Champions League Team of the Group Stage: Xavi, Cavani & Gomez star in Europe's elite tournament

Goal.com selects the cream of the crop from the first six matchdays with some names from smaller clubs across the continent joining top stars in our best XI
Champions League

Team Of The Group Stage:

Matchdays 1-6

Tables/Results


GOALKEEPER

Vyacheslav MALAFEEV
Zenit St Petersburg

The heroics of Malafeev were crucial to Zenit's progression to the last 16 from a very tight Group G: impressive clean sheets in their final three matches ensured they were able to sneak through into the last 16. The 32-year-old's extraordinary performance on matchday six at the Estadio do Dragao clinched qualification as they finished ahead of Porto by a single point to join APOEL in the next round.
DEFENDERS

SERGIO RAMOS
Real Madrid


Paulo JORGE
APOEL


Nikolas NKOULOU
Marseille

Sergio Ramos has won plenty of plaudits for how he has adapted to playing as a centre-back, the Spain international helped keep four clean sheets in his five appearances in the competition and was simply imperious at the back, as well as being a threat on set pieces. APOEL were written off by many, but proved their doubters wrong by making history and becoming the first Cypriot team to qualify for the knockout stage. And Paulo Jorge was one of the main reasons for their progression thanks to a commanding display in a 0-0 draw at Zenit and 2-1 win over Porto. Another player excelling in a central defensive role was OM youngster Nkoulou, playing every minute of the French side's campaign as they conceded just four goals in six matches. He put in a particularly noteworthy display in the 0-0 draw at the Emirates among others.


MIDFIELDERS

Nicolas GAITAN
Benfica


Alexandre SONG
Arsenal


XAVI
Barcelona


Toni KROOS
Bayern Munich

The wizardry of Gaitan was a highlight of Group C winners Benfica, the Argentine winger leads the assist count in the competition with five in the round-robin stage. Song provided the steel in front of Arsenal's backline, but also showed herculean effort getting forward on occasion, including when he set up Robin van Persie with an excellent solo run on matchday five against Borussia Dortmund. Barcelona may have topped Group H with ease, but Xavi was instrumental in that process with two performances against Serie A champions AC Milan at his influential best. Meanwhile, Kroos may not have the flair of team-mates Franck Ribery or Arjen Robben, but he proved to be the Bavarians' most effective midfielder throughout, grabbing an impressive array of goals and assists, including a clinical finish in the 1-1 draw against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.


FORWARDS

Edinson CAVANI
Napoli


Mario GOMEZ
Bayern Munich


Alexander FREI
Basel

Napoli pipped Manchester City to the runners-up spot in Group A thanks to some key strikes from Cavani, who scored three goals against the Citizens in total and also struck in a victory over Villarreal. In the same group, Gomez was unrelenting in front of goal, firing in six goals in five appearances to be tied with Lionel Messi as the top scorer in the competition thus far. His brace brought down Manchester City and a hat-trick versus Napoli was part of that impressive tally. Finally, veteran Swiss striker Frei notched five goals himself, engineering the shock of the tournament when his winner on matchday six sent Basel into the draw for the round of 16 at Manchester United's expense.