The fantasy Champions League returns for the 2023/24 season. We have a lot of talk about regarding the first matchday of UCL Fantasy.
Let’s dive into our UCL Fantasy Matchday 1 Tips with players to pick, odds, captain and team selection.
Feel free to JOIN our UCL fantasy mini-league for the 2023/24 season using our league code 50U1FM5M03.
1. Fantasy Champions League Tips for success
As in the previous season, I decided to put together a few tips for UCL Fantasy success, so we will start with them. Tips are basic, but I hope very helpful.
They were a vital part of my strategy that got me 4 excellent finishes in the four seasons between 2018/19 and 2021/22 (23rd, 216th and 494th, 86th). They helped me to rank 5th in the UCL Fantasy Hall of Fame of Top Managers in 2021.
Anyway, you can read my UCL Fantasy tips for success here.
2. Budget picks for UCL Fantasy Matchday 1
All fantasy games are about optimization. And when you are optimizing your UCL fantasy team, you need to include some cheap budget players in your squad. Here are some budget enablers that you could consider bringin in your fantasy team in MD1.
- Samuel Soares (4m, Benfica) – there is a chance that he could be new Benfica number one goalkeeper, however after Benfica bought Trubin we are not so sure anymore, as Trubin started last Benfica’s game
- Sommer (4.5m, Inter) – amazing price for a goalkeeper from a team, that got the most clean sheets in the previous Champions League season
- Kepa (5m, Real Madrid) – can he be as good in saves as Courtois?
- Acerbi, Darmian (4,5m, Inter) – budget routes into Inter defense, but could be rotated in a few matches
- David Raum (4,5m, Leipzig) – attacking full-back with a good MD1 fixture
- Fran Garcia (4.5m, Real Madrid) – started 5/5 matches for Real Madrid this season on Nacho’s position
Further reading: Best defenders for UCL Fantasy MD1
- Seiwald (Leipzig, 4,5m) – will get minutes off the bench for Leipzig, perhaps a few starts. We will know whether he starts before the deadline on Matchday 1
- Joao Neves (4.5m, Benfica) – started 3/4 of matches for Benfica this season. Defensive mid, so expect points for balls recovered but not attacking returns. Likely more nailed pick than Florentino
- Lobotka (5.5m, Napoli) – good at balls recovered
- Akturkoglu (6m, Galatasaray) – could be a differential and a one week punt for the MD1 fixture against Kobenhavn
- Casemiro (6,0m, Manchester United) – great at balls recovered, occasional goal threat
- Kimmich (6,5m, Bayern) – cheap route into Bayern players, a reliable pick, solid at balls recovered, occasional goal threat
- Marcus Thuram (6,5m, Inter) – underpriced
- Rodri (6,5m, Manchester City) – playing a bit more advanced this season when Kovačič is on the pitch, good form in Premier League, balls recovered magnet
- Xavi Simons (6.5m, Leipzig) – on fire this season for Leipzig, 2G + 3A
Further reading: Best Midfielders for UCL Fantasy MD1
- Alvarez (7,0m, Manchester City) – good form, good team, good MD1 fixture
- Openda (7.5m, Leipzig) – 3G + 1A this season for Leipzig, was superb for Lennes in the previous season with 21G + 4A in Ligue 1
Further reading: Best Forwards for UCL Fantasy MD1
3. Best players to pick from each team
Find out, who are the best players to pick from each team in UCL Fantasy this season, in our article: Best players from each team to pick in UCL Fantasy.
- Best Bayern Munich players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Manchester United players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Galatasaray players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Copenhagen players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Arsenal players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Sevilla players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best PSV Eindhoven players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Lens players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Real Madrid players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Napoli players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Braga players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Union Berlin players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Inter Milan players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Benfica players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Real Sociedad players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Salzburg players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Atletico Madrid players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Lazio players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Feyenoord players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Celtic players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best PSG players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best AC Milan players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Dortmund players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Newcastle players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Manchester City players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best RB Leipzig players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best YB Bern players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Crvena Zvezda Beograd players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Barcelona players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best FC Porto players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Sachtar Doneck players to pick in UCL Fantasy
- Best Antwerp players to pick in UCL Fantasy
4. Fixtures to target in Fantasy Champions League MD1
Let’s use our Odds to probability calculator to find out which fixtures we should target in MD1 according to bookies odds.
- Manchester City vs. Crvena Zvezda: Citizens 91 % to win, 72 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Barcelona vs. Antwerp: Blaugranas 80 % to win, 55 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Feyenoord vs Celtic: Feyenoord 60 % to win, 33% to score 2.5+ goals
- PSG vs. Dortmund: PSG 59 % to win, 34 % to score 2.5+ goals
- YB Bern vs. Leipzig: Leipzig 57 % to win, 33 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Real Madrid vs. Union Berlin: Galacticos 71 % to win, 37 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Arsenal vs. PSV Eindhoven: The Gunners 68 % to win, 40 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Benfica vs. Salzburg: Benfica 67 % to win, 38 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United: Bayern 60 % to win, 37 % to score 2.5+ goals
- Galatasaray vs. Kobenhanv: Galatasaray 59 % to win, 31 % to score 2.5+ goals
5. UCL Fantasy Matchday 1 captain
Picking the right captain is an important part of fantasy Champions League success. Because we have matchday divided into two days, the best captain strategy is to select two players with a very high expected output, each one playing on a different day.
When your Tuesday captain scores, great, you leave the armband on him. If he blanks, you move it to the one who is yet to play on Wednesday.
We always select a reliable player that has easy fixture as our captain.
Standout captaincy fixtures for Tuesday:
- Manchester City vs. Crvena Zvezda
- Barcelona vs. Antwerp
- PSG vs. Dortmund
Erling Haaland is our number-one captain pick for Tuesday. He has the form, fixture, and potential to get MOTM. Other captaincy options for Tuesday: Alvarez, Foden, Lewandowski, Mbappé
Standout Captaincy fixtures for Wednesday:
- Real Madrid vs. Union Berlin
- Arsenal vs. PSV Eindhoven
- Bayern vs. Manchester United
Bellingham is our backup captain for Wednesday if our Tuesday captain blanks. Other captaincy options for Wednesday: Kane, Saka, Sané
Changing the captain
As you know, in the UEFA Fantasy Champions League. we can change our captain to a player who is yet to play. So, if your captain blanks on Tuesday, you can switch the captaincy to a player who is yet to play on Wednesday.
But what is the satisfying amount of points after which you will not change your captain?
We prepared our system of captaincy thresholds, you can find it here: UCL Fantasy Captaincy Thresholds: When to change captain?
6. Best UCL fantasy picks for recovering balls
Awarding a point for every three balls recovered is a new feature that UCL Fantasy added to the game before the start of the 2019/20 season. And it completely changed our view on center-backs and defensive midfielders – players who are recovering balls most often.
There are few players in the game, who are constantly recovering more than 6 balls per game. That is extra two points. And these players cost only around 4.5-6.5 million.
Extra two points per game, that is 12 extra points per all six games in the group stage. 12 points are equivalent to a midfielder scoring 2 goals + 2 points. And which midfielder for 4.5 – 5.5 million will score with absolute certainty two goals in the group stage?
That cannot be easily predicted. Maybe none.
Predicting which players will be recovering balls very often is a much easier task when we have two seasons of data available.
You just pick some of these players, play them every week, and do not worry about them. At the end of the matchday, they will likely score 4-5 points (appearance points, potential clean sheet points + balls recovered points) for you without an attacking return.
In the separate article, we calculated which players are recovering balls most often per 90 minutes. These are players that have the highest potential of scoring 2+ extra points in every match.
You can find these balls-recovering heroes here.
7. The most MOTM awards
There was a new scoring feature introduced two seasons ago in Champions League Fantasy. As you know, the player that gets awarded the MOTM (man of the match) will score 3 fantasy points.
The question is, which players have the highest potential of getting these awards?
This feature boosts the points potential of talismans – the key players of teams, like Mbappe, De Bruyne, or Calhanoglu.
We looked at which players got the MOTM award most often in the last three seasons. You can check it here in a separate article.
8. Bookies odds
As usual, we looked at what bookies think about the Matchday 1 of UCL Fantasy.
We checked the clean sheet odds to determine which teams are most likely to keep a clean sheet in the MD1 and goalscoring odds to determine which players are most likely to score a goal in MD1.
Clean sheet odds for MD1
Bookies favor Manchester City, Barcelona, and Real Madrid to do well defensively in MD1. You can find the full Champions League clean sheet odds table here.
Goalscoring odds for MD1
As usual, Haaland leads the anytime goalscorer odds, 2+ goals odds and hattrick odds for Matchday 1. Find out who follows him our tables: Champions League Goalscoring Odds.
9. Chip strategy
Wildcard: We think the best time to use Wildcard is before MD3. That way you will prepare your squad for mirroring MD3 – MD4 fixtures where many big teams have easy matches. Another option is to use in MD2 and load up on teams like Bayern and Manchester United who have good fixture in MD2 – MD5 run, and then use limitless in Matchday 6.
Limitless Wildcard: We aim to use a limitless wildcard in MD2 or MD5, MD6.
10. UCL Fantasy Matchday 1: Team Selection
Now, it is time to show our scout picks, our squad for matchday 1. Just as we mentioned in the captaincy section, we have two armband contenders in our squad, one for Tuesday, and the other for Wednesday.
The same applies to our bench. All bench players play on Wednesday, so we will substitute them in for players who will have blanked on Tuesday.
The first Matchday of the new Fantasy Champions League campaign starts in just a few days. Make an informed decision about your UCL Fantasy team and prepare it for success.
11. Fantasy Champions League Tips
Find more tips, strategies, and picks for UCL Fantasy in these articles: