Confidence has gone, bigger-picture tensions appear to be rising to the surface and once-powerful Germany is struggling through its worst year in some time. Was retaining Joachim Low as manager a mistake?
The Dutch followed consecutive deep World Cup runs by missing Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, but results are turning around under Ronald Koeman–even if the team's identity isn't close to what it once was.
Instead of wasting away on a bench in the Premier League, where playing time for young talent is hard to come by, Jadon Sancho sought opportunity in Germany, and his success at Dortmund is a shining example for his peers.
Tottenham had no answer for Lionel Messi and is facing an uphill battle the rest of the way in the Champions League group stage, while Liverpool was dealt a setback in Italy and PSG yet again toyed with a lesser foe.
Liverpool is off to a perfect start to its 2018-19 season and has title ambitions on multiple fronts. A two-week slate featuring Chelsea twice, Napoli and Man City will dictate plenty about where it stands in its quest.
Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's decade-long duopoly over FIFA's player of the year award, and rightfully so, but the vague 'Best' awards leave plenty to be desired as a general exercise.