By IAN HOLLIDAY
Bayern Munich's slow start to the Bundesliga season was only a distant memory Saturday after the Bavarian giants' 7-0 demolition of SC Freiburg. Since opening the year with a 1-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach and a last minute defeat of Wolfsburg by the same scoreline, Bayern has been basically unstoppable, winning five straight across all competitions without allowing a single goal. After Saturday's match, the club's Bundesliga goal differential is already a plus 15 for the season.
Inter Milan will be looking to replicate Bayern's performance after dropping its Serie A opener in a 4-3 thriller at Palermo on Sunday. The hosts scored two goals in the last four minutes of regular time to break a 2-2 deadlock, before summer signing Diego Forlan scored on his Inter debut to cut the deficit to one.
Another big club to have a tough weekend was FC Barcelona, which squandered an early 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Real Sociedad. To make matters worse for the visitors, Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez left the match with a thigh injury in the 32nd minute and is expected to be out for eight weeks.
There were no struggles for Manchester's big two clubs, who continued to blow through their Premier League schedules with ease on Saturday. For City, Sergio Aguero netted a hat-trick to down Wigan Athletic 3-0. Just a few hours later, Wayne Rooney accomplished the same feat for United, with two goals from Javier Hernandez thrown in for good measure as the Red Devils routed Bolton 5-0.
The first Manchester derby of the season isn't scheduled until Oct. 23, but if the two clubs keep playing the way they have been, both could still be perfect going into the match.
Here's a rundown of all the weekend scores from Europe's top leagues:
Aside from the dominant Manchester teams, and possibly Chelsea, the field for this year's Premier League looks likely to be one of the more evenly matched ones in recent years. Arsenal's struggles have been well-documented, though Arsene Wenger's side was able to get a 1-0 win over promoted Swansea this week. Liverpool has at times looked poised for a return to the top four, but the Reds fell 1-0 at Stoke on Saturday despite outshooting the Potters 24-3. Other perrenial top-half finishers like Everton, Aston Villa and Tottenham have been less-than impressive thus far, though Spurs did manage their first win of the year on Saturday against Wolves, for whom the defeat was surprisingly their first.
Norwich City 0, West Bromwich Albion 1
Fulham 1, Blackburn 1
Arsenal 1, Swansea City 0
Everton 2, Aston Villa 2
Manchester City 3, Wigan Athletic 0
Stoke City 1, Liverpool 0
Sunderland 1, Chelsea 2
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0, Tottenham 2
Bolton 0, Manchester United 5
Monday: Queens Park Rangers v. Newcastle United
While Barcelona took an early two-goal lead and couldn't hold on, Real Madrid waited until the 69th minute to put some distance between itself and visiting Getafe on Saturday. Once the Merengues were ahead, however, they didn't look back, cruising to a 4-2 victory. Real's two convincing wins are good for a plus 8 goal differential and first place in the La Liga table. Only two other clubs made it through the first two rounds perfect. One of those is last year's third-place finisher Valencia, while the other is newly promoted Real Betis.
Real Betis 1, Mallorca 0
Racing Santander 0, Levante 0
Osasuna 2, Sporting Gijon 1
Rayo Vallecano 0, Real Zaragoza 0
Espanyol 2, Athletic Bilbao 1
Real Sociedad 2, Barcelona 2
Villarreal 2, Sevilla 2
Real Madrid 4, Getafe 2
Valencia 1, Atletico Madrid 0
Monday: Malaga v. Granada
AC Milan didn't fare much better than its derby rivals in the opening round of Serie A. The defending champs went down 2-0 to Lazio early on goals from summer signings Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse, but battled back to even the score before halftime. The Rossoneri couldn't find a winner, though, and now find themselves looking up at Juventus, which defeated Palermo 4-1 in the first ever Serie A match at the new Juventus Stadium. Juve tops the Italian table after round one, followed closely by last year's third-place finishers Napoli, who won their opener 3-1 at Cesena on Saturday.
AC Milan 2, Lazio 2
Cesena 1, Napoli 3
Juventus 4, Parma 1
AS Roma 1, Cagliari 2
Catania 0, Siena 0
Chievo Verona 2, Novara 2
Fiorentina 2, Bologna 0
Genoa 2, Atalanta 2
Lecce 0, Udinese 2
Palermo 4, Inter Milan 3
Bayern's was the largest and most impressive of several lopsided results in the Bundesliga this weekend. Hoffenheim defeated Mainz 4-0 on Saturday despite controlling less than 40 percent of possession in the match. Also on Saturday, Stuttgart defeated Hannover 3-0, though it took the hosts until the 79th minute to score their second. On Friday, Bayer Leverkusen defeated promoted Augsburg 4-1 despite surrendering the opening goal just five minutes into the match.
FC Cologne 1, Nurnberg 2
VfL Wolfsburg 2, Schalke 04 1
Bayern Munich 7, SC Freiburg 0
Borussia Dortmund 1, Hertha Berlin 2
Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Kaiserslautern 0
Mainz 05 0, Hoffenheim 4
VfB Stuttgart 3, Hannover 96 0
Werder Bremen 2, Hamburg 0
FC Augsburg 1, Bayer Leverkusen 4
While goals were plentiful in the Bundesliga over the weekend, they were a rare commodity in Ligue 1. Only three teams scored more than one goal in their matches this weekend. Newcomers AC Ajaccio put up three in their 3-1 home win over Valenciennes, while defending champions Lille defeated St. Etienne on the road by the same scoreline. Lyon was the other club to score more than one, defeating promoted Dijon 2-1. None of those results was good enough to carry the victor to the top of the table, however, as Montpellier's 1-0 defeat of Nice gave the club a one-point lead on Lyon through five rounds.
AS Nancy Lorraine 0, AJ Auxerre 0
Montpellier 1, Nice 0
Paris St. Germain 1, Brest 0
AC Ajaccio 3, Valenciennes 1
Bordeaux 0, Evian Thonon Gaillard 0
Caen 0, Toulouse 1
Dijon 1, Lyon 2
Sochaux 1, Lorient 1
St. Etienne 1, Lille 3
Marseille 0, Stade Rennes 1
What did you think of this weekend's results? Impressed by Bayern's run of form? Glad to see the Serie A strike resolved? Already circling the Oct. 23 Manchester derby on your calendar?
the thing with la liga is that the other “top” teams are very good teams that would compete with Arsenal and Liverpool. the problem is that Barca and Madrid are just so much higher than them, it’s not even possible for them to catch up. Same goes for Man Utd, Chelsea and now City (well, lets see…haha). They just have too much money to throw around. one of the things that really helps the EPL stay more competitive is the money from TV rights. the way things are right now, Madrid and Barca pretty much get all the money whereas in the EPL it is more evenly distributed among the lower level teams. the current La Liga TV rights deal is in place until 2014 (I believe), but they will be meeting in the near future to hash out a new plan. One that includes more money for the smaller clubs. hopefully that’ll help a little bit.
Nick Webster of Fox Soccer agrees with you. There’s an article by him on their website regarding just this issue. But, I’m not convinced its a 2 horse race in the EPL. Even if it is, its not the same 2 horses as every year. So it’s not at all like La Liga.
I wonder how long we will be waiting for everyone to rag on the EPL like they rag on La Liga.
Looks like a two-horse race in the EPL.
The best thing about United’s wins is that they keep one-uping City. City wins 5-1, United wins 8-2. City wins 3-0, United pounds Bolton 5-0 (who City beat 3-2 earlier in the season). It’s hard not to get carried away by either teams’ form, especially if United beats down Chelsea this weekend…
Bayern v Villarreal will be interesting to watch. Hopefully Ribery keeps on playing the way he has.