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Champions League Team of the Week - Olivier Giroud, Neymar, Romelu Lukaku

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday five, including Olivier Giroud, Neymar and Romelu Lukaku.

The knockout stages of the 2020-21 Champions League continue to take shape with only one game of the groups remaining following matchday five's action.

Liverpool, Porto and Borussia Dortmund all booked their place in the last 16 with a game to spare, joining the already-qualified Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Sevilla in the next round.

There is still a huge amount to be decided, though, including a fascinating tussle at the top of Group H where Paris Saint-Germain's win at Manchester United on Wednesday night left both teams, as well as RB Leipzig, level on nine points heading into the final fixture.

Group B is arguably even more finely poised with all four teams still in with a chance of qualifying or being eliminated, and 13-time champions Real Madrid currently sitting in third following their defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Inter Milan sit bottom of that group despite their entertaining win over leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, setting up a blockbuster final day with three points separating the four teams.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday five.



CL TOTW MD5

There are some big names in this XI, but one man who would not have expected to be included before the matchday is Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who just beats Krasnodar's Matvey Safonov to the gloves.

The Irishman was brought in for the injured Alisson Becker ahead of Adrian, and repaid Jurgen Klopp's faith on his Champions League debut with a number of important saves in the 1-0 triumph over Ajax - including one particularly notable reaction stop to deny Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and effectively secure Liverpool's place as group winners.

Liverpool's progress was made more straightforward by their matchday four conquerors Atalanta BC unexpectedly dropping points at home to FC Midtjylland, but that was nothing to do with the performance of Cristian Romero, who not only scored his side's equalising goal but also won a whopping 15 aerial duels during the match - nine more than any other player on the pitch.

Alongside him at the back is another goalscorer in Marquinhos, who not only got the winner for PSG against Manchester United but also made a superb block to deny Anthony Martial and hit the woodwork in a pivotal performance at both ends of the pitch.

Shakhtar are very unfortunate not to have a single player in this XI following another famous win over Real Madrid, but centre-back Vitao does deserve an honourable mention, along with Alexander Scholz and Matthijs de Ligt.

There was also good competition at full-back with Joao Cancelo, Matteo Darmian and Raphael Guerreiro unlucky to miss out, but Alex Sandro and Leipzig goalscorer Nordi Mukiele get the nod for us.

Sandro helped himself to an assist during Juve's comfortable win over Dynamo Kiev, and he is joined in this XI by clubmate Federico Chiesa, who finished off Sandro's assist before providing one of his own to round off the victory.

There were two hat-tricks during the week, and one of those came from a midfielder in a losing effort as Istanbul Basaksehir's Irfan Kahveci helped himself to the matchball - enough to earn him a place in this team, but not enough to earn his side the win in their 4-3 defeat to Leipzig.

Alongside him is another Liverpool youngster who impressed in the win over Ajax, with Curtis Jones opportunistically scoring the goal which sent his side through in addition to thumping the woodwork in the first half.

Our goal-laden midfield quartet is completed by Neymar, who was the standout performer in PSG's win over Man United. The Brazilian opened the scoring with a fierce volley from a tight angle after just six minutes and then capped it off to secure a crucial victory in stoppage time.

Dimitri Payet, Hans Vanaken, Dani Olmo and especially Ousmane Dembele were all in contention for the midfield four too, but it is the centre-forward spots which were the most hotly contested.

Mergim Berisha and Alassane Plea both notched braces - the latter only being denied a hat-trick by a contentious offside call - while Alvaro Morata and Yussuf Poulsen helped themselves to a goal and an assist apiece but still don't make the cut.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Sekou Koita, Noa Lang and Charles De Ketelaere all either scored or assisted too, but all of them were battling for one remaining centre-forward spot after Olivier Giroud's four-goal haul for Chelsea against Sevilla.

The Frenchman made it almost impossible for Frank Lampard to leave him out of the next game with a brilliantly-taken four-goal haul, including a perfect hat-trick as Chelsea produced a statement-making win in Seville.

In the end it was Romelu Lukaku who fought off the stiff competition to join Giroud up front, with the Belgian taking both of his goals well and proving to be the match-winner against Monchengladbach - a crucial brace which kept his side's Champions League hopes alive.

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Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring for Manchester United against Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on November 24, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd19124336251140
2Manchester CityMan City18115231131838
3Leicester CityLeicester19122535211438
4Liverpool1997337221534
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
6Everton1710252821732
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham199552722532
8Chelsea1985633231029
9Southampton188552621529
10Arsenal198382319427
11Aston Villa1682629181126
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace196582233-1123
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle185491830-1219
16Burnley185491022-1219
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
18Fulham1826101527-1212
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1925121543-2811
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225

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