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Fantasy Focus: Potential game-changers in UEFA Champions League quarters

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With the quarter-final line-up for the UEFA Champions League decided, we are getting into the business end of the season in Europe’s premier club competition. Although the quarters and semis this season will happen over a one-off tie instead of two legs due to the curtailed nature of the campaign owing to the global pandemic, Europe’s top talents will be itching to make an impression and help their team to continental glory.

Here, we have a look at a few game-changers who can help you Nostragamus fantasy managers.

Player: Kevin De Bruyne

Team: Manchester City

Match: Manchester City vs Lyon

Arguably the most gifted midfielder in the world at the moment, Kevin De Bruyne is on top of his game and Lyon will need to keep him quiet if they want to beat Manchester City and qualify for the Champions League semis. The Belgian playmaker has notched up 15 goals as well as 23 assists across all competitions and been carving open opposition defences with his exquisite vision and passing range. A threat from deal-ball situations as well, Lyon’s defenders cannot afford to give him much space to pull the strings if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Player: Lionel Messi

Team: Barcelona

Match: Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

Lionel Messi will have to be at his very best if Barcelona are to overcome Bayern Munich and qualify for the semi-finals. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner looked in scintillating form in their quarter-final win over Napoli recently and was involved in all of Barca’s best attacks. Against Napoli, he scored a brilliant individual goal after weaving past three defenders and somehow getting his shot away while off balance.

Messi also won the penalty that Luis Suarez converted against the Italians and he will need to produce another similar performance against Bayern. With 31 goals and 27 assists, the Argentine legend is enjoying another spectacular campaign on the personal front, but he’ll be keen to add silverware before the season ends.

Player: Robert Lewandowski

Team: Bayern Munich

Match: Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is enjoying perhaps the best season of his career. The top-scorer in the Champions League with 13 goals, he is just four goals shy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-time record for most goals in a single season in Europe’s top club competition. The Poland international has netted 53 times and provided eight assists this campaign, including two goals and two assists against Chelsea in their last round of the 16 in the competition against Chelsea. Barcelona must prevent Lewandowski from finding space and time near their penalty area or they risk being dumped out of the Champions League by the Polish hitman.

Player: Neymar

Team: Paris Saint-Germain

Match: Atalanta vs Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar has recorded 19 goals and 10 assists from 24 games for Paris Saint-Germain this season. Three of those goals and two assists have come in the Champions League and the Brazilian superstar will be keen to add to that tally. Brough to PSG to help them attain European glory, Neymar, for the most part, has underwhelmed in the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, he will be desperate to leave his mark on this season’s competition and fancy his chances at making a difference against an attack-minded Atalanta side.

Player: Papu Gomez

Team: Atalanta

Match: Atalanta vs Paris Saint-Germain

Papu Gomez is just one of several exciting Atalanta players who will be hoping to produce a big performance against PSG. An intelligent attacker who takes up smart positions on the pitch, Gomez has found the back of the net eight times this campaign besides also providing 18 assists.

He will have to exploit the spaces that PSG will afford him if Atalanta want to upset the Parisians. Quite often, the individual who makes the telling pass, Gomez could well be the difference-maker for his side once again.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Miguel Medina

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