UEFA.com looks back at the UEFA Champions League group stage, which featured Chelsea FC's unexpectedly early exit and new landmarks for Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona.
Article top media content
As the dust settles on the UEFA Champions League group stage, UEFA.com looks back over all the key statistics from the past 96 matches, including an unprecedentedly early exit for last season's victors, Manchester City FC's toils, notable landmarks for José Mourinho, Arsène Wenger and Iker Casillas, and the scoring feats of Burak Yılmaz and Lionel Messi.
Chelsea FC became the first holders to have their defence of the trophy ended in the following season's group stage. Not only had the London club progressed from the initial group stage in all ten of their previous UEFA Champions League campaigns, their 16 goals in this season's competition made them the top scorers.
Chelsea and CFR 1907 Cluj both finished with ten points, joining a small band of clubs who have failed to progress from a group stage on that total. Under the system of three points for a win, only FC Dynamo Kyiv (1999/2000, second group stage, and 2004/05), Borussia Dortmund (2002/03, second group stage), PSV Eindhoven (2003/04), Olympiacos FC (2004/05), SV Werder Bremen (2006/07) and Manchester City (2011/12) all missed out despite collecting ten points.
Manchester City are also the first English club to fail to win a group game as they finished bottom of Group D – only the third time that has happened to a Premier League team after Blackburn Rovers FC (1995/96) and City's neighbours Manchester United FC in 2005/06.
100 and 150
On matchday five, José Mourinho became only the fourth man to take charge of 100 matches in the UEFA Champions League. Two weeks later, one of the other three, Arsène Wenger, oversaw his 150th game in the competition as Arsenal FC lost at Olympiacos FC; Sir Alex Ferguson (188) and Carlo Ancelotti (113) have also reached the century landmark.
Burak Yılmaz found the net six times for Galatasaray AŞ in the group stage and has already scored more goals in a single UEFA Champions League season than any other Turkish player. Before his prolific streak, which constituted Galatasaray's first six goals of the campaign, he had not registered in his 16 previous matches in the competition, including qualifying. Cimbom's seventh goal, at SC Braga on matchday six, came from Aydin Yılmaz and proved the most significant as it took the Turkish champions into the last 16 for the first time since 2001/02.
Real Madrid CF finished second in Group D to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout stage for the 17th time, and the 16th season in succession. The Spanish giants last missed out in 1996/97, when they did not feature in the competition.
FC Barcelona finished as group winners for the 14th time – one more than Manchester United – and for the sixth season in succession.
In drawing their first three Group E games, Juventus made it a record nine successive European stalemates, having been held in all six group games in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage. They ended that run in style with a 4-0 defeat of FC Nordsjælland on matchday four and followed up by defeating Chelsea at home and FC Shakhtar Donetsk away – the latter victory ending a run of five straight away draws and clinching first place in the section.
Having lost all six group games in 2011/12, GNK Dinamo Zagreb suffered more of the same in Group A, going down in their first five fixtures without scoring a goal. Indeed, it looked like they were on course to equal RSC Anderlecht's competition record of 12 successive defeats when Andriy Yarmolenko gave FC Dynamo Kyiv the lead in Zagreb in the final fixture. However, with the prospect of joining RC Deportivo La Coruña (2004/05) and Maccabi Haifa FC (2009/10) as the only teams not to score in a group stage looming large, Ivan Krstanović won a penalty deep into added time. The substitute got up to convert it himself – Dinamo's first goal in the group stage in the 567th minute of their campaign, added time included.
Málaga CF might have ended up conceding five goals – more than FC Porto, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Juventus – but the Group C winners kept clean sheets in their first three outings, the 1-0 defeat of AC Milan on matchday three stretching their European run without conceding to five matches and 487 minutes, a run they extended to 560 minutes before being breached in the return. Málaga had recorded eight shut-outs in their nine previous European matches prior to the 1-1 draw at San Siro and, despite shipping four goals in their last two outings, have allowed only 12 strikes in 24 UEFA competition games overall.
Group H featured seven away wins in its 12 fixtures, compared to only four home victories.
Iker Casillas made his 126th UEFA Champions League appearance, group stage to final, on matchday four, taking him third on his own in the all-time appearance list. Only Raúl González (142 appearances) and Ryan Giggs (132) are ahead of the Real Madrid CF goalkeeper, who now has 127 matches to his name.
Lionel Messi now has 56 goals in the UEFA Champions League, the same number as Ruud van Nistelrooy and fewer only than Raúl (71). Messi still has some way to go to match Raúl's tally in UEFA competition, however; his double at FC Spartak Moskva on matchday five took him to 57 goals, 20 fewer than the former Real Madrid and FC Schalke 04 striker.
Zlatan Ibrahimović set up all four of PSG's goals against Dinamo on matchday four – the first time a player had provided four assists in a match since Carlos Martins in SL Benfica's 4-3 win at Olympique Lyonnais in 2010/11. Ibrahimović has five assists to date, more than any other player.
Ibrahimović's matchday one goal against Dynamo Kyiv made him the first player to score for six different clubs in the UEFA Champions League: AFC Ajax, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, Milan and PSG.