A group stage of tumbling records

From Ireland in the west to Slovenia in the east, Champions Matchday celebrates some of the records made and broken in another entertaining group stage.

Perhaps even more than usual, this season's UEFA Champions League group stage raised talking points and brought out the best in some of Europe's top footballing talent.

Failing to succeed
Four German teams lost on matchday five – the first time this has ever happened in the UEFA Champions League. Yet FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 all qualified for the knockout stage, for the second season in succession.

That feat has only previously been achieved by English clubs, who did it three times running from 2006/07 to 2008/09, courtesy of Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC. In each of those campaigns, at least one English side contested the final, with United winning the competition in 2008.

All in the family
Luka Zahovič maintained a proud family tradition when he scored for NK Maribor two minutes into added time of their matchday one game against Sporting Clube de Portugal. The then 18-year-old was following in the footsteps of his father, attacking midfielder Zlatko Zahovič, who registered 11 goals in this competition for FC Porto, Olympiacos FC and Valencia CF – reaching the final with the Spanish club in 2001.

Luka's strike made the Zahovičs the second father-and-son pairing to get on the scoresheet in the UEFA Champions League. The first was Ghanaian midfielder Abedi Pelé – a European champion with Olympique de Marseille in 1993 – and his son André Ayew, who also plays for the Ligue 1 outfit.

If either offspring makes the final of this competition, they will join some exalted company. Four fathers and sons have shared this distinction so far: José and Rui Águas; Manuel Sanchís Martínez and Manuel Sanchís; Miguel and Pepe Reina; and Cesare and Paolo Maldini.

Emmet Malone (L) draws APOEL in 2013
Emmet Malone (L) draws APOEL in 2013©Getty Images

Luck of the Irish
APOEL FC's Irish connection endures. Thrylos forward Cillian Sheridan was the only Irishman playing in this term's group stage. The 25-year-old No9 had netted three times in the qualifying rounds as the Cypriot champions earned their last-32 place. Last season, APOEL competed in the UEFA Europa League after Irish Times journalist Emmet Malone drew their name from a bowl to replace the disqualified Fenerbahçe SK.

Messi's all right
Lionel Messi has scored 59 of his record-breaking haul of 75 UEFA Champions League goals with his left foot – yet his most recent four strikes have all come with his marginally less-celebrated right.

Already level with Raúl González on 71, Messi rewrote the record books with an unlikely hat-trick of right-footed goals against APOEL on matchday five, then added another from the same source by firing in Luis Suárez's assist at home to Paris Saint-Germain.

"Messi is absolutely the best player I've seen, as a player and as a coach," said FC Barcelona boss Luis Enrique. With eight goals and two assists in this campaign – a decisive intervention every 51 minutes – Barça's talismanic No10 is enjoying the best form of his career.

A world of their own
Few will be surprised that the three most prolific goalscoring nations in this campaign are Brazil, Spain and Argentina. Between them, they contributed more than 25% of the group phase's 279 goals.

Danny Welbeck scores on matchday two
Danny Welbeck scores on matchday two©AFP/Getty Images

Probably more surprising are some of the nine countries providing just a single goal – in particular Russia and Ukraine, who were represented by PFC CSKA Moskva's Vasili Berezutski and FC Shakhtar Donetsk's Taras Stepanenko respectively. The other players to notch their nation's only goal are Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia), Shkelzen Gashi (Albania), Agim Ibraimi (FYR Macedonia), Andy Najar (Honduras), Bebras Natcho (Israel), José Rondón (Venezuela) and Marek Suchý (Czech Republic). Players from 43 countries have found the target this term, with the highest-scoring Englishman being Arsenal FC's Danny Welbeck, on three strikes.

Milestones
38
On matchday five, AS Roma great Francesco Totti set a new record as the UEFA Champions League's oldest marksman, aged 38 years and 59 days.

146 Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández is now the European Cup's all-time leading appearance maker, two ahead of Real Madrid CF's Iker Casillas.

20 Wesley Sneijder's consolation for Galatasaray AŞ in the 4-1 home defeat by Arsenal made Cimbom the 20th team to claim 100 goals in the competition.

100 The 100 club welcomed three new members in the group stage, with Chelsea's John Terry (103), Juventus's Andrea Pirlo (102) and Barcelona's Andrés Iniesta (100) all attaining a century of UEFA Champions League outings.

Champions Matchday is the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League and is available in print or free to download in digital format. You can follow the magazine on Twitter @ChampionsMag.

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