Team: Real Madrid CF
Three points clear at the top of the Liga after last Saturday's 3-0 home victory against Elche CF, Madrid pulled out any remaining stops for their UEFA Champions League trip to Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday; they arrived having won only once in 25 visits to Germany, and left with a daunting 6-1 triumph over FC Schalke 04 following a display coach Carlo Ancelotti called "the perfect game". Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale scored twice each in the round of 16 opener. "I didn't think a game like that was possible at this stage of the competition," Merengues defender Pepe said afterwards. "They have some incredible individual talent up front and punished each and every one of our mistakes mercilessly," added Schalke's Benedikt Höwedes.
Player: Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)
With long queues and cold weather predicted ahead of kick-off, FC Zenit laid on a special treat for visiting fans at the Stadion Petrovski on Tuesday, with hot tea and traditional Russian pastries – pirozhki – laid on for chilly guests. Sadly, Luciano Spalletti's side's defence proved to be similarly accommodating to Dortmund, with forward Lewandowski the prime beneficiary, scoring twice in ten minutes in a 4-2 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg success. "Robert is a world-class player," team-mate Łukasz Piszczek said. "We are happy he is still with us and hope he will continue to play as well as he did today and in recent weeks." Lewandowski will join FC Bayern München in the summer. Ominous.
Goal: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04)
It was presumably absolutely no consolation whatsoever – but there is no doubt who scored the best goal of Madrid's game at Schalke. Huntelaar's 91st-minute first-time volley from the edge of the box was an absolute thunderbolt, pinging into the net off the underside of Iker Casillas's crossbar in an instant. "My goal didn't help much – it was 6-1 after all," the 30-year-old Netherlands striker said disconsolately after the final whistle. "Now we need to win 6-0 at their place. That's not going to be easy. In fact, it's pretty impossible."
"We picked the best moment to show that Greek football is alive and kicking. And that Olympiacos can take on great sides like United. [Wayne] Rooney and [Robin] van Persie are great players and we are glad we beat them today. But the second leg is still to come."
Olympiacos FC coach Míchel celebrates his team's first UEFA Champions League knockout success in seven attempts – 2-0 at home to Manchester United FC in Tuesday's round of 16 first leg.
MKS Pogoń Szczecin's Marcin Robak was the toast of Poland last Friday after he claimed all five home goals in his club's 5-1 Ekstraklasa demolition of KKS Lech Poznań. Nowhere near Ernest Wilimowski's national record of ten goals in a game, registered back in 1939, but still well worth celebrating. "I got a load of congratulations by phone or text," the 31-year-old told UEFA.com. "There were some funny ones: 'What time does Robak come home? After five.' Actually I was back earlier than that as I had to get up for 10.00 the next morning to train."
Reserve attendance: Doncaster Rovers FC
Used to playing largely for the benefit of one man and his dog, Doncaster Rovers FC reserves drew a crowd of over 4,000 for their home match against Rotherham United FC on Wednesday – as lifelong Rovers fan and One Direction star Louis Tomlinson made his debut for the English second-division club. The 22-year-old, who signed for Doncaster on non-contract terms last August, played the last 26 minutes of the 0-0 draw. He did not score, and barely got the ball, but his teenage fans were happy – including two who had flown all the way from Mexico. "Thirteen hours on a plane! 20,000 pesos," said Liliana, who then spoke on behalf of her friend Alma: "She say she love his blue eyes. He is a good boy. And his tattoos, she love. Very sexy."
Clean sweep: Leyton Orient FC
Finally, a supporter of English third-division side Leyton Orient FC honoured a foolishly tweeted promise after pledging to clean all the seats at the club's Brisbane Road stadium if they re-signed Bosnian-born Swiss goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović. Sure, it was only a second loan spell for the 29-year-old, who is under contract at Hull City AFC, but Craig Delew kept his word at the 2,600-capacity venue – and was rewarded with VIP tickets to watch his favourite keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win against Stevenage FC. "Like all good clubs, we decide our transfer policy based on what our fans tweet," joked Orient's chief executive and Professional Darts Corporation head honcho Matt Porter.
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