MX23RW : Monday, December 10 18:31:53

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
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton156542117423
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
13Watford156271821-320
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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