Champions League Player Power Rankings: Real Madrid, Dortmund Win Big in Week 2

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

Champions League Player Power Rankings: Real Madrid, Dortmund Win Big in Week 2

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    It's time for our second round of power rankings from the UEFA Champions League knockout phase, with Round 1 providing more goals and excitement in the first leg clashes.

    To remind yourself of who performed well in the first four games, take a look here—this time, we're focusing on the second batch of fixtures, featuring the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.


    Statistics are via WhoScored.

Honourable Mentions

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    A number of players put in excellent performances throughout the midweek fixtures without quite doing enough to sneak in the top 10.

    Here are a handful of those worthy of note:

    Iker Casillas

    Marcel Schmelzer

    Giannis Maniatis

    Cesar Azpilicueta

    Gary Cahill

10. Sergio Ramos

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    Sergio Ramos had a standout game at the back for Real Madrid in both an offensive and defensive capacity.

    He was constantly available to recycle the ball in deep areas for his team, immediately putting Real Madrid back on the front foot. Only one teammate made more passes than him in the game. His no-look through ball was a clever assist for Gareth Bale, and the centre-back was composed defensively too.

9. Chori Dominguez

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    Olympiacos deservedly beat Manchester United 2-0 in their first leg, with second striker Chori Dominguez key to much of their best attacking play.

    The Argentine attacker scored one and kept United's back line occupied with a series of good moves off the ball and sighters of goal. Dominguez's running with the ball at his feet caused no end of problems, as United's midfielders were bypassed all too easily.

8. Ivan Marcano

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    Sticking with Olympiacos, Ivan Marcano was their best performer at the back, keeping United at bay for the 90 minutes.

    He was hardly overworked throughout the entire match, but he stood strong and kept his defence well-marshaled when the away side brought more pressure later in the game.

    Marcano completed 12 clearances, far more than any other player on the pitch, and was calm in possession.

7. Lukasz Piszczek

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    Borussia Dortmund enjoyed great success in hitting four away goals past Zenit St. Petersburg, and one of their biggest assets on the night was Lukasz Piszczek's forward running.

    The full-back was a real offensive threat, creating three chances for his team as a result of his ability to break quickly into space and provide quality with his final ball.

    He claimed an assist and conceded a (very harshly awarded) penalty in a busy game.

6. Robert Lewandowski

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    Dortmund's 4-2 win came courtesy of two early goals in Russia and then two second-half strikes from Polish forward Robert Lewandowski.

    The Bayern-bound striker gave an example in deadly finishing under pressure with his two efforts, which should all but ensure the German side progress to the quarterfinals.

    Three of his four shots were on target, while he also performed impressively with his link-up play and awareness of team-mates' movement.

5. Marco Reus

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    Marco Reus was a terrific performer for Dortmund, their third player in a row in our rankings, and the attacking midfielder can count himself very unfortunate to not have made the team of the week. Unfortunately, despite his stellar performance, two other wide forwards had even more of an impact than he did.

    Reus was a constant threat for Dortmund anyway, cracking off three shots during the game and scoring after just five minutes. Even before that, though, he had set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the game's opener.

    The German international was also pressing hard in his team's hardworking performance and managed five turnovers of possession for his squad—more than anyone else on his team.

4. Gareth Bale

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    Into the top four and it's Real Madrid all the way now, as you can almost take your pick for the order.

    We'll kick off with Gareth Bale, playing from the right of the front three and an excellent performer. Real used quick passing through midfield and their explosive attacking pace to cause no end of problems for Schalke.

    Bale scored twice in the 6-1 win, also claiming an assist, with his first strike being a contender for goal of the week in the Champions League.

3. Karim Benzema

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    Striker Karim Benzema is next up, having led the line perfectly for his team.

    The French forward did not misplace a single pass all night, claiming two assists along the way as well as netting a brace himself. His two goals came from his only two shots on target.

    Hard work, wonderful movement and a selfless approach to creating space for teammates made it an exemplary striker's performance.

2. Angel Di Maria

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    Angel Di Maria put in a huge shift for Real, doing lots of off-the-ball running to create the spaces his team so ably took advantage of against Schalke.

    The left-footed midfielder played in a central role once more, receiving the ball and moving it on quickly at times and running directly at the Schalke defence at others. He was a constant threat, always looking to play the ball ahead of those sprinting forward. He was unlucky not to have gotten on the scoresheet himself.

    Di Maria was a big part of Real's dominance in the game.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    There's a reason Ronaldo scores so many, so consistently: He gets into great spaces and always looks to test the goalkeeper. He cracked off 10 shots during the match; that's the same as Schalke's entire team, playing at home.

    Ralf Fahrmann was kept very busy to keep the Portuguese forward at bay with his feet and fingertips, but the constant pressure and great accuracy and power in Ronaldo's shooting ultimately wins every time, and he ended up with two goals and an assist.

    He was relentless in his dribbling at the defence, gave Joel Matip nightmares and almost always found a good pass if he couldn't get a shot away.