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Champions League Team of the Week - Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week from the last-16 first legs, including Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski and Erling Braut Haaland.

The Champions League has returned with the first legs of the last 16 taking place over the past fortnight, and a combination of games being played on neutral territory and without fans made it a profitable gameweek for the away sides.

Seven of the eight ties ended in an away win, including victories for all three English sides as Liverpool beat RB Leipzig, Chelsea battled past Atletico Madrid and Manchester City eased past Borussia Monchengladbach.

The standout triumph saw Paris Saint-Germain humble Barcelona with a 4-1 win at Camp Nou, while defending champions Bayern Munich put one foot in the quarter-finals with victory by the same scoreline against Lazio.

Real Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta BC and Borussia Dortmund edged an entertaining five-goal game against Sevilla, while the only home win of the round saw Porto beat Juventus.

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


In stark contrast to the other end of the pitch in this week's team, there was a lack of competition for places at the back, including in goal.

Liverpool's Alisson Becker gets the gloves having made a crucial save to deny Christopher Nkunku when one on one early the second half, with the score still 0-0 at that stage. The Brazilian was not overworked throughout the rest of the game, but without that fine stop it could have been a very different story for the Reds.

In front of him, Ozan Kabak had his best game yet in a Liverpool shirt to help limit the Leipzig threat, and he is joined in the heart of the defence by Real Madrid's Nacho, who helped to blunt a dangerous Atalanta attack in Bergamo.

Only four teams kept a clean sheet across the first legs, and all of them have one representative in our defence, with Cesar Azpilicueta marshalling a disciplined performance from Chelsea as they stifled Atletico Madrid and beat Diego Simeone's side at their own game.

Joao Cancelo on the opposite flank was much more involved in an attacking sense than a defensive one as Man City dominated Monchengladbach, and the roving full-back helped himself to an assist for the opening goal, in addition to playing a big part in their second too.

Andrew Robertson and Ferland Mendy were also in contention at left-back, but it is further forward where the real competition for places comes in this XI, with Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham among the players to miss out in midfield.

The man who converted Cancelo's cross, Bernardo Silva, does get the nod having not only opened the scoring with that header, but also assisted the second goal with a similar move, this time nodding the ball across for Gabriel Jesus to convert.

PSG had impressive performers all over the park in their famous win at Barcelona, and among those was Marco Verratti, who assisted his side's opener but is forced into a slightly deeper role than usual due to the attacking talent around him.

Among that attacking talent is Bayern starlet Jamal Musiala, the 17-year-old who scored his first Champions League goal to help Bayern cruise past Lazio and further enhance his burgeoning reputation.

The front three is a goal-laden and frightening one, but the list of names to miss out this week is almost as star-studded, with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Jadon Sancho, Moise Kean, Leroy Sane, Olivier Giroud and Mehdi Taremi all worthy of honourable mentions.

By far the standout individual performance of the matchday came from Kylian Mbappe, whose history-making hat-trick at Camp Nou was seen by many as a passing-of-the-torch moment from Lionel Messi, who had opened the scoring before Mbappe's magic took centre stage.

Indeed, Mbappe's performance was so impressive that it had many tipping him as a Ballon d'Or winner sooner rather than later, although his main rival for that prize over the next decade or so could prove to be Erling Braut Haaland.

The Dortmund striker admitted that Mbappe's heroics inspired him the following night against Sevilla and, while he couldn't quite match the Frenchman's hat-trick, his two goals and assist are more than enough to earn him a place in this XI.

Haaland's goalscoring exploits at Dortmund have naturally led to comparisons with Robert Lewandowski, although it is the Pole who remains the standard-bearer when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net.

Lewandowski was gifted Bayern's opening goal against Lazio and typically made no mistake with his 32nd strike in 31 games this season, overtaking Raul as the Champions League's third-highest goalscorer in the process - only Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are now above him.

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