Football

Who were the 5 best players of the Champions League group stages?

The Champions League group stages are almost over. Just one game remains, with the postponed meeting between Atalanta and Villarreal set to complete proceedings on Thursday evening.

The draw for the knockout stages is set to take place on Monday 13 December. But looking back on the group stages, there have been several standouts from a club perspective.

Six-time European champions Liverpool and Bayern Munich breezed through their respective groups. Along with four-time winners Ajax, they won all six of their group matches.

But who were the standout players from this season’s Champions League group stages?

Sébastien Haller

It’s hard to look past Ajax striker Haller for the number one spot. The former West Ham man hammered home ten goals from his six games. The forward scored half of his club’s 20 goals. He also helped out with two assists as the Dutch outfit stormed through Group C.

For whatever reason, he never hit the heights expected of him in east London. Perhaps it was simply a lack of opportunities, but it seems that both Haller and West Ham made the right decision. Haller will certainly never forget his debut Champions League campaign.

Robert Lewandowski

Unlike the Ajax striker, Lewandowski has been starring in Europe for years. He sits second in this season’s scoring charts with nine. The Polish forward also has two assists. He now occupies third spot in the Champions League all-time scoring charts with 82. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have more.

Bayern certainly look like the team to beat. They are the campaign’s highest scorers with 22, and are joint-level with Real Madrid on just three goals conceded. And their lethal forward has, as ever, been the key man in the final third.

Leroy Sané

Another Bayern Munich star that has been unstoppable in Europe. His five goals and four assists have been equally crucial to the German side’s success. A wicked left foot and dazzling dribbling have typified his displays in the competition.

At Manchester City, it was clear that the youngster was too promising to occupy a spot on the bench. His European adventure has proved to be a smart move, with Julian Nagelsmann now getting the best out of the winger.

Christopher Nkunku

Nkunku was one of the few bright lights in a difficult campaign for RB Leipzig. The German outfit were undoubtedly given an almost impossible task of qualifying when drawn alongside PSG and Man City.

In the end they fell short, but the versatile midfielder can hold his head high. He scored seven goals, kicking things off with a hat-trick against Pep Guardiola’s side. Will a move to pastures new be his reward? Eurosport says a move to Manchester United is a possibility.

Mohamed Salah

The Liverpool forward has been in sensational form this season. He hit seven goals in the group stages against stellar opposition in Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Porto. It seems that there isn’t a full-back out there who can stop the winger at the moment.

The Egyptian’s strike against Milan on Tuesday evening saw him become the first Liverpool player to score in five group matches of the same European campaign.

About the author

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Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.

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