MX23RW : Thursday, March 21 16:46:56

Champions League Team of the Week - Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Thibaut Courtois

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday five, including Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Thibaut Courtois.

Eleven more teams booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League this week as the knockout stages of the competition begin to take shape.

Barcelona were the only club to have sealed their spot prior to matchday five, but they have now been joined by Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Schalke 04, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and Manchester United.

The fate of two English clubs remains in the balance, though, with Tottenham Hotspur's last-gasp win over Inter Milan keeping their hopes alive going into the final matchday, while Liverpool's defeat to Paris Saint-Germain leaves them needing to beat Napoli either 1-0 or by two clear goals at Anfield next month.

Here, Sports Mole picks out its Champions League team of the week for the penultimate matchday of the group stages.



CL TOTW MD5

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois made five saves en route to a clean sheet in his side's 2-0 win over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico to earn a place in this team ahead of David de Gea, who had much less to do at home to Young Boys but did pull off a remarkable stop which was crucial to his side's 1-0 victory.

Joshua Kimmich picked up a couple of assists as Bayern trounced Benfica, and while he featured in midfield in that match, his versatility and a lack of competition at right-back enables him to switch position for this XI.

Indeed, it is a defence which shone in attack this week, with Shakhtar's Ismaily opening the scoring and providing an assist in the thrilling 3-2 win over Hoffenheim, while Eder Militao was also on the scoresheet during Porto's win over Schalke.

The likes of Aymeric Laporte, Gerard Pique and Lukas Hejda also scored from centre-back this week, but the final spot in the defence goes to Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, who was instrumental in his side's 3-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade.

Koulibaly is joined by two of his teammates in front of him, with Marek Hamsik registering a goal, assist and 92% passing accuracy while Allan made a game-high eight tackles alongside him in the middle of the park - enough to hold off a challenge from Manchester United's match-winner Marouane Fellaini.

There was huge competition for the forward positions, with two-goal duo Arjen Robben and Dusan Tadic both unfortunate to miss out, while Franck Ribery also deserves a mention for getting on the scoresheet in Bayern's win over Benfica.

Lyon's Maxwell Cornet proved to be the scourge of Manchester City once again with a brace which earned his side a point, while he also hit the woodwork as Lyon caused the Premier League champions serious problems for the second time this season.

Lionel Messi scored another stunning solo effort to take him to 106 Champions League goals for Barcelona - the most any player has ever scored for a single club in the competition - before adding an assist for Pique's goal in the win over PSV Eindhoven.

Arguably the standout performance over the two days came from Shakhtar's Taison, though, as he scored twice - including a 91st-minute winner - created his side's other goal and hit the woodwork during the away win over Hoffenheim.

While Robben and Ribery are unfortunate to miss out on the team, Bayern do have Robert Lewandowski leading the line after his brace helped fire them past Benfica. The Polish international's first of the night was his 50th in the Champions League, with only Messi and Ruud van Nistelrooy having reached that milestone in fewer games.

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Gabriel Jesus scores from the spot during the Champions League group game between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk on November 7, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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