Focus turns to goals and glory
© AFP

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.

In this week's review, tribute is paid to serial champions Manchester United and Inter Milan, while the spotlight is also thrown on the goalscoring exploits of Marc Janko, Edin Dzeko and Grafite, and the set-piece skills of Juninho Pernambucano.

51

goals have established Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko and Grafite as the Bundesliga's highest-scoring strike partnership since Gerd Muller was in his prolific pomp. Twice in successive seasons (1971/72 and 1972/73), Muller and Uli Hoeness mustered 53 goals between them at Bayern Munich, although Der Bomber shouldered the bulk of the goalscoring burden, contributing 40 and 36 goals respectively to those hauls. The Dzeko-Grafite partnership is more evenly-balanced, with nine goals in the Bosnian's last four games having taken him to within a single goal of his Brazilian colleague at the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts. Indeed, should the Wolfsburg duo hold off the challenge of Mario Gomez (23), it will be the first time that two players from the same team have finished as Germany's leading marksmen since Stuttgart's Fredi Bobic and Giovane Elber held the top two positions in 1996/97.

43

- that is how many goals Juninho Pernambucano has now scored direct from free-kicks for Lyon. The set-piece specialist's latest long-range missile came on Sunday, when Les Gones sealed a 3-1 win at Marseille that added a fresh twist to the most intriguing French title race in years. The weekend ended with Bordeaux top of the pile for the first time this season, and with Lyon seven points back in third, the only certainty is that the championship will be wrested from the Stade Gerland for the first time since Nantes' triumph in 2001. Bordeaux, who hold a three-point advantage over Marseille, are certainly the team in form, with Saturday's spirited 3-2 win over Le Mans extending their run of consecutive victories to nine.

39

league goals this season have taken Marc Janko to within two strikes of an Austrian Bundesliga record. It is 31 years since the legendary Hans Krankl - widely regarded as Austria's greatest-ever player - scored 41 times for Rapid Vienna in the 1977/78 season, and Janko has two more games to emulate or even surpass that tally. Ironically, the most recent of Janko's goals came when he helped secure the Bundesliga title for Red Bull Salzburg in Saturday's 2-1 victory over a LASK Linz team coached by, you guessed it, Hans Krankl. The 25-year-old's championship-clinching strike also took him level with another Austrian legend, Toni Polster, who scored 39 goals in season 1985/86.

17

Serie A titles is the identical tally of Milan's two footballing goliaths after Inter's fourth successive crown took them level with their San Siro cohabitants. With five years having passed since AC Milan's last scudetto, the challenge for these two rivals is now to close the gap on Juventus, whose 27 conquests have comfortably established them as Serie A's most successful team. Inter have nevertheless succeeded in becoming the first team since Torino in the late 1940s to win four successive Italian titles, and a successful defence next season would equal the league's all-time record, which is shared by Torino and Juve. I Nerazzurri's latest triumph also witnessed Serbia's Dejan Stankovic and Argentina's Walter Samuel join Raimundo Orsi as the most successful foreign players in Serie A history. Orsi, an Argentinian who starred for Juventus during the 1930s, won five top-flight titles, a record that has now been emulated by both Samuel and Stankovic, who celebrated championships with Roma (2001) and Lazio (2000) respectively before moving to Milan.

3

successive league titles is a feat that only four clubs in the history of the English top tier have ever achieved. Huddersfield Town were the first, completing their historic trio in 1926, and the Terriers were followed by Arsenal (1933-35), Liverpool (1982-84) and Manchester United (1999-2001). On Saturday, United became the country's first side to rack up a second run of three consecutive golds, and in doing so the Red Devils also equalled Liverpool's long-standing record of 18 league championships. Although the Anfield club are all but assured the consolation of finishing the season as the Premier League's top scorers (74), and with runners-up spot guaranteed, they need to look back to 1990 for their last title. That same year, AC Milan became the last team to become champions of Europe for a second straight season; an achievement United can now turn their attentions to emulating on 27 May.