Time, titles and deadly Dutchmen
The goalscoring exploits of Dutch duo Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar feature alongside a long-awaited title for Molde, landmarks for Barcelona stars and a speedy UEFA Champions League goal in FIFA.com’s latest stats review.
minutes without conceding is the streak that has enabled Barcelona’s Victor Valdes to set a new club record. A ninth successive clean sheet in the Catalans’ 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen last night took the Barça keeper beyond the previous benchmark of 824, set in 1972/73 by Miguel Reina. Nor was Valdes’s the only milestone reached in Plzen, with the European champions scoring their 500th goal under Pep Guardiola in 40-year-old’s 200th match in charge. Lionel Messi also reached a personal double century, scoring his 200th, 201st and 202nd Barça goals as he notched consecutive hat-tricks for the first time in his career. The little Argentinian is only the fourth player - after Filippo Inzaghi, Adriano and Andy Cole - to score multiple Champions League hat-tricks for the same club. This latest treble also took his Champions League tally to 42, enabling him to become the first non-European to break through the 40-mark in the continent’s elite competition.
Bundesliga goals was the landmark reached by Claudio Pizarro in Werder Bremen’s 3-1 win at Mainz on Saturday. Already established as the most prolific foreigner in the history of Germany’s top flight, the Peruvian has been in sparkling form recently, scoring seven and laying on three of his team’s ten most recent goals. It proved to be a weekend of landmarks in the Bundesliga, with Lukas Piszczek scoring Borussia Dortmund’s 1,000th away goal and Schalke keeper Lars Unnerstall reaching 350 minutes without conceding only to be beaten by Vedad Ibisevic. At the other end, Schalke were grateful to see Klaas-Jan Huntelaar continue his magnificent scoring run, with the Dutchman’s brace taking his tally for the season to 21 from 19 appearances.
years of patience were finally rewarded on Sunday when Molde capped their centenary season with the first league championship of the club’s history. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm, the Blåhvit (Blue-Whites) have cast aside a reputation as perennial bridesmaids, earned by seven previous second-placed finishes. Solskjaer’s side clinched the Tippeligaen title with two games to spare too, this after record champions Rosenborg lost any hope of landing title number 23 by going down 6-3 at home to Brann Bergen.
goals in 27 English Premier League appearances is Robin van Persie’s running total for 2011. The Dutchman’s prolific form continued on Saturday with a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-3 win at Chelsea, making him the first player to score a top-flight treble at Stamford Bridge since another Gunner, Nwankwo Kanu, managed it in October 1999. Twenty-two years had passed since the Blues last conceded five at home, and the last time Arsenal managed to rack up such an impressive tally at the home of their London rivals was way back in 1934. High-scoring fixtures have been common this season in England, with the Premier League’s current goals-per-game rate of 2.97 the highest since season 1967/68 – incidentally, the last in which Manchester City were crowned champions – witnessed an average of 3.03. Hat-tricks have also been unusually widespread, with Van Persie’s one of nine so far – already more than five previous Premier League seasons produced across an entire campaign.
seconds were on the clock at the Mestalla last night when Jonas scored the second-fastest goal ever seen in the Champions League. The Brazilian’s quick-fire opener in Valencia’s 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen left him just 0.3 of a second behind Roy Makaay’s record-holding strike, set in 2007 for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid. It also put his team on the road to a first home victory over German opposition in 15 years, ending a sequence of six games without a win. Elsewhere in the Champions League, Massimo Ambrosini made his 100th European appearance in AC Milan’s 1-1 draw at BATE Borisov, becoming the 12th Italian player to reach this landmark.