In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every week, in every league and 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, every week, we at FIFA.com take a look at the numbers behind the results, highlighting football's biggest winners and losers from the week just past. In this, the latest of our round-ups, we pay tribute to title-winning exploits in Egypt and Belgium, highlight a landmark achievement for Germany's elder statesman and laud Uruguay's leaders for a Lazarus-like comeback.
years after topping the Egyptian Premier League for the first time, Al Ahly added to their record tally of titles by claiming a fourth successive league championship, their 33rd overall. A goalless draw against Baladeya on Monday was all the Cairo giants needed to move out of Zamalek's reach with five matches remaining, and the runaway champions could yet finish the season unbeaten, having won 19 and drawn six of their 25 matches to date. It will further pain Zamalek supporters to read that their arch-rivals' dominance of the Egyptian top flight is such that their title tally is now three times that of the country's second power, the last of whose 11 titles came in 2004.
April 2008: a date that will be forever enshrined in Standard Liege folklore after the Belgian outfit clinched the Jupiler League title to end a 25-year drought. Standard have emerged as the undisputed stars of our statistical round-ups by virtue of their magnificent, ongoing 31-game unbeaten streak, a run they continued on Sunday with that title-clinching 2-0 win over second-placed Anderlecht. Dieumerci Mbokani scored both goals as Standard brought to an end the fourth-longest period between successive top flight titles in Belgian history and moved to within three matches of becoming the first team since Union in 1934 to go through an entire Jupiler League season undefeated.
points from 6 matches ensures that Rubin Kazan, the surprise early leaders of the Russian Premier League, continue to comfortably top the standings. A solitary goal from captain Sergei Semak proved sufficient to prolong the Tatarstan outfit's winning streak against Amkar Perm on Saturday, leaving them four points clear of Dinamo Moscow and 11 in front of the struggling defending champions Zenit St Petersburg. Kazan finished a modest tenth last season but some shrewd close-season signings, such as the recruitment of veteran duo of Savo Milosevic and Sergei Rebrov, have seen Kurban Berdyyev's side become the early sensation of Russia's 2008 campaign.
red cards made the weekend just past Serie A's most ill-disciplined in a decade. The embarrassing tally was swelled considerably by the four players given their marching orders during Napoli's 2-1 win at Parma, the sixth time in that same ten-season timeframe that four players have seen red in a single match. Lazio and Cagliari also provided two dismissals apiece, although in contrast to the bad-tempered match in Parma, all four were for second yellow cards. Palermo's Leandro Rinaudo, Genoa's Gaetano De Rosa and Udinese's Tomas Zapotocny made up the early bath XI on a weekend to forget in Italy.
DFB Pokal titles, another record, became the latest landmark to be reached by the remarkable Oliver Kahn on Saturday. The Bayern Munich keeper, who turns 39 in less than two months' time, went into the cup showdown against Borussia Dortmund with five previous successes already under his belt, a tally shared with former team-mates Bixente Lizarazu and Mehmet Scholl. For a time, after they scrambled a last-gasp equaliser, it appeared that Dortmund might deny their old adversary the chance to move out on his own, but Luca Toni's extra-time intervention ensured a 14th Pokal title for Bayern and another milestone for their legendary skipper.
goals down at the home of the league leaders with half-time fast approaching, Nacional might have been forgiven for at least contemplating defeat to a River Plate side seemingly poised to move four points clear at the Uruguayan Clausura summit. As it was, a goal from Richard Morales in the final minute of the opening 45 proved the spark for the Montevideo outfit to mount the week's biggest and most spectacular comeback. In the end, not only did Nacional claw back River's three-goal advantage, they went on to establish - and maintain - and identical lead of their own, triumphing 6-3 to leapfrog their erstwhile unbeaten hosts at the top of the standings.