Just in case the folly of Borussia Dortmund being classified as a fourth seed for the Champions League had escaped you, a glance at Uefa's current club coefficient rankings makes for interesting reading. The German champions, who dazzled at Manchester City, are still down among the supposed makeweights.
As for Málaga, who have started the competition with the best record of anybody (six points, six goals scored and none conceded) they are down in the basement of the rankings, just a handful of places above some clubs with recent European dalliances in the shape of Birmingham City and Portsmouth.
This tells us a couple of things: the ranking system evidently has its idiosyncrasies, and every year there is a club or two capable of shattering the Champions League odds. Málaga are currently positioned at No76, behind the likes of Dinamo Zagreb and CFR Cluj, below Aston Villa and FC Salzburg, way behind Standard Liège and Metalist Kharkiv.
Málaga are not the only club to radically outperform their supposed place in the hierarchy. The group leaders so far contain a lot of usual suspects – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Porto … and Bate Borisov. The shining light of football in Belarus pulled off the surprise of the round by inflicting a 3-1 defeat on Bayern Munich. "We must have been born under a lucky star," breezed their young coach, Viktor Goncharenko. "It is simply fantastic. I can't find words to express my gratitude to everyone."
There was no reason to assume that Bate would be readier this season to make an impression on the Champions League than their previous excursions. The club, who are named after the local automobile and tractor electronics works, and hail from an industrial town with a population of around 150,000, hardly gave the impression of having the clout or ambition that is making the football world sit up and take notice of clubs from the east.
Outside of Belarus, few would immediately recognise any of their players with the exception of the well-travelled Alexander Hleb, now back at his boyhood club. Their two overseas players, the Brazilian Maycon and Serb Marko Simic, are not even household names in their native countries.
Bate's coach has moulded a side powerful enough to win the domestic league virtually every season, but handling the sudden improvement in opposition when the Champions League comes around is no mean feat. Goncharenko has worked wonders.
His personal story is inspiring. His father, a passionate football fan, died after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. His parents had encouraged him from a young age to give his all to football, and he was a champion with Bate as a player, until injury forced him into early retirement at the age of 25. When Bate made their debut in this competition in 2008, the then 31-year-old became the youngest manager to lead a team out in Champions League history.
This is the third season Bate have made it to the group stage, and although they enjoyed the odd draw beforehand, they had not managed a win until they opened this campaign with a victory in Lille. To follow that up by toppling last season's beaten finalists, Bayern, is a heady achievement.
Frankly, they rode a tractor load of luck against the Germans. Their man of the match, the goalkeeper Andrei Gorbunov, admitted as much. "It was a very difficult and demanding game. I had to be constantly on my toes as Bayern hardly gave me a minute to relax," he conceded.
Vitali Rodionov, who has scored in both games so far, was breathing heavily at the end. "We spent most of the game defending," he said. "It is very good that everybody's nerve held until the end."
It is early days to suggest they will be this year's Apoel Nicosia, the little guys from Cyprus who go around joyously pulling the rug from beneath plenty of aristocrats, but they intend to give it their all. "Emotions are overwhelming," said Goncharenko. "We earned a grand victory, but you shouldn't speculate that now we have to win every match. It's the Champions League and we shouldn't forget that." He is trying hard to guard against too much euphoria.
They are ambitious, but in a reserved, steady way. There is currently work being carried out for a new stadium. At the moment their home ground in Borisov has a capacity of a little more than 5,000 and they play their European matches in the capital, Minsk. The average price of a ticket is around three dollars. They are not about to sign a Samuel Eto'o or Hulk.
Next up, they play Valencia in Minsk. Should they prosper again, Bate might just allow themselves to aspire towards the knockout rounds.