Champions League Team of the Week: Zlatan, Lahm, Kroos and Courtois Star

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterFebruary 20, 2014

Champions League Team of the Week: Zlatan, Lahm, Kroos and Courtois Star

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Welcome to the first installment of our knockout stage UEFA Champions League Team of the Week!

    We saw four incredible games on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all emerged victorious and took genuine advantages back to their home grounds.

    Which individuals impressed the most? Read on to find out!

     

    All statistics from WhoScored? 

GK: Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid

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    Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

    With 20 minutes gone, Thibaut Courtois was the only reason AC Milan weren't 2-0 up against Atletico Madrid at the San Siro.

    He tipped Kaka's early shot onto the bar and pushed Andrea Poli's deft header onto the post, stemming the flow of the Rossoneri attack and defying the home crowd.

    Incredible elasticity and athleticism. 

RB: Dani Alves, Barcelona

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Dani Alves was phenomenal against Manchester City, providing a constant presence on the right flank and driving Aleksandar Kolarov back.

    He showed good restraint after picking up an early yellow card and began exerting his influence more and more following Martin Demichelis' red.

    He scored the second goal to give Barcelona a big lead going into the second leg. 

CB: Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid

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    Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

    They were under pressure early on, but Atletico Madrid did what they do best on Wednesday night at the San Siro, grinding out a result and claiming a clean sheet.

    Diego Godin was key to this, standing firm in central defence as he has done all season long for Los Colchoneros. He was dominant in the air, tidy in his passing and assured in his dealing with punts up to Milan's front line. 

CB: Gerard Pique, Barcelona

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Gerard Pique may divide opinion at times, but there's no question he's stepped up this season when it comes to the big, big games for Barcelona.

    He was spotless on Tuesday night at the Etihad Stadium, keeping Alvaro Negredo on a leash all night and looking physically up to the task.

    A very good showing, and a far-cry from the last time we saw him in the Champions League knockout stages. 

LB: Maxwell, Paris Saint-Germain

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Maxwell is the least flashy player in our Team of the Week, but he did a good job at the Bay Arena against a tricky opponent in Sidney Sam.

    Renowned for his searing pace, the German winger was nullified easily by the Brazilian, who played a reserved role on the left to keep him in check.

DM: Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Philipp Lahm was probably the best right-back on show, but Dani Alves' great display earned a spot and the German did play 45 minutes in midfield.

    On the right, he was fantastic, bombing forward and creating sustained pressure by never relinquishing the ball. In midfield, he opportunistically overloaded key areas and kept the ball rolling very well.

CM: Blaise Matuidi, Paris Saint-Germain

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Blaise Matuidi put on a strong showing at the Bay Arena on Tuesday night and opened the scoring for Paris Saint-Germain.

    Simon Rolfes failed to follow the Frenchman's mazy run and it produced a clear chance on goal. He swept it home with ease, then held the ball up later in the half to set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic's golazo.

    An all-action, box-to-box performance. 

CM: Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    "Death by passing"—that's what B/R's Alex Dimond called it while on location at the Emirates.

    Toni Kroos monopolised the ball for long periods against Arsenal, scored the opening goal with a sumptuous first-time strike and hit the post late on with another.

    As a flatter CM in Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3/4-1-3-1, he was remarkably good. 

AMC: Adel Taarabt, Milan

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    Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

    If you never thought you'd see the day Adel Taarabt made a UEFA Champions League Team of the Week, fair enough.

    We never thought it would happen, either.

    He's edged out Kaka here in a close contest for the attacking midfield position in our diamond, with his excellent footwork and poise on the ball prevalent throughout. 

ST: Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    Diego Costa didn't pull up any trees at the San Siro, but he was more clinical than opposite number Mario Balotelli (who wasted chance after chance).

    The Atletico Madrid star managed to score the winner in a tight affair and looked menacing in and around the box throughout.

    He also benefits from Lionel Messi's poor game at Manchester City, Mario Mandzukic's quiet showing against Arsenal and Yaya Sanogo's struggles in the second half. 

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in the form of his life.

    He's continually stepping up in the UEFA Champions League to defy criticism of the past, and his two goals at the Bay Arena were his ninth and 10th of the competition already.

    One, in particular, was an absolute belter into the roof of the net. 

Bench

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    Manuel Neuer is desperately unlucky to miss out.
    Manuel Neuer is desperately unlucky to miss out.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Manager: Laurent Blanc

    GK: Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich

    CB: Thiago Silva, PSG

    FB: Jordi Alba, Barcelona

    CM: Marco Verratti, PSG

    CM: Thiago Alcantara, Bayern Munich

    AMC: David Silva, Manchester City

    CF: Lionel Messi, Barcelona