Following Bayern Munich’s final triumph, Goal looks back at a memorable campaign, picking out the 11 players who made the difference and kept us firmly on the edge of our seats
Another enthralling season of Champions League action has ended after Bayern Munich’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
Bayern’s triumph in the all-German final caps a remarkable continental campaign, where we saw favourites Barcelona and Real Madrid crash out in the semi-finals and no Premier League sides make it past the first knockout round.
Our team, selected in a 4-2-3-1 formation, has a few key parameters. Players must have played on the side of the pitch they are listed in positionally for their clubs over the course of the tournament, while the 11 players were selected from the list of top performers for each position on our player ratings index. Only players who reached the quarter-finals or further were considered.
Here is Goal’s Champions League Team of the Season:
Debutants Malaga were the tournament’s surprise package this season, blitzing their way into the quarter-finals before they were controversially defeated by Dortmund having had one foot in the last four.
Key to their performances was Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero. The shot stopper’s displays in both legs against Jurgen Klopp’s side were inspirational and the reason they came so close to progression.
Philipp Lahm was the man who lifted the trophy for Bayern Munich after another season where he proved himself to be right up there with the game’s most consistent full-backs. Outstanding in both legs against Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Italian champions Juventus conceded only eight goals from 10 games in the tournament and key to those performances was Leonardo Bonucci as Antonio Conte’s men progressed to the quarter-finals before falling to the eventual winners. Edged out Dante for selection after the Brazilian’s poor showing in the final.
Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain impressed in the tournament under coach Carlo Ancelotti, reaching the last eight where they only suffered a narrow away-goals defeat to Barcelona. Thiago Silva again underlined his credentials as one of the world’s best centre-backs with a string of solid displays, including against the Catalans.
Alongside Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini ensured Juventus’ defence was a formidable obstacle for Champions League attackers this season. Chiellini slots in at left-back given that he played on the left-hand side of the Turin side’s back-three.
Bastian Schweinsteiger played alongside Javi Martinez at the base of Bayern’s midfield to provide the cornerstone of the German club’s success this season. The duo were vital in orchestrating the progress over Juventus and Barcelona, before combining again in the final to help them to victory.
Arturo Vidal’s all-action performances in midfield have made him indispensable to Antonio Conte if Juventus are to build a squad that can go further than the last eight next time around. He played a crucial role in dumping out holders Chelsea in the group stages, scoring against the Blues home and away.
Big-game failure had become synonymous with Arjen Robben until Saturday’s final at Wembley. Indecision in the first half failed to knock the Dutchman out of his stride as he set up Bayern’s opener and then scored the priceless late winner to defeat Dortmund and cap what has been an excellent individual tournament.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Mario Gotze. After announcing he would be joining his current club’s rivals Bayern, he suffered an injury in the semi-finals which saw him ruled out of the final. But that should not overshadow the huge role he played throughout Dortmund’s run to Wembley, with his creative performance in the 4-1 win over Real Madrid still firmly etched in the public’s consciousness.
It was another prolific campaign for Cristiano Ronaldo in Europe, with his Champions League goals tally now sitting at a round 50 for his career. Scored in both legs of an emotional victory over Manchester United in the last 16 and ended the competition with 12 goals and the Golden Boot award.
Lionel Messi may not have added another Champions League winners’ medal to his collection this season, but he was highly effective again in Europe’s elite club competition. Was inspirational in getting his side past PSG in the last eight and his fitness worries proved costly against Bayern in the last four. Finished up with eight goals to take his overall tournament tally to 59 as he closes in on Raul at the top of the all-time top goalscorers’ list.
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