Champions League Team of the Week: Real Madrid destroyer Angel Di Maria stars with Erling Haaland

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The first round of Champions League fixtures are done and several players wasted no time making their mark on this edition.

Two hat-tricks were scored this week, including one from a teenage debutant. Meanwhile, Real Madrid were put to the sword by a former player.

Here’s our Team of the Week.

(4-3-3)

GK: MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN | BARCELONA

If not for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Marco Reus would likely have made this week’s team. The Barcelona keeper denied his compatriot on multiple occasions, even saving his penalty. Ter Stegen was flawless between the sticks and made good saves look routine.

RB: KIERAN TRIPPIER | ATLETICO MADRID

Trippier contained Cristiano Ronaldo reasonably well without really being sucked into one-on-one battles. The Englishman supplied 11 crosses, including seven key passes. He delivered the corner for Hector Herrera’s late equaliser and even made a goal-line clearance.

CB: MATS HUMMELS | BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Outstanding in defence and showed why Dortmund re-signed him. His reading of the game was superb, making eight interceptions to break up several attacks. He also registered four tackles and nine clearances as he lead the back-line expertly against Barca.

CB: NICOLAS TAGLIAFICO | AJAX

The Ajax left-back has rarely featured in the middle of defence but we had to fit him into this XI after his goal and assist against Lille. With eight tackles and eight interceptions, he was brilliant in defence. He set up Quincy Promes for the opener and rounded off the scoring with a bullet header of his own.

LB: JUAN BERNAT | PSG

Juan Bernat is the reason for Tagliafico’s move into central defence. His run and cut-back for Angel Di Maria’s opener was excellent but not as good as his selfless play at the death when he combined with Thomas Meunier for the Belgian to slot home the third goal.

Juan Bernat

CM: THIAGO ALCANTARA | BAYERN MUNICH

Not enough praise is showered on Thiago Alcantara. Apart from setting up Thomas Muller for the third goal with a clever chipped free-kick, the Spaniard was indomitable in midfield. He absolutely bossed proceedings with 110 passes, controlling the game effortlessly.

Thiago Alcantara

CM: RIYAD MAHREZ | MANCHESTER CITY

Having been afforded a start by Pep Guardiola, Riyad Mahrez grabbed the opportunity with both hands and delivered a match-winning display. He was heavily involved in the final third and was alert to break the deadlock before assisting Ilkay Gundogan as well.

CM: ANGEL DE MARIA | PSG

Never mind filling in for one superstar, Di Maria did so for three. With Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar all unavailable, the Argentine stepped up and produced a couple of stunning goals to inspire PSG to a resounding win over Madrid. He came close to completing his hat-trick a couple of times.

Angel Di Maria

RW: MISLAV ORSIC | DINAMO ZAGREB

A measured finish from outside the area saw him slot away his first before he was on hand to nod into an empty net from Bruno Petkovic’s knockdown. Peeled away from the right-back well before bringing down the ball and finishing with aplomb in the far corner for his third goal.

ST: ERLING HAALAND| RB SALZBURG

The last player to score a hat-trick on his Champions League debut was Wayne Rooney. If Erling Haaland is anywhere near as good, he has a decent career ahead of him. He showed great composure and clinical finishing for his treble, profiting from some good work by strike partner Hwang Hee-Chan.

LW: TIMO WERNER | RB LEIPZIG

His two goals in the second half came against the run of play. His first in particular was instinctive as he hit a loose ball first time past the keeper from just inside the box. It was a sucker punch to Benfica who were the team on top. A poacher’s finish then secured the points with Portuguese outfit only having time to halve the deficit before the final whistle.

Timo Werner

Timo Werner

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