Player: Roberto (Olympiacos FC)
Having failed to intercept the corner from which SL Benfica equalised on UEFA Champions League matchday three, the Olympiacos No1 made amends in the reverse Group C fixture against his former team, pulling off a string of fine saves as the Piraeus side protected Kostas Manolas's early goal. "Tonight Roberto was more than a saint," enthused the Greek club's coach Míchel, while Eagles trainer Jorge Jesus remarked: "He denied us six goals and he showed the quality I always saw in him." As for the man himself, the shot-stopper on loan from Club Atlético de Madrid said modestly: "This [tonight] is not a response, but a reward for the hard work, sacrifice and professionalism I think I am displaying on a daily basis. I will try to keep the same level.
Team: Manchester City FC
Twelve goals, two home wins and qualification for the knockout phase of Europe's premier club competition for the first time – safe to say it has been a fruitful week for the Citizens. Last Saturday's 7-0 defeat of Norwich City FC, their biggest victory of the Premier League era, was followed by a 5-2 success against PFC CSKA Moskva in which Álvaro Negredo registered a hat-trick, his third of 2013, and Sergio Agüero scored on his sixth successive City appearance. "[Qualification] is the first step but it is an important one, as the club have not qualified in the last two years," said manager Manuel Pellegrini after Tuesday's Group D encounter with the Russian title holders. "The first target was to reach the last 16."
Goal: Lasse Schöne (AFC Ajax)
The club that pioneered 'Total Football' crafted a goal Rinus Michels would have been proud of as they revived their UEFA Champions League Group H campaign with a 1-0 home win against Celtic FC. In a not too dissimilar manner to the Arsenal FC artistry celebrated in this column two weeks ago, Ajax midfielder Schöne deftly finished off a slick passing exchange that had scythed open the visitors' defence. In the words of Run DMC's It's Like That, the free-flowing move "goes a little something like this": Schöne to Siem de Jong, back to Schöne, into Thulani Serero, who turns the ball around the corner for the Danish international to take a touch and elegantly beat Fraser Forster with the outside of his right boot. Easy.
Stoke City FC custodian Asmir Begović joined an elite band on Saturday when he became the fifth goalkeeper to score in the Premier League – after just 13 seconds. Supporters had barely taken their seats when Erik Pieters' back pass was swept downfield first time by Begović from inside his area. Nobody could have predicted the outcome, not least Southampton FC keeper Artur Boruc, who watched on in horror as the ball – swirling deviously in the wind – bounced over him and into the net. "It's a cool feeling but it was a fortunate incident. I feel a bit bad for Boruc," said the Bosnian international. "It does not make a goalkeeper look good and I did not want to celebrate out of respect for him."
Record-collecting: FC Bayern München
The juggernaut rolls on. Last Saturday a 2-1 victory at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim extended Bayern's unbeaten Bundesliga run to 36 outings, equalling Hamburger SV's top-flight record set between 1982 and 1983. There was no question of resting on laurels, however, and on Tuesday they matched FC Barcelona's 2002/03 best of nine successive UEFA Champions League wins with a 1-0 triumph at FC Viktoria Plzeň. That also stretched Franck Ribéry's unbeaten streak to 52 competitive games, including (a record, of course) 40 in the league.
"He likes having the ball, playing football, passes ... it's like an orchestra. But it's a silent song, yeah? I like heavy metal."
Jürgen Klopp, pretending to play the violin, uses a musical analogy to compare the style of his Borussia Dortmund squad to that of midweek opponents Arsenal FC.
Battle of wits: FC Nitra 0-2 MŠK Žilina
Klopp had the killer quote of the week, but Žilina's 2-0 Slovak Cup win at Nitra on Saturday also produced some notable wisecracks. Nitra coach Vladimír Koník admitted in the wake of the defeat that his side are leaking goals from everywhere. "We can concede a goal from the bus or from the car park," he said. However, Žilina keeper Martin Dúbravka may have come up with an even sharper post-match comment. He and his team-mates had been fined by the club after a four-game winless sequence prior to the Nitra tie. Asked whether the punishment had helped sharpen their performance, Dúbravka replied: "Christmas is coming. We need money to buy presents."
Drum roll: Petr Čech & Roger Taylor
The king of Czech goalkeeping and the drummer from Queen, it transpires, are top mates, with Čech and Taylor recently coming together for a jam session. "We've known each other for a long time now," Čech revealed. "He's a big fan. I met Roger for the first time roughly a year ago when he travelled overseas with us. I've been to his place a couple of times since and when the opportunity arose to play some drums with him, I couldn't refuse." In a video released to mark this auspicious meeting, the Chelsea FC player confesses to having a "drum shed at home", while Taylor likens their respective roles: "A goalkeeper is so important for holding a team together and the drummer is just as important in the band – without the drummer, nothing."
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