One of the most exciting rounds of the season saw goals aplenty in Italy. Meanwhile, it was business as usual in Spain, Germany and France as clubs prepare for a busy second half of the season.

 

La Liga 

There were no surprises amongst Spain’s big boys as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid all recorded wins.

Barça were clinical away to Girona winning 2-0, Nélson Semedo’s opener was added to by a sublime chip from Lionel Messi to secure the three points.

Atléti made it three consecutive wins in La Liga by defeating Getafe 2-0. Antoine Griezmann continued his stunning form, finding the bottom corner from distance to give his side the lead. Saúl doubled Atléti’s lead to keep the pressure on league leaders Barcelona whose lead remains at five points.

Real Madrid had few troubles in their trip to Espanyol, running out 4-2 winners. A Karim Benzema brace as well as goals to Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale proved too much for the Catalan club. After a turbulent season Real are starting to click in La Liga, however they may have left their run too late.

Valencia’s rise up the table is real. Back-to-back wins have lifted the club to seventh on the table and just seven points off the Champions League places. After a disappointing first half of the season, they are beginning to hit form ahead of their Europa League campaign and their push for a Champions League return.

Other results:

Sevilla 5-0 Levante

Leganés 2-2 Eibar

Real Valladolid 2-1 Celta de Vigo

Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Real Betis

Real Sociedad 0-0 Huesca

Alavés 0-1 Rayo Vallecano

 

Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund had no mercy for an underwhelming Hannover side, putting five past the club currently 17th on the table. Dortmund’s ability to score from a number of different sources has them well placed for their first Bundesliga title since 2012, as goals from Hakimi, Reus, Götze, Guerreiro and Witsel led the yellow and black to a 5-1 victory.

Bayern Munich are back! After a shaky start to the season the Bavarian club have won seven consecutive games. Despite a stunner from Stuttgart’s Anastasios Donis, Bayern’s class prevailed, running out 4-1 winners. Robert Lewandowski has scored five goals in his last six games – a positive sign for the club heading into their Champions League tie with Liverpool.

RB Leipzig came to play in their clash with Fortuna Düsseldorf. Leipzig incredibly led 3-0 inside 16 minutes, putting the game beyond doubt. They added a fourth in the second half to secure a clinical 4-0 win on the road and are now three points clear in the final Champions League spot.

Other results:

Hertha 2-2 Schalke 04

Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Augsburg

Freiburg 2-4 Hoffenheim

Mainz 2-1 FC Nürnberg

Wolfsburg 0-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Werder Bremen 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

 

Serie A

Juventus did what champions do – find a way to win. After what many are describing as their worst performance of the season, the Old Lady managed to come from behind to break the hearts of Lazio. The Roman side deservedly led through an Emre Can own goal and could have had at least one more, as Ciro Immobile wasted a golden chance. João Cancelo entered the game in the 70th and scored his first goal for Juve five minutes later. The full-back then won a penalty just minutes from time, allowing his Portuguese teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to fire home from 12 yards, stealing the win for the Bianconeri.

Roma and Atalanta played out a 3-3 draw for the second time this season. Roma led 3-0 inside 40 minutes thanks to an Edin Dzeko brace and a Stephan El Shaarawy strike, but their lead was cut to two when Timothy Castagne pulled one back for the home side. A conservative Roma outfit were punished in the second half, conceding twice more to throw away what was looking like a comfortable win.

Napoli and Milan played out one of the more lacklustre fixtures, drawing 0-0 at the San Siro. The match did feature the debut of Milan’s new signing Krzysztof Piątek who entered the frame in the 70th minute. Napoli are now 11 points behind Juventus, while Milan are firming as favourites to make the top four.

Inter’s goalscoring woes continued, going down 1-0 to Torino. The Nerazzurri have found the net just four times in their last seven games – an area that needs immediate addressing. If not, Inter could find themselves fall back into the pack fighting for a top four finish.

Other results:

Sassuolo 3-0 Cagliari

Sampdoria 4-0 Udinese

Chievo 3-4 Fiorentina

Bologna 0-4 Frosinone

Empoli 1-3 Genoa

 

Ligue 1

Marseille took on Lille in the match of the round in which Mario Balotelli played his first game for his new club. Nicolas Pepe scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season, before Balotelli headed home a consolation for Marseille with virtually no time remaining. Marseille’s disappointing form has seen them drop to eighth while Lille remain in second.

Paris Saint-Germain took care of business as they defeated Rennes 4-1. Edinson Cavani’s opener was cancelled out by M’Baye Niang as both teams went into the break locked at 1-1. Ángel Di María regained the lead for PSG with a delightful chip, opening the floodgates for Kylian Mbappe and Cavani to each add one more.

Monaco’s season took another turn after they sacked Thierry Henry and replaced him with former manager Leonardo Jardim. However, the principality club suffered another abysmal loss, going down 2-0 away to Dijon. Relegation awaits.

Other results:

Guingamp 0-1 Reims

Nice 2-0 Nîmes

Strasbourg 1-0 Bordeaux

Montpellier 2-0 Caen

Amiens 0-1 Lyon

Toulouse 0-0 Angers

 

Premier League 

The Premier League returns tomorrow morning AEDT.

 

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Damon Palmar
damon@footballnationradio.com