We thought the group stages were meant to be dull before the real action gets going after Christmas…

Well 52 goals in 16 games this week has us reevaluating everything we know.

So what actually happened this week? Youngsters finding their feet, legends still at it and some crazy scorelines is what happened.

The new kids on the block

Erling Braut Haaland

The has some new young heroes.

teenager Erling Braut Haaland continued his scarcely believable scoring figures in Red Bull Salzburg’s 4-3 defeat at Liverpool with his 18th goal of the season – in his 11th game. That’s 18 goals by 2 October.

He also joins an illustrious list. The 19-year-old, who was born in Leeds, is the fourth player to score four goals in his first two Champions League appearances – after Marco van Basten, Diego Simeone and Didier Drogba.

Salzburg are proving to be the great entertainers this season with 58 goals in 12 games. Carry that form on for the season and they’ll score over 200.

On Tuesday, Club Bruges striker Emmanuel Dennis scored one of the most unlikely doubles you will see to put the Belgian side 2-0 up against Real Madrid. His first was an attempt to control the ball and his second was a chip as he lost his footing. Sadly for the Nigerian and his Belgian team, Real came back to draw 2-2.

There was also a second Champions League goal for Manchester City teenager Phil Foden against Dinamo Zagreb.

Nigerian youngster Victor Osimhen is proving a more than able replacement for Nicolas Pepe at Lille, scoring against Chelsea for his seventh goal in 10 games this season.

Borussia Dortmund’s decision to play on-loan Real Madrid full-back Achraf Hakimi further forward has paid dividends and he scored his first two Champions League goals to beat Slavia Prague.

And that is not counting 22-year-olds Tammy Abraham (), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) or Donny van de Beek (Ajax), who all got on the scoresheet.

The old guard are still at it too

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

In the week BBC Sport asked if we were approaching the end of the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi era, both came up trumps.

Ronaldo extended his Champions League scoring record with his 127th goal in Juventus’ 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. He has now won 102 Champions League games – beating Iker Casillas’ record.

And captain Messi made his first appearance of over 45 minutes this season after two injuries, playing the entire game as he set up Luis Suarez’s winner against Inter Milan.

That was Suarez’s second goal of the game, matching his combined Champions League scoring total for the past two seasons (one goal each campaign).

And captain Sergio Ramos bailed Real Madrid out again with an equaliser playing as an auxiliary centre forward.

The entertainers

Serge Gnabry

We saw several scorelines and comebacks usually reserved for the knockout stages, most notably Bayern Munich’s 7-2 win at Tottenham. Former youngster Serge Gnabry scored four times.

It was the first time in Spurs’ 137-year history that they conceded seven goals in a home game.

There were fightbacks too. Real Madrid came from 2-0 down to draw with Bruges and avoid a third consecutive Champions League defeat.

Free-scoring Salzburg came from 3-0 down at Anfield to make it 3-3 only for Mohamed Salah to score a winner.

Elsewhere, Manor Solomon scored an injury-time winner as came from behind to beat Atalanta 2-1 in Italy.

And Ajax have carried last season’s form into this year’s tournament with a victory in Valencia, their second 3-0 win in two group games.

Anything else?

Virgil van Dijk

defender Virgil proved he is human after all as he was left on the ground by Hwang Hee-chan for Salzburg’s first goal.

Another new low in a season in which Nicolas Pepe dribbled past him (joke).


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