Unbeaten but not unbeatable
What do the league leaders in Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belgium,
Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Cyprus, Venezuela, Egypt
and Libya, and the side lying second in Serbia, have in common? If
you suspected they may be all unbeaten so far this season,
you'd be right.
The clubs in question have brushed aside all-comers this term, with all of them yet to suffer a single defeat in their domestic league. FIFA.com takes a closer look at these dominant teams and examines what it takes to assume an all-powerful position in a national league competition.
Two-horse races in Venezuela and Libya
It is still early in the Venezuelan season, but Deportivo Tachira and Caracas FC have taken maximum points from seven and six matches respectively. Deportivo, the five-time champions lead the Primera Divison on 21 points from seven games, although defending title holders Caracas are hot on their heels with 18 points from one game less.
Over in North Africa, the Libyan title battle has also developed into a two-horse race. After 19 games, Tripoli-baed Al Ittihad and local rivals Al Ahly are both undefeated and have raced clear at the top of the standings. Al Ittihad have won one game more than Al Ahly and lead the section by two points. Barring a major upset, the title is destined to remain in the capital this season.
Elsewhere in North Africa, Egyptian giants and reigning champions Al Ahly Sport Club again top the pile, adding consistency and desire to their formidable armoury this term. With 11 games still to play, the Red Devils have pulled out a daunting 17-point advantage over second-placed Ismaily, and seem certain to collect a fourth championship title in a row.
Unbeaten east European quartet
The standings in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Moldova and Poland tell a similar tale of dominance by the leaders. In the Azerbaijani capital, Olimpik Baku have now gone 16 matches without defeat and have conceded a mere three goals, handing them a four-point lead over neighbours Neftchi Baku.
In Bulgaria, CSKA Sofia are well on the way to recapturing the glories of a former era. The club already boasts the most domestic championship triumphs of the post-war period in Europe, and look set to claim a 31st national crown this season. With 17 games played, CSKA have won 14 and drawn three to lead champions and Cup winners Levski Sofia in the table.
A Sheriff is laying down the law in Moldova, specifically Sheriff Tiraspol. The champions are setting the standards again this term and are undefeated after 18 games. Closest rivals Dacia Chisinau are four points off the lead in second.
The all-conquering east European quartet is completed by Polish outfit Wisla Krakow, well on their way to making full amends for a disappointing eighth place last season. Should Wisla go the distance, they would collect their eleventh national crown in total, and their first Ekstraklasa title since 2005.
Undefeated but only second
Crvena Zvezda, better known as Red Star Belgrade, provide something of a statistical quirk in Serbia. The men from the capital have yet to lose but still lie only second in the Meridian SuperLiga after drawing nine league games so far. Bitter rivals Partizan Belgrade are the beneficiaries as they currently lead the champions and Cup holders.
The situation is rather different in neighbouring FYR Macedonia, where Rabotnicki Skopje are striding clear at the top of the Prva Liga. The 2005 and 2006 champions look set for a third triumph after establishing a 13-point lead in 20 top flight outings without defeat.
Division A in Cyprus also features a single team exercising complete dominance over their rivals. Cup winners Anorthosis Famagusta have yet to taste defeat in 24 matches, leaving champions Apoel Nikosia trailing some eight points in their wake.
Big-name Belgians in top form
One of the best-known clubs still boasting an unbeaten league record is Standard Liege. The eight-time Belgian champions and 1982 UEFA Cup winners lead the Jupiler League by four points from Cup winners Club Brugge after 25 matches. Standard's impressive record is founded on a mean defence, as the men from Liege have only conceded 16 times this season.
The Cup holders are setting the standards in the statelet of Andorra at the moment, where FC Santa Coloma have surrendered just four goals in 14 matches, winning 11 of those and drawing the other three. The reward is a three-point margin over champions FC Ranger's.
The undefeated giants will be determined to preserve their unblemished records for as long as possible as they maintain their currently relentless pursuit of silverware. Supporters of the teams in question will doubtless continue to be entertained by victories aplenty, but as all fans know, the competition will never throw in the towel until it is mathematically impossible, and all undefeated streaks come to an end sooner or later.