UEFA Champions League Group D Preview - Predicted Lineups, Star Man Predictions and Fantasy Football Tips

12:57pm Sep 12 2017

With Lionel Messi’s Barcelona likely to top UEFA Champions League Group D, how will Juventus, Sporting and Olympiakos fare?

Barcelona

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Star Man – Lionel Messi [£12.0m]

Lionel Messi needs no introduction – he’s been the talisman of Barcelona for the best part of a decade. He has an insane goal record with 513 in 588 games and has won every club title multiple times.

He is not only one of the best players of his generation, but one of the best of all time. If Barcelona are to have a successful European campaign than this man will be at the heart of everything.

One to Watch – Ousmane Dembele [£8.5m]

Dembele made an eye watering £135.5 million pound move to Barcelona on the back Neymar’s exit from the club. He was always a live wire in a Dortmund team that struggled domestically last season, scoring 10 goals in all competitions.

Dembele is very raw and will need time to develop but one thing this boy has in his locker is that he can make goals, he made 18 assists in the Bundesliga and Champions League last season and in a team with significantly more firepower would expect Dembele to increase that amount.

Predicted Lineup: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Dembele, Suarez.

Juventus

Juventus are one of Italy’s most successful teams – they’ve won the last 6 Serie A titles and have reached 2 of the last 3 European Cup finals.

History suggests that Juventus will be one of the main challengers for the Champions League and with a team full of world class players, it’s easy to see why.

Star Man – Gonzalo Higuain [£10.5m]

The Argentine striker made a club record move to Juventus last season from Napoli for 90 million euros. It was a controversial move and Napoli fans were outraged that their star player made a move to Turin.

Higuain wasted no time in making his mark for Juventus, he bagged 24 league goals last season as Juventus eased to a 6th consecutive title.

If Juventus are to win a first European Cup in 21 seasons then Higuain will be the one scoring the goals to make that happen.

One to Watch – Paulo Dybala [£9.5m]

The Argentina star has come into his own since making the move from Palermo in the summer of 2015. He is the foil for Higuian and is one of the players who can make something happen in the Juventus attack.

After an average season by his own standards last season scoring 11 goals and making 7 assists in the league there are high hopes this campaign that Dybala will have a career defining year.

Predicted Lineup: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Barzagli, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Matuidi, Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain.

Sporting CP

One of Portugal’s most successful clubs and a team with a proud European tradition, they face an uphill task trying to get out of this group but if one team in Group D can upset the apple cart then it is The Lisbon Lions.

Sporting are one of Portugal’s premier teams and boast a record of having never been relegated from the Portuguese top flight.

Star Man – Bas Dost [£8.5m]

The Dutch striker boasts one of the best goal records in European football averaging 1 goal every other game, last season was one of his best years yet after hitting 34 goals in just 31 games for The Lions.

If Sporting are to pull off a shock and beat one of the big boys to a qualifying place on the last 16, it will be this man’s goals that get them there.

One to Watch – Bruno Fernandes [£5.5m]

Bruno Fernandes is most definitely one to watch for Sporting this season, after a summer of insane transfer fees Fernandes represented some value in the market after returning home to Portugal in a £8 million pound deal from Udinese.

Operating in the number 10 role for Sporting Fernandes has found a new lease of life and has already hit 4 goals this season. He will be the foil for Bas Dost but and if Sporting are to progress then it will be the number 10 pulling the strings.

Predicted Lineup: Rui Patricio; Piccini, Coates, Mathieu, Silva; Carvalho, Battaglia, Martins, Fernandes, Acuna; Dost.

Olympiakos

Olympiakos are Greece’s most famous and successful club, they have won the Greek Super League title 44 times in their history. They face a mammoth task in trying to get out of this group but they are a team notoriously stubborn to beat.

They go into the group with no pressure on them and will be massive underdogs to even bag the Europa League spot but in Europe’s premier club competition you can never rule anyone out.

Star Man – Marko Marin [£5.5m]

Marin was once tipped as the German Lionel Messi, but it has never worked out for him since bursting on the scene in 2010 and being part of the German World Cup Squad that year.

A very frustrating player as he seemingly has all the talent in the world but he can never seem to put it together. After many loan moves from Chelsea, Marin has found a permanent home at the Greek club.

Marin fell out with the coach Paulo Bento last season but under a new coach comes new hope for the winger and he’ll need to turn on the style if Olympiakos are to have any hope of not finishing bottom of the pile.

One to Watch – Konstantinos Fortounis [£6.0m]

The 24 year old central midfielder is fast becoming one of the key players for both club and country. He has already scored 3 goals in 3 appearances this season and this could be a real breakthrough year for the central midfielder.

In the 2015-16 season he had a haul of 21 goals in 39 games and with a new more attacking coach in place Olympiakos will be relying on his ability to score from midfield if they are to progress.

Predicted Lineup: Kapino; Figueiras, Romao, Engels, Koutris; Odjidja-Ofoe, Gillet, Marin, Fortounis, Seba; Durdevic.

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Thank you for reading ‘Champions League Group D Preview – Predicted Lineups, Predictions and Fantasy Football Tips’ which was written by @FFPundits_Dale

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