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Champions League Team of the Week - Raphinha, Antoine Griezmann, Vinicius Junior

Sports Mole picks its Team of the Week from the first legs of the Champions League quarter-finals, including Raphinha, Antoine Griezmann and Vinicius Junior.

Eighteen goals were scored across this week's four Champions League quarter-final first legs, with each fixture producing wonderful entertainment.

All four of the match-ups are delicately poised ahead of the return fixtures, with Real Madrid and Manchester City playing out a 3-3 on Tuesday evening at Bernabeu.

Arsenal also drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, before it was the turn of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to take to the field on Wednesday.

Barcelona recorded a 3-2 victory over PSG in Paris, while Atletico were 2-1 winners over Dortmund at Wanda Metropolitano, with the Red and Whites the only home side to triumph in the round of matches.

Here, Sports Mole selects its standout XI from the first leg of the 2023-24 Champions League quarter-finals.


DEFENCE

Barcelona defender Joao Cancelo on September 23, 2023© Reuters

Standout performances from goalkeepers were at a premium, with the goals flying in, but Gregor Kobel did put in a solid display in BVB's narrow loss at Atletico. The 26-year-old conceded twice, with the first very untidy, but the stopper made seven saves in total, keeping his side in the contest, while he was also impressive in possession of the ball, completing 40 of his 45 passes in the Spanish capital.

The second Dortmund player to make this XI is Ryerson, who was unfortunate to be on the losing side. The 26-year-old completed three dribbles and made two tackles against Atletico, while he finished with a pass success rate of 94%, completing 64 of his 68 passes during a strong all-round performance.

Joao Cancelo also makes it for his display in Barcelona's success over PSG, with the Portugal international making five tackles, while he also had two shots and finished with a pass success rate of 93%.

The defensive side of this team is completed by Cesar Azpilicueta, who was one of Atletico's strongest performers against Dortmund. The 34-year-old was solid defensively, but he also offered progressive passing from the back, completing 64 of his 68 passes, while he had three successful dribbles.


MIDFIELD

Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their second goal on April 9, 2024© Reuters

A four-man midfield includes two players from Man City, with Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden both excellent in their side's 3-3 draw with Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

Bernardo made the breakthrough at Bernabeu with a clever free kick, while he made two tackles and finished with a pass success rate of 92% during an excellent performance, with the 29-year-old again showing his class.

Foden was also outstanding, scoring with a wonderful effort in the 66th minute, and his use of the ball in a crowded area was also strong, completing 43 of his 46 passes.

Federico Valverde also makes it for his performance against Man City; his standout moment came in the 79th minute, firing a wonderful effort into the back of the net to level the scores at 3-3, but it was the Uruguay international's overall display which impressed the most, as he contributed at both ends of the field.

The midfield is completed by Leon Goretzka, who was the best midfielder on the pitch during Bayern's 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Tuesday night. The 29-year-old provided the assist for Serge Gnabry to score, while he was a calming presence in the middle, boasting a pass success rate of 91% at the Emirates Stadium.


ATTACK

Barcelona's Raphinha celebrates scoring their first goal on April 10, 2024© Reuters

Raphinha was outstanding in Barcelona's 3-2 win over PSG on Wednesday, with the Brazilian coming up with an excellent brace in the French capital. The 27-year-old had six shots in total, and he was a constant menace to PSG, who struggled to deal with his pace and trickery during the first leg.

Vinicius Junior makes it, meanwhile, for his performance against Man City, with the Brazilian setting up Rodrygo and Valverde to score in the Spanish capital. The 23-year-old also had three shots of his own, and he made it a very uncomfortable night for Man City's defenders due to his game intelligence and quality.

The lineup is completed by Antoine Griezmann, who played a vital role in Atletico's home success over Dortmund. The Frenchman set up Samuel Lino for his side's second of the match, and BVB found it incredibly difficult to get to grips with his movement and the positions on the field that he was taking up.


SPORTS MOLE'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

CL TOTW QF1

Sports Mole's Champions League Team of the Week (4-4-2): Kobel; Ryerson, Azpilicueta, Cancelo; B Silva, Valverde, Goretzka, Foden; Raphinha, Griezmann, Vinicius


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