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, we reflect on Jens Lehmann entering an elite group of Bundesliga veterans while also reporting on the statistics that have helped keep Bordeaux, Dick Advocaat, Luis Suarez and two English giants among the headlines.
years and 270 days, the age at which Jens Lehmann lined up for Stuttgart on Friday, established the veteran goalkeeper as the tenth-oldest player in the history of the Bundesliga. The former Arsenal and Germany No1, who made his league debut for Schalke 21 years ago, was not able to celebrate the occasion with a win or clean sheet, however, as hosts Wolfsburg began their title defence with a 2-0 win. Nevertheless, Lehmann can ascend further on this list of Bundesliga stalwarts should he hold on to his Stuttgart place, with Morten Olsen (39 years, 300 days), Uwe Kamps (39, 345) and Claus Reitmaier (40, 10) all well within reach.
straight wins is the run that has seen Bordeaux smash a 60-year-old Ligue 1 record for consecutive victories. In beating Lens 4-1 in their season opener to extend a sequence that took them to the title three months ago, Laurent Blanc's side eclipsed the Lille side of 1949, who strung together 11 successive wins. However, Bordeaux's run, which stretches back to 14 March, must be prolonged yet further if it is to compare favourably with record sequences elsewhere in Europe. Arsenal, for example, claimed 14 straight wins in 2002, while Bayern Munich and Real Madrid both managed 15, and Italian champions Inter racked up 17 on the bounce between 2006 and 2007. The longest run of all, however, belongs to Celtic, who managed 25 successive victories during the 2003/04 Scottish Premier League season.
goals in the final 21 minutes of Ajax's 4-1 win over Waalwijk on Saturday gave Luis Suarez the week's fastest hat-trick, and maintained Martin Jol's 100 per cent start in charge. The Uruguayan forward's treble gave the Amsterdam their second win in as many matches under the former Hamburg coach and left them top of the Eredivisie, separated by goal difference from the league's only other unblemished side, Twente. Joining Suarez in grabbing a treble over the past week were Slavia Prague's Zdenek Senkerik as well as Colorado Rapids' Conor Casey and Welliton of Spartak Moscow, top scorers in Major League Soccer and the Russian Premier League on 11 and 13 goals respectively.
unsuccessful penalties at Wembley on Sunday ended Manchester United's 100 per cent record in Community Shield shootouts and handed Chelsea some belated revenge for their Moscow heartbreak in 2008. Over 14 months had passed since the Londoners' dramatic defeat on spot-kicks in the UEFA Champions League final, and they might have been expected to fail again against a team that had been involved in five of the six previous Community Shield shootouts, triumphing on each occasion. Ironically, however, it was the ever-dependable Ryan Giggs - scorer of United's final penalty in Moscow - who handed Chelsea the initiative with a tame effort easily saved by Petr Cech. A similarly disappointing effort from Patrice Evra left Salomon Kalou to secure the Blues' fourth Community Shield and provide Carlo Ancelotti with a morale-boosting start to his career in England.
win in five matches this week convinced Zenit to sack the coach who led them to their first-ever domestic and European titles. Dick Advocaat, who guided the club to the Russian Premier League championship in 2007 and onwards to glory in the following season's UEFA Cup, paid the price for a sequence that had left his team ten points off the pace set by defending champions Rubin Kazan. Nevertheless, Advocaat - who had already announced he would be leaving at the end of the season to take charge of Belgium's national team - can leave St Petersburg rightly proud of his achievements. After all, in the three years after taking the job in July 2006, his side lost fewer games and scored more goals than any of their Russian rivals.