Another exciting weekend of football across Europe saw plenty of twists and turns at the top and bottom of the table. Here are the winners and losers. You can bet on European football here.
Santiago Solari and Real Madrid
Champions League champions Real Madrid defeated their city rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday to leapfrog them into second place in the La Liga table. Following Barcelona’s goalless draw with Athletic Bilbao, their lead at the top is only six points after 23 games. Despite a difficult start as manager, Santiago Solari has orchestrated a marvellous revival at Real. They have now won five games on the trot in the league and are right back in the title race with Barca.
After losing to current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in November, disaster was unfolding for German giants Bayern Munich under Croatian Niko Kovac. Since that painful defeat, they have won eight out of nine games to cut the deficit from nine points to five. Kovac, who was under pressure that time, took advantage of BVB’s stuttering form to bring his side back into the title race. Last weekend, Dortmund blew a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Hoffenheim. Kovac managed to stabilise his team which is looking incredible at the moment.
Over 2.5 Goals bettors
Most matches in Europe’s top five leagues saw plenty of goals scored. In the Premier League and the Bundesliga seven out of ten games produced three goals or more, which is a good return for the punters. Five games out of ten in La Liga and the French Ligue 1 produced Over 2.5 Goals. This past weekend was different from the previous, which saw very few goals.
Ajax suffered yet another setback in their quest to claim this season’s Eredivisie title. The Dutch giants lost 1-0 at the weekend to Heracles, denting their hopes of ending their four-year title drought. A few weeks ago, they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of fellow title contender Feyenoord. They will have to pull up their socks when they face European giants Real Madrid on Wednesday in the Champions League Round of 16. With PSV Eindhoven looking unstoppable at the top of the table, Ajax can’t afford another slip-up in the league.
Borussia Dortmund’s title bid
Dortmund started this season impressively in a bid to end their six-year Bundesliga title drought. However, the verve they had is slowly dissipating as evidenced by the game against Hoffenheim at the weekend. Dortmund were winning the game 3-0 with fewer than 30 minutes to go but conceded three late goals and dropped two points. They also drew their previous match 1-1 with Eintracht Frankfurt allowing their closest competitors Bayern Munich to cut their lead to just five points.
Napoli didn’t help themselves over the weekend. They drew 0-0 away to Fiorentina, a big blow to their Serie A title chances. With Juventus looking unplayable, Napoli blew a chance to keep up with the leaders. Partenopei are struggling in front of goal and have not scored in their last three away matches, a damning statistic for any title hopeful. Although they last lost a league game in September, they have drawn too many games which hasn’t helped their quest.