Now that the dust has settled on the 2019/20 Champions League campaign now is a great time to reflect.
As I’m sure we all know by now Bayern Munich lifted the grandest prize in European football. Beating PSG 1-0 in an entertaining enough final this past weekend in Lisbon.
Like most years we have had plenty of huge talking points throughout the duration of the tournament. The demise of Barcelona, the straight knockout format that went down well and underdogs Lyon and RB Leipzig almost going the distance been a few examples.
So now with all of that in the rear-view mirror and qualifications for the 2020/21 tournament already under way. Let’s pick our Team of the Season from the Champions League 2019/20 competition.
For this TOTS selection I have gone for a boring 4-4-2 formation. Not the most exciting but it’s how I felt I could fit in the most worthy players.
Even at that some great performers had to miss out. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thiago Alcantara, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leon Goretzka and Marcel Sabitzer had to miss out. Class them as unofficial honourable mentions as we won’t be including subs.
No before you start Lionel Messi isn’t here. He had a lacklustre tournament and you know getting beat 8-2 isn’t a good look.
Now on with the list.
GK – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Obviously with them winning the thing this is the first of many Bayern Munich inclusions.
It’s crazy to think that in recent seasons the stock of Manuel Neuer somewhat dropped. Many questioned was his time at such a high level finished. Especially with the rise of younger European goalkeepers making the headlines.
During this seasons Champions League, he has been back to his fantastic old self.
He kept six clean sheets in this year’s competition. The most of any goalkeeper. Giving him an overall tally of 28 clean sheets in the Champions League.
Of course, he had a great defence in front of him. But he had to pull of plenty of super saves to help his side reach the final.
As Munich’s captain Neuer was rewarded in the end by getting his hands of the trophy and lifting it above his head as a champion.
RB – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
So far, it’s a fun list for Munich fans.
Kimmich is a very versatile player. But he is most known for playing as a right back. He is a very good one at that. Keeping another Bayern right back Benjamin Pavard out of the team which takes some doing.
Kimmich was unplayable in this seasons Champions League.
As a defender he helped Munich keep those six clean sheets.
However, like most modern full backs he also caused damage going forward.
He created the most chances than any other player in the competition with 28. With one of those been the cross into Kingsley Coman to score the goal to win them the competition.
Kimmich also popped up with two goals himself.
The Champions League was kind to Joshua Kimmich this season.
CB – Marquinhos (PSG)
Brining a halt to the early Munich domination in the team with another fellow finalist.
While some would have picked fellow teammate Thiago Silva. Especially considering his good performance in the final it’s Marquinhos who gets the nod from me.
Another player who can and has played in two different positions. For me anyway he does his best work as a centre back.
He is much more secure compared to his teammate Silva.
Marquinhos was a vital member of the PSG team during the entire competition. But really came into his own with his performances during the knockout rounds post lockdown.
Even though he played as a defensive midfielder for a lot of the tournament. Arguably his best performances came against Dortmund in the last 16 where he played as a defender.
During the games he was in the back four PSG only conceded a single goal.
Marquinhos played 11 times during the 2019/20 addition of the Champions League. Scoring two vital goals in the quarter and semi finals to help his side secure a place in the final.
CB – Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Leipzig were one of the dark horses of the competition. With a good young manager and a talented squad, they got all the way to the semi-finals.
While plenty of players made a great account of themselves. It was Dayot Upamecano that was their shining star in the Champions League for them.
At the young age of 21 Upamecano has proved himself as one of the top defenders in European football. His performance against Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals was immense.
RB Leipzig managed three clean sheets during the competition. With a lot of the defensive praise falling on this young man.
If he can bring the same performances to the 2020/21 tournament expect Upamecano to become hot property for the best and brightest in European football.
LB – Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Another excellent young talent that has burst on to the scene is this pacey Canadian full back.
Out of nowhere Davies has become one of the most exciting players in World football. A lot of that has to do with his performances on the Champions League stage.
At the tender age of 19 Davies has all the attributes to become a top full back. With his outing against Barcelona in the quarter finals really impressing.
He played eight times in the 2019/20 Champions League. Setting up four goals in the process.
Davies is already starting to turn heads. If he can keep performing like this on the big stage the future is bright for this teen.
RW – Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
It is baffling to think that Tony Pulis once said that this guy wasn’t up to the standard of West Brom.
While not many believed he would find the success he did when he left England. That statement turned out to be completely tone deaf.
Gnabry has been a revelation this season. He is really starting to show his true ability that we seen glimpses of as a youngsters at Arsenal.
Doing some of his best work in the Champions League. He scored nine goals in the competition the third highest of the competition. Three of which came against his old North London rivals Tottenham when he scored a hattrick.
Gnabry also came up with two assists on route to lifting the famous trophy.
He is proving a worthy replacement for Arjen Robben on the right flank for Munich.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Probably not one that has been on the list of many. Especially considering their surprising earlier elimination at the hands of Lyon.
Forgetting about their quarter final exit City have had some good performers in the most recent Champions League. With midfield maestro De Bruyne been the best of the bunch for our money.
He played in seven games during the tournament. Scoring and assisting two goals during that time. With his goal against Real Madrid in the last 16 turning out to be crucial for advancing to the quarter finals.
While it wasn’t a Champions League to look back on for Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne can certainly be proud of his individual performances.
CM – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
This is an inclusion that gives me great joy as a Muller fan. Not that long ago he fell down the pecking order at Munich and his days at the club seemed numbered.
That changed when new manager Han – Dieter Flick arrived. He reinvigorated the German legend and put him back in the team. In fairness to Muller he paid back his manager and then some.
During this Champions League campaign, he scored four goals for his club. Along with assisting two goals on route to becoming overall winners.
He is only behind fellow members Kimmich and De Bruyne for chances created during the competition.
His revival has been a pleasure to watch and he only got better as the tournament went on. Showing that while he is 30, he can still hang with the young guns currently occupying the Munich team.
LW – Neymar (PSG)
While he can be a divisive figure for his ridiculous diving antics. Even his harshest critics would have felt sorry for Neymar as he broke down in tears after failing to win the Champions League.
While some of his conduct can be frustrating his natural gifted ability can’t be denied.
Some of his attacking counterparts like Mbappe and Di Maria did score more goals. But overall, some of Neymar’s performances were special to watch. He showed once again on the big stage that he is one of the elite players in World football.
He was arguably the best player in the post lockdown mini tournament in Portugal.
Overall Neymar scored three goals and earned four assist for his PSG side.
With his two goals against Dortmund in the last 16 proving vital.
While it did end in tears for Neymar once the hurt goes away, he will find it was a Champions League campaign to be proud of for him.
ST – Erling Haaland (RB Salzburg/Borussia Dortmund)
What is he doing here he played for two different clubs during the campaign? Didn’t his team get knocked out at the last 16?
Well keep it shut for a minute and let me explain my selection. Jesus sorry lads that one got a tad confrontational.
Anyway, swiftly moving on.
While all valid points Haaland was outstanding during the 2019/20 competition.
This was his debut campaign in the Champions League. He finished it as the second highest scorer with 10 goals. Haaland even netted a hattrick against Genk in the group stages for Salzburg on his Champions League debut.
He would continue his hot streak when he signed for Dortmund back in January. Including scoring twice against PSG in the last 16.
Another young player with the world at his feet. Haaland has already shown he is more than capable to perform consistently on these big stages.
ST – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
What can we say about this man that hasn’t already been said?
He had an unbelievable season overall in domestic and European football. Surly he was going to win the Ballon d’Or if the ceremony wasn’t cancelled.
He capped off an extraordinary season with a Champions League winners medal certainly not a bad compromise.
It was a highly successful Champions League campaign on a personal note for Lewandowski. He scored a staggering 15 goals from his 11 appearances in the competition. The highest scorer of the competition.
While a lot of young lads shined in the 2019/20 competition it was 32-year-old Lewandowski that was head and shoulders above everyone.
He is aging like a fine wine and Bayern Munich continue to have an elite striker on their hands. He truly deserves all the accolades that come his way after the season he just had.