UEFA.com highlights the top managers on Fantasy and considers the tips that might prove useful for everyone else in the knockout stages.
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The top ten worldwide managers this season come under the spotlight as UEFA.com identifies some key trends among those who have excelled in the group stage on #UCLfantasy, presented by Playstation.
All ten managers have already used both their Wildcard and Limitless chips, supporting the popular theory that these are best used in the group stage when there are ample opportunities to take advantage of favourable fixtures.
Five of the top ten managers chose to strike early with their Wildcard by deploying it on Matchday 2. Those that opted for this strategy yielded an average of 88 points on Matchday 2 – higher than the average of those who held on to their chips at this stage.
On Matchdays 3 and 4 the same teams faced each other home and away, so a common strategy among the entire #UCLfantasy playerbase was to use the Wildcard on Matchday 3 to try and maximise returns. Three of the top ten #UCLfantasy managers went down this route, averaging 105 points in the process. Once more, this exceeded the average of those who went chipless on Matchday 3.
The 108 points gained on Matchday 3 by Sotiris Georgiou – joint-third in the rankings – was the highest matchday score obtained from a Wildcard in the top ten.
Matchday 5 was the favoured option with four of the top ten deciding to use it here, to great success. The Limitless users raked in an average of 91 points, as opposed to the 77 points averaged by the non-chip users.
The three managers who waited until Matchday 6 to use their Limitless were less successful though, as those who didn't use any chips averaged seven points more. This goes to show that even those at the very top don't always make the right call!
It was in fact those that went against the grain who were the biggest winners, with the standout score being that of Jamil Omais who amassed 123 #UCLfantasy points through use of the Limitless chip on Matchday 3.
There was an overwhelming tendency for the top managers to captain forwards throughout the group stage. Across the six matchdays, there were only seven occasions where the final captain was not a #UCLfantasy striker, with the other 53 armbands all going to players who lead the line for their respective teams. Five of the top ten managers exclusively captained forwards during the group stage, including world number one Louis Bouteloup.
Budget goalkeepers proved popular for the elite managers with very few premium-priced shot-stoppers making an appearance. The likes of Gregor Kobel and Yassine Bounou were frequently selected due to their budget-friendly price-tags but with Dortmund and Sevilla having been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, some of these managers will be on the lookout for replacements ahead of Matchday 7.
Spending big on the forward line was a common ploy, with very few budget strikers making the grade for the elite managers. Karim Adeyemi was something of an exception to this rule, with four of the top ten owning the Salzburg striker at some point during the group stage. It was no surprise to see Bayern's Robert Lewandowski featuring in all ten teams, and the same can be said of the impressive Sébastien Haller.
While there are a few first-time players in the top ten, there are also those who have achieved high ranks in the past and have a proven history of succeeding in #UCLfantasy.
The aforementioned leader Louis Bouteloup has been steadily improving with an 11,471 finish in 2019/20 followed by a placing of 3,507 last season. World number three Toni Dizdar is heading for a third consecutive high finish after placing in the top 1000 in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, while eighth-placed archiemoyes27 came 211th last season and is poised to finish even higher this time around.
Lessons can be learned by playing year on year and these managers are improving with each attempt. With the knockout stages ahead of us, they're in a great position to claim #UCLfantasy glory!