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Champions League Fantasy Football: Potential differentials

Edouard Mendy, Andy Robertson, Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Müller and Karim Adeyemi head the list of players currently being overlooked by Fantasy managers.

Ahead of Matchday 1, UEFA.com casts an eye over some players who have been overlooked by the majority of managers so far on #UCLfantasy, presented by Playstation.

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Champions League Fantasy Football: Who will you pick?

GOALKEEPERS

Edouard Mendy (€6.0m) has kept just one clean sheet for Chelsea in the Premier League so far this season, which may be a factor in why he has not courted as much #UCLfantasy attention as in previous years. However, his track record in the UEFA Champions League cannot be denied. After a starring role in Chelsea's European triumph of 2020/21, Mendy picked up five clean sheets last season, and it would be no surprise to see the 5%-owned Senegalese international continue his fine UEFA Champions League record.

Portuguese side Benfica being drawn in a tough Group H alongside the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus is likely to be a big reason why only a small percentage of #UCLfantasy managers have currently invested in Odysseas Vlachodimos (€5.0m), despite his 46-point score last season. Only Thibaut Courtois gained more points than Vlachodimos among goalkeepers with the 28-year-old accumulating five clean sheets, 38 saves and a penalty save. Those 38 saves are worth noting in particular, as he is likely to be extremely busy during the group stage, which could help him pick up points.

One team who have the potential to gain a high volume of clean sheets in the group stage are Tottenham. Under manager Antonio Conte, the Premier League side look extremely well-drilled defensively and with that in mind, Spurs captain Hugo Lloris (€5.5m) could prove the ideal goalkeeper for those #UCLfantasy managers looking for a differential starter in this position.

Other differential choices: Antonio Adán (3%), Wojciech Szczęsny (2%), Kevin Trapp (2%)

Fantasy Football: All you need to know

DEFENDERS

Whilst most of the #UCLfantasy attention among Paris defenders has been focused on Achraf Hakimi, team-mate Nuno Mendes (€5.0m) could well wind up a shrewd pick. As is the case with Hakimi on the opposite flank, the left-sided Mendes is a frequent attacking threat which gives him the opportunity to return Fantasy points at both ends of the pitch.

Another player from Ligue 1 who plies his trade at left wing-back is Marseille's Nuno Tavares (€4.0m), his offensive exploits combined with a low-ownership of just 3% making him a real differential diamond. The Arsenal loanee has already scored on three separate occasions this season in Ligue 1 and at €4.0m could not be priced any better from a #UCLfantasy standpoint.

As is the case with Nuno Mendes at Paris, Andy Robertson (€6.0m) of Liverpool doesn't command a high ownership in part due to the Fantasy appeal of his team-mate on the opposite flank, Trent Alexander-Arnold currently boasting an ownership percentage almost 30% higher than the Scot. However, Robertson will be expected to attack whenever possible and is more than capable of accumulating some big points hauls of his own, although Robertson does command a higher price tag compared to that of other potential differential defenders.

Other differential choices: Theo Hernández (7%), Marc Cucurella (3%), Raphaël Guerreiro (2%)

Champions League season review 2021/22

MIDFIELDERS

Riyad Mahrez (€10.0m) commands an ownership of just 2% at the time of writing, surprising when factoring in his exploits in last season's UEFA Champions League. The Manchester City wide man racked up 71 #UCLfantasy points, the third highest score of all midfielders set to appear in the group stage, and the fifth highest in all positions. Whilst owning Mahrez is risky due to the competition for places among the Manchester City line-up, the Algeria captain played 986 minutes in Europe last year and Pep Guardiola does seem to favour him in this competition.

When a number of attacking players having departed Ajax this summer, the onus will be on the likes of Steven Bergwijn (€7.0m) to compensate for their absence. Since joining the Dutch champions from Tottenham this summer, Bergwijn has so far scored five in all competitions, including an Eredivisie hat-trick. Ajax are a naturally attacking side and that makes Bergwijn a potentially shrewd differential selection given his ownership of just 2%

Few players performed better in Europe last season from a #UCLfantasy perspective than Pedro Gonçalves (€7.5m). Injury restricted the Sporting CP man to just 329 minutes of UEFA Champions League football in 2021/22, but Gonçalves made the most of it, recording four goals, two assists and two Player of the Match awards which helped him gain 45 #UCLfantasy points. Should the 24-year-old feature across the entire group stage this time around, then his current ownership of 2% could rise very quickly.

Other differential choices: Dejan Kulusevski (6%), Serge Gnabry (1%), Kyogo Furuhashi (1%)

Champions League top ten goals of the 2021/22 season

FORWARDS

German champions Bayern have started the new season at breakneck speed and have already piled up 16 Bundesliga goals at the time of writing. One of many Bayern players in the goals has been Thomas Müller (€10.0m), who has started every match so far for Julian Nagelsmann's side. The ever-dependable forward is likely to play a key role once again in UEFA Champions League, but his low ownership suggests that he has gone under the radar and that greatly enhances his differential appeal.

Karim Adeyemi (€8.0m) lit up the group stage last season for Salzburg, leading to a move back to Germany with Dortmund. The young German international's pace was a hugely valuable asset, helping him win four penalties over the course of the group stage. Adeyemi ended his UEFA Champions League campaign with 42 Fantasy points and his limited ownership will be hoping for him to better that for Dortmund in 2022/23.

One forward with a point to prove in this season's competition is Romelu Lukaku (€9.0m). Back at Inter where he enjoyed so much success previously, the Belgian's ownership currently stands at a mere 2% – surprisingly low considering his 48 goals in his 75 Serie A appearances at the time of writing.

Other differential choices: Dušan Vlahović (5%), Brian Brobbey (4%), Harry Kane (3%)