A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled into an XI from across Europe’s top seven leagues. You can read this for all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
With a full schedule of matches and leagues running this weekend, post the international break, it was an exciting Talent Radar Team of the Week to prepare. The Manchester Derby was everyone’s focus while controversial RB Leipzig’s encounter with Borussia Dortmund was an interesting proposition in itself. With seven leagues to choose from this season (with the addition of the Portuguese league), a diverse Team of the Week presents itself below.
Defence: 20-year-old Sven Muller made his senior debut for FC Koln in a commendable 0-0 draw away to Wolfsburg, making a number of saves proving to potentially be serious competition for Timo Horn.
New Ajax signing Davinson Sanchez made his first Team of the Week appearance as Ajax recovered their season following five dropped points in the opening two games. The Dutch side overcame Vitesse with a 1-0 scoreline with the Colombian Sanchez a key figure in the heart of the defence in a nervous encounter. Versatile Ramy Bensebaini makes a third consecutive Talent Radar Team of the Week appearance of the season, featuring again in defence for Rennes having also been deployed in a midfield capacity. The French side secured their second win of the season with a 2-0 result at home to Caen.
Sven Muller saves a shot from Mario Gomez in his Bundesliga debut | Stuart Franklin / Bongarts / Getty Images
Benjamin Henrichs is on the right side of defence having impressed in Leverkusen’s exciting victory over Hamburg. The teenager set up his side’s second goal after some impressive interplay, having shifted flanks and calmly taking on the opposition on the ball. Ex Barcelona youngster, Alex Grimaldo, becomes the second ever Portugal based player to make the team of the week following a decent performance in Benfica’s victory over Arouca.
Midfielder: PSV Eindhoven’s summer signing, Bart Ramselaar, was among the scorers as the defending champions beat NEC 4-0 away from home; he also makes a return to the Talent Radar Team of the Week having regularly made the cut at his previous club, FC Utrecht, last season. His central midfield partner is young Wylian Cyprien who impressed for Nice in their 3-2 win over Marseille. Though Mario Balotelli stole the headlines, Cyprien’s 94% passing success rate along with the winning goal deserves recognition with the Frenchman making his first appearance in the feature this season.
Atletico Madrid finally got their first win of the season, and the ever-versatile Saul Niguez was crucial in their 4-0 Celta Vigo victory. The youngster pulled off a Cruyff-turn before a perfect cross to set-up Koke for the opener. On the other flank is Niguez’ ex-Atletico partner as Oliver Torres continues to impress in his loan spell at FC Porto. The Spaniard was among the scorers as the Portuguese giants beat Vitoria 3-0.
Joel Pohjanpalo celebrates his hat-trick goal against Hamburg | Patrik Stollarz / AFP / Getty Images
Attack: The attack combination is an interesting one, with two differently impressive performances. Kelechi Iheanacho was match winner in the Manchester Derby. A game which was hard to call even for the bookies, as seen on Smartbets’ odds. Taking a neat touch to put Kevin De Bruyne through on goal before pouncing on a defensive error to score the second and what proved to be the winning goal.
Joel Pohjanpalo completes this week’s XI after an unbelievable second half hat-trick having come on as a substitute. A simple header leveled the score up, but in stoppage time he scored his second from Hencrich’s cross with a half volley before show-casing composure to complete his hat-trick few minutes later. A true talent in the making.