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15th Dec 2014

The best pieces of innovation from the Champions League group stages

There have been a few so far.

Eric Lalor

The draw for the second round has been made and my god, there are some tasty ties we can’t wait for…

Unfortunately, we’ll have to hold on until the new year. But to keep us going until then, we’ve decided to look back at some of the best pieces of innovation from the group stage.

There were no huge surprises in the Champions League group stages, apart, perhaps, from Liverpool’s failure to qualify given the group they were in.

There have, however, been some great moments of skill and here we attempt to highlight the ones which stuck in our memory.

Julian Draxler turn v Chelsea

Julian Draxler is a bit of a baller in our eyes and this piece of skill for Schalke against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was as beautiful as it was effective. It’s a turn and lay-off that defies belief.

Alexis Sanchez bamboozling Dortmund

Arsenal fans the world over would shiver at the prospect of not having Alexis Sanchez in their team.

He has been a revelation for the Gunners and he tore the Borussia Dortmund lads a new one when they came to the Emirates. Look at him bamboozling their full-back for starters.

The ridiculously quick feet of Luis Nani

Nani is one of the most frustrating footballers on the planet; ask any Manchester United fan and they’ll tell you just that. He’s on loan with Sporting Lisbon and sometimes when he clicks, he’s just wonderful to watch. Witness the ‘Disco Stu’ footwork here against Maribor in the group stages and the finish. Mesmerising.

Steven Gerrard and his free-kick masterclass

Some say Steven Gerrard is over the hill and maybe there’s a bit of truth to that. But there is no doubting the man’s ability to score in big games, particularly from dead ball situations. This goal from a free-kick against Basel the other night was a thing of real beauty.

This is brought to you by Nissan, official partner of the UEFA Champions League. Click here for more.