Lyon's Nabil Fekir and Gladbach's Lars Stindl were the FedEx Performance Zone's biggest movers on Thursday; final ambassador Patrik Andersson helps track the star performers.
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Patrik Andersson is hoping he might see his old side Mönchengladbach in the UEFA Europa League final after Lars Stindl scored his first career hat-trick in their elimination of Fiorentina, but it was Lyon's Nabil Fekir who ended the night top of the FedEx Performance Zone.
1: Nabil Fekir (Lyon)
The talented young Lyon striker rocketed to the head of the table thanks to his tremendous hat-trick and one assist in Lyon's 7-1 demolition of AZ. His recent form has been superb, with five goals and two assists in his last three games in all competitions, hence his 13-place rise in the rankings to become the new No1.
"I scored three goals, that's good for me and for the team," Fekir, who has yet to fully shake off a serious knee injury suffered in 2015, told UEFA.com. "The most important thing is to help the team. I feel better and better and with every match I play, I know I will be better physically. We played well and we have to continue with the same spirit. We will take any opponent in the draw."
8: Lars Stindl (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Fekir was not the only player to bag a treble as Gladbach forward Stindl leapt a remarkable 131 places into eighth overall, scoring with all three of his shots on target as Borussia came from 3-0 down on aggregate (2-0 on the night) at Fiorentina to win 4-3.
"It was a special night for me and for all the team," the captain told UEFA.com. "We are proud to reach the next phase of the competition. We had to recover from the 1-0 first-leg loss and it wasn't easy. We deserved to qualify and would like to dedicate this win to our fans."
19: Nick Viergever (Ajax)
Playing an unfamiliar left wing-back role, the defender capped a fine showing with the only goal of Ajax's two legs against Legia. He won five aerial duels and made five interceptions too.
"It was a tough match and of course I'm delighted to be able to contribute with a goal," he told UEFA.com. "I don't score many so this makes tonight extra special. We have a dynamic playing style that means we have to do our defensive duties as well as our attacking job, and I'm happy this went well for me personally tonight."
36: Boy Waterman (APOEL)
The veteran Dutch goalkeeper produced five saves, four clearances and three punches, won three aerial duels, and made two high claims to preserve a clean sheet in APOEL's 2-0 triumph over Athletic, becoming the top-ranked keeper in the FedEx Performance Zone.
84: Yannis Gianniotas (APOEL)
Another key figure in APOEL's victory was Gianniotas as he earned and converted a penalty in an eye-catching cameo. He executed three dribbles and supplied two crosses, while also doing a good job helping out defensively to move into the top 100 positions.
"It was a very challenging game but we fought with great heart and great passion," he told UEFA.com. "There was great teamwork from the first minute, and we fought even harder when we were down to ten men."
87: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
The Ajax playmaker hit the bar in the first half against Legia and 23 of his 41 completed passes came in the final third. He laid on three good chances for team-mates, and impressed with his eight crosses and three dribbles.
"We're happy to have won because it wasn't easy," he told UEFA.com. "We should have scored a second but I think we were a bit tired and made some wrong decisions in front of goal. I myself had some opportunities to score."
Patrik Andersson's view
Wednesday night's games were quiet in comparison to Thursday's which provided just the sort of excitement you want in the UEFA Europa League; who would have thought that APOEL would have eliminated Athletic, or that Gent would get the better of Spurs?
Congratulations of course to Nabil Fekir for hitting the top of the rankings with his three against AZ, but – as a proud former Gladbach player – I have to say that Lars Stindl's was my favourite performance of the night. When you go 3-0 behind against a side like Fiorentina, you have no right to hope. However, he scored with all three of his shots and got the first hat-trick of his career. After that incredible escape, it's nice to think I might yet see the Foals at the final in Stockholm.
Patrik Andersson is a former Bayern München, Barcelona and Borussia Mönchengladbach defender. He won 96 caps for Sweden, reaching the semi-finals of EURO '92 and the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and was part of the Bayern side that won the UEFA Champions League in 2001 – he made the UEFA.com user's Team of the Year that year.
He retired in 2005 and now lives in Stockholm, venue for this season's UEFA Europa League final. He is serving as ambassador for the showpiece and is this campaign's FedEx Performance Zone ambassador.