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UEFA Champions League 2021-22: Team of the Group Stage

As the UEFA Champions League 2021-22 group stages ended, which players impressed the most? Here we are with the best XI of the group stage of champions league 2021-22.

Last updated: 10.01.2022
UEFA Champions League 2021-22 Team of the Group Stage

We can look forward to the Champions League knockout stages after six action-packed game weeks, but what a tense few weeks it's been to get here. Teams can now take a well-deserved break until February, but there was some significant quality on display in the group stages, with Europe's finest shining brightly, while some budding talents also made an impression. Barcelona battled in their first group stage without Lionel Messi in 16 years, as one of Europe's giants dropped into the group stage. However, there were few surprises elsewhere, as Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City continued their pursuit for glory.

After UEFA had to rerun the entire draw due to a major error the first time around, Madrid was matched with Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 on Monday. In the second round, Atlético Madrid and Manchester United were drawn together. Only one of the eight matchups was identical in both processes: the defending champion Chelsea versus Lille. Bayern Munich will now face Salzburg, which is making its debut at this stage, rather than Atlético Madrid. Liverpool was originally assigned to Salzburg but was later reassigned to Inter Milan. Sporting Lisbon vs. Manchester City, Benfica vs. Ajax, and Villarreal vs. Juventus were also on the schedule. But as the group stages ended, which players impressed the most? Here we are with the best XI of the group stages.

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

Courtois started all six games and only gave up three goals. The Belgian has only conceded one goal in his previous five games in all competitions, and he is full of confidence at the moment. In his six games, he made 22 saves, indicating how busy he was during the group stages.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Trent is finally resuming his fantastic form from the 2018-19 season when they won the championship. He only played in half of the group stage games because the Reds finished their business early, but he showed his worth in all of them. He assisted on a goal in AC Milan's 1-0 triumph, as well as both goals in Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win.

Centre-back: Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich)

Along with Real Madrid, Bayern had the best defensive record. Upamecano is a recent addition in Munich who has quickly established himself as the club's best defender. He made five appearances, marshaling Barcelona's attackers in the last game - a 3-0 victory - to inspire yet another clean sheet.

Centre-back: Lisandro Martinez (Ajax)

Ajax are the surprise package of the group stages, thanks to a strong defense as well as their attacking prowess. Martinez, a young Argentinian international, has been a rock for the team, both in terms of restricting opponents and confidently distributing the ball.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

The right-back turned left-back, Cancelo has been in insane form this season. He scored two goals and added three assists for the Blues, with all three assists coming in the same game against Club Brugge in a 4-1 victory. In his final game vs PSG, Cancelo completed 342 passes while also making 34 ball recoveries and six clearances.

Midfielder: Joao Palhinha (Sporting Lisbon)

Palhinha has been incredible this season for the Portuguese side. He has been commanding in the center of the pitch and was crucial in Lisbon’s stride for the round of 16.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes had the most assists (5), helping the Red Devils advance to the knockout stages despite their problems under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With 13, he also produced the second-highest amount of opportunities. He may be unable to recreate his brilliant form from last season in the Premier League, but he has been one of the Champions League's most creative players this season.

Midfielder: Renato Sanches (Lille)

Renato Sanches has been insane for the French side for two seasons now. The erstwhile prodigy, former Bayern Munich star, is rising despite being only 24 years old and having seen a lifetime of ups and downs. Lille lost a goal due to a late error in their final group game, but they were already safe at the top of their table, thanks to the versatile Sanches.

Right-Winger: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

In Group B, Salah scored seven goals, including some spectacular finishes, to lead Liverpool to a total of 18 points from a possible 18. The more dangerous the situation, the more he rises to the occasion. During the group stages, he had an 81 percent shooting accuracy with a goal every 66 minutes, and he was simply too hot to handle for Liverpool's opponents. So far this season, he has the best shooting percentage in the Premier League, and he will be vying for the Champions League Golden Boot as well.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Robert Lewandowski will be eager to show why he is one of the best forwards in the world after failing to win the Ballon d'Or this year and narrowly missing out last year. He's already scored nine goals, and with Bayern as one of the favorites to win the title, he'll likely score a few more. He had a hat-trick in the 5-2 win against Benfica and a double against Barcelona in the first game.

Second-striker: Sebastian Haller (Ajax)

Haller leads the competition in goals with ten, including four against Sporting Lisbon in one game. Haller had never played in the Champions League before September, which seems hard to fathom. It's even more difficult to recognize him as the West Ham United striker who fought for consistency. From five and a half games, he had a fantastic output of ten goals and two assists.

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