Gotta Catch ‘Em All
With his goal against Hungarian side Ferencvárosi TC on MD1, Lionel Messi added another victim to his list. The Argentine has now scored against 36 different teams in UEFA Champions League history, three more than any other player in the history of the competition.
The only five teams he’s played and not scored against are Atlético de Madrid (four apps), Internazionale (four apps), Rubin Kazan (four apps), Benfica (two apps) and Udinese (one app).
The legendary Barcelona star has also now scored in 16 different Champions League seasons – a record he shares with Karim Benzema and Ryan Giggs
Ronaldo Keeps Going
Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League this season on MD3. In doing so, he equalled Ryan Giggs’s tally of 18 consecutive seasons playing in the competition and now has Iker Casillas’ record of 20 in his sights.
Welsh winger Giggs played 19 different seasons of Champions League football in total, all for Manchester United. However, alongside teammate Paul Scholes, the Red Devils’ failure to qualify for the 1995/96 competition means that they didn’t manage their total tallies in consecutive campaigns.
The Bayern Juggernaut Rumbles On
Bayern Munich have started the 2020/21 UCL campaign as they finished the last – beating anyone that crosses their path.
Their current 14-game winning run is the longest ever seen in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and they have extended the already record-breaking 11-game run they secured last season, adding three more victories this term.
Bayern have already scored 12 goals in 2020/21 and need to score 12 more in their final three Group Stage games to equal their record of 24 goals at this stage in 2019/20. The all-time record for Group Stage goals in the Champions League is Paris Saint-Germain’s tally of 25 in 2017/18 and it looks like that could come under threat again this season.
The League of Nations
It has not been a vintage start to the 2020/21 Champions League for French clubs. The three teams from Ligue 1 have combined for just four points, with PSG’s win over Krasnodar on MD2 the only victory for a French club to date.
UCL 2020/21 Performance By Nation:
Nation P W D L Points Points per Game England 12 10 1 1 31 2.58 Germany 12 8 2 2 26 2.17 Portugal 3 2 0 1 6 2.00 Spain 12 7 3 2 24 2.00 Italy 12 4 5 3 17 1.42 Belgium 3 1 1 1 4 1.33 Netherlands 3 1 1 1 4 1.33 Greece 3 1 0 2 3 1.00 Turkey 3 1 0 2 3 1.00 Ukraine 6 1 2 3 5 0.83 France 9 1 1 7 4 0.44 Russia 9 0 4 5 4 0.44 Austria 3 0 1 2 1 0.33 Hungary 3 0 1 2 1 0.33 Denmark 3 0 0 3 0 0.00
Overall, French clubs have averaged 0.44 points per game this season, and have amassed just four points in nine games in total – the same points tally as Belgian side Club Brugge have managed on their own.
Premier League clubs lead the way so far, dropping just five points from 36 available in the Group Stage. With 10 wins, English clubs are just four wins away from their collective win tally in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage (14).
Goals, Glorious Goals
With 156 goals already scored in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League season, we’re seeing the highest goals per game average ever in a single season of UCL action.
The 3.25 goals per game average this season is very slightly over last season (3.24) and it’s interesting to note that four of the last five seasons of the competition have seen the highest averages, proving this competition is now the place to come if you want to see goals.
Interestingly, the expected goals (xG) tally per game currently stands at 3.02 – lower than each of the last three seasons of UCL action and quite a bit below last season’s 3.49 average. This could hint we’re likely to see a slight drop in goals in the matchdays to come…
Dynamo Kyiv midfielder Gerson Rodrigues might not be the best-known footballer to play in the Champions League, but his appearance in the competition this season was unique.
When making his UCL debut against Barcelona in the Camp Nou on MD1, Rodrigues became the first-ever player affiliated to Luxembourg to play in the competition.
This means that 126 different nations have been represented in the UEFA Champions League now overall – with just 17 of those nations having a sole representative in the competition.
Nationalities Represented By Just One Player in UCL History:
Nation Player Total Apps Club(s) Bahrain Abdulla Yusuf Helal 2 Slavia Prague Burundi Dugary Ndabashinze 4 KRC Genk Congo Delvin N'Dinga 17 Auxerre & Olympiakos DPR Korea Pak Kwang-Ryong 3 Basel Equatorial Guinea Javier Balboa 3 Real Madrid Estonia Ragnar Klavan 8 AZ & Liverpool Gibraltar Danny Higginbotham 1 Manchester United Guyana Carl Cort 1 Newcastle United Iraq Hawar Mulla Mohammed 6 Anorthosis Famagusta Libya Djamal Mahamat 1 SC Braga Luxembourg Gerson Rodrigues 3 Dynamo Kyiv Malaysia Natxo Insa 1 Valencia CF Namibia Collin Benjamin 2 Hamburger SV Qatar Rodrigo Tabata 3 Besiktas Tanzania Mbwana Samatta 6 KRC Genk Thailand Geoffrey Prommayon 5 Willem II Uganda Joseph Nestroy Kizito 1 Partizan Belgrade
Enjoy this? Subscribe to The Analyst to receive five stories each Friday from Stats Perform. It’s free.