With the UEFA Champions League group stage done and dusted, UEFA.com hands out its awards for a season so far lit up by the likes of Philippe Mexès, Borussia Dortmund and Burak Yılmaz.
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Team: Borussia Dortmund
Though Málaga CF won admirers for their campaign, the size of the task facing Dortmund in Group D makes their achievement all the more impressive. Unbeaten in six fixtures against the champions of Spain, England and the Netherlands, Jürgen Klopp's side learned fast from last season's group stage exit and will fear no one in the knockout rounds. The speed with which Marco Reus has settled into his new surroundings has been crucial, while striker Robert Lewandowski now appears at home at this level. Mats Hummels and Neven Subotić have been superb in the centre of defence.
Player: Burak Yılmaz (Galatasaray AŞ)
Burak scored six of Galatasaray's seven Group H goals and has already netted more times in a single UEFA Champions League season than any other Turkish player. Before his prolific streak, the 27-year-old forward had failed to register 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.
Goal: Philippe Mexès (AC Milan)
Without a goal in 18 months, Mexès sensationally ended his drought in the Rossoneri's 3-1 Group C win at RSC Anderlecht on matchday five. Controlling on his chest, with back to goal 20 metres out on the right, the French international conjured a magnificent overhead kick that sailed into the far corner – not bad for a centre-back. Honourable mentions also go to Málaga's Eliseu, for his blistering strike against Anderlecht on matchday two, and Chelsea FC's Oscar for his sensational second effort against Juventus in September.
Match: Real Madrid CF 3-2 Manchester City FC
How different life in Group D could have been for the English title holders had their trip to the Santiago Bernabéu not had such a venomous sting in the tail. Still goalless midway through the second half, this matchday one contest exploded into life when Edin Džeko put City in front. Though Marcelo swiftly equalised for Madrid, the visitors appeared to have won it through Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick five minutes from the end. However, there was still time for Karim Benzema to lash in an equaliser and Cristiano Ronaldo to complete a remarkable turnaround.
"Yes, we watch Braveheart, and before every game we also put our kilts on and all dance together ... "
Celtic FC captain Scott Brown, with tongue firmly in cheek, reveals the secret to the Glasgow club's success in Group G.
Zlatan Ibrahimović became the first player to score for six different teams in the UEFA Champions League when he converted a penalty in Paris Saint-Germain FC's 4-1 Group A triumph against FC Dynamo Kyiv on matchday one. The Sweden striker had previously registered in the competition for AFC Ajax, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, FC Barcelona and Milan.
Rocking the boat: FC BATE Borisov, Celtic FC and CFR 1907 Cluj
Having failed to win in 12 group stage fixtures, BATE opened their 2012/13 campaign with victory at LOSC Lille. If that put the Belarusian champions on the front foot, very few could have predicted what followed on matchday two – a 3-1 home win against Group F favourites FC Bayern München. Elsewhere, on matchday four in Scotland, Celtic – agonisingly denied a point at the Camp Nou two weeks before – went one better at home and secured a memorable 2-1 success against Barcelona in Group G. Romania's CFR were the last of the giant-killers, concluding their campaign with a 1-0 Group H victory at Old Trafford.
Unwanted record: Chelsea FC
Attempting to become the first club to retain the UEFA Champions League title, Chelsea set another, far less illustrious precedent. The London outfit had made it into the last 16 in all ten of their previous campaigns, yet missed out this time in Group E – the first occasion the holders had failed to get out of the group stage.
Persistence: GNK Dinamo Zagreb
Such was the delirium following Ivan Krstanović's 95th-minute penalty on matchday six, in the 1-1 Group A home draw with Dynamo Kyiv, you could have been mistaken for thinking Dinamo had won the UEFA Champions League. In fact, the forward had just earned them their first point and ensured the Croatian side avoided equalling RSC Anderlecht's unwanted record of 12 successive group stage defeats. Krstanović's celebrations in the snow, shirt above head and mobbed by thrilled team-mates, were a sight to behold.