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Boateng, Van Persie, Mazzarri among stars

Published: Friday 25 November 2011, 9.30CET
"The happiest man in the world", "one of the best in Europe" and a record-breaking hat-trick are among the stories featured in's look back at the latest week in football.

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Published: Friday 25 November 2011, 9.30CET

Boateng, Van Persie, Mazzarri among stars

"The happiest man in the world", "one of the best in Europe" and a record-breaking hat-trick are among the stories featured in's look back at the latest week in football.

Team: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Fighting off stiff competition from APOEL FC, Leverkusen take this particular gong by virtue of sheer persistence. Defeated 2-0 by Chelsea FC on UEFA Champions League matchday one, they immediately looked to be facing an uphill struggle in Group E. Likewise when Didier Drogba put the Blues ahead in north-west Germany on Wednesday night. Robin Dutt's team bounced back, though, Manuel Friedrich scoring an added-time winner to put them through to the round of 16. "We're delighted to be in the next round, though it's always a little lucky when you score in the last minute," said former Chelsea man Michael Ballack.

Player: Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC)
Let us allow the numbers to do the talking: two more goals against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, 38 in 41 Arsenal appearances in 2011, 21 in 23 for club and country this season. If that were not enough, over to Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp after his side became the latest victims of the Van Persie Show: "Wow, what a performance, what a player. He's certainly one of the best in Europe." The final word goes to Arsène Wenger: "Van Persie is an exceptional player."

Goal: Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan)
Asked to predict who might produce the most eye-catching moment at the San Siro on Wednesday night, few would have named this man. The likes of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Xavi Hernández were sensational as usual, but it was the ever-more influential Boateng whose goal stood out the most. It had the lot; beautifully balanced control, a splendidly imaginative back-heel and a rifled, swerving finish.

Quote: Ivan Jovanović (APOEL FC)
"I am the happiest man in the world right now. We have achieved something which three months ago we had no right to even dream of."
The APOEL coach revels in his side unexpectedly booking a place in the round of 16.

Number: 1262 (Dimitar Berbatov)
Not since 21 October 2008 had the Manchester United FC striker enjoyed the feeling of scoring a UEFA Champions League goal. That was until he once again reacquainted himself with that sensation against SL Benfica this week after a drought of 22 European appearances, 1,262 minutes and more than three years.

Icon: Walter Mazzarri (SSC Napoli)
A figurine of the Napoli coach was already part of the Nativity display at the San Gregorio Armeno church in the centre of Naples, which famously features characters with little or no connection to the biblical story. However, a halo has now been added – Mazzarri did not have to wait long for sanctity after leading his "incredible" side to a 2-1 victory against Manchester City FC. Edinson Cavani, scorer of both goals, could well be next.

Contest: Franck Ribéry v Matthias Sammer
So impressed was Sammer with Ribéry's goal celebration against Villarreal CF, the sporting director of the German Football Association (DFB) agreed to a most honorable bet. Ribéry rejoiced in scoring by performing three press-ups, prompting he and Sammer – working as a television pundit – to agree to go head to head should FC Bayern München go on to win the final at their own ground. "I've no idea how many I can do but I believe more than Mr Sammer," said the France forward. "I like him, I have already eaten croissants with him in a boulangerie in France. If we win the Champions League, we will do push-ups together." Maybe they should lay off the croissants until then.

Record: Valencia CF
Unai Emery's team have their Group E fate in their own hands after a scintillating display against KRC Genk. Valencia ran out 7-0 winners to record their biggest ever victory in UEFA club competition, surpassing their previous mark of 6-1 – a scoreline they most recently recorded almost exactly a year ago, against Bursaspor in last season's group stage.

Record ended: Spain women
On 11 November 1999, Germany drew a UEFA European Women's Championship qualifier 4-4 in Italy. After that, they embarked on a 12-year, 36-match run of consecutive victories in major tournament preliminaries but that was ended on Thursday by Spain in Motril. Although Spain had also had a perfect record in UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 2 going into the game, Germany looked back to their best with Saturday's 17-0 win against Kazakhstan, their biggest ever and a joint EURO qualifying record. And the visitors were duly two up at the break but Verónica Boquete's superb angled 57th-minute effort pulled one back and in added time substitute Willy sparked wild scenes by making it 2-2.

Speedy hat-trick: Filip Ivanovski (FK Vardar)
Roberto Soldado may have scored three of Valencia's seven in an admittedly impressive 36-minute first-half surge, but such exploits were nothing compared to those of Filip Ivanovski. With his team, FK Vardar, already 2-0 up against FK Napredok last weekend, Ivanovski hit a hat-trick in just three minutes – unsurprisingly, the fastest in Macedonian First League history. "The personal achievements are not so important to me," he said after the 5-1 victory.

Last updated: 06/12/13 5.55CET