European Team of the Week | 17-20 February

High-scoring affairs on the continent across a full weekend of action offer a cadre of influential performances worth highlighting in the latest European Team of the Week

GK: Kasper Schmeichel (Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice)

Danish international number one Kasper Schmeichel kept Nice’s hopes of pushing for the European places alive amid an undefeated run on France’s south coast after securing a clean sheet during a 0-0 draw against high-flying Stade de Reims, featuring a penalty save against Ligue 1 top-scorer Folarin Balogun.

RB: Junior Messias (Associazione Calcio Milan)

Serie A and global giants AC Milan owe a great debt of gratitude to veteran right-back Junior Messias after a complete performance by the Brazilian, including the match’s only goal, kept Milan sitting 4th in the table after their narrow 1-0 win over an in-form mid-table Monza.

CB: Chris Smalling (Associazione Sportiva Roma)

José Mourinho’s AS Roma remains on the hunt for Champions League football next season with a vital 1-0 win in the capital over Verona, with former Manchester United center-back Chris Smalling the best of the lot after a defensive masterclass in the heart of the defense, showing why there is a growing queue for his services come the summer.

CB: Boubakar Kouyaté (Montpellier Hérault Sport Club)

A vital 1-0 win at the weekend for Montpellier, in a match that saw the away side and home opponent ESTAC Troyes each have a man sent off, offered additional breathing room ahead of the Ligue 1 dropzone for the Occitanian side, with Malian center-back Boubakar Kouyaté putting in a fantastic shift in the heart of the defense to help guarantee three points.

LB: Alphonso Davies (Fußball-Club Bayern München)

Despite Bayern Munich tasting defeat for the second time this season when they came away with nothing after a 3-2 loss against Borussia Mönchengladbach at Borussia Park, the Bavarian giants were very much in it throughout thanks to two assists and a superb all-around effort from Canadian starlet Alphonso Davies.

CM: Rodrigo Riquelme (Girona Futbol Club)

Catalan outfit Girona produced one of the biggest results anywhere across the continent’s top leagues this weekend during their 6-2 thrashing of Almería on Friday night in front of home support at Estadi Montilivi, with young midfielder Rodrigo Riquelme offering a goal and an assist to help the club to a massive three points.

CM: Dani Rodríguez (Real Club Deportivo Mallorca)

Mallorca’s charge up the La Liga table from their provincial power base in the Balearic islands remains one of the stories of the 2022-23 season, and a 4-2 win at the weekend against Villarreal - which featured a brace from veteran midfielder Dani Rodríguez - saw them leapfrog the yellow submarine into eight and are now just three points off the European places.

RW: Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Verein für Leibesübungen 1900 e.V. Mönchengladbach)

Versatile German international midfielder Jonas Hofmann continued his influential performances for domestic giant Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend with a goal and two assists during Gladbach’s massive 3-2 home win over Bayern Munich to help throw the Bundesliga title race wide open.

LW: Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain)

French superstar Kylian Mbappé has been restored to his lofty perch atop the Ligue 1 scoring chart during PSG’s electric 4-3 win over LOSC Lille in Paris. Lionel Messi’s match-winning freekick in stoppage time sealed all three points, but PSG would not have been presented with that chance without Mbappé's equalizer and overall brace on the night.

CF: Ciro Immobile (Società Sportiva Lazio)

He may have failed during his spell outside of Italy with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla, but veteran Italian striker Ciro Immobile continues to impress in Serie A year after year. Another two goals at the weekend for Lazio in their win over Salernitana pushed the Romans to fifth in the table and his personal record is now one goal away from his seventh consecutive season of double-digit goals and placing him 8th among the league’s all-time goalscorers.

CF: Habib Diallo (Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace)

Alsatian side RC Strasbourg will head into the week in a jubilant mood after a 2-1 win against SCO Angers sees the club climb out of the relegation zone that’s to a brace by Senegalese international striker who bagged his ninth and tenth league goals of the campaign during their 2-1 home win at Stade de la Meinau.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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