A third of the way through the UEFA Champions League group stage and with a fortnight break until matchday three, UEFA.com ponders some of the highlights so far.
While seven of the eight groups are topped by sides on a maximum six points, the performances of two teams in particular have caught the eye more than any other. FC BATE Borisov were without a win in their 12 previous group stage fixtures prior to this season, but have won their opening two encounters this time round.
Running the Belarusians close in the surprise package stakes are Málaga CF, leading Group C thanks to successive 3-0 victories on their first appearance in the competition. They took little time to adapt, Isco putting them in front against FC Zenit St Petersburg on matchday one after just three minutes – the first goal of the group stage.
There has been no shortage of striking individual displays either, though Chelsea FC midfielder Oscar takes some beating for his matchday one exploits. Making his first Blues start, the Brazilian scored twice against Juventus, the second a simply exquisite effort after a delightfully stylish turn.
Not to be outdone, Zlatan Ibrahimović ensured his fair share of the limelight by opening the scoring for Paris Saint-Germain FC against FC Dynamo Kyiv. That goal made the Sweden striker the first player in UEFA Champions League history to have netted in the competition for six different clubs.
No less important at the other end of the field, and perhaps another contender for best solo showing to date, was AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati at FC Zenit St Petersburg on matchday two. Milan prevailed 3-2 courtesy of a fortunate own goal, yet it was the man between the posts who was the undoubted hero. "I don't know what he's been eating," was the reaction of team-mate Urby Emanuelson, while Zenit's Axel Witsel called it "the game of Abbiati's life".
Cristiano Ronaldo has, unsurprisingly, provided no lack of drama in his own right, registering a 90th-minute winner against Manchester City FC – one of the matches of this group stage – before adding a hat-trick against AFC Ajax in Real Madrid CF's second fixture.
Other honourable mentions should go to FC Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira, purveyor of the maiden European goal at the new Juventus Stadium, and Celtic FC, who won a UEFA Champions League away game for the first time in 21 attempts when they triumphed at FC Spartak Moskva.
What is your most memorable moment so far? Which player has impressed you most? Which teams are punching above their weight? Which match has been the most entertaining? Leave your thoughts on the group stage using the box below.
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