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Champions League Team of the Week: English Clubs Fight Back

Dan ColasimoneContributor IMarch 20, 2014

Champions League Team of the Week: English Clubs Fight Back

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and Zenit were the second-leg winners in the Champions League this week, with the Russian club the only one of the quartet eliminated on aggregate. 

    Borussia Dortmund went through to the quarter-finals despite losing 2-1 at home.

    Madrid showed that they are strong contenders for the title this season, while the two English clubs executed impressive victories at home, with United overturning a 2-0 deficit from the first leg with some style. 

    Here is a composite 11 made up of the best performers from this week's action.

Goalkeeper: De Gea

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    David Moyes has a lot to thank his young goalkeeper for.

    David De Gea easily outshone the other former Atletico Madrid keeper on the pitch, Roberto Gimenez, and played a huge part in ensuring Manchester United's qualification for the quarter-finals.

    He pulled off a number of fine stops, highlighted by a sensational double-save from David Fuster and Alejandro Dominguez. 

    If either of those clear chances had made it past the Spaniard, Olympiakos could well be celebrating tonight instead of United.

Right-Back: Rafael

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Brazilian right-back Rafael recovered from a poor game against Liverpool on the weekend to give an excellent showing for his side in the Champions League.

    He still needs to improve defensively, but in an open game, his forays forward were well-timed and effective in keeping his markers occupied.

Center-Back: Terry

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    The Chelsea captain put in a classic display in the center of defense to dominate the Galatasaray forwards.

    He was strong, he was decisive and he was inspirational, making the rest of the Chelsea back line lift their game around him.

    His header from Willian's cross led to Gary Cahill's goal.

Center-Back: Hubocan

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Though it was ultimately fruitless, Tomas Hubocan did all he could to give his side a chance of an unlikely passage to the next round.

    Like Terry for Chelsea, the Slovakian was a forceful presence in the defensive zone, making interventions at the right moments and with precision.

Left-Back: Schmelzer

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    The Hulk still managed to score a screamer, Marcel Schmelzer generally did an outstanding job of keeping the Brazilian under wraps.

    He also was a force going forward, sending in a delicious cross which led to Sebastian Kehl's headed goal.

Midfielder: Hazard

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    He has had an outstanding season in domestic football for Chelsea, and Eden Hazard proved he can be just as influential in European competition with a dynamic performance on Tuesday night.

    Few players in the world can match the Belgian's dribbling and playmaking abilities at the moment, and Galatasaray certainly didn't know how to handle him. 

Midfielder: Giggs

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    The wizened Welsh wizard Ryan Giggs has been playing for Manchester United since some of his teammates were tiny babies, yet he still knows how to run a midfield like a boss.

    The 40-year-old repaid the manager's faith by spraying a series of delightful passes around the pitch to have the Olympiakos defenders at sixes and sevens.

    A perfectly weighted pass from deep led to Robin van Persie's penalty, but that was just one of many gorgeous efforts.

Midfielder: Witsel

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    Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press

    Expect the Belgian midfielder to do big things at this year's World Cup.

    Zenit's hub in the center of the pitch is capable of dictating the tempo of a game like few center-mids going around at the moment. 

    He's great at channeling the play and playing deadly passes to unlock a defense.

Forward: Ronaldo

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    You keep expecting Cristiano Ronaldo's rich vein of form to drop off slightly, but it just doesn't.

    He was once again unstoppable against Schalke, scoring twice to take his tally this season in the Champions League to an astonishing 13 goals.

Forward: Bale

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Called off the bench early on after Jese's injury, Gareth Bale would end up having a huge say in the result of the match.

    The Welshman was at his thrilling best against the overwhelmed Germans, and he notched two assists and was also involved in Real Madrid's other goal.

Forward: van Persie

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Scoring a classy hat-trick in a season-defining comeback win is made to look like just another day at the office by Manchester United's prolific Dutch striker. 

    Robin van Persie roared back into form with a trio of goals, and Red Devils fans will be hoping the knock he took late on will not prove too serious.

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