Robert Lewandowski and 10 world-class players storm into our Champions League team of the week

There really is nothing quite like the UEFA Champions League.

Heavyweights colliding wherever you looked through the schedule. Lots of braces across the continent, a hat-trick sprinkled in in and there are as many inquests as there are celebrations… we’re looking at you, Liverpool.

So, after the opening round of group matches, who makes Sportsmail’s Champions League Team of the Week?


Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

People were quick to jump on the Italian for being at fault for Juventus’ goal but looking at the game in the wider picture, he was key in ensuring PSG saw this victory out.

In the first half he pulled out a remarkable point-blank save to deny a header from Arkadiusz Milik, and at 2-1 in the second he was again called upon to stop Dusan Vlahovic’s downward header across the six-yard box.

Donnarumma is supremely talented but the knives are already out for him. Naysayers appear to have made up their mind but his crucial stops are hard to argue against.


Joao Cancelo (Man City)

For anyone who has seen anything of Manchester City in recent seasons, Joao Cancelo playing well has long stopped being headline news.

But this performance out in Sevilla was mightily impressive, even by his lofty standards.

The full-back had 105 touches, won 100 per cent of his tackles and finished with an 89 per cent pass accuracy rate.

Add in two that he produced two clearances, two key passes and two assists on a night that finished 4-0.

He’s right up there with Acraf Hakimi as the most talented right back in the world.

Ruben Dias (Man City)

Rock solid at the back and capped off with his first Champions League goal for Man City… not a bad night’s work for Ruben Dias.

City were rarely threatened and Dias deserves credit as the orchestrator in the back-line.

Sevilla were restricted to just one shot on target and that meanness defensively, alongside a new centre back partner in Manuel Akanji, bodes well for the rest of the competition.

Tougher tests lie in wait, not least a trip to Dortmund to take on the Yellow Wall, but you are hard pressed to find centre backs who have the complete game quite like Dias.

Calvin Bassey (Ajax)

Talk about rising to the occasion.

Calvin Bassey, against his old team, producing an assist and helping to deliver a clean sheet on his Champions League debut.

Bassey barely put a foot wrong all night.

His pass accuracy was a whopping 97 per cent, completing 142 of 146 pass attempts.

Eight recoveries highlights his ability on the other side of the ball and Ajax, as Rangers know all too well, have picked up a gem in the 22-year-old.

Alex Grimaldo (Benfica)

My word, what a goal Alex Grimaldo scored to seal a 2-0 victory for Benfica.

He picked it up on the left, sauntered inside and from 25 yards out just rifled a looping shot into the top corner. Outstanding.

This was as dominant a performance as any other from the opening round of matches.

A goal and an assist in Benfica’s 2-0 win, a clean sheet to go with it and four of his eight duels won.

How Grimaldo has been kept away from the clutches of Premier League clubs is anyone’s guess…


Marian Shved (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Here’s a name few may have anticipated taking the first midfield spot in Team of the Week but it is impossible to argue with.

Marian Shved, on his first start in the Champions League for Shakhtar, produced a man-of-the-match two goal performance.

His move to Celtic in 2019 never played out as he would have hoped but this was a dream start to life with the Ukrainians as one of six players to bag a brace in matchday one.

Keep this up and Shakhtar may have a job convincing him to see out the five-year contract he penned earlier this month.

Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Bulldozing Liverpool is no mean feet and Napoli can thank Piotr Zielinski for playing a key role in the midfield engine room.

To supplement the two goals he bagged in the 4-1 rout, Zielinski proved to be the heartbeat of Luciano Spalletti’s team and has clearly got over any grievance about a potential Premier League switch in the summer.

Two goals, one assist, and an 86 per cent pass accuracy points to a near flawless display.

If Napoli dance to the tune of Zielinski’s drum then they can make some real noise beyond just coming out of Group A.

A fabulous footballer when in full flight.

Marcus Edwards (Sporting Lisbon)

Once dubbed at Tottenham as the ‘mini ’ by Mauricio Pochettino, it was perhaps a wise move when Marcus Edwards stepped away from the spotlight to focus solely on his football in Portugal.

He is reaping the rewards now with a goal and an assist in Sporting Lisbon’s 3-0 rout away to Eintracht Frankfurt.

In netting in Germany, Edwards became the fifth different Englishman to score a Champions League goal for a non-British club since 2018-19.

Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham did so for Borussia Dortmund, Fikayo Tomori bagged for AC Milan, and Angel Gomes for Lille.

In a group that many anticipate Tottenham to win, an old flame could yet come back to burn them.



There are no superlatives left for him, frankly.

Say what you want about the power he wields behind the scenes at PSG but there can be little critique of what he produces on the pitch in the biggest games.

In the first 45 minutes against Juventus he had two shots on target and two goals, both outrageously good finishes on the volley.

Add in that he won 3/4 ground duels and had a pass accuracy of 91 per cent, it was near flawless.

His quality is so good that you can make a real argument that he is the best striker in world football.

Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

Player of the week, hands down.

Yes, it’s Viktoria Plzen. Yes, we expect them to finish bottom of the group.

But Champions League hat-tricks are no mean feat and so let’s take nothing away from Robert Lewandowski.

He capped it off with a stunning curled effort low into the bottom corner, too, just to rub in how good he is. Borders on unfair most of the time.

His latest treble has him third in the all-time Champions League top goal scorers with 89, behind (125) and Cristiano (140).

At this rate he’ll be reaching his century sooner rather than later.

Richarlison (Tottenham)

One word: matchwinner.

Tottenham huffed and puffed in the second half to no great joy. Marseille were down to 10 and defended admirably, until it came to marking Richarlison in the air and then there would only be one winner.

The Brazilian had been itching to get his first goal since his £50m switch from Everton. You could see in recent performances how eager he was to get the monkey off his back.

Well, consider it long gone with this late, late show.

Four shots, two on target, two goals. Tottenham 2-0 Marseille. Job done.

A night the Brazilian will never forget.

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