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Champions League Team Of The Week: Gameweek 1

The Champions League group stage has kicked off, and unfortunately the Bundesliga’s representatives in the tournament performed quite poorly despite a 2-0 win over Roma for Bayern Munich. Besides Bayern Munich’s win, Schalke lost away to Lyon, and Werder Bremen only picked up a point at home to Tottenham.

Bayern Munich’s Hans-Jorg Butt gets my pick between the sticks this week, because of how composed he was whenever he had anything to deal with. There was one chance in particular, where after a defensive error Borriello was absolutely in the clear, and Butt used him body to block him and keep Bayern in the match. Top performance, despite having very little to do.

Werder Bremen’s Mikael Silvestre is my pick at left-back, after performing so well against Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon who really could have torn Werder Bremen to bits with his pace. Silvestre kept things relatively quiet on the right wing, only for Tottenham to terrorize Bremen down the left through Gareth Bale. A good performance from Silvestre though, used his experience well.

Bayern Munich’s Holger Badstuber is my first pick in the center of defense. His free-kick created Bayern Munich’s second goal, and his positional awareness made him unbeatable whenever he was tested. He certainly does look like he will mature into a top defender.

Bayern Munich’s Daniel van Buyten is my other pick in the center of defense, but not so much for his defending. Van Buyten pushed forward quite often and supplemented the Bayern Munich midfield, and also put in some very forward-thinking passes. Good game from the veteran defender, who is making a point of keeping Martin Demichelis out of the side.

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm gets my pick at right-back. I hate to have to nominate three players from the same team in defense, but Werder Bremen and Schalke conceded goals and made defensive errors that were quite laughable, so Lahm has to edge them for me. Christoph Moritz’s awful headed back-pass created Lyon’s goal, and Clemens Fritz was tormented time and again by Bale. Lahm kept things very composed at the back, and even pushed forward and had a few long shots that tested Julio Sergio in Roma’s goal.

On the left, Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin is my pick. Marin’s electric pace and creativity could not be kept under wraps despite the physical presence in Tottenham’s midfield of Tom Huddlestone and Wilson Palacios. Marin scored the goal that levelled the match for Werder Bremen as well, and had a chance to win the match as well.

In the middle, I have Werder Bremen’s Wesley. The summer signing, who joined from Santos, showed his versatility against Tottenham. Wesley can play at right-back, right midfield, central midfield, or in attacking midfield positions, and he really occupied them all at one point or another last night for Bremen. Wesley’s cross created Werder Bremen’s first goal, and his workrate and tackling showed a never-say-die attitude that Torsten Frings would have been proud of.

Next to Wesley, I have Bayern Munich’s van Bommel. The Bayern Munich and Holland captain sprayed some great balls into Bayern Munich’s attacking players, and held the midfield well against Pizarro and De Rossi. Van Bommel’s legs don’t look like going any time soon, which is a great sign for Bayern because he’ll be a very hard player to replace.

On the right, I have Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan. I thought he brought something extra to Schalke’s attack, something they sorely lacked at the weekend without him in the side. He forced an excellent save out of Hugo Lloris early on, and if not for Lloris, that goal may have won the game for Schalke.

Up top, I’ve got Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller and Bayern Munich’s Miroslav Klose. Mueller never stopped running, and his hard work finally paid off when he scored an absolutel wondergoal against the virtually unbeatable Julio Sergio. Excellent goal, and wonderful player. At only 21 years old, he really does look like the next great finisher in German football.

Miroslav Klose was subbed on with a point to prove, and almost instantly made it. After he scored, he pointed to van Gaal on the sideline just to show his coach that he should be a starter in the side. Klose’s heading ability and link-up play is still second to none, even if his finishing can be questionable at times.

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  1. David

    September 17, 2010 at 3:02 am

    And how Liverpool could still use Hyypiä to teach a thing or two to Agger & Skirtl, two talents who have yet to blossom, if they ever will.

  2. Will G

    September 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Nice player picks. Sil­vestre looked good. Very curious how he will do in the Bundesliga. Listening to EPL fans one would think he’s 40 and done.

    • Dylan Thomas

      September 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      I’m an Arsenal fan, and I’ll let you know that he is forty and done! But, oddly, he looked good the other night. He’s a leader and he’s got loads of experience, so maybe he’ll have a good time in the Bundesliga like Hyypia has.

  3. David

    September 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I just checked, since he looks kind of small on the field, at least to me — Badstuber is almost as tall as I am (!) at 6′ 2½”. I guess he just needs to add some muscle to look more terrifying on the field. If only Boateng could get significant minutes in the middle w/Manchester City (won’t happen,) those two could be an impenetrable wall in Germany’s central defense for a long, long time.

  4. David

    September 16, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Have to slightly disagree with you on Silvestre. Not knocking him, but rather Lennon. He’s overrated. He’s speedy but runs in straight lines & can’t cross. He’d be better if he used his speed to run to the byline & cut back, but I don’t think his brain allows for that.

    Marin was fantastic, but I’m afraid you may be right that this could cost Bremen. Then again, if Spurs keep folding like that they’ll have problems. I think Redknapp is an idiot who will be found out in the Champions League. They had a great run at the end of last season to get into CL qualifying, but w/o ol’ whatshisname, their injured striker, they’ll be inconsistent with scoring. I hope so, because I hate them.

    I had no idea Badstuber could put in free kicks like that. He just keeps getting better & better.

    It’s funny — at 79 minutes you wouldn’t have picked Müller & Klose, & then bang.

    • Dylan Thomas

      September 16, 2010 at 8:02 am

      Lennon can be excellent when he’s given a bit of space. Even when he isn’t, he beats his man and gets the ball into the box. I thought Silvestre defended deep and really just blocked the right-channel off really effectively. I’ve seen Lennon ruin sides; Werder Bremen did well not to let that happen.

      I hate Spurs too, I’m an Arsenal supporter! But I think because of this point, they may end up going through the group. Hopefully they get Barca and get tonked. Without Defoe, yes, it’s a big blow, but Pavlyuchenko and Crouch are reliable too.

      I love Badstuber. He was incredible in Germany’s last match too, playing all those through-balls into Mario Gomez! He’s really going to be top quality when he’s older.

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