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Fantasy Football Matchday 5 lessons: Defenders

Defenders who have high ball recovery statistics and also offer an attacking threat once again proved invaluable.

Leverkusen's Sven Bender (left) celebrates scoring against Lokomotiv Moskva on Matchday 5
Leverkusen's Sven Bender (left) celebrates scoring against Lokomotiv Moskva on Matchday 5 ©AFP/Getty Images

Matchday 5 provided another strong reminder to #UCLfantasy managers that it is imperative to load your squad with defenders who have either high ball recovery stats or offer significant threat going forward.


With just six clean sheets recorded on Matchday 5, gaining consistent points through shutouts has proven a difficult task. Both Liverpool's Dejan Lovren (€4.8m) and Tottenham's Serge Aurier (€5.0m) failed to keep a clean sheet yet only Leverkusen's Sven Bender (€5.0m) scored more #UCLfantasy points than the pair. This was down to both registering attacking returns while Lovren secured four additional points due to 12 ball recoveries – the joint most of any player this matchday.

Player rotation will surely be a factor on Matchday 6, particularly for teams that have already secured their qualification to the knockout stages. The early warning signs were there for #UCLfantasy managers on Matchday 5 with Joshua Kimmich (€6.5m) among the big names to be rested by Bayern.

Eight teams have already qualified for the round of 16 and seven of those – Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern, Tottenham, Manchester City, Juventus, and Barcelona – will stay in their current position regardless of Matchday 6 results. Therefore, a number of high-scoring assets from these squads could be at risk of being rested in the final group match. As such, managers will need to consider their squads carefully ahead of Matchday 6.