Goal.com selects the best performers of the third matchday in Europe's premier club competition, as this week saw attacking football reign supreme on the continentThe third week of the Champions League has now come and gone, but it was arguably the most memorable round of the elite tournament so far this season.
The action exploded into life on Tuesday when reigning champions Chelsea fell to defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk and both Barcelona and Manchester United needed late goals to spare their blushes against Celtic and Braga. However, the biggest shock came in Denmark, where Nordsjaelland held Juventus to a stalemate.
And for the purists, Wednesday was equally as entertaining, although not if you were a fan of Arsenal or Manchester City. The English giants were undone by Schalke and Ajax respectively while, at Signal Iduna Park, Borussia Dortmund downed Real Madrid to pile further German misery on Jose Mourinho's men. With the most recent batch fixtures now out of the way, Goal.com proudly presents to you the definitive XI of the round.
To get the best out of our picks, we've opted for a 3-4-1-2 formation. Starting with the position of goalkeeper, despite Petr Cech and Mario Felgueiras making valid cases for the spot between the sticks, it could only be Celtic's Fraser Forster in our eyes. The England prospect pulled off some world-class stops, especially in the second half, that will surely baffle Lionel Messi in the coming days.
At the back, the experience of Martin Demichelis could not be ignored. The Malaga defender stood tall for the entire duration of the 1-0 win over AC Milan and marked Giampaolo Pazzini out of the game. Partnering him is Ivan Runje, whose iron-clad commitment to the Nordsjaelland cause proved instrumental in limiting the Old Lady to a point. Last but not least, Nicklas Moisander's fine job in nullifying Edin Dzeko and scoring once more puts him in our dream team.
In midfield, Jefferson Farfan may not have got on the score-sheet against the Gunners, but the Royal Blues' man was a constant thorn in the opposition outfit, giving Andre Santos plenty of food for thought and Ibrahim Afellay an assist on a silver platter. Next to him is Fernandinho, who picked out passes for fun and netted the match-winner against the Blues, while Manuel Iturra continues to shine at the highest level for Malaga. The new boy put in yet another steam-driven display to keep his place, and, down the left, we have Marcel Schmelzer. The German had garnered criticism earlier in the season but has since silenced the doubters; his rule over Angel Di Maria and second-half strike particularly impressive.
For a round of matches that conjured up 43 goals in total, competition for places in attack was as brutal and fiery as ever. Still, we managed to whittle our choices down to just the three, beginning with the inclusion of Willian. Never a dull moment, the Brazilian ace was full of tricks and flicks and acted as his side's creative hub in the win over Chelsea. Stationed in front of him is Javier Hernandez, whose decisive pair of goals against Braga saw him capture all of the backpages in Britain and pose Sir Alex Ferguson a selection headache on Wednesday, but this week's hero is undoubtedly Roberto Soldado thanks to his magnificent hat-trick against BATE Borisov.
|vs AC Milan (H)||vs Juventus (H)||vs Manchester City (H)|
|vs Arsenal (A)||vs Chelsea (H)||vs AC Milan (H)||vs Real Madrid (A)|
| SHAKHTAR DONETSK
|vs Chelsea (H)|
|vs BATE Borisov (A)||vs Braga (H)|