Inter Fails to Beat Lecce and Other Important European Soccer News
The German Bundesliga finally returned after a winter break, and there were plenty of exciting games this weekend. I will go through the most important highlights and also take a look at the other top European soccer leagues.
You won’t find anything about the English Premier League here, as I have a separate post that’s focused on the competition.
Spanish La Liga Recap: Barcelona Leaves It Late in Setien’s Debut
The most anticipated game of the weekend in Spain was Barcelona’s home match against Granada because of the debut of Quique Setien. The new coach started with a win, but his players had to work hard to earn it.
Granada held Barcelona for most of the match and even hit the bar in the second half. The visitors eventually capitulated after German was shown a second yellow, and Messi opened the scoring in 76th minute.
It was a frustrating debut for Setien, but he did get a result, and the changes in the formation were obvious. The new coach used a 3-4-3 system that allowed Barcelona the lion’s share of the possession.
On the negative side, the reigning champions looked toothless for large periods of the match. The new strategy should provide Barcelona with more control and help the defensive problems, but the attack could suffer. Setien must find the right balance in the weeks ahead because Real Madrid is knocking at the door.
Both sides still have the same number of points after Los Blancos earned a crucial victory against Sevilla at home. Casemiro scored a rare brace to help Real Madrid win by 2-1.
If you add the surprising defeat of Atletico Madrid at the hands of Eibar, La Liga is quickly becoming a two-horse race. Real Madrid and Barcelona now have built a gap of 8 points, and I don’t think any of the other teams will be able to catch them.
The competition is much closer at the bottom, where several teams earned precious points this weekend. Espanyol beat Villareal away from home, while Mallorca stunned Valencia.
Celta will also be happy after a draw against Athletic Bilbao, and it seems like the bottom teams have found some form in a crucial period of the season.
German Bundesliga Weekly Recap: Goals, Goals, and More Goals!
The German Bundesliga has the reputation of the top competition with the most goals, and you could easily see why this weekend! The league has returned after the winter break with a total of 34 goals in 9 games.
The most attractive game was between Augsburg and Borussia Dortmund. We all wanted to see how Erling Haaland would cope in his debut, and the youngster scored a hat-trick in only 23 minutes on the pitch, helping his team win by 5-3.
I’m not sure even the biggest optimists would’ve expected a stunning performance like that. The boy should be starting games very soon, and his potential is truly unlimited. The rest of the Bundesliga should be worried, as Haaland looked unstoppable.
Most of the other Bundesliga leaders won this weekend as well. Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, and Leverkusen had rather comfortable games.
Two top sides had to face each other, and Schalke beat Borussia Monchengladbach at home in the derby of the week. The visitors had their chances, but goals by Suat Serdar and Michael Gregoritsch were enough for a 2-0 victory for Schalke.
I believe we will see a battle between RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich for the title, as both sides are in top form and have the most points right now. The reigning champions remain the favorite because of the depth of their squad, but it won’t be easy.
In fact, all battles in the Bundesliga will be tight. The differences in points for the Champions League places and the relegation scrap are all negligible right now. Every team in the league still has everything to play for, and I expect a spectacular couple of months.
Italian Serie A Weekly Recap: Ronaldo Shines While Inter Fails to Beat Lecce
The Italian Serie A offered a lot of interesting games this weekend as well. It all started with Lazio’s home game against Sampdoria. The Eagles once again proved that they are the team in form right now and trashed their opponents.
Ciro Immobile added a hat-trick to his goal tally, while Caicedo and Quissanga added two more for the 5-1 final score. Lazio looks simply unstoppable now, and the team will enter the local derby with Roma with a lot of confidence next week.
The league leaders Juventus had a much tougher game against Parma at home. The visitors frustrated the reigning champions for most of the match and had their moments. They eventually surrendered to Cristiano Ronaldo’s magic, though.
The forward scored a brace for the 2-1 victory and looks in top form for the conclusion of the season. That’s great news for Juventus, as the team will be competitive both in Serie A and in the Champions League as long as Ronaldo is playing like that.
The only top side that failed to win this weekend is Inter. Despite creating a ton of chances and dominating against Lecce, the side had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Inter is starting to run out of steam recently, but the January transfer window could help. The team is allegedly after Christian Eriksen and Olivier Giroud. I think that both could lift the side immediately.
Another game that certainly deserves a mention is Milan’s clash against Udinese at home. The Rossoneri had to rely on Ante Rebic, who scored twice after coming from the bench. His second goal came deep in injury time and was enough for the 3-2 victory in a back-and-forth match that could’ve gone either way.
I tried to cover all important highlights from the top European soccer leagues, but I might have missed something interesting because of the sheer volume of events. If you believe that’s the case, let me know in the comments section below.
And if you’re interested in the top places to bet on these leagues, check out our list of the top soccer betting sites in our expert soccer betting guide.