Champions League breakthrough team of 2019

Real Madrid and Bayern are among 11 teams represented in our selection of youngsters who have made giant strides this year.

Lautaro Martínez scored five group goals for Inter
Lautaro Martínez scored five group goals for Inter ©AFP/Getty Images
2019 UEFA Champions League breakthrough team
2019 UEFA Champions League breakthrough team©UEFA.com

UEFA.com picks out a team of young players who have broken through in the UEFA Champions League this calendar year.

In order to narrow the field, we set the following criteria:
i) aged 24 or under;
ii) UEFA Champions League debut in 2019 or only limited prior experience and made a major leap this year.

The question is: How would this team fare against the 2018 breakthrough XI?

Goalkeeper

Alex Meret, 22 (Napoli)
Long tipped for the top, Meret has looked right at home in his first UEFA Champions League campaign, conceding just four times in six outings.

Defenders

Achraf Hakimi, 21 (Borussia Dortmund)
The Real Madrid academy product is a key cog in Lucien Favre's dynamic system and, with four group stage goals, the Moroccan is not backwards about coming forward.

Benjamin Pavard, 23 (Bayern München)
The World Cup winner is hardly unknown, but 2019/20 provided his first taste of Europe's premier club competition. With Alphonso Davies also emerging, Bayern's defensive future looks bright.

Dayot Upamecano, 21 (Leipzig)
Another French defender who has prospered in Germany, Upamecano is dynamic at the back but it is his comfort on the ball that has drawn the admiration of many.

Renan Lodi, 21 (Atlético Madrid)
The departure of Filipe Luís and Lucas Hernández left a big void at left-back for Atleti, but tireless Brazilian Renan Lodi has helped fill it at both ends of the pitch.

Midfielders

Sander Berge, 21 (Genk)
Genk had a challenging group stage but their towering Norwegian midfielder shone bright, his intelligence and leadership reportedly attracting many suitors.

Kai Havertz, 20 (Bayer Leverkusen)
In his fourth season in senior football, the skilful Havertz is being classed in Germany as an Alleskönner – a player who can do everything. This autumn we learned why.

Dani Olmo, 21 (Dinamo Zagreb)
A winger who looks to be profiting from the difficult decision to leave Barcelona in search of first-team chances in 2014. Enjoyed a winning debut for Spain in November.

Forwards

Rodrygo, 18 (Real Madrid)
A player who has got a bit of everything according to Zinédine Zidane, the Brazilian youngster announced himself with a perfect hat-trick against Galatasaray.

Erling Braut Haaland, 19 (Salzburg)
The Norway forward completed a first-half hat-trick on his UEFA Champions League debut against Genk, and registered in each of his first five outings. Has agreed a move to Borussia Dortmund in January.

Lautaro Martínez, 22 (Inter)
Five group stage goals were not enough to take the Nerazzurri through but they certainly showcased Lautaro's attributes: pace, power, industry, flexibility and a nose for goal.

This team was selected by UEFA.com reporters and editors and is not intended to rival more established awards.

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