Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and RC Lens at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2023 in London, England.
Arsenal player Bukayo Saka.
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Champions League team of the week for matchday five

Here is our Champions League team of the week from matchday five.

GK: Nick Pope – Newcastle Utd

Nick Pope came agonisingly close to keeping a clean sheet against Paris Saint-Germain only for Kylian Mbappé to score from the penalty spot deep into injury time. The manner in which Newcastle conceded the spot kick rankles with the Magpies, but the goalkeeper was heroic at the Parc Des Princes, making six crucial saves on Tuesday evening.

PSG deserved at least a draw from the game, and perhaps more, but Pope’s shot-stopping keeps Newcastle in contention for the knockout stages heading into the final matchday.

RB: Lewin Blum – Young Boys

Young Boys secured third place in Group G in no small part to Lewin Blum, who doubled the Swiss outfit’s lead over Crvena Zvezda with a side-footed finish from the right corner of the box. He also played a significant role in quelling the threat posed by the opposition down the right flank.

“As a defender, it’s always important to keep a clean sheet,” said Blum. “It’s certainly the first objective and then I got a goal as well, so two objectives completed – plus the fact we won. Perfect. It couldn’t have gone better.”

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CB: Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund

Mats Hummels continues to find a way into our Team of the Week, putting in another top shift as Borussia Dortmund head to the knockout rounds. The German outfit may not have kept a clean sheet in their 3-1 win over AC Milan, but they defended stoutly as the Italians peppered them with 17 shots in a futile bid to get something from the match.

At 34 years of age, the centre-back can still duke it out with the best of them, winning 16 duels against Milan, more than any other player on the pitch. He also made nine clearances, six recoveries and completed 94 percent of his passes.

 

CB: Denis Vavro – FC Copenhagen

It takes something special to get a result at Bayern Munich, who hadn’t dropped points at home in the group stages since 2018. That’s what FC Copenhagen produced on Wednesday night as they drew 0-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern will argue they should have had a late penalty, which was overturned by VAR, but the Danish side reduced them to just nine shots over the game. Denis Vavro was instrumental in that defensive performance, making nine clearances, five recoveries, two interceptions, and blocking one shot.

LB: Joao Cancelo – Barcelona

Joao Cancelo is enjoying a career renaissance at Barcelona, particularly in the Champions League, where he has been putting in consistently brilliant performances almost every matchday.

The Portuguese full-back took matters into his own hands just moments after La Blaugrana had conceded to Porto, scoring a brilliant individual goal to equalise in the first half. 11 minutes after the break he put the ball on a silver platter for namesake Felix to put the home side in the lead.

The Manchester City loanee isn’t just impressive in attack, he puts in the defensive work, too; no player has won more ground duels (36) than him in the Champions League this season, according to WhoScored.

CM: Phil Foden – Man City

Pep Guardiola handed Phil Foden a rare chance at central midfield on Tuesday when they faced RB Leipzig, who took a shock two-goal lead at the Etihad.

The England midfielder played a central role in Man City’s comeback, though, setting up Erling Haaland for the first goal before scoring the equaliser himself. He also played a key role in the winner as Julian Alvarez converted his deflected cross, which won’t go down as an assist.

CM: Joao Mario – Benfica

A first-half hat-trick against your former club is the stuff of dreams, but that was the reality for Joao Mario on Wednesday when he put three past Inter Milan. That was not enough to spur life into Benfica’s wretched Champions League campaign though, as the Italian side completed a remarkable second-half comeback to draw 3-3.

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CM: Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid

It wouldn’t be the Champions League Team of the Week without Jude Bellingham in it. The English continues to astound and surprise everyone, including his own manager, with his performances.

After scoring Real Madrid’s second goal on Wednesday night, Bellingham became the first player to score on his first four appearances for the club in the competition. In added time he played a gorgeous outside-of-the-boot pass to Joselu for the final goal of a 4-2 win over Napoli.

What a special player.

Bellingham eclipses Ronaldo with new Real Madrid record

RW: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

Arsenal booked their place in the next round of the Champions League in style as they demolished an RC Lens side that sprung a surprise on them in the away fixture.

The Gunners put six past their French visitors, with Bukayo Saka scoring one and assisting another in the space of two minutes. The 22-year-old had never played in the competition before this season, but he is shining on these European nights.

Arteta delighted with ‘beautiful’ Arsenal win over Lens

LW: Joao Felix – Barcelona

Less discerning football publications might be all too willing to shoehorn Hakim Ziyech into their team of the week after he played a role in all three of Galatasaray’s goals in their mad 3-3 draw with Manchester United. But we’re sticking to the rules here (this time) and not putting a right winger on the left.

Like much of the Barcelona team on Tuesday, Joao Felix was sluggish in the first half against Porto, but he came to life in the second, neatly finishing to put his side ahead and clinch progression in the Champions League.

The Portuguese forward also had five shots on the night, one of which smacked off the crossbar, and created one chance.

Ten Hag reacts to costly Onana errors as Man Utd draw with Galatasaray

CF: Lois Openda – RB Leipzig

A first-half brace was not enough to give Leipzig a shock win at Man City, but Lois Openda sure did give the Premier League champions a scare on Tuesday. The Belgian striker, who now has four goals in this season’s competition, also completed two successful dribbles.

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See Also – The fastest players to 40 Champions League goals

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