Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
Leicester’s 0-0 draw in Copenhagen will not live in the memory, but should ultimately go down as a useful point towards their progress to the knockout stage. Things would have looked considerably less rosy, though, had their goalkeeper not saved them at the death in the game’s only clear chance. Schmeichel flung himself to repel Andreas Cornelius’ last-minute header and preserved a clean sheet in what could yet be a decisive moment for their Champions League fate.
Right-back: Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain)
Were it not for Mesut Ozil and Gareth Bale, Meunier would probably have a clear run for the best goal of this matchday. His first-time volley from 20-yards, slicing beautifully through the ball from Adrien Rabiot’s chipped cross, ripped into the top corner and gave PSG a vital winner in Basel right at the end. It was the Belgian’s first competitive goal for the club and complemented a solid all-round performance at the back, too.
Centre-back: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
Otamendi has not always been flavour of the month among City followers and his high-risk style, pursuing balls far up and pitch, does not always pay dividends. There were certainly rough edges to his performance against Barcelona but the willingness of Otamendi and his centre-back partner, John Stones, to step up and make life difficult for their visitors was a key factor in a memorable success.
Centre-back: Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
Alongside Omer Toprak, Tah formed half of a centre-back duo that travelled to Wembley after spells on the sidelines — but nobody doubted their fitness after a superbly resolute performance that helped keep Tottenham firmly at arm’s length for long periods. It is difficult to believe that Tah is still just 20; he showed yet again that he has the physical and technical gifts to be one of the world’s very best, and helped ensure that Tottenham are now fighting for their Champions League lives.
Left-back: Sergio Escudero (Sevilla)
The Sevilla left-back’s goal in their rout of Dinamo Zagreb, finishing coolly with his right foot after marauding into the box for a one-two, was easy on the eye but was only part of the story. In a match where Sevilla were able to dictate proceedings from the start, Escudero was able to operate as effectively a wing-back and he was heavily involved in much of their best work.
Central-midfield: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola spent a considerable chunk of the first eight minutes on Tuesday night shouting instructions to Gundogan, whose role in midfield always looked crucial. Whatever he said paid off. Gundogan, generally cast as a defensively minded midfielder, was pivotal to a high press that grew to be devastating as the game went on and found himself in the right place at the right time twice to put Barcelona to the sword. It was no coincidence that he had found himself in such advanced positions, and with six goals this season he is in the most prolific form of his life by some distance.
Central-midfield: Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (Legia Warsaw)
Who would have backed Legia to come back from 2-0 down against Real Madrid — and who would have backed a former Norwich City and Rotherham United player to spark their comeback? It was a thunderbolt from the Belgian, shortly before half time, that brought them back into the game when Real seemed firmly in control. One of the best group stage games so far this season followed as Legia and Odjidja-Ofoe soared in confidence after the break.
Right attacking midfield: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
It took Bale less than a minute to open the scoring for Real at Legia Warsaw — and the goal merited a more appreciative audience than an empty stadium. Bale’s wonderful display of technique earns him his place in this week’s lineup: he hooked a ball from the left first-time into the top corner from 25 yards, a finish not entirely dissimilar to Meunier’s but arguably harder to execute. He then assisted Karim Benzema’s goal before Real were pegged back surprisingly by their hosts.
Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Ozil’s winner against Ludogorets has been committed to thousands of Vines — get them while you can — and pored over from every possible angle. It remains a thing of beauty, from the delicate touch over goalkeeper Milan Borjan to the delay that sent two players sliding towards their own goal. The playmaker had been quiet before his 87th minute clincher, but to take his goal in such a way with the match so finely poised in its latter stages was the hallmark of a talent with the utmost confidence in expressing itself.
Left attacking midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
It was De Bruyne’s redeployment to a central role that helped define a stunning upturn in both his and City’s performances against Barcelona. The Belgian had hardly touched the ball in a largely tortured first half showing but given centre stage in the second period he was at the heart of everything Guardiola’s side did, both on and off the ball, and grew in confidence after his ripping free kick beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Several other wicked set piece deliveries might have yielded more but a quite exceptional 45 minutes from De Bruyne got the reward they deserved.
Centre-forward: Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann was not the only striker to see off tough opponents with a brace — Robert Lewandowski did the same for Bayern Munich against PSV Eindhoven and Radamel Falcao deserves a hat-tip for his double as Monaco beat CSKA Moscow — but the Frenchman takes the spot in this week’s team. That is largely on account of his marvelous first goal against Rostov — a deft piece of improvisation in which Griezmann, facing away from goal, showed uncanny awareness to jab a looping ball sharply past Soslan Dzhanaev. His second goal was not quite as spectacular but showed similar sharpness in the box — and came in the 93rd minute, just as Atletico looked set to be held to a shock draw at home.
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