he also made 72 ball recoveries which means an average of more than 14 ball recoveries per match. Romero has earned 22 points just from ball recovery which is simply a mind-blowing statistic. Nonetheless, he made those statistics while playing against opponents like Ajax and last year Premier League champions Liverpool in the group stage. Cristian Romero is surely one of the first picks for your UCL fantasy squad in the defender category.
2. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) – 6.6 million
Again another Bayern Munich player who comes on the list is Joshua Kimmich who was also recently selected for FIFA Best Team of 2020. Kimmich was an important player of Bayern’s treble-winning campaign last season and he was in the same impressive form this season as well before he suffered an injury during the middle of this season’s campaign. Kimmich had 28 points from the first three matches in Group Stage and missed the last three matches due to injury. He also had 4 goal involvements (3 assists + 1 goal) in those three matches which is pretty impressive. According to reports, the German is supposed to return from his injury in January and he will be fully fit before Bayern’s Round of 16 Champions League fixture in February.
3. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) – 6.5 million
Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson is in red hot form this season and as usual, he is one of the most favourites of the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to start in their round of 16 matches. The Scottish full-back has started in 4 out of 6 group stage matches and came in as a substitute in the rest 2 matches as Jurgen Klopp was cautious about injuries of his first-team players. Robertson has 35 points from group stage matches with 4 clean sheets (all the 4 matches he started) and 31 ball recoveries. Also, as Klopp relies mostly on his fullbacks to create attacks, Robertson has often been involved in goals or assists in Liverpool’s Premier League matches. Although he has not any goal involvement in Champions League this season so far, you can very well witness it in the knockout stages. Being a balanced full-back in both offence and defence, Robertson is a player you should keep in your fantasy squad.
1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 11.6 million
Mohamed Salah is the highest point earning midfielder in UCL group stage this season so far despite not starting all the matches for his team. The Liverpool talisman has made a total of 34 points from the group stage with 1 assist, 3 goals and 1 penalty earned. Salah being on penalty duties for Liverpool, you get the additional points of goals and assists due to him being categorized as a midfielder. Salah has been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League as well as the Champions League for the last three seasons and this season is no different, which makes him worth the price to keep in your squad.
2. Ferran Torres (Manchester City) – 7.7 million
Spanish winger Ferran Torres has been a dark horse in the UEFA Champions League group stage who has earned significantly more points than many other well-known midfielders in his first season for Manchester City. While starting in 5 of the 6 group matches for Pep Guardiola’s side, the young player has struck 4 times in the back of the net and has earned a total of 34 points. Ferran Torres was earlier signed as a backup option for Guardiola, but the injury problem of regular squad members earned him a starting position and he utilized his chance in the best possible way. Nonetheless, he also earns points for clean sheets as being categorized as a midfielder. For such a low price, Ferran Torres is a bargain to have in your squad.
3. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) – 10 million
Thomas Muller is another option to have in the midfield for your fantasy squad if you want to play it safe. After having one of the best seasons of his career last year under Hansi Flick, the German has been consistent this season as well in all competitions. With 3 assists and 1 goal by his name from six matches in the group stage, Muller has also earned 1 penalty which takes his total point tally to 27 points. As being a regular starter, and earning points on a regular basis Muller is definitely one to be considered for your fantasy squad.
1. Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – 11.1 million
6 goals from 4 consecutive matches in the group stage for the Dortmund forward took his overall UEFA Champions League goal tally to 16 in 12 matches since his debut in the competition for Salzburg last season, the most any player has managed in their first twelve UEFA Champions League appearances. Despite such an incredible record, Haaland will doubtless be hungry to step up a gear on the knockouts as Dortmund will face Sevilla in Round of 16. Haaland has a total of 32 points despite the fact that he didn’t feature in the last two group matches while missing the last match due to injury. However he will be back to kick more goals for Dortmund in February when the tournament resumes.
2. Alvaro Morata (Juventus) – 9 million
Alvaro Morata has reincarnated himself under manager Andrea Pirlo after joining Juventus this season from Atletico Madrid. The Spanish striker earned three 10 points haul in UCL fantasy in Juventus’s group stage matches against Ferencvaros (away fixture) and Dynamo Kyiv (home and away fixture). Morata had six goals in the group stage resulting in a total of 24 points and had 38 points in total. His first 10 points haul was against Dynamo Kyiv in the first group match of Juventus where he also scored a brace. Morata has been scoring and assisting on a regular basis for The Old Lady in Serie A and Champions League. If you did not include Morata in your fantasy squad from the beginning of the group stage, this might be the right time to add the Spanish forward to your squad.
3. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 10.6 million
Italian striker Ciro Immobile has been impressive with the goals in the group stage and struck the ball 5 times on the back of the net. The Lazio talisman is a clinical finisher in the box and given he is the team’s penalty taker, it gives him more opportunities to score goals. Despite playing only 4 matches out of 6 in the group stage, Immobile has earned 37 points in total which makes him second highest points earning forward in the competition so far. He has 5 goals, 1 assist and 2 penalties earned by his name which gives him such an impressive point tally. Lazio will be facing Bayern Munich, who is one of the toughest opponents in the tournament. But when it comes to the goal, Immobile can always be trusted to provide healthy points for your fantasy squad.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – 12 million
Mr Champions League, also known as Cristiano Ronaldo marked his first appearance in this season’s competition with an assist against Ferencváros on Matchday 3 and has been consistent with goals and assists in the tournament ever since. In addition to that, he scored two goals in the last match of the group stage against FC Barcelona, earning a total of 12 points. Despite missing the first two matches, Ronaldo’s pedigree on the European stage needs little introduction. Nonetheless, he earned 30 points from 4 matches in the group stage while having 1 assist and 4 goals. The Portuguese striker recently was selected for Ballon d’Or Dream Team and FIFA team of the year 2020, while losing the FIFA Best Player 2020 award to Robert Lewandowski, which will definitely increase his hunger for success in the knockouts. Ronaldo is about to face Porto in Round of 16 this season and it will take some serious guts to leave him out from your fantasy squad.
Which players of this UCL Fantasy Knockout stage Guide are you thinking of featuring in your Starting lineup? Did you choose any from our UCL Fantasy Cheap Beast Guide? How much did the UCL Fantasy Knockout stage Guide help you? Let us know in the comments section below.