Fans of the beautiful game can rejoice, the Champions League was back in full swing this week with a handful world football’s top teams across Europe competing for international club glory.
Some of the biggest names in the sport made an impact during the opening fixtures of the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo helped secure a 6-1 thrashing of Galatasaray with a glorious hat-trick. Ronaldo was not to be outdone by longtime La Liga foil Lionel Messi, who bagged three goals of his own just a day later in Barcelona’s 4-0 domination of Ajax.
Perhaps most surprisingly from the fixtures was Basel’s upset of English giants Chelsea, who doubled the visitor’s shot total but could not deny Egyptian Mohamed Salah from securing three critical road points for the Swiss club.
Here is a look at some other interesting stats from the first set of Champions League matches.
Ronaldo Gives Fits
Yes, Ronaldo’s three goals stand for themselves, but a deeper look into some of his offensive figures from the match even further uncover just how terrorizing his attacking performance was for Madrid against the Turkish club.
The Portuguese international attempted nine total shots on the afternoon and put six of them on target for a shooting-accuracy percentage of 66.7 and a shot-conversion rate of 33.3 percent.
No other player on Real Madrid unleashed more than two shots in the game, and only Karim Benzema managed to find the target on two occasions.
Ronaldo also skipped past defenders successfully three times in the game. Angel Di Maria was the only other player to match that total for Madrid. The hat-trick hero was also in a giving mood, offering three key passes (including one assist), and was only bested on Madrid in this metric by Di Maria, who dished out four key passes himself.
Above it all, Ronaldo did not get dispossessed once in his 90 minutes of work—a fine day at the office indeed for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nemanja Vidic’s Eventful and Perfect Afternoon
There's no other way of putting it: Nemanja Vidic was statistically brilliant in Manchester United’s 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.
The first metric that sticks out as particularly noteworthy is the Serbian’s passing-accuracy percentage, which was perfect, literally. Vidic connected on 100 percent of his 48 pass attempts, which becomes even more eye-popping when considering that his 48 passes were tied for the third most on United during the match.
He was also seemingly everywhere defensively too, recording a game-high 11 clearances (all of which either found a teammate or were pushed safely out of play), a team-best four interceptions, and tied for a United-best one blocked shot.
All of the buzz will focus on Wayne Rooney’s brace, but Vidic put in a sublime performance to help the Red Devils start their 2013-14 Champion’s League campaign with three points.
Bayern Munich’s Professional Performance
The German giants have to be considered a favorite to win the Champions League again during the 2013-14 campaign after hiring football visionary Pep Guardiola as manager of the team.
Guardiola got his feet wet in this season’s version of the competition with a truly professional showing against a CSKA Moscow side incapable of handling arguably the best football club on the planet.
The first metric that presents itself as indicative of Bayern’s fine performance was their shot total and shot accuracy. Munich took 16 total shots (excluding blocked), of which nine found the target for a shooting-accuracy rate (excluding blocked) of 56.2 percent.
They maintained nearly 70 percent of possession during the proceedings (69 percent) and won 61 percent of the aerial challenges. Bayern Munich also connected 90 percent of their ridiculous 824 pass attempts and were led by Philipp Lahm in the distribution game, who completed 95 percent of his 108 pass attempts.
Compare that to Moscow, who attempted 366 passes on the afternoon and only completed 78 percent of them.
The pass-happy genius of Guardiola is clearly infiltrating Munich, which is a scary prospect for the rest of the Champions League competitors.
Data gathered from WhoScored.
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