Champions League first matchday highlights

Sports Mole looks at some of the talking points from the opening round of fixtures in the group stage of the Champions League.

The group stage of the Champions League got underway this week, with all 32 clubs still in the competition having completed their opening games of the campaign.

Porto recorded the biggest winning margin of the week, beating BATE Borisov 6-0, while the only goalless draw was between Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Here, Sports Mole picks out some of the highlights from the first 16 matches that took place over Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Goal of the week

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) vs. Basel:
The European champions began the defence of their title by cruising to a 5-1 win over Basel in their opening tie in Group B. There were a couple of stunning goals in the match, but none more eye-catching than Gareth Bale's lobbed and volleyed effort on the half-hour mark. The Wales international raced towards the Basel box before lobbing the ball over the keeper, running towards the goalline, and volleying in his own pass forward from close range.

Most surprising result

Olympiacos 3-2 Atletico Madrid
The Spanish champions came within a couple of minutes of winning the Champions League just four months ago, but they made a losing start to this year's campaign. The Greek side scored twice in the opening half-hour to put Diego Simeone's side on the back foot, and they were unable to come back, despite Antoine Griezmann scoring to leave them just a goal down in the final five minutes. As they will also have to face Juventus in Group A, the La Liga side will have to improve if they are to progress into the knockout stages.

Olympiakos players celebrate after scoring during the Champions League group A fooball match at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus near Athens on September 16, 2014© Getty Images

Best performance

Roma: Although Porto had the biggest winning margin, and Real Madrid also impressed in their opening match, Roma's 5-1 thrashing of CSKA Moscow has extra significance as the two clubs are expected to be competing for the Europa League place in Group E. However, the ease of the Italian side's win will give them hope of upsetting either Manchester City or Bayern Munich for a place in the last 16.

Gervinho with his teammate Juan Manuel Iturbe of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the second team's goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between AS Roma and PFC CSKA Moskva on September 17, 2014© Getty Images

Worst performance

BATE Borisov:
The Belarusian champions were, frankly, woeful as they were crushed 6-0 at the hands of Porto last night. A howler from the goalkeeper let Yacine Brahimi in for his opening goal on his way to a hat-trick, while the defenders struggled to make any impact on the hosts. BATE were only ever going to be an outside chance for the Europa League spot, but they will need significant work if they are to avoid being the whipping boys of the group.

Costliest error

Artur's red card:
The Benfica goalkeeper made it just 17 minutes into the Portuguese side's match against Zenit St Petersburg, earning a straight red for a cynical foul on Danny. Group C already looked like being a pretty close battle, with Monaco beating Bayer Leverkusen on their return to European football, so the defeat could come back to haunt Benfica later in the competition.

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Olympiakos manager Michel Gonzalez gestures on the touchline against Manchester United during their Champions League match on February 25, 2014
Read Next:
Match Analysis: Olympiacos 3-2 Atletico Madrid
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBarcelona38289199297093
2Atletico MadridAtletico382310558223679
3Real Madrid382210694445076
4Valencia38227965382773
5Villarreal38187135750761
6Real Betis38186146061-160
7Sevilla38177144958-958
8Getafe381510134233955
9EibarEibar38149154450-651
10GironaGirona38149155059-951
11Espanyol381213133642-649
12Real Sociedad38147176659749
13Celta Vigo381310155960-149
14AlavesAlaves38152214050-1047
15Levante381113144458-1446
16Athletic Bilbao381013154149-843
17Leganes38127193451-1743
RDeportivo La CorunaDeportivo38611213876-3829
RLas PalmasLas Palmas3857262474-5022
RMalaga3855282461-3720

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