Barcelona and Real Madrid warmed up for their respective Champions League ties this midweek with away draws in La Liga.
Barcelona were held 2-2 by Celta Vigo, after conceding a late equaliser. Leo Messi scored for the 19th consecutive game, setting another world record. Real Madrid were held 1-1 by Real Zaragoza. Atletico Madrid could not take advantage of their city rival’s slip as they were also held 1-1 by Valencia. Malaga beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 to move into fourth, above Real Sociedad, who also drew 2-2 at Espanyol. Levante beat Sevilla 1-0.
In Germany Bayern Munich hammered Hamburg 9-2 to stand on the brink of the Bundesliga title. 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund, they will win the league if they win their next game or Dortmund fail to win theirs. Dortmund beat Stuttgart 2-1 this weekend and remain second, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen, who won 4-1 against Fortuna Dusseldorf. Eintracht Frankfurt play Greuther Furth on Monday, but Schalke kept up the pressure with a 3-0 win over Hoffenheim. Mainz and Werder Bremen drew 1-1. Freiburg beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0.
In the Premier League Manchester United beat Sunderland 1-0 to stay 15 points ahead of Manchester City, who swept aside Newcastle with ease, 4-0. Below them the battle for third and fourth heated up again as Tottenham beat Swansea 2-1 away, whilst Southampton defeated Chelsea 2-1. Arsenal won 4-1 against Reading to close in on Chelsea. Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-1, Everton won 1-0 against Stoke.
In Serie A Juventus won the big game 2-1 at Inter Milan to remain nine points clear at the top of the league, ahead of Napoli, who won a thrilling game 5-3 against Torino. AC Milan remain third after beating Chievo 1-0, Fiorentina lost 2-1 to Cagliari, Roma were beaten 2-0 at Palermo and Lazio beat Catania 2-1.
Paris St Germain strengthened their grip on the title race in France as they won 1-0 against Montpellier this weekend. They are now eight points clear of Lyon, who were shocked 2-1 at home by Sochaux. Marseille won 1-0 at fifth place Nice, and St Etienne drew 2-2 at Troyes. Lille beat Brest 2-1 to close on the teams above them.
Galatasaray beat Buyuksehir in Turkey 2-0 to stay clear at the top, with Fenerbahce keeping chase after winning by the same score against Belediyespor. Shakhtar Donetsk beat Karpaty Lyiv 2-1 to remain top in Ukraine, well clear of Dynamo Kiev, who won 2-0 against Chornomorets Odessa. Dnipro drew 1-1 at Volyn Lutsk.
Zenit St Petersburg kept pursuit of CSKA Moscow in Russia this weekend as they cruised to a 3-0 win at Terek Grozny, but Anzhi Makhachkala lost ground as they were crushed 4-0 by Krasnodar. Spartak Moscow and Kuban drew 2-2.
In Portugal Benfica remain in control of the league after a crushing 6-1 win over Rio Ave. Porto keep chase as they won 3-0 at Academica Coimbra, and both teams are still unbeaten. Ajax are still top in the Netherlands after winning 4-1 against NEC. PSV lost ground with a 2-2 draw at Roda JC. Feyenoord also stumbled 2-0 at Heerenveen, whilst Vitesse’s vain hopes remain after a 2-1 win over Zwolle.
Across the Atlantic Velez Sarsfield drew 0-0 with River Plate in the big game in Argentina. Boca Juniors and Independiente drew 1-1 in the Buenos Aires derby, whilst Newell’s Old Boys remain second after beating San Lorenzo 1-0.