Top scorers and a title treble

There is joy all round in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, which looks closer at the causes for celebration for Rafael Benitez, Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.

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goals is the impressive tally that has established Cavani as only the second Capocannoniere in Napoli’s history. The first was the club’s ultimate icon, Diego Maradona, although El Pibe de Oro managed the feat in 1987/88 with the comparatively meagre total of 15. Maradona’s haul that season was, in fact, the joint-lowest ever required to finish as Italy’s top scorer. Cavani, by contrast, is the most prolific Capocannoniere in seven years, since Luca Toni cracked in 31 en route to winning the award in 2005/06. The Uruguayan’s fortunes could hardly contrast more starkly with those of Inter Milan, who set a new club record by suffering a seventh home loss of the season. The 5-2 reverse at the hands of Udinese was one of 16 defeats inflicted on I Nerazzurri during the 2012/13 Serie A campaign, their worst overall record in 65 years.

29

is also the goal-haul with which Zlatan Ibrahimovic emerged from his first season in Ligue 1, establishing him as the division's highest scorer for 23 years. Not since Jean-Pierre Papin scored 30 for Marseille in the 1989/90 season has any Ligue 1 player managed such a hefty total. In bettering his own personal record, set last season with AC Milan, by one goal, Ibrahimovic is also the first foreigner to score 29 goals in the French top flight since Argentinian Delio Onnis enjoyed a season to remember for FC Tours in 1981/82. Furthermore, he is the highest-scoring PSG player in 35 years, since another Argentinian, Carlos Bianchi, racked up 37 in 1977/78.

18

is the number in Bayern Munich’s goals against column, ensuring the German champions a new record for the fewest conceded during a single Bundesliga campaign. This benchmark, which surpassed their own 2007/08 record by three, was set despite the Bavarians’ shakiest defensive performance of the season at Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. Bayern, in fact, conceded 17 per cent of their entire season’s goals against inside the opening ten minutes, by which time Gladbach were 3-1 in front. Yet it summed up the champions’ season that they were able to battle back from this position to claim all three points, ultimately winning 4-3. Not since October 2008 had Bayern come from two goals behind to win in the Bundesliga, and this latest scoring spurt left them on 98 for the season, just three short of the record they set in the 1971/72 season.

5

years without a Muscovite Russian champion was the unprecedented run brought to an end by CSKA Moscow on Sunday. A 0-0 home draw with Kuban Krasnodar was enough to take the league leaders beyond the reach of Zenit St Petersburg, who had won three of the last five championships and, together with two-time winners Rubin Kazan, maintained its exile from Moscow. Prior to 2007, the capital clubs had finished on top in all but one of the previous 15 seasons. In winning their fourth title since the break-up of the USSR, and with seven from the Soviet era, CSKA narrowed the gap on city rivals Spartak Moscow, whose tally of 21 – 12 Soviet, nine Russian – ensures their status as the nation’s record champions.

3

European competitions with three different teams – Valencia, Liverpool and Chelsea - is the record to which Rafa Benitez can now lay claim. Only one man, Udo Lattek, had previously achieved a UEFA hat-trick with a trio of separate clubs, with the German having overseen triumphs at Bayern Munich, Borussia Monchengladbach and Barcelona. Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Benfica in the UEFA Europa League final completed a treble for the Blues themselves, who joined Ajax, Barça, Juventus and Bayern as the only clubs to win all three major European competitions. The London outfit also claimed a notable first by holding both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League titles simultaneously. It was a good week, too, for Chelsea’s on-loan striker, Romelu Lukaku. The young Belgian emerged as the star of a thrilling 5-5 draw with Manchester United – the first such scoreline in England’s top flight since 1984 – by coming off the bench to score a point-saving hat-trick. In doing so, Lukaku became just the third player, after David Bentley and Dirk Kuyt, to hit a Premier League hat-trick against United. He is also the fifth treble-scoring substitute in the league’s history, following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Adebayor, Robert Earnshaw, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.