So, at the conclusion of another season, time to reflect on who the standout performers have been in this campaign.
After the first all German final in Champions League history, I decided to pick a best XI based on performances from this seasons competition.
Disagree? I’m sure you do! Feel free to post your own squads in the comments section below. But for the time being, here’s mine. Perhaps unsurprisingly it has a distinctly German feel to it:
(GK) Manuel Neuer – The German international has been touted as the top goalkeeper in the world for a couple of years now. This year in the Champions League, he has cemented that reputation.
Neuer has been one of the key men in preserving Bayern’s sterling defensive record. They conceded an all-time low number of goals in this seasons Bundesliga, and clean sheets in all four legs of the Quarter and Semifinals of the Champions League. In the final, Neuer made a string of top class saves to keep out a rampant Dortmund side in the early stages; Bayern can thank their stopper that they were still in a game at half time.
(RB) Philipp Lahm – Perhaps the easiest slot to pick on the team. The world’s best full-back finally picked up the silverware his talent warranted, as Lahm had a stellar season in this years competition.
While he may not be the most vocal of captains, he has lead by example this season. A positional master when it comes to defending and a menace with his attacking bursts, Lahm is one of the most complete players in the world game. He has created four goals for his teammates in this seasons European campaign, an excellent record for a full-back.
(RCB) Thiago Silva – The man at the heart of PSG’s run to the quarterfinals of the tournament was the Brazilian centre-back Thiago Silva.
The Parisians could consider themselves unlucky to go out against Barcelona, but it was in no part down to the failings of Silva. The former Milan man represents a dominating presence at the heart of the PSG defense. He is physically commanding, an excellent reader of the game (averaging nearly 4 interceptions on average per game in the Champions League) and confident in his distribution. Expect to see much more of him as the French champions build towards a promising future.
(LCB) Dante – A relative unknown quantity for many heading into this season, but Dante has proven to be one of the transfers on the season.
He has slotted into the Bayern defense with consummate ease. But don’t be fooled by his languid, composed style. The Brazilian international is quick across the ground and an expert at sniffing out danger early. The composed manner in which he brings the ball out has also been an impressive facet of his game, an increasingly important quality for the modern centre-half. He has completed 88% of his passes from the centre-back position.
(LB) David Alaba – Having impressed last season, Alaba missed last years final through suspension. But the burgeoning left-back has more than made up for that heartbreak this year.