Nobody would have predicted this.
A team coming off the back of a mediocre season with a newly-appointed, unheralded coach, sitting at the top of the Italian Serie A table after a run of nine successive victories.
No team in European football has made a better start to the 2013-14 season than Roma; no team in Italian football history has ever made a better start to a Serie A season.
A handful of vibrant new recruits and a wily old-timer have all combined to lift the club to the top of the table, with Roma's form attracting admiring glances from around the world.
"What I really like about this Roma team is that they play with a strong mentality," Italian football expert Tor-Kristian Karlsen told CNN.
"They play with such intensity and have a winning mentality," added the former Monaco chief executive.
With many scratching their heads as to how this incredible run has been put together, CNN gives you five reasons why Rudi Garcia's team are the toast of the continent.
Garcia's arrival at Roma in June went largely unnoticed, the Frenchman replacing Luis Enrique after an unspectacular sixth-place finish in the 2012-13 campaign.
The Frenchman won the Ligue 1 title with Lille in 2011, a team which featured players like Gervinho (more on him later) and Chelsea star Eden Hazard, but arguably Garcia had flown under the radar of all but the most-discerning European football fans.
"He has a very strong personality, he is very articulate and commands huge respect," French football expert Philippe Auclair told CNN.
"I recently talked to Hazard and he was speaking about Chelsea manger Jose Mourinho's insistence on taking care of defensive duties. He said that approach is similar to Garcia and that speaks volumes about the thoroughness of his preparations."
Garcia is one of a small band of French coaches to have worked in Italy's top division and the 49-year-old has faced his fair share of doubters during his first six months in Rome.
"His success has been a huge surprise," added Auclair. "France has exported a lot of players to Italy, but when he went to Roma there was a negative reaction that this guy was a 'no-hoper'."
Garcia's success is made all the more remarkable given the pressures which weigh on the shoulders of any Roma coach.
Despite having left Monaco earlier this year, Karlsen remains in touch with former Roma player and coach Claudio Ranieri, who is currently in charge at the Ligue 1 club. The Norwegian said: "Ranieri told me that Roma is probably the toughest job in the world given the pressure and focus from outside the club."
Garcia has also done well to utilize the considerable talents of club captain Francesco Totti, a player who is idolized by the Romanisti and whose exclusion from the side can result in uproar.
"Totti is a talisman for Roma, but that also creates problems for any incoming coach," explained Karlsen.
"He is a God to the club's fans and you wouldn't want to be the coach that ends his career. You'd imagine that the other players look up to him and he is strong influence in the dressing room.
"He is a leader, who is deeply attached to Roma and wants the best for his team and city."
Roma's smart preseason trading has been another factor in their record-breaking start.
Argentine winger Erik Lamela and Argentine-born Italy striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo were both sold to English clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton respectively, in big-money deals, giving Roma scope to recruit some exciting talents.
Gervinho arrived from Arsenal, while sturdy Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman --"made for Italian football" according to Karlsen -- was signed from PSV Eindhoven despite reported interest from Manchester United.
Morgan De Sanctis and Medhi Benatia are two new recruits who have helped make up a formidable defence, along with veteran Brazilian right-back Maicon.