UEFA.com examines the Fantasy captaincy credentials of Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham and Victor Osimhen for the first round of UEFA Champions League group games.
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Every manager wants to get their new season on #UCLfantasy, presented by Playstation, off to a flying start with a successful captaincy choice, so here are four options to consider for Matchday 1.
TUESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER
Robert Lewandowski (€10.5m) vs Antwerp (H)
Antwerp's first foray in the Champions League group stage takes them to five-time winners Barcelona, and for those who think it could be a tough night for the Belgian title holders, Lewandowski represents a tempting captaincy choice. Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more career goals in the competition than the Pole, who scored a Matchday 1 hat-trick last season, while he has already stuck four goals for club and country in 2023/24.
Erling Haaland (€11.5m) vs Crvena zvezda (H)
One of the most heavily-owned assets heading into Matchday 1 will naturally be one of the most popular captains on the opening gameday. Haaland finished last season as the Champions League's top scorer with 12 goals – the only player to reach double figures – and hit a stunning 52 in all competitions in his first season at Manchester City. Having already found the net six times in the Premier League this season, it looks like being another goal-laden campaign for the Norwegian, whose club kick off against a Crvena zvezda side who have lost all six away games in the group stage, conceding 22 goals.
WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER
Jude Bellingham (€7.5m) vs Union Berlin (H)
Should a captaincy change be required following Tuesday's fixtures, then a player who has started the season at breakneck pace will come into the reckoning. Bellingham has scored in each of his first four games for Real Madrid since his summer move, five goals in total. The Englishman is no stranger to the Champions League either, having starred for Dortmund over the past three seasons. In 2022/23 he scored in his first four group appearances, so he will be one to watch when Madrid entertain debutants Union Berlin in one of Wednesday's early kick-offs.
Victor Osimhen (€10.0m) vs Braga (A)
Napoli enjoyed a spectacular 2022/23 campaign, claiming the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years and reaching the Champions League quarter-finals. A key component of that success was the attacking potency of Osimhen, who struck 31 goals in all competitions including five in just 425 minutes of Champions League action. The Nigerian has already found the net six times in four appearances for club and country this season.