Group G in the UEFA Champions League kicked off on Tuesday night, with Lyon drawing at home to Zenit St. Petersburg and German side RB Leipzig picking up an impressive victory away at Benfica.
This is arguably the most competitive group, with all four sides possessing a similar level of quality and European experience, and all will believe they have enough to progress through into the knockout stages.
With all sides seemingly similar in ability, picking a combined XI certainly wasn’t an easy task, but here’s a look at the players who did make the cut in a traditional 4-4-2 system.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Peter Gulacsi (GK) – RB Leipzig keeper Gulacsi has been extremely impressive for the German side in the Bundesliga over the last few seasons. He kept 15 clean sheets last term which was more than any other goalkeeper in the league, including Manuel Neuer. He also kept out a greater percentage of shots than any other custodian at 77.5 percent and is a commanding figure in the box, comfortable at claiming crosses.
Leo Dubois (RB) – The 24-year-old right-back has been brilliant for Lyon since signing for the Ligue 1 outfit in 2018. He has started all five of Lyon’s games in the league this year and made his full debut for France in June against Andorra. Possessing good awareness of the game, Dubois is also an exceptional crosser of the ball when he finds himself in forward positions.
Ruben Dias (CB) – Since bursting onto the scene in 2017, Dias has been superb for Benfica at the heart of their defence, making over 60 starts in the last two seasons. The 22-year-old has caught the attention of a number of European clubs such as Manchester United due to his impressive performances and has broken into the Portuguese side, earning 13 caps already.
Willi Orban (CB) – Leipzig captain and Hungarian defender Orban has been a regular in the Leipzig side since he arrived in 2015. He made 42 appearances last season for club and country and helped his side keep 18 clean sheets in these games. Growing in experience, Orban is one of the best defenders in Germany.
Alejandro Grimaldo (LB) – Benfica as a club have had a lot of young talent come through in recent seasons. Dias, who has already been highlighted, and Joao Felix, who signed for Atletico Madrid, are perfect examples. 23-year-old Grimaldo is another exciting prospect, with the left-back creating 12 goals and scoring four in 34 games in the Primeira Liga last term.
Malcom (RM) – While Malcom did struggle at Barcelona, scoring just four times in 24 games during his time in Catalonia, Zenit have got a 22-year-old Brazilian winger with an incredible amount of ability and potential on their hands. His devastating pace and power helped him notch up 12 goals and seven assists for Bordeaux in the 2017/18 season, figures Zenit fans will be hoping he can repeat when he returns to fitness next month.
Diego Demme (CM) – Demme, a traditional number six, puts fires out wherever he goes on the football pitch. He is part of a Leipzig side that prides itself on relentlessly pressuring their opponents and the 27-year-old is a leader in this department, covering an average of 7.8 miles per game in the 2018/19 campaign.
Pizzi (CM) – Creative, composed and courageous, Benfica midfielder Pizzi is one of the best players in the Primeira Liga. Converted from a winger to a central midfielder when he joined Benfica in 2013, he has already picked up the player of the month award for August in his domestic league, scoring five goals in the opening five games. Capped by Portugal 15 times at the age of 29, he has a vital amount of experience.
Memphis Depay (LM) – Playing either from the left or directly up front, Depay is one of the hottest players in Europe right now. He has bagged 29 goals in his last two seasons with Lyon, notching up a further 23 assists. He has so much talent at his disposal and has also been a crucial part of the Netherlands side over the last 18 months, contributing to ten goals in this time.
Timo Werner (ST) – Leipzig’s go-to guy for goals is German striker Timo Werner. He has scored an impressive 55 goals in the Bundesliga in 96 games, making him one of the most prolific forwards in European football. Werner always seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time to pounce inside the box and is a key reason behind Leipzig’s success over the last three years.
Moussa Dembele (ST) – After banging the goals in for Celtic in the Scottish Premiership for two years, Dembele signed for Lyon in the summer of 2018 for £19.7m. The 23-year-old enjoyed a fruitful first season in France, scoring 15 goals as Lyon finished third in Ligue 1, and the striker has continued his form into this season, already netting five times. With his good strength and agility, Dembele will cause problems for defenders in the Champions League this term.