FIFA.com’s latest stats review reflects on a week of broken records, from title hauls in Israel, Italy and Tunisia through appearance milestones in Germany and the Netherlands, to the first one-city European final.
successive Eredivisie matches, or 18,360 consecutive minutes, was the amazing record equalled by NAC Breda goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar on Saturday. The 33-year-old, who has enjoyed an uninterrupted run as his club’s No1 since the 2007/08 season, reached the benchmark set by Ruud Hesp, when he played every minute of every match for Fortuna Sittard in a period between 1987 and 1993. Coincidentally, Hesp was on hand to watch his record equalled in his capacity as goalkeeping coach of NAC’s opponents, PSV Eindhoven. It was not an altogether happy occasion for Ten Rouwelaar, though, as his team lost 2-0 and ended the season having failed to win any of their final 11 matches – the longest such streak in the division. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Groningen recorded a sixth successive Eredivisie win on Saturday for the first time in their 42-year history.
Bundesliga appearances was the landmark reached by two Schalke players on Saturday, and each had cause to be particularly pleased with their achievement. In Julian Draxler’s case, he became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach the century-mark, doing so at the age of 20 years and 225 days. As for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, his 100th outing was marked in predictable fashion – with his 59th German top-flight goal. There was also a milestone for Raphael Schafer, who made his 250th Bundesliga outing for Nuremberg, leaving him behind only Thomas Brunner (328) and Andreas Kopke (280) in the club’s all-time standings. Yet it was not such a happy occasion for Schafer, as his relegation-threatened team suffered their sixth successive Bundesliga defeat - their worst run in three decades. This latest loss came at the hands of Hannover, for whom Manuel Schmiedebach ended a run of 119 goalless appearances with his first Bundesliga strike.
Tunisian championships was the milestone reached by Esperance on Sunday. The capital club crossed the finishing line in the title race with two games to spare, having lost just one of their 28 league matches this season. This latest title - their fifth in the past six seasons - further cemented Esperance’s status as Tunisia’s record champions, with their closest historical challengers, Club Africain, 15 further back. Indeed, in Africa, only Egyptian giants Al Ahly, with 36 championships, and Sudan’s Al Hilal, who have 27, can boast more domestic titles. Nor were Esperance the only record champions adding a fresh mark to their tally, with Maccabi Tel Aviv consolidating their pre-eminent status with title number 20 in Israel. Like their Tunisian counterparts, they clinched the crown with a degree of comfort, leaving themselves three games to spare and increasing their lead on 12-time winners Maccabi Haifa.
out of the 4 finalists in this season’s European club finals will hail from Spain after Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Sevilla made it through their respective semi-finals last week. It is the first time in 28 years that a trio of Spanish clubs have reached European finals, although the 1985/86 crop were spread over three competitions, with Barcelona in the European Cup, Atletico in the Cup Winners’ Cup and Real in the UEFA Cup. This year offers a first, with the two Madrid clubs becoming the first teams from the same city to contest the final of any UEFA competition. For Atletico, it will be their third UEFA showpiece in five seasons, having reached the UEFA Europa League final in 2010 and 2012. However, Los Colchoneros have had to wait four decades - longer than any other team - between their first European Cup final and their second.
successive Italian championships is a feat that, until Sunday, had not been achieved by Juventus in nearly eight decades. Roma’s 4-1 defeat to Catania - the first time the challengers had conceded so many goals this season - confirmed that this streak of success, first achieved between 1931 and 1935, would finally be emulated. It also ensured a carnival atmosphere for Juve’s match against Atalanta the following day, which ended in a 1-0 win in Antonio Conte’s 100th game as the club’s manager. This latest title, the Turin giants’ 30th, also enhances the impressive record of Carlos Tevez, who has now won six league championships with five different clubs in four different countries. Elsewhere in Italy, it was a similarly happy week for Napoli and Coppa Italia specialist Goran Pandev, who lifted the trophy for the fifth time in six years, leaving him second only to six-time winner Roberto Mancini.