UCL Top 5: Costa stars for Bayern, Thiago inspires PSG

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Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain head up this week's UCL top 5.

YOU have direct influence on who appears in each Top Five so be sure to rate each weekend.

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DOUGLAS COSTA (BAYERN MUNICH) – 6.78

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller may be the ones with their name on the scoresheet but without the pin point crossing and energy of Douglas Costa, Bayern’s miraculous fightback against Juventus would have been impossible.

Costa achieved 114 touches, 7 shots, 5 chances created, and 9 dribbles and alongside Arturo Vidal, was almost entirely responsible for Bayern’s offensive play.

JEROEN ZOET (PSV) – 6.64

Given the goalkeeper’s contributions over two legs, the Dutchman did not deserve to finish on the losing side.

Zoet denied Atlético forward Antoine Griezmann on a number of occasions while tippeing a Fernando Torres effort onto the post in extra-time. If it wasn’t for Zoet the game would never have gone as far as penalties.

THIAGO SILVA (PSG) – 6.61

Thiago Silva had a busy night dealing with the irrepressive Diego Costa and made a good job of containing his former international colleague.

Silva did make one slip-up which allowed Costa to score but other than that the PSG skipper’s full-blooded apporach to the match helped snuff out Chelsea attacks on several occasions.

THIAGO MOTTA (PSG) – 6.60

The former Italy international wound back the years to produce a vitage display and was the catalyst for most of PSG’s attacks.

Motta had an important defensive role to play, keeping Cesc Fabregas under wraps, and despite giving away the odd foul proved he was not shy of doing the dirty work.

YEVHEN KHACHERIDI (DYNAMO KIEV) – 6.50

One of the only Dynamo Kiev players to emerge from lifeless draw which saw them knocked out of the Champions League against Manchester City was the hustling defending defender.

Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas were all bundled off the ball or into touch at one point or another by the energetic Khacheridi and there is no doubt that City would have had a few more goals if it were not for his interventions.

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UCL: Bayern mount comeback, Barcelona cruise

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Celebrations: Bayern.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich completed an impressive Champions League comeback over 120 minutes to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of Juventus.

The Serie A leaders – and last year’s beaten finalists – thought they had done enough to eliminate Bayern in their own Allianz Arena thanks to first-half goals from Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado.

But Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller struck after the break to send the game into extra time, and Juve’s race was run when Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman earned Bayern a 4-2 win.

Guardiola will now watch Friday’s draw with interest as he looks to avoid former employers Barcelona and future paymasters Manchester City, with Real Madrid and Paris St Germain also lurking.

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all got on the scoresheet as Barcelona comfortably completed their task against Arsenal at the Nou Camp to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

The hosts, 2-0 up from leg one, ran out 3-1 winners in the last-16 second leg for a 5-1 victory on aggregate.

Arsenal briefly had some hope when Mohamed Elneny’s fine 51st-minute strike from the edge of the box levelled things on the night, an effort replying to Neymar’s slotted 18th-minute opener.

But Suarez then sent an excellent first-time volley into the corner in the 65th minute, and Messi lifted a deft finish over David Ospina with two minutes remaining.

Gunners forward Danny Welbeck clipped the crossbar with a shot soon after Suarez’s goal, but the outcome never really looked in any doubt as Barcelona continued their pursuit of back-to-back Champions League titles.

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Bayern Munich v Juventus - 5 talking points ahead of UCL showdown

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The two teams are level at 2-2 after the first leg, although Bayern have two away goals.

Will Morata be able to deliver?

Juve’s highest scorer Paulo Dybala (18 goals) is out of tonight’s match while their second-best marksman, Mario Mandzukic (9 goals), is a doubt.

What that means is the goalscoring responsibility will be thrust on the talented but inconsistent Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard was brilliant in Europe last season but has just one goal in his last nine games in all competitions.

How do Juve stop Bayern?

It’s not just that Bayern are virtually unbeatable – with just three defeats all season – it’s that they score at an alarming rate.

With 20 goals in their last eight games, only once have they failed to find the target – the 0-0 draw with Dortmund.

Thomas Muller (above) averages a goal every 72 minutes at the Allianz Arena this term. Robert Lewandowski an even more terrifying one every 60.

Can Pep answer his critics?

With Juventus’ injuries and the Bavarians having two away goals, they are firm favourites.

But Guardiola still needs to get them over the line against an excellent side. There has been criticism throughout his time at Bayern that his side are flattrack bullies who struggle against the elite when it comes to the crunch.

He’ll want to change that perception.

Midfield mates

Among the many intriguing individual battles will be Arturo Vidal against his former Bianconeri colleague Paul Pogba and Juventus’ Sami Khedira (above) versus his ex-Real Madrid team-mate Xabi Alonso, although the veteran may be on the Bayern bench.

With Guardiola placing so much emphasis on the middle of the part, Juve’s duo will need to dominate to get anything from the tie.

Is Gotze on the way out?

When Mario Gotze made the controversial move from Dortmund to Bayern in 2013 he had the world at his feet.

Admittedly, the 23-year-old did score the winner in a World Cup final but his days at Bayern look numbered as Guardiola has lost all faith.

With two months of the season left, he’s either playing to try and impress incoming boss Carlo Ancelotti or whoever his suitors are.

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