European Football Round-Up // November 25

Bayern Munich thrash Borussia Dortmund as inevitably, Mario Gotze comes on to score the opening goal, while Atletico continue to impress in a 7-0 romp. In France, PSG continue to look formidable whilst AC Milan look as bad as ever in a listless draw vs. Genoa.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-DORTMUND-BAYERN MUNICH

“It wasn’t me”… Mario Gotze holds his hands-up to the “Yellow Wall”.

The story of the weekend came from the Bundesliga as a depleted Dortmund side lost 0-3 to Bayern Munich. Dortmund, who were missing their entire regular back-four with Subotic, Hummels, Piszczek and Schmelzer all out, Dortmund struggled to impose their trademark style on the game, barring some breaks which lead to half-chances. The game was at deadlock until midway through the second-half when the inevitable occurred – Mario Gotze broke the deadlock. The ex-Dortmund starlet farcically warmed up in the tunnel prior to being subbed on to avoid the fans retributory chants and whistles. After Gotze’s opener, goals from Robben and Muller followed in quick succession to see off any hopes of a late Dortmund fight-back.

The victory leaves Borussia Dortmund trailing in third, seven points behind Bayern Munich. With the winter break fast approaching Jurgen Klopp must be beginning to worry if they have any chance of catching the Bavarian giants. After the game Klopp commented on Pep Guardiola’s contrasting styles throughout the game. During the first-half, Bayern uncharacteristically hit the ball long, usually to Javi Martinez who despite being a holding midfielder was positioned between the lines as a “defensive 10”. “They wanted to play around our counter-pressing, our biggest strength,” the Dortmund manager explained. In the second-half, Guardiola reverted to a more patient approach building from deep: “OK, cool move,” Klopp said, “you can do it like that, first you work us with long balls and then you bring on the 1.70m boys,” Klopp commented.

Other notable results in Germany were Bayer Leverkusen’s 0-1 away win at Hertha Berlin which keeps them within four points of the Bundesliga summit. Borussia Monchengladbach remain in third place after their 0-2 win away at VfB Stuttgart.

Elsewhere, in Spain the result of the weekend came from Madrid’s current best side – Atletico Madrid. Simeone’s men romped to a 7-0 victory at home to one of Madrid’s smaller sides in Getafe CF. Diego Costa’s solitary goal of the night may have been Atletico’s seventh, but was undoubtedly the goal of the night. Despite possessing a burly build, the Brazilian (wait, he’s Spanish now?) performed an outrageously acrobatic bicycle-kick.

Whilst Atletico may have been the most impressive side in Spain this week, the standout performer was most certainly ex-Arsenal striker Carlos Vela who scored four goals in Real Sociedad’s, blistering 4-3 at home to Celta Vigo. Vela, having been handed the match ball after the game may possibly have the quote of the weekend:  “I’ll give it to the dog so he can play with it.’’

On Sunday night there was also the small matter of the Seville derby as Sevilla hosted Real Betis. Sevilla, who hadn’t started the season well, didn’t fail to impress as they smashed Betis 4-0. This was the first time Sevilla had won two consecutive league games for nine months and it was undoubtedly a massive win for the Andalusian side. Afterwards, Sevilla manager Unai Emery cheekily remarked that he was disappointed in his sides lack of hunger to “score the fifth’’.

Less notable results in Spain this weekend were Barcelona and Real Madrid’s somewhat inevitable victories: Barcelona won 4-0 at home to Granada which included penalties from both Iniesta and Fabregas whilst Sanchez scored to continue his rich vein of form with Pedro scoring in stoppage time. For Real Madrid, the result was never in doubt; Ronaldo scored in the third minute and from that moment on lowly UD Almeria were submissive at every opportunity. Gareth Bale scored Madrid’s fourth goal as he continues to settle in Spain. Youngster Morata scored late on with a fine strike.

In Italy, Napoli lost their first home league game of the season to Parma which leaves them in third place behind A.S. Roma who play Cagliari Calcio on Monday night. Juventus however, are now two points clear at the top of the Scudetto as they beat A.S. Livorno Calcio 0-2 away.

AC Milan’s miserable season continued as they drew 1-1 at home to Genoa – who played most of the game with just ten men. Milan’s ultra’s had blocked exits from the stadium in protest of the poor results and indeed, season. More than an hour after the match, Milan players were still unable to leave the San Siro with exits blocked by more than 300 ultras and police, which lead to Kaka and Christian Abbiati meeting fans for a face-to-face discussion. The discussions lasted about five minutes, but it was well into the small hours of the morning before the roads were clear enough for Milan’s players to leave the stadium.

Finally, in France, PSG remain on top as they travelled to Stade De Reims winning 0-3. Lille OSC could muster just the one goal as they beat Toulouse 1-0 and remain four points off the lead in second place – AS Monaco travelled to FC Nantes, winning 0-1 leaving themselves five points off the top of Ligue 1.

Kevin Kelly

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