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Across the Continent: European football weekend review- 9-11 February


It’s been another busy weekend of European football, so here’s a recap of all the results, stories and talking points from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

La Liga

It was a big weekend in La Liga, with the top two going head-to-head at the Bernabéu, but the headline clash on Saturday evening might just have seen the title race come to an end.

Real Madrid absolutely smashed Girona 4-0, with Vinícius Júnior setting the tone by lashing home from long-range after just six minutes, before Jude Bellingham bagged a brace and then Rodrygo secured the win.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team are now unbeaten in 18 La Liga matches, dating back to September, form that leaves los Blancos five points clear at the top, very much on course to regain the title.

For Girona, this shouldn’t detract from their amazing campaign, given that Míchel’s men have still only lost twice, both against Real Madrid, with Blanquivermells still in pole position to secure a Champions League spot.

Elsewhere, the two teams directly below them both endured miserable Sundays.

Barcelona welcomed second bottom, destine for relegation Granada to Montjuïc on Sunday night, with most expecting a routine home win, although that’s certainly not how it transpired.

In a crazy six minutes just after the hour mark, Facundo Pellistri fired el Graná in front, Robert Lewandowski equalised, only for Ignasi Miquel to, against all odds, to fire the visitors 3-2 in front.

It remained 2-3 until the 80th minute when Lamine Yamal fired home his second of the evening, but Xavi’s team could not find that all important winner.

Barcelona have now conceded 23 goals in 11 games in 2024 across all competitions, more than any other team across Europe’s top five leagues, while 11 of the last 15 shots on target they’ve faced have gone in.

Earlier in the day, Atlético Madrid’s miserable away form continued, beaten 1-0 by Sevilla at Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, meaning they’ve taken just four points from their last seven La Liga away games.

Los Nervionenses have now won back-to-back games for the first time since May, meaning Quique Sánchez Flores’ side have climbed up to 15th, six points clear of danger, alleviating their relegation fears.

Elsewhere, Real Sociedad’s miserable form continued, beaten at home by Basque rivals Osasuna at Anoeta, which is far from ideal preparation ahead of their mid-week trip to Paris Saint-Germain.

The round concludes on Monday night, with Athletic Club likely to beat rock bottom Almería, who are still yet to win this season.

Serie A

Over in Serie A, it was also a good weekend for their league-leaders, with Internazionale battling to a 4-2 victory over Roma at Stadio Olimpico.

In truth, this game was far more entertaining than mot would’ve expected, with Francesco Acerbi, Marcus Thuram and Alessandro Bastoni all on target in the Eternal City.

I Nerazzurri have now accumulated 32 points from their first 12 away games, just the fourth Italian team to achieve this, after Inter themselves (32 in 2006/07), Napoli (34 in 2017/18) and Juventus (34 in 2018/19).

More importantly, Simone Inzaghi’s side have now won five on the spin, looking good to not only regain the Scudetto, but possibly make another deep run in the Champions League too.

Inter’s weekend then got even better on Monday night when title-chasing Juventus suffered a shock defeat at home to strugglers Udinese, with Lautaro Giannetti the only scorer in Turin.

That’s now back-to-back defeats for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who are now seven points adrift the leaders, having played a game more.

Now just a point below, AC Milan are in red-hot form, this time defeating Napoli at San Siro, with Théo Hernandez the only scorer on Sunday night.

I Rossoneri have 52 points after 24 matches, their third highest tally at this stage of a Serie A season in the three-points-for-a-win era, only eclipsed by 53 in 95/96 and 61 in 03/04, winning the title in both of the seasons, but Stefano Pioli’s side find themselves third, through little fault of their own.

Elsewhere, Atalanta kept up their top four charge by hammering Genoa 4-1, while Lazio got a much-needed victory at Cagliari.

Bologna meantime demolishing Lecce 4-0, meaning I Rossoblù have won nine of their first 12 home Serie A matches for the first time since 1972/73, finishing seventh that year, but with even lofty ambitions this time.

On Friday night, the bottom two went head-to-head, with Empoli beating Salernitana 3-1, meaning they remain unbeaten under Davide Nicola, thereby leaping from 19th all the way up to 15th.

Bundesliga

The biggest game happening anywhere in Europe this weekend was the top-of-the-table clash from the Bundesliga, with many now genuinely believing that Bayer Leverkusen could actually end Bayern’s dominance.

On Saturday evening, at BayArena, the league-leaders taught the 11-in-a-row Meisterschale winners a lesson, comprehensively running out 3-0 winners.

Josip Stanišić breaking the deadlock, against his parent club would you believe, with Álex Grimaldo lashing home a second soon after half time, before the win was secured by an astonishing goal.

Manuel Neuer, for no good reason, went up for a 93rd minute corner, that was cleared, with Jeremie Frimpong bursting down the right before, amazingly, curling the ball home from inside his own half.

It was carnival weekend in nearby Cologne, or Kölner Karneval as it’s known, and it certainly was a night worth celebrating for Xabi Alonso and his side.

Die Werkself are still unbeaten 31 matches into this season, while the German record for unbeaten matches in all competitions is 32, achieved by Hansi Flick’s Bayern between 11 December 2019 and 27 September 2020.

Back in the Bundesliga, Bayer are now five points clear, dreaming of a first-ever title, while Thomas Tuchel’s team have plenty to think about, ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Lazio.

Elsewhere, Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund tightened their grip on Champions League spots by beating Mainz 3-1 and Freiburg 3-0 respectively.

There was further good news for these two when RB Leipzig could only manage to draw with Augsburg, with Marco Rose’s side having won just one of their last six.

Down towards the bottom, Union Berlin claimed a massive victory in their survival bid, with Danilho Doekhi scoring in the 21st minute of first half injury time as they downed Wolfsburg at Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

That’s now back-to-back home victories for Nenad Bjelica’s team, who are five points clear of the drop zone.

Ligue 1

Lastly, in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain are now a whopping 11 points clear, following a 3-1 win over Lille at Parc des Princes, which featured goals from Gonçalo Ramos, and own goal by Alexsandro and then Randal Kolo Muani.

Then, in Sunday night’s big Derby de la Côte d’Azur, Monaco claimed a crucial victory over fierce rivals Nice.

It was a five-goal thriller at Allianz Riviera with Nice, despite having Dante sent off, seemingly having done enough to earn a point, only for Aleksandr Golovin to snatch victory for the away side.

Despite defeat, Francesco Farioli’s team do remain second, but Adi Hütter’s side are now third, just one point below, with Brest slipping to fourth, following a 1-1 draw at Clermont Foot.

Lille and Lens meanwhile are also very much in the Champions League hunt, with the latter joining their fierce rivals on 35 points by beating Strasbourg at Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Towards the bottom, Olympique Lyonnais are now three points clear of danger, having won five of their last seven, with goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Maxence Caqueret seeing them beat Montpellier on Sunday.

Lastly, Olympique de Marseille are now winless in five as pressure mounts on Gennaro Gattuso, following a very underwhelming 1-1 draw with Metz at Stade Vélodrome back on Friday night.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".