Munich's Mario Gomez gestures during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between SC Freiburg and Bayern Munich in Freiburg, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.
Xherdan Shaqiri, M, Basel
Shaqiri will be moving to Bayern this summer, Basel having accepted a 10 million Euro bid for the 20-year-old in the January window. A wide-to-in player, Shaqiri terrorized Manchester United in group stage and won't be afraid to take his chances against Bayern, leading Basel with 4.5 shots per game during the team's Champions League run. On Wednesday, he'll most likely have his hands full, being matched up against Philipp Lahm.
Fabian Frei, M, Basel
Shaqiri's fellow wing may have an easier time with his opposite number, Rafinha, though his ability to track his man will be critical to helping left back Park Joo-Ho, who will have his hands full with Thomas Muller. Still, if Frei is going to impact Wednesday's match, it will likely be in the opposition's area, not his own. Only namesake Alexander has been responsible for more Champions League goals for Basel than Fabian, who has scored three.
Alexander Frei, F, Basel
Frei is very familiar with his Wednesday opponents, having spent three seasons with Borussia Dortmund before returning to Switzerland. While he was gone, Frei won a golden boot in France (2005 with Rennes), along the way becoming the leading scorer in Swiss national team history. With five goals in group play, the 32-year-old's shown he's still capable of impacting big matches.
Manuel Neuer, G, Bayern Munich
In his first season with Bayern, Neuer doesn't seem to be grabbing the same headlines earned last season when he led Schalke to the Champions League semifinals. With the German giants, his heroics aren't as needed, which isn't to say Germany's number one isn't still capable of stealing a match when needed. With last year's experience under his belt, Neuer is part of the reason few would want to play Bayern in a winner-take-all match.
Philipp Lahm, D, Bayern Munich
Perhaps the best fullback in the world, Lahm provides the width down the left flank that allows Franck Ribery freedom to create cutting in. His 90.5 pass competition percentage in league is best amongst Bayern's regulars, and along with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, he is the only player to start every Bundesliga match.
Mario Gomez, F, Bayern Munich
While people have talked about Arsenal's Robin van Persie emerging as an elite goal scorer, few stopped to notice Gomez has been posting the same level of production since last season. Perhaps a slow start to his Bayern career three years ago have many taking Gomez for granted, but with 18 goals in Germany (and six more in Champions League), the 26-year-old's progress is undeniable.
Franck Ribery, LW, Bayern Munich
As Bayern has made its tweaks along the three in their 4-2-3-1 formation, Ribery has been the constant. In fact, his importance has only grown as Arjen Robben's has faded. The team's leader in assists in Bundesliga action, Ribery has become the Bayern's key distributor from his place on the attack's left. Those times when he's not pulling the strings, he's usually the one finishing Toni Kroos' passes. With Bastian Schweinsteiger out, Ribery is unquestionably Bayern's best player.
Lucio, D, Inter Milan
Never the quickest defender, Lucio's slowing to the point his time as a regular starter may be coming to an end. That end, however, is not here yet, and as the unquestioned leader at the back, Lucio remains Inter Milan's best defender. While he can be beaten for pace, he still has the strength, intelligence, and surprising athleticism to be an impact performer.
Esteban Cambiasso, M, Inter Milan
Cambiasso's importance to Inter Milan's only grown since Claudio Ranieri took over as coach, the newest Nerazzurri boss relying on the veteran midfielder to hel hold the team's shape at the back. The Argentine midfielder is key to protecting Inter's central defenders, and his ability to ghost into attack can break defenses pinned back by the likes of Diego Milito.
Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
Not enjoyed his greatest season with Inter Milan, but Sneijder delivered the goods at the last World Cup. Picked up an ankle injury in the 2-0 win against Slovakis but will be a key player for Bert van Marwijk's team.
Diego Milito, F, Inter Milan
After an injury-filled 2010-11, Milito has returned to the goal-scoring form that made him a key part of Inter's European championship side in 2010, averaging two goals in every three matches thus far this season. While there are questions as to how he'll fit with newly-Champions League-registered Diego Forlan (the two's injury concerns leaving little time to play together to this point), the duomakes sense stylistically. Milito's presence along the line makes room for the more creative Forlan, while Milito gives the Uruguayan a partner who can convert his work.
Steve Mandanda, G, Marseille
Kinshasa-born but second in line for the France national team, Mandanda has long put his inconsistent past behind him. Whereas once he was more athleticism than prudence, Mandanda has matured into a cornerstone for Marseille, part of the reason he wears the club's armband.
Andre Ayew, F, Marseille
One of two sons of Ghanian legend Abedi Pele who play for Marseille, Ayew has emerged from his years outside the team (he spent 2008-09 and 2009-10 on loan) to be the side's most dangerous threat. Over the last season-and-a-half, "Dede" has accounted for 25 goals, often coming in from wide to score them.
Mathieu Valbuena, AM, Marseille
The diminutive Valbuena has already notched 11 assists this year in France, but with the team's leading scorer (Loic Remy) out for the first leg, Valbuena will either have to find another option (potentially Andre Ayew) or take things on his shoulders. Perhaps generously listed at 5'6", the France international will be Didier Deschamps' playmaker in Marseille's 4-2-3-1 system.