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Goals Galore As Real Madrid, Bayern and Dortmund Continue To Roll In Champions League

Thursday 23rd October 2014
Football fans were spoilt for choice this week as the Champions League exploded back with a bang. The third cluster of group stage matches were drenched in goals, huge scorelines and high drama, which made for an enthralling two nights of footy around the continent. As usual it was a mixed night for the English sides, while many of Europe's big guns proved just why they are so well fancied this season.

Below we take a look at the main talking points from the 16 matches.

A glut of goals

It is difficult to trace one's mind back to a Champions League night which featured so many goals. That is probably because Tuesday's wave of Group E-H fixtures set a towering new record after accumulating a mind blowing 40 goals, which equates to a startling average of five per game. This eye-bulging figure was achieved through remarkably one-sided scorelines such as Bayern Munich's devastating 7-1 hammering of Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 demolition of Bate Borisov, and Chelsea's 6-0 thrashing at home to NK Maribor, while let's not forget Schalke pipping Sporting in a dramatic 4-3 thriller in Germany.

The following night former finalists Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund joined the party, with Atletico hammered Malma 5-0 (with all goals scored in the second half), while Dortmund put their dismal domestic form behind them by battering Galatararay 4-0 in Turkey.

A successful European formula still eludes luckless Man City

38 minutes into Man City's match away to CSKA Moscow at an empty Arena Khimki and the visitors were coasting to victory after Sergio Aguero and James Milner had handed their side a 2-0 lead. The Citizens were expected to add to their tally in the second-half, en-route to recording their first Group E win, but instead completely crumbled, as a 64th minute goal Seydou Doumbai goal and a controversial late penalty from Bedras Natcho denied Manuel Pellegrini's men a valuable victory in Russia.

The result left 3rd-place City seven points adrift of table-toppers Bayern and two behind Roma, although the Italian side's staggering 7-1 defeat at home to the group leaders was much welcome in an otherwise shocking night for the English champions. Furthermore, City's failure to win means that they now have just eight triumphs in 25 Champions League games: a shocking statistic given their dominance in the Premier League over the past few seasons. Their European paradox is a confusing one, given their domestic dominance, bucket load of experience and immense talent.

Liverpool's defensive woes continue

There was little Liverpool could do about Cristiano Ronaldo's succulent opener at Anfield, however poor positional play cost them a second, while Real Madrid's third and final first-half goal was an absolute shambles from a defensive point of view. The 3-0 defeat leaves Brendan Rodgers' troops stuck on three points in Group B, alongside Basel and Ludogorets, although their disappointing points tally is unlikely to increase until later in November as their next match is a daunting trip to the Bernabeu.

The alarming statistic is that Liverpool have now kept just one clean sheet in 12 matches this season. Rodgers simply has to sort out his backline sharpish, especially considering that his side face the likes of Real and Premier League leaders Chelsea next month. Meanwhile the Mario Balotelli dilemma frustratingly continues to ramble on after the Italian, who controversially swapped shirts with Pepe at half-time, was substituted at the interval following yet another lethargic performance.

London duo in contrasting victories

Chelsea and Arsenal flew the flag for England after the London duo both recorded Champions League wins, although in contrasting fashion. The Blues oozed class in their 6-0 drubbing of Maribor, with Eden Hazard in particular shining against the Slovenian minnows. Jose Mourinho's men lead the way at the summit of Group G with seven points, and on current form it is difficult to see them finishing anywhere other than top spot. Meanwhile a depleted Arsenal came within minutes of suffering a shock defeat away to Anderlecht, however two last-gasp goals saw the Gunners snatch a dramatic late win, which keeps them in the hunt for top spot.

Blistering Bayern back to their brilliant best

Bayern Munich may have headed into their clash at Roma undefeated in 11 matches this season - nine of which had been victories - but there were still some lingering question marks over their performances in Europe. The 2012/13 Champions League winners had recorded two lacklustre victories in Group E, where they were far from their usual rip-roaring selves.

However, any questions surrounding their below-par form were hurled out of the window on Tuesday after they humiliated a previously in-form 7-1 in Rome. The scoreline was astonishing given Roma's impressive start to the season, but it had a superb effect in simultaneously swatting away their critics and sending out an ominous warning to the other major contenders.

Five star Luiz Adriano equals Lionel Messi's tally

It's unlikely that Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano will ever have a more stunning night in his whole football career. As the club's all-time top goalscorer the Brazilian is already a legend at The Miners, however his iconic status soared to new heights on Tuesday after his record-equalling five goals led his side to another record-equalling away win.

Juventus failing to transfer domestic dominance into Europe

Juventus, to absolutely no one's surprise, are the early Serie A pace setters, with the Italian giants top of the table with 19 points from their opening seven matches. The Old Lady have dominated the Italian top-flight for years, having won the last three titles, and they are fully expected to make it four Scudettos on the trot this season.

However, similarly to Man City, Juventus have failed to mix it up with the big boys in Europe, which is perfectly reflected in their current Champions League campaign. Alongside Atletico Madrid Juventus were expected to ease through a favourable Group A, however two defeats in three matches - including a shock defeat to Olympiakos - leaves them struggling down in third place. If " come unstuck against the Greeks once again in two weeks time then their progress through to the second round will be in severe doubt.
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

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