FC Bayern München would appear to be Germany’s favourite to be crowned kings of Europe for a sixth time following their crushing 7-1 win in Rome on Tuesday, but FC Schalke 04, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund proved more than mere supporting actors in the Bundesliga's triumphant performance this week.
When in Rome
A whopping 40 goals were scored over eight games on Tuesday evening, but there was no mistaking the epicentre of the competition's biggest shockwave. Travelling to the Stadio Olimpico to face AS Roma had been billed as Bayern's toughest test of Group E, but a first-half blitz from the Bavarians soon made that statement look laughable, the final score making it the Bundesliga leaders' biggest-ever away win in the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola's charges were 5-0 up inside half an hour after some truly breath-taking attacking football, with more than one observer noting with interest how the pattern of the game resembled Germany's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the FIFA World Cup semi-final. German daily newspaper Die Welt labelled the Spaniard's troops the "best team in Europe", and that the man himself bemoaned his team's lapses in concentration in the early moments of the second half will only worry the 2013 Champions League winners' rivals further.
BVB's Turkish delight
Despite their current Bundesliga struggle, Dortmund continue to save their best form for European competition. A 4-0 demolition of Galatasaray SK in Istanbul maintained their 100 per cent record in Group D, in which they have scored nine goals and kept three clean sheets.
The performance in the Türk Telekom Arena was vintage BVB in Europe. Galatasaray enjoyed plenty of possession but were unable to penetrate an improved Schwarz-Gelben defence, eventually succumbing to well-constructed goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a trademark curling strike from Marco Reus, with Adrian Ramos adding a fourth late on. Despite languishing down in 14th place domestically, BVB are on course to win their group, and victory at home to Galatasaray on Matchday 4 will seal a place in the last 16.
Schalke and Leverkusen impressing
As impressive as those two victories for Dortmund and Bayern were, the contributions made by Schalke and Leverkusen to the Bundesliga's ever-growing international reputation is also worth highlighting.
Last season, they both qualified for the knockout rounds, making it the first time in history that four German clubs had advanced from the group stages of the Champions League, and that feat looks set to be repeated this term. The Royal Blues overcame Sporting Clube de Portugal on Tuesday and remain favorites to finish second behind Chelsea FC in Group G, while Bayer could yet top Group C after their 2-0 success over FC Zenit sent them top.
In the last few seasons it had been Bayern that carried the bat for the Bundesliga in the Champions League, reaching three finals in four seasons between 2010 and 2013, but Dortmund have since joined the effort and Schalke and Leverkusen are weighing in as well. The Bundesliga's UEFA coefficient is improving steadily each year, as are the clubs' individual seedings, with the German top flight's current love affair with the competition looking set to continue for some years to come.
The table below shows the points per team and points per game of clubs in the Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga and Serie A after the first three matchdays in this season's UEFA Champions League group stages.
Points per team
Points per game
|Primera Liga (ESP)||5.5||1.83|
|Premier League (ENG)||4.5||1.5|