Picking the UEFA Champions League's Final Best XI from the 2012-13 Season
The UEFA Champions League season is over for 2013, Bayern Munich are deserved champions.
Here, we select our best XI for the competition, and we'll give you a fair warning—it's very German club-centric. Bayern and Borussia Dortmund were far away the best two sides in the competition and that is reflected here.
See who joins Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 4-3-3 all-star selection!
GK: Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
Kicking us off is Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who's enjoyed a standout season despite his defence remaining solid and reliable throughout the tournament.
His ability with the ball at his feet sets him apart from the rest of the shot-stoppers this season, and it was his willingness to take the ball and pass it around the back line that stopped Barcelona's pressing game from functioning properly.
Quick off his line with stunning reflexes, you have to feel sorry for Marc-Andre ter Stegen and co. sitting behind him in the pecking order for the German national team.
A string of impressive saves in the final ensured Bayern only conceded one goal at Wembley.
RB: Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich
Philipp Lahm remains the best full-back in world football after another astonishingly good season.
He's now settled on the right side but uses both feet well, defending conscientiously while attacking with thrust and venom.
His standout game was against Lille in the Group Stage where he grabbed three assists, but the fact he has never scored a UEFA Champions League goal continues to haunt him.
CB: Mats Hummels, Borussia Dortmund
Mats Hummels struggled with injuries this season but still turned in world-class performances when needed.
He netted a crucial away goal against Shakhtar Donetsk to settle Borussia Dortmund's nerves and had a telling impact in the late win over Malaga.
He showed up in style for the final, bursting out of the defence and driving his team on during the epic showpiece event.
CB: Dante, Bayern Munich
Dante was a late-bloomer, but he chose the right time to come to the fore.
Picked up from Borussia Monchengladbach after an immense 2011-12 season, not even the most ambitious German football aficionados could have predicted just how quickly he proved himself to be an elite, consistent defender.
He marshals his line so well, reads danger quicker than most and boasts incredible aerial prowess. Four clean sheets against Juventus and Barcelona—one for the C.V.
He messed up in the final and got away with it, but don't let that cloud 11 other sterling performances.
LB: David Alaba, Bayern Munich
David Alaba has raised a lot of eyebrows this season after packing about six years growth into just six months of football.
No longer a converted central midfielder clearly deputizing in defence, the Austrian displays all the required qualities for an elite left-back: attacking prowess, improved defensive instincts and an absolute wand of a left foot.
That pass to Arjen Robben at Camp Nou...
DM: Javi Martinez, Bayern Munich
He was once a €40 million record-signing that took time to acclimate in Germany, but after one full season in Bavaria Javi Martinez is now a cultured, world-class disruptor.
He combines immense reading of the game with power and physicality, creating a rare breed of player that presents a matchup problem for every variant of central midfielder.
Still can't get in the Spanish national team though.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund
Ilkay Gundogan was Borussia Dortmund's most consistent player throughout the UEFA Champions League this season.
He was instrumental in destroying Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park in the semifinals and scored an ice-cool penalty to temporarily level matters in the final.
His transition from No. 10 to No. 6 could not have been smoother, and great credit must go to both he and Juergen Klopp for such immediate success.
CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich
Bastian Schweinsteiger played last season's UEFA Champions League final carrying an injury that haunted his overall performance.
This season he's avoided such concerns and established himself as the master once more: There has been no central midfielder that has outperformed Schweini this season—he is No. 1.
Consistent excellence in marshaling his midfield against the highest standard of player sees him ease his way into our team.
LF: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
With the exception of Borussia Dortmund, Cristiano Ronaldo tore every team he faced apart this season.
He finished as the top scorer in the competition after netting an astonishing 12 goals, bagging crucial strikes against Galatasaray, Manchester United and Manchester City.
It's incredibly rare 90 minutes passes by without the Portuguese maestro finding the back of the net.
RF: Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich
Easily the most contentious pick in our team, but Arjen Robben has caught fire at the right time this season.
He's overcome a disappointing first half of the season to punish Barcelona, Juventus and eventually Borussia Dortmund, righting the wrongs of last season's heart-breaking finale.
He put in a demonic performance in Turin when given the chance and simply never looked back.
CF: Lionel Messi, Barcelona
Lionel Messi edges out Robert Lewandowski for the striker's spot in narrow fashion.
The Argentine was simply unplayable throughout the Group Stages and single-handedly destroyed AC Milan in the Round of 16 second leg.
He scored in the first half at the Parc des Princes before being subbed off, then returned only half-fit to carry his side over the line in the return leg.