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Champions League Team of the Week - Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane, Rasmus Hojlund

Sports Mole picks its Team of the Week from the fourth game week of the 2023-24 Champions League, including Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane and Rasmus Hojlund.

Manchester United suffered an incredible 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with the result leaving the 20-time English champions bottom of Group A.

Erik ten Hag's side led 2-0 and 3-2 on the night but ended up losing 4-3, and they now face a tough task to qualify for the knockout round of the competition, although the gap to second-placed Copenhagen is just a single point, with Galatasaray losing 2-0 at Bayern Munich in the other match.

Bayern have now advanced to the last-16 stage of the competition with two games to spare, while Arsenal are in a strong position at the top of Group B following their 2-0 success over Sevilla; PSV Eindhoven are now second in their group, with the Dutch outfit beating Lens 1-0 in the Netherlands.

Real Madrid are through to the next round courtesy of their 3-0 home success over Braga, while Napoli are second in Group C on seven points despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Union Berlin in Italy.

Real Sociedad and Inter Milan have both qualified from Group D, with the former beating Benfica 3-1, while the latter recorded a 1-0 victory away to Red Bull Salzburg in the other game in the section.

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes in action with Copenhagen's Mohamed Elyounoussi on November 8, 2023© Reuters

Group E is led by Atletico Madrid, who thumped Celtic 6-0 Tuesday, while Lazio are second on seven points, with the Italian outfit beating Feyenoord 1-0.

Borussia Dortmund are now in charge of Group F due to their 2-0 success over Newcastle United, with the Magpies now at the bottom of the group; Paris Saint-Germain remain second, but they suffered a 2-1 defeat to third-placed AC Milan on Tuesday, with the Italian team now just a point off the qualification spots.

Manchester City and RB Leipzig are both through from Group G, with the former beating Young Boys 3-0, while the latter recorded a 2-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade.

Barcelona missed the chance to qualify from Group H on Tuesday, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, and the Catalan side have now been joined on nine points by second-placed Porto, who were 2-0 winners over Belgian side Royal Antwerp in Portugal.

Here, Sports Mole selects its standout XI from the fourth game week of this season's Champions League group stages.


DEFENCE

Porto defender Pepe on November 7, 2023© Reuters

An injury to Kepa Arrizabalaga in the warm-up led to Andriy Lunin starting for Real Madrid against Braga, and the Ukrainian put in a brilliant performance on Wednesday. The 24-year-old denied Alvaro Djalo from the penalty spot in the sixth minute of the match, and a very productive night saw him make four saves in total, while he completed 21 of his 28 passes during a successful 90 minutes of action.

Mats Hummels was a standout performer in Dortmund's 2-0 win over Newcastle, with the experienced centre-back making eight tackles over the course of the match, while he also had a pass success rate of 86%, with the 34-year-old one of the best players on the pitch on Tuesday night.

Hummels is not the oldest member of this back four, though, as Pepe is included due to his strong performance in Porto's win over Antwerp. The 40-year-old got his name on the scoresheet in the latter stages of the match, while he won two aerial duels and completed 94 of his 105 passes during a standout display.

Andre Ramalho completes the defensive unit, with the 31-year-old contributing heavily to PSV's 1-0 win over Lens in the competition on Wednesday. The defender won five aerial duels and three tackles, and he was a key reason why his side were able to keep a clean sheet in the European contest.


MIDFIELD

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring against Celtic on November 7, 2023© Reuters

A second Dortmund player is included in this XI in the shape of Julian Brandt, who was excellent in the win over Newcastle. The 27-year-old scored BVB's second of the night in the 79th minute, and he was a constant menace in the final third, having five shots in total, while he completed two successful dribbles. Newcastle just could not come to terms with the positions that the German continued to pick up.

Mikel Merino is also named in the side due to his performance in Real Sociedad's 3-1 win over Braga. The Spaniard scored his side's first of the night before turning provider for Ander Barrenetxea in the 21st minute, and it was a brilliant all-round midfield display from the 27-year-old, who also won six aerial duels.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, meanwhile, was outstanding in Milan's win over PSG. The England international won the midfield battle against the French champions, having two shots and completing five dribbles during an all-round excellent display, and his power caused issues for PSG throughout the contest.

The final midfield spot is awarded to Antoine Griezmann, who was in outstanding form for Atletico against Celtic, scoring twice in the six-goal success. The Frenchman had six shots in total, while he completed 49 of his 56 passes in a stunning display from a deeper position.


ATTACK

Manchester United forward Rasmus Hojlund on November 8, 2023© Reuters

Rasmus Hojlund did not deserve to be on the losing side against Copenhagen on Wednesday, with the Denmark international scoring twice for Man United during another strong performance. The 20-year-old has five goals to his name in the competition this season, and he again showed his immense potential with a brilliant display on Wednesday, with his pace and power the biggest positive on the night for the Red Devils.

There was serious competition in the final third of the field, and Man City's Erling Haaland, Real Madrid's Rodrygo and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka are among those very unfortunate to miss out, but Alvaro Morata had to make it following his two goals and an assist against Celtic for Atletico. The Spain captain also managed to complete 28 of his 33 passes on the night, with Celtic unable to contain him on a tough night for the Scottish giants.

Harry Kane completes the lineup, with the England captain scoring twice in the final exchanges against Galatasaray to send Bayern into the knockout round of the competition. The 30-year-old had five shots in total, while he won six aerial duels during another excellent centre-forward performance, and he has now managed 19 goals in 15 appearances for Bayern this term.


SPORTS MOLE'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

CL TOTW MD4

Sports Mole's Champions League Team of the Week (3-4-3): Lunin; Hummels, Pepe, Ramalho; Brandt, Merino, Loftus-Cheek, Griezmann; Hojlund, Kane, Morata


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