By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Following their second-place finish in the Bundesliga and heartbreaking loss in the Champions League final last season, Borussia Dortmund proudly held the league lead over rivals Bayern Munich for the first two months of the new season.
But on Saturday, the defending champions once again pulled ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
Borussia Monchengladbach defeated Dortmund 2-0 at Borussia Park, keeping Monchengladbach’s perfect home record intact and handing Dortmund their first loss of the campaign. After holding off Dortmund’s high-powered offense for 80 solid minutes, Monchengladbach took full advantage of a Mats Hummels red card to take a shock lead. Hummels, who had never been sent off in his entire Bundesliga career, fouled Havard Nordtveit on the counter, and Max Kruse coolly converted the spot kick for his fifth goal of the season.
The man advantage allowed Monchengladbach to hit back at Dortmund once more before the final whistle. Forward Raffael converted his first real chance of the match, a low shot that beat Weidenfeller near post. A shocked Dortmund squad was unable to piece together any offense after Raffael doubled the lead, and the former league leaders were sent home with a devastating defeat.
While Dortmund lost their league lead on Saturday, Serie A leaders AS Roma continued their dominating run through the early season with a commanding 3-0 road victory over Inter Milan. Roma grabbed all three of their goals before the halftime whistle—two from club legend Francesco Totti and a top-corner finish from 22-year-old Alessandro Florenzi. The still-perfect capital club’s only blemish came in the 79th minute, when Federico Balzaretti was sent off for his second yellow card of the match.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
After allowing just two goals in their first six English Premier League matches of the season, Tottenham Hotspur were stunned Sunday in a 3-0 home loss to bottom-half West Ham United. The Hammers’ three goals came in the span of 13 second-half minutes—a Winston Reid rebound off a corner kick situation, a low Ricardo Vaz Te shot off a fine passing sequence and a superb chipped effort from Ravel Morrison. Although Spurs commanded 61 percent of the match’s possession, West Ham’s defense did well to keep the hosts from getting more than a couple of clear looks on goal.
In the first half of their contest at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Manchester United were staring down their worst loss of what has been a nightmare start to the season. But an unlikely source, 18-year-old winger Adnan Januzaj, netted a fantastic second-half brace to push the Red Devils to a 2-1 comeback victory over last-place Sunderland. Craig Gardner’s fifth-minute opener had the Black Cats out to a stunning lead, but Januzaj reignited the Man United offense in the second half to avoid manager David Moyes’s third straight league defeat.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Manchester City 3, Everton 1
Newcastle United 2, Cardiff City 1
Fulham 1, Stoke City 0
Hull City 0, Aston Villa 0
Liverpool 3, Crystal Palace 1
Manchester United 2, Sunderland 1
Chelsea 3, Norwich City 1
Southampton 2, Swansea City 0
West Ham United 3, Tottenham Hotspur 0
West Bromwich Albion 1, Arsenal 1
Much like Manchester United, Real Madrid were on the verge of consecutive league losses Saturday, but a pair of goals gave them a much-needed victory. However, Real left it much later than the Red Devils, needing a 90th-minute goal from Alvaro Morata and a stoppage-time winner from Cristiano Ronaldo to dispatch Levante by a score of 3-2. Levante’s Nabil El Zhar seemed to give the hosts a huge win with a 86th-minute goal, but Morata and Ronaldo combined to turn zero points into three for the third-place side.
It took them a while to get going, but a strong second half gave Barcelona what they needed for a 4-1 win over Real Valladolid. Javi Guerra put perfect Barcelona behind for the first time all season in the 10th minute, and Alexis’s equalizer four minutes later was all the defending champions could muster in the second half. However, Xavi and Neymar scored with Alexis in an entertaining second half for the hosts, who are alongside Atletico Madrid atop the league with a perfect 8-0-0 record.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Villarreal 3, Granada 0
Osasuna 1, Malaga 0
Elche 2, Espanyol 1
Rayo Vallecano 1, Real Sociedad 0
Real Madrid 3, Levante 2
Barcelona 4, Real Valladolid 1
Atletico Madrid 2, Celta Vigo 1
Sevilla 2, Almeria 1
Getafe 3, Real Betis 1
Athletic Bilbao 1, Valencia 1
Although Bayern Munich took the top spot in the Bundesliga after Dortmund’s loss to Monchengladbach, the defending champions did not take full advantage of their rivals’ slip-up in a 1-1 draw with third-place Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern left the BayArena thinking they should have gotten all three points as they completely dominated with 78 percent possession and 11 shots on goal. But Sidney Sam came up with an instant reply to Toni Kroos’s 30th-minute goal, and some brilliant defending and goalkeeping kept the hosts just one point behind Bayern for the new league lead.
Former Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk got his first Bundesliga win as Hamburg manager Sunday in extraordinary fashion. His new club defeated Nurnberg 5-0 thanks to Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s hat trick, one that was scored in the span of eight minutes. The commanding road victory, HSV’s first of the season, could signal a change in the fortunes of The Dinosaur, who only won one of their first seven league matches of the season.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Hannover 1, Hertha Berlin 1
Borussia Monchengladbach 2, Borussia Dortmund 0
Mainz 2, Hoffenheim 2
Schalke 4, Augsburg 1
Stuttgart 1, Hertha Berlin 1
Eintracht Braunschweig 2, Wolfsburg 0
Bayer Leverkusen 1, Bayern Munich 1
Hamburg 5, Nurnberg 0
Freiburg 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Despite a lightning-fast goal from Sulley Muntari that came in the 19th second of play, AC Milan’s slow start to the Serie A season continued Sunday in a 3-2 loss at defending champions Juventus. The hosts equalized through Andrea Pirlo 14 minutes after Muntari’s opener, and Sebastian Giovinco and Giorgio Chellini combined to give Juve a two-goal lead in the second half. Muntari pulled one back for Milan in the 90th minute, but the visitors could not find an equalizer in their third loss of the league campaign.
Napoli kept pace with first-place Roma and third-place Juventus on Sunday with a big 4-0 home victory over Livorno. Manager Rafael Benitez saw four different players find the back of the net in the win over a Livorno side that continued to fight hard all the way to the final whistle. Napoli’s victory sets up a major clash against league-leading Roma in two weeks, when their respective players return from the international break.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Atalanta 1, Chievo Verona 0
AS Roma 3, Inter Milan 0
Parma 3, Sassuolo 1
Catania 1, Genoa 1
Napoli 4, Livorno 0
Sampdoria 2, Torino 2
Udinese 2, Cagliari 0
Hellas Verona 4, Bologna 1
Juventus 3, AC Milan 2
Fiorentina 0, Lazio 0
Paris Saint-Germain overcame an early red card and conceded penalty to defeat Le Classique rivals Marseille 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome. PSG midfielder Thiago Motta was sent off for a tackle on Mathieu Valbuena in the 31st minute, and Andre Ayew converted the ensuing penalty to give the hosts an early lead. But the defending champions stormed back, getting an equalizer just before halftime from Maxwell and a match-winning penalty conversion from captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second half.
The Le Classique win ensured PSG kept pace with league leaders AS Monaco, who needed a late goal to dispatch Saint Etienne 2-1. Second-half substitute Lucas Ocampos netted the game winner for the hosts in the 87th minute, nailing a volley from teammate James Rodriguez’s fine cross. With identical records, newly promoted Monaco lead PSG on a +2 point differential heading into this international break.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Bastia 4, Lorient 1
AS Monaco 2, Saint Etienne 1
Guingamp 2, Stade Rennes 0
Lille 3, Ajaccio 0
Nantes 3, Evian Thonon Gaillard 0
Toulouse 1, Nice 0
Valenciennes 1, Stade de Reims 1
Montpellier 5, Lyon 1
Bordeaux 4, Sochaux 1
Paris Saint-Germain 2, Marseille 1
What do you think of this weekend’s European league action? Surprised by Dortmund’s two-goal loss to Monchengladbach? Think they can retake the Bundesliga lead? Excited for the Roma-Napoli showdown after the international break? Which other performances caught your eye this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.