Over the weekend in European football, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain took care of business in their respective league games. However, Juventus look off balance while Borussia Dortmund saw a familiar face bring them down.
Meanwhile, the Premier League postponed its weekend games as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II aged 96.
Here’s what you need to know about the weekend from Europe’s biggest leagues.
Jump to: Topics of conversation | Best Goals | Teams in Trouble | MVP of the weekend
Vinicius and Rodrygo make up for Benzema’s absence
The only question mark over Real Madrid’s bid to retain their LaLiga title was how the team would deal with an injury to captain and Ballon d’Or-elect Karim Benzema. These doubts grew when the club decided not to sign a backup centre-forward this summer: could Madrid really rely on Benzema’s form and fitness alone for the whole season – in this atypical World Cup year?
With the 34-year-old now absent with a muscle injury that could sideline him for a month, Sunday’s 4-1 win over Mallorca was a sort of answer. It didn’t exactly support Carlo Ancelotti’s argument that Eden Hazard could serve as a suitable substitute – he was anonymous on the pitch in his hour – but luckily for Madrid Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes stepped up to provide the necessary firepower themselves in the second Half time to take care of Mallorca.
Vinicius has now scored in five consecutive games for the first time in his career and is already aiming to surpass last season’s 17 goals in LaLiga. Rodrygo, meanwhile, plays with newfound confidence and maturity. After setting up Vinicius to make it 2-1, he ended the game by scoring a goal himself a week after scoring the winner against Real Betis.
If the two Brazilians continue their development into consistent clinical finishers, Madrid won’t be counting on Benzema after all. – Alex Kirkland
doubt sth boss are back as Lyon Flounders
What a terrible week for Lyon. Up until Wednesday their season was really good with our wins and a draw in Ligue 1 to start the new season, new signing (but on his second stint) Alexandre Lacazette hitting the ground running and manager Peter Bosz who had a few weeks with him spent less pressure and fewer question marks about his future and his inability to take this team to the next level.
Boy it didn’t last. Wednesday night’s trip to Lorient looked like a trap but Lyon were still favorites and collapsed badly in a 3-1 defeat. Unable to defend in Brittany, they were overwhelmed by the speed and power of Lorient’s strikers. The problem under Bosz is that Lyon can hardly defend well against strong opponents.
A reaction was expected away at AS Monaco on Sunday but we didn’t see it. It was another loss (2-1) and defense was again the problem, as was the lack of efficiency in the strikers. They conceded two goals from set pieces where they covered the pitch from cover to cover and missed at least three big scoring chances.
Bosz has been on the bench for just over a year and yet we can’t see much progress. Now the pressure is on him again, like back in January. – Julien Laurens
Leipzig shows itself when it comes down to it against Dortmund
Remember last week when we were wondering if RB Leipzig was done and Borussia Dortmund looked like a contender after four one-goal wins in five Bundesliga games? Well, it’s time to tear up the form book because Leipzig’s 3-0 win on Saturday was old-fashioned gluing, a 90-minute example of why Germany’s top flight is arguably the most entertaining and chaotic league in all Europe is.
Everything could have gone well for the hosts, who casually changed coaches during the week – Domenico Tedesco out, ex-Dortmund coach Marco Rose in – and apparently got a boost of insider knowledge from the new coach. A given standard situation was coolly implemented by Willi Orban after just six minutes and from there it was Leipzig.
Janusz Michallik speaks after Gio Reyna came on as a substitute in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 defeat by RB Leipzig.
The visitors failed to control the game, Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku took turns to make room for the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai and Dortmund swallowed wave after wave of pressure, trying to escape with some dignity ahead of a midweek Champions League Clash with Manchester City.
After Orban’s early goal, Szoboszlai made it 2-0 just before half-time when Mohammed Simakan’s possession gave him far too much space outside the box at half-time and he thundered past a helpless Alex Maier from distance. Substitute Amadou Haidara added a third in the closing minutes while Dortmund’s defense was tense and disinterested.
Unfortunately, the result only benefits FC Bayern Munich, whose own sluggish start to the season was overshadowed by the weaknesses of the pursuers. – James Tyler
Neymar and Messi combine for PSG magic
Paris Saint-Germain’s win over Brest was not a great game and one of those games that is easy to forget. Four days after a Champions League win over Juventus and four days before a trip to Israel to face Maccabi Haifa in the same competition, PSG won 1-0 by meeting the strict minimum, including seeing his goalkeeper score a Penalty saved.
However, on Saturday against Brest, Lionel Messi and Neymar bonded in what can only be described as magical and one that people will remember for a long time. In the 30th minute, Messi received the ball 10 meters in the half from Brest. The Argentine looks up and sees Neymar’s run in the left box. Then the first magical moment happens: Messi’s long pass to his teammate – extraordinary, the accuracy, the spin on it. The second magic moment is perhaps even more special: the Brazilian controls the ball superbly with his right foot before firing a half-volley over the goal with his left foot.
A few seconds of pure genius from the two South Americans to give PSG another league win. – Laurens
Richter’s earth-shattering blow for Hertha
Saturday’s 2-2 draw between Hertha BSC and Bayer Leverkusen won’t go down in history as a particularly memorable result – both teams are 15th and 17th in the Bundesliga after six matchdays – but how about that Marco Richter goal, eh ?
That booming volley electrified the Hertha crowd and had the home side 15 minutes from victory, only for Patrik Schick’s goal four minutes later to dampen the cheers. However, Richter rocked it. – Tyler
Watch the match highlights from Hertha Berlin vs. Bayer Leverkusen on 09/10/2022
Valverde’s solo effort surpasses Carrasco’s power
If the stoppage time of the first half comes, Federico Valverde comes. Yes, yes, Real Madrid have already been recognized but Valverde deserves his own accolade for his equalizer against Real Mallorca.
After Mallorca had opened up and the half-time whistle was imminent, the Uruguayan equalized with a brilliant solo effort. It had a bit of everything: a propelling run from deep within your own half, the ability to fly between two defenders and then the technique of hitting the ball with your left foot from 20 yards into the top corner.
Federico Valverdie equalized for Real Madrid after scoring a brilliant goal with his left foot before half-time.
Sublimate. That’s two goals and two assists in the last five games for a player who is becoming increasingly important for Madrid.
Oh, and an honorable mention for Yannick Carrasco, too, who scored a similar solo goal in Atletico Madrid’s 4-1 win over Celta Vigo. – Sam Marsden
Yannick Carrasco goal 66th minute Atletico Madrid 3-0 Celta Vigo
teams in trouble
Bochum seems threatened with relegation
It was a terrible case of Déjà-vu for Bundesliga promoted Bochum on Saturday when they fell behind in the first half at Schalke 04, came back early in the second half to 1-1 only to lose it in the final 15 minutes, conceding two goals to them to be sentenced to a sixth loss six games to open the 2022/23 season.
Last year saw a similar early start, with five losses in their first seven games, before solid mid-season form (just five losses between October and February) helped them secure a place in mid-table. It feels different: despite more possession and just as many big chances, Schalke counterattacked and got their first win of the season.
The pressure is on Thomas Reis to turn things around ahead of the two-week international break in Cologne. – Tyler
Despite the VAR snub, Juve is struggling
Losing at PSG in the Champions League is one thing. Playing against Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi at Parc des Princes is tough for everyone. Having said that, it’s a different story for Juventus to play Serie A lowly Salernitana at home on Sunday while VAR denied a late winner in a chaotic end.
Juve will be offended by Arkadiusz Milik’s disallowed goal from an added-time corner. Images show the review didn’t consider a Salernitana defender near the corner flag.
Here’s Sky Italy’s proof that Juve’s winner was wrongly ruled out by VAR who missed a Salernitana defender. https://t.co/azpYRTOhpH
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) September 11, 2022
Nonetheless, Juventus were weak again and they didn’t deserve the win considering their opponents were the better team for most of the game. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, who has been dismissed, has not made any progress since his return to Turin a year ago. They have no identity, no clear way of playing. Dusan Vlahovic is far too isolated unless Milik plays alongside him, which means more long balls at them or more crosses. Allegri also made some questionable decisions again, such as eliminating Filip Kostic when he was Juve’s best player.
Juve are bottom of the table after just two wins in their six league games. They may be just four points behind leaders Napoli, but their form feels like they’re in a bigger hole. – Laurens
Acting quickly saves a supporter’s life
This weekend’s La Liga MVP was not a single player. It wasn’t even just one team. Instead, it was players, coaches, fans and emergency services who came together to save the life of the supporter who suffered a heart attack during Barcelona’s win in Cádiz on Saturday.
Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande acted quickly to end the game in the 82nd minute when he saw something was wrong. Cadiz goalkeeper Conan Ledesma sprinted across the pitch to hand the Barca team’s defibrillator to the Red Cross crew who were treating the victim. Substitute Jose Mari carried a stretcher from the sidelines through the crowd. Cristian Cornejo, male nurse and Cadiz season ticket holder, was the first to help. Cardiologist Carlos Aranda – a Barcelona fan – was brought down from the stands to share his expertise. After 20 minutes of straining, the man was revived.
His family say he is now in hospital in stable condition. The game continued and Barca won 4-0, but the altruistic actions of those who helped the victim were the night’s biggest win. – Kirklands
https://www.espn.com/soccer/english-premier-league/story/4744227/premier-league-pausereal-madrid-and-barcelona-in-formvar-trips-juventus-weekend-review Premier League pause, Real Madrid and Barcelona in form, VAR trips Juventus: Weekend review