As Bayern Munich celebrate defeating Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final, we pick our best XI from this year’s competition.
From Celtic’s unforgettable home win against Barcelona in the group stages, to Dortmund’s last-gasp triumph in the quarter-finals against Malaga, to Bayern’s incredible 7-0 aggregate win over Barca in the final four, this year’s competition has had something for everyone.
We have intently watched and pored over the statistics to bring you our best XI, selected in a 4-2-3-1 formation that both finalists used, and seven substitutes.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Neuer has excelled for Bayern this season and his importance in the Champions League has been vital, with the German not conceding in either of the club’s quarter-final and semi-final aggregate wins.
Defence: Phillip Lahm (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund)
Bayern captain Lahm has been excellent at the back and still threatening going forward. With four assists, more than any other defender in the competition, he has created more goals than the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Andrea Pirlo.
Silva’s ability at the back was a key reason why PSG reached the last eight of the Champions League. The composed defender completed over 85 percent of his passes and averaged six clearances and four tackles per game. He also chipped in with two goals.
At the age of just 24, Subotic’s performances this season will have the brains trust at Dortmund seriously excited. The Serb has made an average of 13 clearances per match, more than any other player, saving the best until the final.
Left-back Schmelzer’s energy has given Dortmund another dimension, the consistent 25-year-old has covered the most ground of any player in the Champions League, and netted a winner against Real Madrid in the group stages.
Defensive Midfield: Xavi (Barcelona), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Veteran midfielder Xavi has been hugely impressive for Barca in the Champions League, scoring a vital spot-kick against PSG and provided four assists. He was typically efficient on the ball, completing over 95 percent of his passes.
Schweinsteiger has led by example for Bayern, scoring against Lille and Valencia in the group stages and notching four assists as the Bundesliga champions showed just why they are one of the top teams in European football.
Attacking Midfield: Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Despite provoking the ire of the Dortmund fans by opting to move to Bayern at the end of the season, Goetze must be given huge credit for his contributions in Europe this season. The 20-year-old missed the final but scored against Ajax and Shakhtar Donetsk and laid on five assists in Juergen Klopp’s men’s storied run.
Few players have been more important to Bayern Munich’s fortunes in the Champions League than Mueller. The 23-year-old netted eight goals in the competition this term, including three in the 7-0 aggregate demolition of Barcelona in the semi-finals, to inspire the Bavarians to their the third final in four years.
It was another season of Champions League domination for Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended the season as the competition’s top scorer after finding the back of the net a remarkable 12 times. The Portuguese was adept at providing crucial goals throughout the tournament, netting the winner against Manchester City in the group stages and Manchester United in the last 16.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
Ronaldo may have bagged the golden boot, but the star of this season’s Champions League was undoubtedly Lewandowski, who netted 10 goals in the competition, four of which came in his superb outing in the semi-finals against Real Madrid.
Substitutes: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) netted eight goals for the Catalan club but could not make an impact in the last four due to injury. Roman Weidenfeller and Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) have been stellar for a team that only conceded 14 goals.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus) contributed three goals and three assists from midfield, Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray) was a surprise talisman with eight goals, Mesut Oezil (Real Madrid) provided four assists and Oscar was Chelsea’s star man with five goals in their unsuccessful campaign.