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Champions League Team of the Week - Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Braut Haaland

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week from the first legs of the last 16 ties, including Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Erling Braut Haaland.

The Champions League returned with a bang this month as the 2019-20 knockout stages got underway with Europe's biggest clubs back in action.

It was a forgettable round of first legs for most English teams as defending champions Liverpool joined Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in losing, but Manchester City bucked the trend with a famous win at the Bernabeu.

In addition to Liverpool and Real Madrid, fellow European giants Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have work to do after losing to Lyon and Borussia Dortmund respectively, while Barcelona were held to a draw at Napoli.

The biggest winners of the round were surprise package Atalanta, who put one foot in the quarter-finals with a 4-1 triumph over Valencia.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week from the round-of-16 first legs.


Thibaut Courtois was well on course for the gloves in this XI until Real Madrid's late collapse against Man City, allowing Peter Gulacsi to earn the nod courtesy of his five saves and clean sheet for RB Leipzig at Tottenham.

Clean sheets were also the driving force behind the selection of a centre-back pairing who helped to keep two of Europe's deadliest attacks not just scoreless, but also without a shot on target.

Lyon's Fernando Marcal was the standout performer in their back three as Cristiano Ronaldo and co were held at bay, while Felipe marshalled a watertight Atletico Madrid defensive display against Liverpool.

Either side of them are two flying full-backs who made an impact further up the field in their matches. Atalanta's Hans Hateboer played in a more advanced role against Valencia but often features at right-back, and so his two goals in the 4-1 win comfortably earn him a place ahead of Nelson Semedo in this team.

On the opposite flank, it speaks volumes for Alphonso Davies that he earned just as many plaudits as Bayern's forward players for their brutal destruction of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The 19-year-old's crowning contribution came when he surged down the left to set up the final goal.

Indeed, Bayern dominate this XI with four selections, including Thiago Alcantara, who made it all tick in the middle of the park with his 92% passing accuracy.

The more obvious Bayern picks were former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry, who made it six goals in away Champions League games in London this season with a clinical brace against Chelsea, and Robert Lewandowski, who underlined his claim to be the world's best striker with a goal and two assists at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will certainly be relieved that the Pole has been ruled out of the reverse fixture due to injury.

Lewandowski has become talismanic for Bayern, and the same is true of Saul Niguez for Atletico. The midfielder's latest big goal was enough to see the Spanish side past Liverpool and, while the goal itself came in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, his performance as a whole was a big reason why Atletico came out on top.

Perhaps the most influential individual display of the round came from Kevin De Bruyne, who inspired Man City's late comeback at the Bernabeu by assisting the equaliser and tucking home the winner from the penalty spot - his 50th goal for the club. The Belgian began the match in a somewhat unfamiliar forward role and is pushed out wide right in this XI, but he is good enough to pull the strings from wherever he plays.

Gabriel Jesus, Neymar and Josip Ilicic all deserve honourable mentions in the forward areas, but the teenage sensation that is Erling Braut Haaland completes the team this week courtesy of his brace against PSG. The 19-year-old now has 10 Champions League goals in seven appearances this season, 40 in 30 games across all competitions and is averaging a goal around every 45 minutes since his January switch to Dortmund.

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Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their first goal with Riyad Mahrez and teammates on February 26, 2020
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