The Europa League is certainly shaping up nicely ahead of this week’s second legs, with many ties remaining firmly in the balance. Gareth Bale’s injury time winner gives Tottenham some breathing space in their trip to Lyon this week, Newcastle face a tough task against FC Metalist, while Liverpool need to pull off a big win against Zenit at Anfield if they are going to proceed to the last 16.
Below is a list of records and curiosities from Matchday 7 in the Europa League:
SL Benfica moved up into fifth place in the UEFA Europa League all-time ranking list with their win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The biggest movers in the top 50 were Tottenham Hotspur FC, AFC Ajax and FC Basel 1893, all of whom rose six places. The biggest movers overall were FC Anji Makhachkala, who climbed 13 places to 63rd. Chelsea FC, the only UEFA Europa League debutants, entered the chart in 117th place.
With the exception of Chelsea, who have one win from one game, FC Zenit St Petersburg have the best win ratio of all teams to have played in the competition, their victory over Liverpool FC raising their mark to 81.8% (nine wins from 11 games). The country with the highest win ratio is Russia, which, with Zenit, Anji and FC Rubin Kazan all claiming victories on matchday seven, raised its percentage to 57.1. Spain and Turkey are the only other two countries with an average above 50 per cent – they are joint second on 51.1%.
Olympique Lyonnais’ defeat by an added-time goal at Tottenham ended their unbeaten record in the competition, whereas KRC Genk’s last-minute equaliser at VfB Stuttgart maintained theirs. Genk are therefore now the only club, alongside newcomers Chelsea, to have participated in the UEFA Europa League and never lost a game.
FC Metalist Kharkiv’s goalless draw at Newcastle United FC was their fourth in the UEFA Europa League – just one behind Liverpool FC’s record mark.
Club Atlético de Madrid’s defeat by Rubin brought their competition record of ten successive home wins to an end. Zenit moved into joint fourth place in that ranking list with their sixth successive home win (out of six) in the competition.
Rubin, Fenerbahçe SK, Genk and S.S. Lazio all completed a fourth successive away game without defeat in this season’s competition – two behind the all-time record.
FC Basel 1893 registered their fourth successive clean sheet – matching the competition record held jointly by Leverkusen, Atlético and Rubin (all set this season).
Falcao made his 30th UEFA Europa League appearance (and first of the 2012/13 season) to join Rui Patrício and Ola Toivonen at the top of the all-time listings.
Benfica’s Óscar Cardozo scored his 14th goal of the competition, which put him level with Fernando Llorente in joint second place in the all-time rankings – 15 goals behind front-runner Falcao.
Sergei Semak, who put Zenit 2-0 up against Liverpool, became, at 36 years and 353 days, the third oldest player to score in the competition – behind Pavel Horváth (37 years and 214 days) and Mario Haas (37 years and 13 days).
2-0, the outcome in four of the first-leg ties, is now the third most common scoreline in the UEFA Europa League (63 times), overtaking 2-1 (61). There were no 1-0 scorelines on Thursday but that remains the competition’s most common result (88 times), closely followed by 1-1 (85).
Inter’s 2-0 win against CFR 1907 Cluj and AFC Ajax’s 2-0 win against FC Steaua Bucureşti enabled both clubs to bring their all-time goal difference in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League combined (qualifying and play-offs included) to exactly +100. Tottenham have the best goal difference in the combined competitions’ history, raising it to +126 with their win over Lyon. The only other club with a positive three-figure goal balance are Juventus (+122).