With the preseason period coming to its highly anticipated end, clubs across the continent are making their final tweaks to the matchday squad, developing their ideas of what a best possible starting XI looks like.
Although the debate will rage on as to just whether these friendlies bear any meaning on the actual season, teams will nonetheless attempt to come out with the most successful records possible.
The earliest action this week saw Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino tested against Polish minnows Lechia Gdansk, with a host of Premier League and Bundesliga clubs also out on display.
A relatively small fixture by all means, the biggest storyline at PGE Arena Gdansk this week was the Barcelona debut of the Catalans’ newest superstar, Neymar.
An occasion that the Polish amateur side will surely remember for some time, Lechia Gdansk actually held their own pretty well against the Spanish champions, who led with very much a second-string team with a sprinkling of majesty.
Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez were the bigger stars of Tata Martino’s lineup as the new Barca boss gave the likes of Marc Bartra, Sergio Gomez, Martin Montoya and Christian Tello their chances to impress.
Another youngster taking the opportunity was Sergi Roberto, the La Masia product whom many predict will replace Thiago Alcantara at the Camp Nou.
And it was Roberto who got his side back into the fixture following Jaroslaw Bieniuk’s opener for the hosts, finishing from close range thanks to an inviting Montoya cross.
For large periods, Barcelona certainly looked like the stronger outfit and should have buried a batch of other chances like they did in the 7-0 thrashing of Valarenga over the weekend, but a clinical touch was lacking.
Instead, it was Piotr Grzelczak who put the Polish hosts ahead once more just after the restart, Messi once again rising to the occasion to salvage a draw for his team soon after.
For players such as Jonathan dos Santos, Bartra, Roberto and Montoya, the result was still a good run-out under their new coach, but it might take more convincing before any of them find much time in the starting XI of competitive matches.
Neymar was introduced with 10 minutes left in his first appearance as a Barcelona player, with more set to come swiftly.
After settling his dispute with the club regarding their sponsorship with money lenders Wonga, Papiss Demba Cisse made his return to the Newcastle United fray with renewed reason to impress.
The Senegalese striker had been training independently of late, separate from the rest of the first team, but contributed with a goal against St. Mirren to mark his return.
The Scottish club have had a miserable preseason, and the loss to their southern opponents marks their fourth loss in the last three weeks.
On the other hand, Alan Pardew’s side have been decently successful in their preparations, winning three, drawing one and losing one of their preseason fixtures.
In what was a fairly rudimentary display from Newcastle, the Premier League outfit took the lead through Cisse on the 20th minute.
That was seven minutes before Mathieu Debuchy stormed down the right to latch onto a Vurnon Anita through ball, firing home to double Newcastle’s lead in good time.
From there, the Magpies let their foot off the gas slightly, but the hosts were unable to make any use of what little possession they did have.
Both with identical records of three wins and one loss heading into this encounter, Bayer Leverkusen and Kaiserslautern left the Friedrich Moebus Stadium with identical form having finished at 1-1.
The 2. Bundesliga hosts did well to fend off their Bundesliga opponents for the most part and looked fairly disciplined in their outing, seemingly unfazed by the higher standing of their enemy.
The breakthrough came for the home team, too, as Stephen Zellner collected a Ruben Jenssen pass to round off an impressive bit of build-up play on 29 minutes, the 22-year-old doing well to poke it past Andres Palop.
Barren of chances, The Factory Squad were fortunate to see Karim Bellarabi convert in the 78th minute, rescuing a draw for the visitors in the process.
Norwich City are yet to win a preseason fixture for the 2013-14 campaign and were able to extend that run to five consecutive games following their 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.
Jonny Howson did well to score in the 27th minute, getting on the end of a Javier Garrido cross before hitting home from close range.
From there, the Canaries looked in control of the match and were heading towards their first victory of the summer.
However, Solly March burst forward before unleashing a venomous shot from outside the area which John Ruddy was helpless but to watch go into his net.
So, things remain pretty dour for the Premier League visitors, but Chris Hughton will still take some positives away from his meeting against some strong Championship opposition.
Just a few days after their thrilling Super Cup victory over Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund resumed their impressive preseason with a 3-0 win over Wurzburger Kickers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his fine start to life at the Westfalenstadion by opening the scoring for the visitors halfway through the first half.
However, the real headlines fell upon recent graduate of Dortmund’s academy ranks Marvin Ducksch, who netted a fabulous brace after recently making the step up to the club’s first team.
With Robert Lewandowski heading to Bayern Munich in 2014, as reported by Sky Sports, Jurgen Klopp will be seeking to unearth any striking talent possible and may have found one possible outlet in Ducksch.
Putting an end to their run of four games unbeaten, Cardiff City’s 3-2 loss at Brentford marks the first defeat of their preseason preparations, something manager Malky Mackay won’t have been pleased to see.
One who will have been even less happy to see the result is Simon Moore, the goalkeeper whom BBC Sport report has only just transferred to the Welsh capital from Brentford.
What’s worst about the loss is just how the Bluebirds let a two-goal lead slip in time for their League One opponents to mount a comeback, exposing perhaps some holes in consistency for the Welsh outfit.
Kim Bo-Kyung and Fraizer Campbell combined well to net a goal each in the opening exchanges at Griffin Park to put Cardiff City 2-0 up within 15 minutes
However, Conor McAleny, on loan from Everton, scored a brace shared either side of half-time to pull his team back into the fixture.
That was before Paul Hayes capitalised on some poor goalkeeping from City’s Joe Lewis to round off the comeback and record a third preseason triumph for Brentford.