In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is. That's why, each week, FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results.
This week's review sees tribute paid to two record-chasing veterans in the shape of Javier Zanetti and Brad Friedel, while the goalscoring exploits of Keirrison and Franck Ribery also gain recognition along with Celtic's domestic durability.
European appearances for Inter Milan is a record that Giuseppe Bergomi, one of football's great one-club men, doubtless thought would never be matched. As it is, the Nerazzurri's current captain, Javier Zanetti, will reach this benchmark when he leads his team out against Panathinaikos this evening. It will simply be the latest in a long list of milestones for Argentina's most-capped player, who has made more appearances for Inter than any other non-Italian, and has worked under no fewer than 15 different coaches during his 13 years at the club. Even at 35, the player known in Italy as Il Trattore (The Tractor) is sure to be an influential figure as Jose Mourinho's side chase the win they need to advance from Group B with a game to spare.
straight victories, the best record in any of the 185 top flights analysed, has taken Celtic four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League. It certainly seems a long time since the Scottish champions crashed 4-2 at home to Rangers in the first Old Firm derby of the season, with the Bhoys' unblemished sequence in the time since having been established despite injuries to key players such as Aiden McGeady, Artur Boruc, Giorgios Samaras and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Boruc and Samaras did return on Saturday, however, and the Greek striker was on target along with Shunsuke Nakamura and youngster Cillian Sheridan as Gordon Strachan's side maintained their winning streak with a 3-1 victory at St Mirren. Last night, however, the number 11 became associated with Celtic for considerably less welcome reasons as they were consigned to an early exit from Europe by their 11th consecutive UEFA Champions League defeat.
goals is the incredible haul that Coritiba's Keirrison has accrued in just two matches against Santos this season, this after the 19-year-old put four past the Peixe in a 5-1 victory on Saturday. Liverpool and Real Madrid have been linked with the highly-rated youngster over recent weeks, and Santos would certainly be glad to see the back of a striker whose exploits against them saw him become only the sixth Coritiba player in history to score four goals in a Brasileirao match. Ironically, Keirrison had gone into Saturday's game on the back of a seven-match scoring 'drought', but he ended the day having claimed a new club record, his four-goal tally taking him to 40 for the season and smashing Duilio's 48-year-old benchmark of 38 in all competitions.
goals in as many games from Franck Ribery have propelled Bayern Munich to within three points of Hoffenheim at the Bundesliga summit. The French winger's spectacular streak - the best in the German top flight this season - continued on Saturday when he scored a sublime free-kick in the Bavarians' 4-1 win over Energie Cottbus. Ribery will need to score in his next four Bundesliga outings to equal the league's record for scoring in consecutive matches, set in 1984 by Cologne's Klaus Allofs - and Bayern will certainly hope that he does. After all, in the 16 matches in which the former Marseille star has scored, Bayern have won 15 and drawn one.
more match is all that Brad Friedel needs to become an English record-breaker after he equalled the tally of 166 consecutive Premier League appearances racked up by David James between January 2004 and April of this year. Friedel's own sequence started four years and three months ago and reached the 166-mark on Saturday when the Aston Villa keeper proved that, at 37, his reflexes are as sharp as ever by keeping a clean sheet against Manchester United. Frank Lampard, who made 164 straight appearances between October 2001 and December 2005, is the closest outfield player to James and Friedel, but the USA international will move clear of his English counterparts provided he takes his usual place against Fulham on Saturday.