Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Although they did not officially secure the club’s 23rd Bundesliga title, Bayern Munich’s home win over Hamburg made headlines all around the world this weekend.
Bayern routed European hopeful Hamburg 9-2 on Saturday, giving the German giants a club record 10th straight Bundesliga win. Veteran forward Claudio Pizarro led the demolishing Bayern offense by putting four goals past Rene Adler. Arjen Robben added a brace to the rout, which started just five minutes into the match by way of a Xherdan Shaqiri distance finish. After Hamburg chased a Jeffrey Bruma header past Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery joined the scoring parade less than a minute later for Bayern’s ninth.
Even though a chance at being the first Bundesliga team to clinch in March faded away after rival Dortmund won their match late, Bayern still treated the fans inside the Allainz Arena with the biggest win in stadium history. Nnow just one win away from bringing the Bundesliga plate back to Munich, Bayern will now turn their full attention to Tuesday’s Champions League match against Juventus.
The defended Italian champions got revenge in its final tuneup before its trip to Germany with a 2-1 win over rival Inter Milan. Juve, which had previously fallen 3-1 to Inter in a match that snapped a 49-match unbeaten streak, jumped on host Inter early with a third-minute goal from Fabio Quagliarella.
The two sides went back and forth until Inter found an equalizer shortly after the second half kickoff. Rodrigo Palacio caught the usually rigid Juventus defense napping for a moment and capitalized, netting a huge goal for the Champions League hopefuls.
But Juventus would not stay on level terms with Inter for long as Alessandro Matri scored the eventual match-winner at the hour mark. Quagliarella was once again involved in the scoring for Juventus—the Italian forward skillfully beat his man before slicing the ball back to Matri.
Juventus now turns their attention to the Champions League with an intact nine-point lead over Napoli, which got all it could handle from bottom-half Torino in a 5-3 shootout on Saturday.
Here is a closer look at all of this weekend’s action from Europe’s top leagues:
Less than two weeks after reclaiming third place in the Premier League standings, Chelsea fell back to fourth on Saturday following their 2-1 loss at Southampton. After a good spell of early back-and-forth action, Jay Rodriguez broke through for the Saints in the 23rd minute after some impressive passing from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis. Chelsea pressed hard for an equalizer and found it ten minutes later on a John Terry header from a Marko Marin corner. But The Blues enjoyed the level playing field for little more than a minute as Lambert took the lead back from on a 25-yard free kick. Chelsea came close to a draw several times late, but the Southampton defense held strong for a key three points in the relegation battle.
Tottenham took back possession third place after a 2-1 victory at Swansea City. Gareth Bale, right back in his home country after scoring for the national team earlier this week, set up Jan Vertonghen for the opening goal in the seventh minute. Bale doubled Spurs’ lead less than 15 minutes later with a clever shot that got past Michel Vorm. The hosts Swans dominated possession in their usual fashion and produced more shots than Tottenham, but they could only push one goal past stand-in goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Michu headed in a Ki Sung-yueng corner in the 71st minute before getting involved in a scuffle with Vertonghen. The final 20 minutes was marked by controversy as a Spurs assistant prevented Swansea from taking a quick throw-in, igniting controversy on the touchline.
Here is the full list of results from this weekend’s Premier League action:
Manchester United 1, Sunderland 0
Manchester City 4, Newcastle United 0
Arsenal 4, Reading 1
Southampton 2, Chelsea 1
Tottenham 2, Swansea City 1
West Ham United 3, West Bromwich Albion 1
Wigan Athletic 1, Norwich City 0
Everton 1, Stoke City 0
Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 1
When Lionel Messi netted yet another record goal at Celta Vigo on Saturday, many thought that it would be enough for Barcelona to secure the three points against the relegation-threatened club. But Borja Oubina’s header two minutes from time put a damper on the Argentinian superstar’s celebration as Celta Vigo drew 2-2 with the La Liga leaders. Messi’s 73rd-minute goal marked the 19th consecutive game that he has found the back of the net in, a La Liga record. Due to La Liga’s scheduling, Messi has scored against every other league team during this historic streak. Messi will look to add to his 56 goals across all competitions on Tuesday, when the Catalans travel to face PSG.
Barcelona was able to maintain their 13-point lead over second-place Real Madrid in the league after Los Blancos drew 1-1 at 17th-place Real Zaragoza. Rodri put the relegation candidate on top in the 6th minute after a forced turnover from teammate Antonio Apono. Zaragoza’s defense would hold up for the majority of the first half, but some flimsy defending allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to swoop in and record his 28th La Liga goal of the campaign. Madrid came closest to finding a game-winner in the second half as Marcelo rattled Roberto Gago’s post. Ronaldo put a last-gasp effort on goal in the 90th minute, but Gago gathered his fifth save of the game to secure the draw.
Here is the full list of results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Malaga 3, Rayo Vallecano 1
Celta Vigo 2, Barcelona 2
Real Zaragoza 1, Real Madrid 1
Levante 1, Sevilla 0
Osasuna 3, Real Valladolid 1
Deportivo La Coruna 3, Mallorca 2
Espanyol 2, Real Sociedad 2
Atletico Madrid 1, Valencia 1
Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Stuttgart on Saturday did more than just keep Bayern from claiming the title in March—the defending champions’ victory kept its four-point lead over third-place Bayer Leverkusen intact. Lukasz Piszczek, who was subbed on early in the first half after Marcel Schmelzer took a boot to the face, gave visiting Dortmund the lead just before the half-hour mark off of a Marco Reus cross. Stuttgart’s Alexandru Maxim would equalize in the 63rd minute, but defender Georg Niedermeier was sent off minutes later for his second yellow card of the match. Dortmund took control of the game after the ejection and grabbed the three points late as Robert Lewandowski netted his league-high 20th goal of the season eight minutes from time.
Eintracht Frankfurt ended its miserable skid on Sunday with a dramatic 3-2 win over last-place Greuther Furth, which still has not recorded a win at home this season. After Furth went up in the second minute from a Nikola Djurdjic goal, Frankfurt replied with strikes from Takashi Inui, Stefan Aigner and Alexander Meier. But when Furth’s Sercan Sararer scored and Djurdjic missed wide moments later, Frankfurt parked the bus and cruised to a much-needed victory. Frankfurt’s win moves the club to fifth place, just behind a Schalke squad that scored three goals in the final 20 minutes to defeat Hoffenheim 3-0.
Here is the full list of results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Hannover 96 2, Augsburg 0
Bayer Leverkusen 4, Fortuna Dusseldorf 1
Mainz 1, Werder Bremen 1
Freiburg 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0
Schalke 3, Hoffenheim 0
Borussia Dortmund 2, Stuttgart 1
Bayern Munich 9, Hamburg 2
Wolfsburg 2, Nurnberg 2
Eintracht Frankfurt 3, Greuther Furth 2
AC Milan extended their control over the final Champions League spot from Serie A this weekend with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona. Riccardo Montolivo’s 25th minute goal was all that Milan needed to grab three points on a day when a couple of European hopefuls were bitten by the upset bug. Cagliari won their third straight match behind closed doors—safety concerns have kept fans from coming to Stadio Is Arenas recently—over a fourth-place Fiorentina squad that had won four of their last five matches. Palermo inched farther away from the bottom spot in Serie A after a 2-0 home victory over AS Roma.
Lazio ended their miserable March on a high note, getting two late goals to defeat Catania 2-1. The club jumped over rival Roma and into fifth place with the win, which was earned via a Catania own goal and an Antonio Candreva penalty conversion. Eighth-place Catania, which only put one shot on the goal the entire match, watched their European hopes fade when Gonzalo Bergessio missed a shot from point-blank range in the final moments of the match.
Here is the full list of results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Atalanta 0, Sampdoria 0
Cagliari 2, Fiorentina 1
Genoa 2, Siena 2
Juventus 2, Inter Milan 1
Lazio 2, Catania 1
Palermo 2, AS Roma 0
Parma 3, US Pescara 0
Udinese 0, Bologna 0
AC Milan 1, Chievo Verona 0
Napoli 5, Torino 3
Paris-Saint Germain took care of business against defending champion Montpellier on Friday with a 1-0 win that moved the capital club one step closer to the Ligue 1 trophy. While some feared that the club would stumble as they looked ahead to Barcelona’s upcoming visit, Kevin Gameiro’s 80th minute strike made sure PSG would walk away with three points. Montpellier provided a great defensive test for PSG ahead of the Barcelona meeting, and it took a late surge from substitutes Gameiro and David Beckham to beat goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren.
Marseille took advantage of a Lyon slip-up on Sunday to move into second-place in the league table, defeating Nice 1-0 on the road. Andre-Pierre Gignac’s early header turned out to be the only header in a match that host Nice dominated in the box score but not on the scoreboard. Lyon allowed an 88th-minute stunner from Cedric Bakambu to give Sochaux a win to move the club out of the relegation zone.
Here is the full list of results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Troyes 2, St-Etienne 2
Toulouse 3, Ajaccio 2
Bordeaux 1, Lorient 1
Evian Thonon 2, Stade de Reims 2
Nancy 2, Stade Rennes 0
Bastia 4, Valenciennes 3
Marseille 1, Nice 0
Lille 2, Brest 1
Sochaux 2, Lyon 1