Top, top, top of the group! We could not have expected to be in any better mood this Thursday morning. Nothing has been decided yet, of course, but at the halfway stage of the UEFA Champions League group stage we are sitting pretty at the top.
Our 1-0 home win against Dinamo Zagreb was enough in itself to put us in great spirits. Feel free to chew over the following 6 facts on last night as you start your day:
#1 | Just like last year
National record matched. We are the only Austrian team to ever go unbeaten in our first three Champions League group stage matches – it is our second season in a row of achieving that feat.
#2 | Every chance of staying in Europe
Since the second group stage was abolished, 22 of 30 teams (73 %) on five points after three Champions League matches have gone on to make the last 16.
#3 | Fortress Red Bull Arena
A full house behind us means so much. We are unbeaten in six home matches (LOSC Lille, VfL Wolfsburg, FC Sevilla, FC Bayern, AC Milan, Dinamo Zagreb) in the UEFA Champions League, setting a new Austrian record (the previous holders being Sturm Graz with five matches from 1999 to 2000). Close to 29,000 fans at the stadium ensured for another spine-tingling atmosphere yesterday.
#4 | Swiss marksman following Norwegian footsteps
Noah Okafor has become the first Swiss player to ever score in each of the first three match days of a UEFA Champions League season. The only player who previously managed this for an Austrian team is Erling Haaland (2019/20).
#5 | Youthful verve beats experience
With an average age of 22 years and 336 days, we selected the second youngest starting XI in our Champions League history, with only our side that drew 1-1 in Seville last season being younger (at 22 years and 220 days old on average). Zagreb on the other hand fielded their second oldest team in the competition (27 years and 187 days on average), having a more experienced side just once before in a 0-1 loss at Sturm Graz in October 1999 (27 years and 285 days).
#6 | That's what we like
We were able to take our fourth win in European football against Dinamo Zagreb. Against no other team have we won as many competitive matches on the European stage. We have our sights on number five next week now.