The UEFA Champions League action returned with blockbuster action from the best teams in Europe. As usual, it had everything. From beatdowns to boring matchups to classic ties to upsets, everything! We picked out some of the best performances from Tuesday & Wednesday under the UCL lights.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City)
The Englishman was making his UCL debut and was electric for the Citizens. A dazzling performance that he capped with a goal and an assist. Grealish particularly terrorized Nordi Mukiele and skipped past lethargic Leipzig challenges with ease. It was a wonderful debut and one that he will remember.
Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
This boy is heading to the top. Musiala has forced his way into reckoning at Bayern Munich with superb performances and he can add this one against Barcelona to the catalog. He picked up dangerous positions on the right as Barca’s backline struggled for composure. Musiala kept dancing and wriggling past Jordi Alba & Sergio Busquets. His shot in the second half cannoned off the bar for Robert Lewandowski to poke in. A star in the making.
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
Romelu Lukaku may have won the man of the match award but Mateo Kovacic ran the show for Chelsea against a solid and uncompromising Zenit side. He moved the ball with his impeccable dribbling and was always available to receive and play through the hardened Zenit lines. He set up Cesar Azpilicueta for the cross that Lukaku turned in for the 1-0 victory. Great to see the Croatian returning to his best form for the blues.
The smoothest of operators, Parejo ran the show for Villareal as they drew Atalanta. Short passes, long passes, key passes. The former Valencia man was brilliant in the middle of the park and received the man of the match award for his showing
Noa Lang & Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge)
With the whole world focused on Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar starting together for the first time, everyone expected the Belgian club to bow to the supremacy of the Parisians. That did not happen. Despite PSG taking the lead early enough, Noa Lang operating off the left and Charles De Ketelaere operating through the middle as a false 9 tortured and peppered PSG. The PSG midfield was structurally weak and lacked solidity and the Brugge boys did major damage. They ripped the PSG backline to shreds as they were given access by poor screening from the PSG midfield. Charles stung the gloves of Keylor Navas in the first half. The pair caused the French team a lot of problems even though they did not get on the scoresheet. Surprised at how Ajax let Noa go and Charles is destined to be Belgium’s next big thing.
Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
The English youngster continues to set the world alight at the tender age of 18. He became the youngest player to score in two consecutive UEFA Champions League appearances, overtaking a certain Kylian Mbappe for the record. The England international scored one and made another for Erling Haaland in another phenomenal box-to-box midfield performance. The boy is a star and we need to give him special praise for some of his already iconic goal celebrations.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Lewangoalski netted twice to condemn Barcelona to a 3-0 defeat at the Camp Nou. They were two rebounds that he finished off but he had to be there. The second was impressive as he sat Gerard Pique on his arse before firing home. That’s now 75 UEFA Champions League goals for the Pole. This makes him the competition’s third-highest goalscorer in history and he has 22 assists too.
Karim Adeyemi (RB Salzburg)
The most penalties anyone has ever won in a full UCL campaign is 4 and the record belongs to Arjen Robben. However, Karim Adeyemi won three in one outing against Sevilla. Even though he missed the first, the German was a livewire against the Andalusian club. They struggled to contain his speed and sharp movement. He was constantly piercing the Seville club’s backline as Diego Carlos in particular struggle to live with him. The Nigerian-German is set to enjoy a breakthrough campaign this season.
Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
The Frenchman’s incredible hat-trick was overshadowed by a devastating 6-3 loss to Manchester City. Nkunku produced a wonderful personal performance for his side scoring 3 times against the champions of England. The former PSG attacking midfielder was constantly slipping through the path of Nathan Ake and became the first player to score a hattrick for RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Sebastien Haller (Ajax)
A UEFA Champions League debut to remember for the Frenchman as he netted four against a hapless Sporting Lisbon. The big man was left out of Ajax’s UEFA Europa League campaign last season and they are surely regretting that move. Despite concerns over his stylistic fit, the former West Ham man came up with four of the best to give his side a resounding 5-1 victory. Only Marco Van Basten scored four on his debut before him. He now has 20 goals in 29 appearances for Ajax.
Honorable mentions: Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, Stefan de Vrij, Paulo Dybala, Mohamed Camara, Erling Haaland