R2 of the Champions League group stage has offered some perspective. We already have an inkling of the teams that will force their way to the knockout round, and the ones unlikely to get that opportunity. Here are the breakout football stars of R2 of Champions League football.
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
It has taken Edouard Mendy little time in making an impact on Chelsea’s results. He’s already kept five clean sheets for the Blues. This leaves Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero without much of a case to support an upgrade in their roles for the club.
Chelsea sparred little mercy of Krasnodar, coming through with a 4-0 victory. The result does, however, say little about the Russian sides’ chances. Krasnodar had four shots on target (while others went near it). Mendy dealt well with all of them.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munchen)
The tactically versatile Joshua Kimmich was, once again, Bayern Munchen’s late game hero. With the fixture against Lokomotiv Moscow inching towards a draw, the defensive midfielder, struck the decisive blow with not much time left on the clock. Goal aside, Kimmich helped created five chances, took two shots on goal, and was, certainly, impeccable in terms of passing.
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Joao Felix is making up for lost time, and fully helping justify his expensive transfer price tag from Benfica. The teenage sensation brought Atletico three important points in their bid to qualify from their Champions League group. The Portuguese forward scored the winner in the 85th minute, leaving RB Salzburg to rue wasted chances. As for Diego Simeone, the manager can be proven right to have decided to build a team around Ronaldo heir apparent.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Messi’s presence on any Best of the week list, for any competition across many years, is outrageously consistent. Energized, perhaps, by news of Josep Bartomeu’s impending abscond, the Argentine put in a terrific performance. Yes, Messi slotted home a late-game penalty. However, it was his consistent tendency to put Juventus under pressure and his willingness to carry his teammates, which made him the Man of the match.
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