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Champions League Team of the Week - Lionel Messi, David de Gea, Fabinho

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week for matchday one, including Lionel Messi, Fabinho and three Manchester United players.

The Champions League group stage returned this week as 32 teams began their quest for the biggest prize in club football.

Manchester United picked up another memorable victory away to Paris Saint-Germain, while wins for Manchester City and Liverpool, as well as a draw for Chelsea, made it a positive start for Premier League clubs in Europe.

Thirteen-time champions Real Madrid suffered a shock defeat at home to a coronavirus-ravaged Shakhtar Donetsk side, while reigning champions Bayern Munich picked up where they left off with a 4-0 thrashing of Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona were four-goal winners at home to Ferencvaros, while free-scoring Atalanta BC were also among the big victors with a 4-0 triumph at FC Midtjylland.

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


Manchester United fans may have been fearing the worst as they came up against last season's runners-up PSG with a depleted defence, but the selection of three of their defenders in this XI speaks volumes as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and co were kept quiet.

On the rare occasion PSG did get through, they found David de Gea in inspired form as he pulled off a string of fine saves, only being beaten by an Anthony Martial own goal.

In front of him, United may have unwittingly unearthed an answer to their domestic defensive difficulties in Axel Tuanzebe, who starred on his first appearance in 10 months to make light of Harry Maguire's absence.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka completes the Man United trio courtesy of another sturdy defensive display, standing up well against the considerable test posed by the likes of Neymar and Mbappe in one-on-one situations.

Tuanzebe was not the only player to shine in the absence of a first-choice centre-back as Fabinho put in an assured display for Liverpool in their win over Ajax, a clean sheet in Amsterdam doing plenty to reassure fans that there can still be success without the injured Virgil van Dijk.

Atalanta are used to making headlines for their attacking display, but despite scoring four goals in Denmark it is centre-back Cristian Romero who is their only representative in this team, having added an assist to his clean sheet.

Juventus' Danilo deserves an honourable mention at left wing-back, but it was impossible to look past Angelino, who continued his purple patch in front of goal with a brace in RB Leipzig's 2-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir, the first a particularly classy turn and finish in the area.

Anchoring the midfield in this team is Bayern stalwart Joshua Kimmich, who produced an exquisite assist for the opening goal to set Bayern on their way to such an impressive victory over Atletico.

Kingsley Coman was the man to finish off that assist, scoring the first goal of Bayern's defence having fired them to the trophy in last season's final, and he then set up the second before capping off the scoring himself in a superb individual display.

Fellow Bayern players Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka also deserve mentions having both scored impressive goals, while Alejandro Gomez and Zlatko Junuzovic were also in contention for a midfield place.

The main competition came up front, though, where the likes of Duvan Zapata, Christopher Nkunku, Ansu Fati, Manor Solomon, Ciro Immobile, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford all deserve recognition.

Shakhtar may feel hard done by at only having one representative after their famous win at Real Madrid, but there was no doubting Tete's place after he scored one, created another and could have had more in the first-half blitz of Zinedine Zidane's side.

Five-star Barcelona also only have one selection in this XI, although that one was far more predictable as Lionel Messi became the first player in Champions League history to score in 16 successive seasons. The Argentine won and scored a penalty to get Barca up and running, before assisting the final goal too.

Juventus were underwhelming for long spells against Dynamo Kiev, but ultimately it was the presence of Alvaro Morata which proved to be the difference as his two goals fired the Italian champions to victory in Ukraine.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on October 17, 2020
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