Own goals and an old fox
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The return of Otto Rehhagel to the Bundesliga features in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, which also includes a trio of own goals at Anfield, the curse of Independiente, an end to Benfica’s long unbeaten run and another milestone for Lionel Messi.

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La Liga appearances was the landmark reached by Messi on Sunday, an occasion he marked in inimitable style - by scoring four times. The Argentinian is only the second foreigner after Phillip Cocu, who made 205 La Liga appearances, to reach a double century for Barcelona, and this was just the second time he has notched up four in a single game, having previously managed the feat against Arsenal last April. Messi now has five La Liga hat-tricks to his name this season, equalling a club record set by Romario in 1993/94 and, with 222 goals in all competitions, he is now just 14 away from becoming the club’s all-time record scorer. This is also the third consecutive season in which the 24-year-old, who has found the net 102 times in his last 100 Barça appearances, has scored over 40 goals.

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minutes: this is the time at which Independiente should become extremely worried whenever Mariano Pavone is around. The Lanus striker has developed an uncanny habit of scoring last-gasp winners against the Avellaneda outfit, having struck late – and decisively – in each of his three most recent appearances against them. The run started in February of last year when Pavone scored the only goal against Independiente while on loan at River Plate, and continued when he secured an equally dramatic 1-0 win for Lanus six months later, finding the net in the final minute having come on a second-half substitute. Sunday, therefore, brought a familiar outcome, with the 29-year-old coming off the bench to strike in the closing stages and maintain his table-topping side’s 100 per cent start to the Clausura season.

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years and six months is the age at which Otto Rehhagel returned to management this week at Hertha Berlin. That leaves the septuagenarian second only to Fred Schulz, who remains the oldest coach in Bundesliga history, albeit narrowly, having coached Werder Bremen at the age of 74 back in 1978. It might be 12 years since Rehhagel last worked in the Bundesliga, but he remains the German’s top flight’s most experienced coach, with 820 matches already under his belt. Hertha are certainly in need of such knowhow, having recently embarked on an unprecedented run of five straight Bundesliga defeats and 11 games without a win. Their latest reverse, 1-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund, came in the club’s 1000th match. Ironically, their first, back in 1963, was fought out by a team including a dogged defender by the name of Otto Rehaggel.

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months and ten days after their last Liga defeat, Benfica were finally undone in the Portuguese top flight as Guimaraes eked out a 1-0 win. Having managed to remain unbeaten since 10 April 2011, the Lisbon giants are still two points clear of reigning champions Porto, who themselves recently lost for the first time in 55 league matches. Benfica’s reverse left Juventus as the only team in Europe’s leading leagues still to taste defeat, and it was also their second loss in a week, having gone down 3-2 at Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League. That match in Russia proved to be an occasion to remember for Oscar Cardozo though, with the striker’s eighth Champions League goal enabling him to surpass Nuno Gomes and Roque Santa Cruz respectively as the highest-scoring Benfica player, and Paraguayan, in the competition’s history.

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goals were scored by Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield on Sunday and yet still the Seagulls emerged on the receiving end of a 6-1 thrashing. The reason for this statistical anomaly is that three of Brighton’s goals were directed into their own their own net, with Liam Bridcutt even laying claim to an unwanted brace of own-goals as FA Cup history was made. Never in the competition’s 131 years had a team conceded three own-goals in a single match, while the scoreline also represented Brighton’s heaviest cup defeat since 1946. Arsenal crashed out too, capping a traumatic week in which they suffered their heaviest defeat in 222 European appearances, conceding four goals without reply away to AC Milan. The Gunners, after following that up with a 2-0 defeat at Sunderland, have now failed to score in consecutive matches for the first time since 2009.