Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Cristiano Ronaldo
The prospect of Zlatan and Ronaldo doing battle in the UEFA World Cup play-offs dominated headlines earlier this week and the duo provided a teaser with two stunning performances on Wednesday.
While Ronaldo's brace helped Real Madrid overcome Juventus 2-1 - his second coming from the spot after a typically exaggerated fall - Zlatan delivered a phenomenal performance in Belgium, grabbing his first Champions League hat-trick and one more for good measure.
The Swede has scored ten goals in his last five matches for club and country, and 16 so far this season, demonstrating his swagger with this incredible drive for his third.
Only three teams scored more goals than PSG in the group stage last season and Zlatan's four strikes in the 5-0 win over Anderlecht took the Ligue 1 champions' tally to 12 in the competition this year, while they have conceded just once in their first three matches.
It's looking like money well spent in Paris.
Chelsea's rapid improvement under Jose Mourinho continued with their fourth win in a row and sixth in the last seven matches. Perhaps the wake-up call at home to Basel was exactly what they needed.
That depressing night at Stamford Bridge that followed a first Premier League defeat of the season at Everton has quickly been consigned to memory, with the Blues lashing in 14 goals in their last four matches and conceding only two.
Fernando Torres' throw-back display against Schalke on his 100th start for Chelsea was crucial in Mourinho's side securing a 3-0 victory that put them top of Group E, but the Blues' upturn in fortunes has been built from the back. As Nick Miller wrote here, John Terry's revival has played a key part in Chelsea rediscovering their form, with the 32-year-old reminding everyone of England's unfortunate predicament in defence by restricting Gary Cahill - who returned in place of David Luiz on Tuesday - to just a single appearance in the last five matches.
Mourinho's decision to settle on a central midfield partnership of Frank Lampard and Ramires has also been important, and the duo provided the platform for Chelsea's counter-attacking display in Gelsenkirchen. As this column stated after Lampard and Ramires contributed three of Chelsea's goals in the 4-0 win over Steaua Bucharest, the telling tweak Mourinho made to his team at half time in the 1-1 draw with Spurs has greatly improved the team's balance.
Mourinho will no doubt be delighted to have picked up his first win away to German opposition - and in such comprehensive fashion - but Manchester City will provide a sterner test on Sunday before Tuesday's intriguing League Cup clash against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Atletico Madrid and Diego Costa
There may be reservations in England over awarding naturalised players call-ups to the national squad, but if Diego Costa was plying his trade in this country it would surely be a different story. The Brazilian has been tipped to make his Spain bow in November's friendly against Gabon after switching his allegiance, and if he can maintain his current form he could prove to be the missing link in a team that has scored more than two goals in a game only twice (3-0 v Nigeria and 10-0 v Tahiti at the Confederations Cup) in the last 14 matches.
Costa underlined his value with a brace against Austria Vienna on his return to European action as Atletico Madrid bounced back from their first La Liga defeat of the season at Espanyol to win 3-0 and open up a five-point gap at the top of Group G. The 25-year-old has taken a huge stride forward following Falcao's departure - notching 12 goals in 12 matches so far - and it's no surprise Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for the striker in January.
Despite missing Ilkay Gundogan (and long-term absentee Lukasz Piszczek) on Tuesday, Dortmund gave Arsenal a lesson in control and containment as they ceded possession but not chances to their in-form hosts.
In truth, it was a tale of apprentice versus the master at the Emirates, as last year's beaten finalists demonstrated the model to which Arsenal aspire. I recently discussed how the Gunners have shown willingness to give up control this season as they attack in waves in search of better chances, but against Dortmund they reverted to type and struggled to find a way around the visitors' fierce pressing.
Dortmund, on the other hand, maintained their reputation as the best sponge in the business, soaking up Arsenal's sterile pressure before drenching their opponents with quick bursts that resulted in Robert Lewandowski's winning goal.
As well as threatening down the flanks, it was again fascinating to see just how narrow Dortmund can play as they moved the ball forward at speed through the middle. Hipsters refer to such an approach as playing 'vertically' and the description certainly fits as Arsenal switched the ball across the pitch to try and find gaps while Dortmund preferred to tuck it around the Gunners' midfield to exploit little pockets of space.
"We didn't come here to dominate Arsenal in London, we came here to get a result - and that's what we did," said Jurgen Klopp in his post-match interview.
It was a typically intelligent Dortmund performance and one which leaves them in a strong position in Group F ahead of the re-match on November 6.
City boosted their grasp on second spot in Group D with a valuable win at CSKA Moscow on the horrendous Khimki Arena pitch that required painting before kick-off.
For City to have 20 shots (nine on target), 60% possession and average a pass completion rate of 86%, underlines their dominance, but were it not for Joe Hart's crucial late save, two points could have been lost at the death.
It is interesting to see Manuel Pellegrini persist with a 4-4-2 formation to get the best out of his preferred strike partnership and Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo continued to demonstrate a keen understanding with the big man assisting the little man for City's winner with a brilliant chipped pass.
While City's system is certainly lopsided - Jesus Navas providing 'pure' width on the right and David Silva tucking in on the left - it reinforces the point that there is no need for a team to be symmetrical. With Fernandinho and Yaya Toure now offering more balance in the middle, City look a much stronger unit and a fine combination of gristle and flair.
The big question now is whether Vincent Kompany will be fit in time for Sunday's clash against Chelsea and, if not, how Javi Garcia will stand up to the test.
A vital win in Marseille to bounce back from Friday's defeat to Roma (what a season they're having, by the way) and keep the pressure on Arsenal in Group F.
A first win of the competition that makes it only four home defeats in the last 26 Champions League matches at Celtic Park. Beram Kayal was in superb form for the Hoops after being name-checked at Sir Alex Ferguson's book launch - oddly enough - and the midfielder's goal proved to be the difference against Ajax.
Celtic's aim should now be to avoid defeat in Amsterdam in two weeks' time as they bid to secure third place and a spot in the Europa League knock-out rounds - a competition in which they stand a much more realistic chance of progression to the exciting stages.
Having watched very little of this Leverkusen side, it's difficult to tell whether Wednesday's 4-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk is the sort of performance we should expect, or if the haphazard 4-2 defeat to Manchester United was a better indication of their standing.
That Leverkusen finished third in the Bundesliga last season and remain in the same position so far this campaign - having scored more goals than Bayern Munich - hints that they did themselves a disservice at Old Trafford. This column waits in anticipation of United's trip to Germany in the penultimate Group A fixture.
A performance that included encouraging signs of United rediscovering their identity - as I wrote here - but was equally hard to judge owing to Real Sociedad's ineptitude. United were playing a team struggling in mid-table in La Liga (despite what a 2-1 win at Valencia last weekend might suggest) and won 1-0 courtesy of an own goal. They managed just five shots on target and still looked vulnerable at the back either side of half-time. The speed at which they moved the ball in the final third was certainly cause for optimism, but there is a long way to go yet.
Denied a goal by the rain before Benfica grabbed a late equaliser to leave the fight for second place in Group C wide open.
Hopelessly out of their depth in Group F, which says as much about the gap between the top two and the rest in Ligue 1 as it does about Europe's four strongest divisions and the French top flight.
A defeat that seriously threatens Arsenal's chances of progression, but could prove to be the most important result of their campaign thus far as Dortmund delivered a lesson at the Emirates. The Gunners can again be guaranteed that this won't be the start of a 'negative spiral' - with Saturday's clash against Crystal Palace providing the perfect opportunity for an immediate recovery.
While Mikel Arteta claimed that the Gunners' played the 'better' football on Tuesday, the truth is that they played the most football. Unlike Arsenal's Premier League opponents, Dortmund failed to be sucked into the trap of the hosts' incisive counter-attacking and instead waited for their moments to steal the ball and hit the Gunners on the break.
A draw would have been a good result for Arsenal in the context of the group and so it was utterly stupid to concede a late sucker punch as Bacary Sagna, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky all failed to track Robert Lewandowski despite the striker being only a few yards from the trio when the move began.
As Arsene Wenger said: "We lost the game because we maybe wanted so much to win it that we forgot that if you cannot win it, don't lose it. That's what is most annoying because we put a lot of effort in.
"We just forgot to be cautious. We were not cautious enough and we paid for it."
It will also have annoyed the manager that his team slipped into the sterile domination that remains a particular bugbear. The handbrake was off, but Arsenal had no hands on the steering wheel as they careered left and right to find a way through Dortmund's resilient back six.
It should be acknowledged that Mathieu Flamini and Theo Walcott's absences proved telling - as well as Jack Wislhere's absent-mindedness - and had the injured duo been available, Arsenal may have found it easier to impose themselves. Aaron Ramsey is arguably the Premier League's best player at the moment, but his strength is not to show restraint, with his lack of discipline costing the Gunners in the first half.
While Flamini could have offered steel in the spine of the team alongside Arteta - as he did in the win over Napoli - Walcott was sorely missed in the final half-hour as the game began to open up. The winger is the only player Arsenal possess who can really run beyond Olivier Giroud (impressive in every sense of the word on Tuesday) and the inability to get behind Dortmund's back line was a key factor.
It also meant that Ozil was moved to the right in the second half as Wenger looked to utilise the wide areas, but the playmaker struggled to have the desired impact, despite setting up Santi Cazorla for a shot that struck the bar.
Klopp's assertion that "we didn't come here to dominate Arsenal in London, we came here to get a result" is exactly what the Arsenal now need to do to their opponents in two weeks' time. A point could be enough to progress; a defeat would probably mean Europa League football in February.
Third in Group B with only two points from their opening three matches. The home draw with Galatasaray could cost them a spot in the last 16 unless they can overcome Real Madrid on November 5. There could be fireworks! Probably not, though. I don't know if they have bonfire night in Italy.
Hector Herrera's two bookings in 20 seconds at the start of Tuesday's clash against Zenit St Petersburg did for Porto and they now face an enormous battle to make the knock-out rounds.
The bizarre thing about Anderlecht's Zlataning on Wednesday is that they actually managed more shots than PSG.
To deny that Yaya Toure was racially abused by claiming that he was the only person who heard the chants is laughable. It's appalling that we are left to hope UEFA take appropriate action rather than expect a fitting punishment will be served.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.
The only team that should be in the losers section is CSKA Moscow..- genocide cutter