Champions League

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Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768070 Europe's finest Europe%27s+finest Champions League

The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund represents the cream of European talent on show to a worldwide audience. There's no disputing that these two clubs deserve to be at Wembley but which players have made our starting XI for their performances this season? Read on.

CHRISTOF STACHE RESTRICTIONS - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G1-AA_20130525103007353_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G1-AA_20130525103007353_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31773689 Manuel Neuer, GK, Bayern Munich Manuel+Neuer%2C+GK%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

Behind every side is an imperious goalkeeper, a shot-stopper who can be relied upon to pounce when his defense has been breached. In terms of Champions League keepers this season, few can match the pedigree of Neuer. The German national side regular has been at his best in Europe’s prime competition this season, conceding just 10 goals in 13 appearances as Bayern Munich blasted their way to the Wembley final.

 

The Germany international, with the help of his dogged defense, has broken the Bundesliga record for the least goals conceded and most clean sheets kept in a season as they romped their way to the title. He’s been just as impressive in Europe, keeping out Barcelona and Juventus consecutively. If Dortmund are to win the big one, they’ll have to get past Neuer at his best.
 

Lennart Preiss - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G2-AA_20130525103007354_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G2-AA_20130525103007354_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31773688 Phillip Lahm, LB, Bayern Munich Phillip+Lahm%2C+LB%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

Considered one of the best full-backs in the world, it feels like the Germany and Bayern Munich captain has been around forever. Another vital part of Bayern’s often impenetrable defence, Lahm has offered an excellent outlet on either side for the Bavarians in the Champions League this season. Four assists in an all-conquering side only attests to this, and so it’s impossible to ignore the German’s influence.

Alexander Hassenstein - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G3-AA_20130525103007349_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G3-AA_20130525103007349_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31773687 Dante, D, Bayern Munich Dante%2C+D%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

Signed in 2008 from Borussia Mönchengladbach, giant Brazilian center-back Dante literally towers above the rest when you look at his Champions League performances this season. The powerful defender has become one of the first names on the Bayern team sheet following his performances, especially those in Europe.

 

Not only is he a defensive collosus, but he also makes opposition defenders suffer. His aerial prowess has helped dismantle Juventus and Barcelona on the road to Wembley.
 

CHRISTOF STACHE - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G4-AA_20130525103007351_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G4-AA_20130525103007351_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31772779 David Alaba, RB, Bayern Munich David+Alaba%2C+RB%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

Dubbed “the next Bixente Lizarazu”, Austrian full-back Alaba has almost defied belief this season. Sure, assured, calm and all-round excellent performances are far more befitting of a seasoned international, not a 20-year-old in his second full season in the first team. With two Champions League goals and assists each to his name, Alaba has managed to maintain the perfect balance of defence and attack that is required for a world-class full-back. If he manages to continue his sterling form from the last few seasons, the rapid left-back will surely be at the top of the professional game for years to come.

JAVIER SORIANO - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-Bayern-G1-AA_20130525121419381_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-Bayern-G1-AA_20130525121419381_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768073 Isco, M, Malaga Isco%2C+M%2C+Malaga Champions League

Isco has been a revelation this season in La Liga and Champions League, form which has not gone unnoticed by some of Europe’s elite. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder scored three goals in the tournament and covered plenty of ground in the process. Possesses great skill and is always looking for the killer pass, assets which earned him a first appearance for Spain against Uruguay in February.

Denis Doyle - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G9-AA_20130525103102362_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G9-AA_20130525103102362_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31772780 Javi Martinez, M, Bayern Munich Javi+Martinez%2C+M%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

Eyebrows and question marks were simultaneously raised when Bayern dipped into their huge transfer fund to lure then-Athletic Bilbao midfield destroyer Javi Martinez to Germany last summer. Over $50 million was needed to prise the highly-rated central midfielder away, but it’s difficult to argue that he hasn’t added a much-needed steel to Jupp Heynckes’ men that could lead them to Champions League glory.

 

With players like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery providing Bayern’s beauty, Martinez does the dirty work. Missing just two games this season, he has committed the most fouls in the Champions League with 24, showing that the Spain international is integral. Without him, the Bayern steamroller would be without their engine.

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Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768072 Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich, M) Bastian+Schweinsteiger+%28Bayern+Munich%2C+M%29 Champions League

The Germany international has had one of his finest seasons and has formed a formidable midfield partnership with Javi Martinez. Has an engine that never runs out of gas and weighs in with the occasional goal as he did against Valencia and Lille during the group stage. His driving runs and ability to score from distance make him the complete player.

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Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31772783 Thomas Muller, M/F, Bayern Munich Thomas+Muller%2C+M%2FF%2C+Bayern+Munich Champions League

We know that the best XI looks top heavy with Bayern players but this is a team rightly regarded as the best in the world right now. Muller makes the list as a player that is maturing beyond belief. Can play in midfield or up front and his eight goals in the competition have gone a long way to firing Bayern to the final. He’s a tremendous athlete too, sitting third in the most meters covered during Champions League matches. Scored Bayern’s goal against Chelsea in last season’s final although his efforts proved in vain.

Joern Pollex - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-Bayern-G3-AA_20130525122702385_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-Bayern-G3-AA_20130525122702385_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768076 Robert Lewandowski, F, Borussia Dortmund Robert+Lewandowski%2C+F%2C+Borussia+Dortmund Champions League

Sitting two goals behind Ronaldo in the scoring charts is Poland international Lewandowski, who is a target for Dortmund’s Champions League and Bundesliga rivals Bayern. He proved to be the difference in the semifinal against Real Madrid, his four goals in the first leg going down in history as one of the best individual performanaces from any era. Was second only to Ronaldo in meters covered throughout the whole tournament and will certainly prove a handful for the Bayern defense.

PATRIK STOLLARZ RESTRICTIONS - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G11-AA_20130525103108366_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G11-AA_20130525103108366_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768075 Cristiano Ronaldo, F, Real Madrid Cristiano+Ronaldo%2C+F%2C+Real+Madrid Champions League

Comfortably the best player of the tournament and his 12 goals proved to be the most by an individual in the competition. Possesses all the tricks of the trade including a wicked right foot and dribbling skills second to none. The Portuguese, reportedly wanted by his former club Manchester United, heads the ball brilliantly. Who can forget that incredible leap when scoring against Manchester United in February? Shaquille O’Neal would have been proud.

Albert Gea - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G10-AA_20130525103106364_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G10-AA_20130525103106364_107_80.JPG
Champions League 185 2340 Best XI players from the 2012-13 Champions League season 31768077 Burak Yilmaz, F, Galatasaray Burak+Yilmaz%2C+F%2C+Galatasaray Champions League

Yilmaz's goalscoring ability helped Galatasaray secure a surprising place in the quarter-finals where the Turkish team came unstuck against Real Madrid, but not before a major scare for Jose Mourinho’s side in the second leg.

 

Scored a hat trick in the 3-1 victory at Cluj and was co-leader in goals scored at the end of the group stage with eight. Also famously scored the only goal with a great header in Gala’s victory against Manchester United during the group stage. A major talent reaching his peak who has drawn the attention of several major European clubs, including Manchester United.

Murad Sezer Picture - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G12-AA_20130525103114368_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/05/25/052513-Soccer-G12-AA_20130525103114368_107_80.JPG
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