We have reached the halfway mark in the Champions League group stages and Wednesday night threw up even more excitement and drama.
Chelsea stunned Ajax in Amsterdam while Liverpool thrashed Genk away to ensure that for the first time in this season’s European competition, all four English teams secured victory in the same round.
Here, Sportsmail has taken a closer look at things we learned from the third round of the Champions League group stage…
Champions League holders Liverpool thrashed Genk 4-1 on Wednesday night away from home
MESSI MAKES HISTORY… AGAIN!
Surprise surprise, Lionel Messi wrote his name into the history books once again as Barcelona narrowly overcame Slavia Prague 2-1 away from home to grab the initiative in their group.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner created yet more history when opening Barcelona’s account on Wednesday with a delightful side-footed finish into the Prague net within the opening minutes.
It was remarkably the 15th consecutive season that the Argentine has scored in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Prague became the 33rd opponent that Messi has scored against in Europe’s elite competition, equalling the record set by Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi made even more history as Barcelona narrowly overcame Slavia Prague 2-1
MERTENS LEAVES MARADONA IN HIS WAKE
Against Red Bull Salzburg, Dries Mertens accomplished an incredible feat most Napoli players wouldn’t dare to dream of achieving during their time at the club.
The Belgium striker produced a record-breaking performance away in Salzburg by scoring twice for the Serie A outfit in an enthralling 3-2 victory to ensure they remain top of their group ahead of Champions League holders Liverpool at the halfway stage.
The 32-year-old scored Napoli’s first two goals of the evening, with his brace putting him ahead of Argentine icon Diego Maradona in the club’s list of all-time scorers with a remarkable 116 goals.
He has one man firmly in his sights now and that’s former Napoli captain Marek Hamsik, who netted 121 times for the club during the years from 2007 to 2019.
Dries Mertens surpassed Diego Maradona’s goalscoring record for Napoli on Wednesday
SORRY READING FOR GENK
While the Champions League remains the dream for clubs around Europe, for some it’s about having a go at the powerhouse sides, including the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Genk fall into that category but unfortunately for the Belgium side it’s been grim reading for them ever since making their debut in the competition
Following their 4-1 thrashing at home to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, they have now played more matches than any other team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League without winning a game (15 – W0, D8, L7).
And their task doesn’t get any easier next time out. They travel to Anfield at the beginning of November…
Belgian outfit Genk haven’t enjoyed the best of times recently in the Champions League
CONTE STILL SHINING IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Since Antonio Conte was appointed Inter Milan manager in the summer, things have only looked up for the San Siro outfit and they took another leap forward on Wednesday night.
Inter overcame Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in a must-win fixture at the San Siro, thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Antonio Candreva. The result has put them above the Bundesliga side on goal difference on four points with three games to spare.
San Siro is always a tough place to go but perhaps when you have Conte in charge, it makes it even more difficult. The former Juventus, Chelsea and Italy boss has never lost a home group stage match (W5, D6).
Antonio Conte guided his new-look Inter Milan side to a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund
WOULD MOURINHO SORT OUT DORTMUND’S LEAKY DEFENCE?
Dortmund’s defence once again came unstuck in Milan to leave them in a precarious position heading into the reverse group stage fixtures.
On top of their two goals conceded, Lucien Favre’s outfit have already let in 11 goals in just eight Bundesliga fixtures, which has left them with just 15 points from a possible 24 so far. Luckily for them, there is no runaway leader at present in the German top flight.
But this poses the question: is Jose Mourinho the right man to take the club forward? The charismatic Portuguese boss is sensationally a reported target for Dortmund and with him being famed for tightening up defences, he might just be the answer. However, Dortmund’s strategy of developing young players might just put them off going for the 56-year-old.
Dortmund’s defence have struggled so far this season and that showed on Wednesday night
IF YOU TRUST YOUTH, THEY MIGHT JUST REPAY YOU…
At present, Frank Lampard is proving that if you give youth a chance, they might just deliver the goods over time… and that showed as Chelsea shocked last season’s semi-finalists 1-0 away thanks to a late Michy Batshauayi goal.
The Blues have won their last six games in all competitions, including twice in the Champions League to put them in a strong position after matchday three – they currently sit joint-top with Ajax on six points.
The likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi have shone for Chelsea so far this season and have gone from strength-to-strength. Perhaps other managers could take a leaf out of Lampard’s book.
Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side shocked last season’s semi-finalists Ajax in Amsterdam