Champions League group stage best XI, based on stats

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This season’s Champions League group stages were record-breaking.

A massive 308 goals were scored - which beat the record of 306 from the 2017/18 campaign.

Those 308 goals saw all the usual suspects progress through to the last-16 relatively unscathed.

In fact, for the first time ever, the remaining clubs are made up of the five major European leagues.

That’s not to say we didn’t have any causalities as last season’s semi-finalists Ajax and Serie A leaders Inter Milan dropped into the Europa League.

There was no doubt which team was the real winner of the group stages, though.

Bayern Munich won all six of their matches scoring an eye-watering 24 goals in the process.

But who were the best players?

Well, thanks to data from WhoScored.com, we’ve worked out the best XI to play in the group stages.

*We’ve decided that the players must have made at least three appearances to feature*

So, here is the best XI of the 2019/20 Champions League group stage:

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Keylor Navas | PSG | 7.54 | 5 appearances

PSG made light work of their group consisting 13-time winners Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray, winning five and drawing one of their six matches.

Navas conceded just two goals in the process - at the Bernabeu against his former club - during that 2-2 draw.

FBL-C1-EUR-REAL MADRID-PSG

Serge Aurier | Spurs | 7.54 | 3 appearances

This will come as a surprise to many.

One of Aurier’s three appearances came in the 7-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich.

In his other two Champions League appearances, though, he registered an assist in Spurs’ 5-0 win over Red Star before another assist and a goal to help his side beat Olympiacos 4-2.

Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League

Kalidou Koulibaly | Napoli | 7.43 | 6 appearances

One of the best central defenders in world football.

Koulibaly's Napoli only conceded four goals despite facing free-scoring Liverpool and Red Bull Salzburg twice. 

SSC Napoli v Bologna FC - Serie A

Jose Luis Palomino | Atalanta | 7.49 | 4 appearances

Despite picking up just one point in their opening four matches, Atalanta managed to scrape through their group.

The Italian side conceded 12 goals in their six games but, in the four games that Palomino played, just let in just twice.

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Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich | 8.21 | 3 appearances

Davies played in Bayern’s 2-0 win against Olympiacos, the 6-0 win over Red Star and Wednesday’s 3-1 victory against Spurs - where he picked up an assist and WhoScored’s star man.

The 19-year-old is a real talent.

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Toni Kroos | Real Madrid | 8.09 | 5 appearances

Kroos still oozes class as Real Madrid came second behind PSG in their group.

One assist, one goal and one WhoScored star man in his five appearances for Real.

He was rested in their final group game against Galatasaray with qualification already secured.

FBL-C1-EUR-REAL MADRID-PSG

Thiago | Bayern Munich | 7.96 | 5 appearances

As mentioned, Bayern dominated the group stages and Thiago played a huge role in that.

Two assists and a WhoScored star man against Red Star helped the Spaniard to an impressive 7.96 rating.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | Liverpool | 7.95 | 3 appearances

Only two starts and one substitute appearance was enough for Oxlade-Chamberlain to make this XI.

That’s thanks to his two goals and WhoScored star man away to Genk and his goal and WhoScored star man at home to Genk.

Also came on for 30 minutes in the home game against Napoli.

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Lionel Messi | Barcelona | 9.21 | 5 appearances

The best-rated player in the Champions League group stages.

Messi’s four starts and a substitute appearance returned two goals and three assists.

The highlight was the home game against Dortmund where he scored and registered two assists as well as the WhoScored star man.

FC Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich | 9.15 | 5 appearances

Five matches. Ten goals. Quite ridiculous.

Crvena Zvezda v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League

Harry Kane | Spurs | 8.08 | 5 appearances

Five matches. Six goals. Not quite as ridiculous but not bad at all from the Spurs striker.

Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League

So, there we have the best XI from this season's Champions League group stages. There are some familiar faces with Messi, Lewandowski and Kane obviously leading the line.

But who expected Aurier and Palomino to make the cut? Certainly not us.

But the group stages are just the warm-up for the main event.

The draw for the last-16 is made on Monday before Europe's elite competition goes on a little break until February.

But when it resumes, it's time to get serious.

The cream will rise to the top as the very best players in European football attempt to lead their side to glory.

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