Champions League team of the week: Matchday four

Matchday four of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League season had a little bit of everything.

‘A huge upset?’

Check. Barcelona were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk.

‘A seven goal thriller?’

Check. Copenhagen beat Man Utd 4-3.

‘A thumping win?’

Check. Atletico Madrid pummelled Celtic 6-0.

And after all of that fun, here’s 90min’s Champions League team of the week…

GK: Andriy Lunin (Real Madrid)

Alvaro Djalo, Andriy Lunin

Saved a pen / David Ramos/GettyImages

Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Braga at the Santiago Bernabeu was as comfortable as it sounds, but it could’ve been a lot different if Andriy Lunin wasn’t in goal.

The Madrid reserve goalkeeper made a stunning penalty save when it was 0-0 and gave his team the platform to go and win the game.

RB: Giorgi Gocholeishvili (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Giorgi GocholeishviliGiorgi Gocholeishvili

Very good outing / Fantasista/GettyImages

Shakhtar needed some heroic performances in order to shock Barcelona and they got exactly that from Gocholeishvili.

The full-back was brilliant defensively, winning dix duals and recovering possession on seven occasions, and offensively too, with his cross from the right flank setting up the winning goal.

CB: Yaroslav Rakitskyi (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Mykola Matvienko, Yaroslav RakitskyiMykola Matvienko, Yaroslav Rakitskyi

Yaroslav Rakitskyi impressed / Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

It’s fair to say that Rakitskyi put in a proper bruising throwback defensive performance against Barcelona.

The veteran centre-back made a whopping 13 clearances in the win, including 10 with his head alone. Move over Harry Maguire, there’s a new slabhead in town.

CB: Pepe (Porto)

PepePepe

Still going strong / Octavio Passos/GettyImages

The oldest scorer in Champions League history thanks to his goal in the win over Royal Antwerp.

Somehow, Pepe is still as good as he ever was.

LB: Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)

Theo HernandezTheo Hernandez

Theo impressed again / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

Right now, there isn’t a better left-back in the world than Theo Hernandez.

The France international proved that once again on Tuesday evening, winning an impressive seven duals and bagging an assist in Milan’s famous – and badly needed – win over Paris Saint-Germain.

CM: Xaver Schlager (RB Leipzig)

FBL-EUR-C1-RED STAR-LEIPZIGFBL-EUR-C1-RED STAR-LEIPZIG

Midfield masterclass / PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/GettyImages

Schlager is a type of catchy instrumental accompaniment to vocal pieces of pop music with simple, happy-go-lucky, and often sentimental lyrics, and also a bloody good central midfielder.

The Austrian put in a masterclass against Crvene zvezda, bagging two assists and generally being at the heart of everything good RB Leipzig did in Belgrade.

CM: Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad)

Mikel MerinoMikel Merino

Top showing / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Yep, this is the Mikel Merino who played for Newcastle United.

The midfielder has gone from Mapies flop to Spain international since moving to Real Sociedad, and judging his goal and assist in the win over Benfica it’s easy to see why he now has 18 caps to his name.

CM: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

Antoine GriezmannAntoine Griezmann

Back to his best / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Antoine Griezmann has made it into our midfield this week because that’s where he tore Celtic limb from limb from on Tuesday.

The Atleti legend scored a brace in the 6-0 win, including a face-melter of a second goal (check it out if you haven’t already).

AM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (AC Milan)

Ruben Loftus-CheekRuben Loftus-Cheek

Fit and firing / Francesco Scaccianoce/GettyImages

The year is 2023 and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is making Champions League team of the weeks for his performances with AC Milan. That’s not something we expected to write when RLC was bursting on the scene at Chelsea and looked set to be their next great midfielder.

Loftus-Cheek has been impressing since making a free agent move to San Siro, saving his best performance to date for the win over PSG.

ST: Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)

Harry KaneHarry Kane

Scoring for fun / Markus Gilliar – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Games played: 15

Goals: 19

Assists: 7

Harry Kane has been in outrageous form since joining Bayern Munich. The England captain bagged yet another brace in the win over Galatasaray which sealed his new club’s qualification to the knockout rounds as Group A winners. Nice one.

ST: Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid)

Alvaro MorataAlvaro Morata

In-form / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Alvaro Morata has quietly been in the form of his life in the early months of the 2023/24 campaign for Atletico Madrid.

The forward bagged two goals – his 11th and 12th the season already – and an assist in Atleti’s thumping win over Celtic.

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