Goals rained in Spain as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF struck eight and five times respectively ahead of next Monday's El Clásico, while former Azulgrana forward Zlatan Ibrahimović helped AC Milan strengthen their grip on Serie A, FC Internazionale Milano suffered more misery and Tottenham Hotspur FC scratched a 17-year-itch.
Barcelona were in record-equalling form on Saturday, recording an 8-0 win at UD Almería which cost the hosts' coach Juan Manuel Lillo his job. The triumph, which featured a hat-trick from Lionel Messi, matched the Catalan club's previous biggest away league victory – at UD Las Palmas on 25 October 1959. Though it took them top, their time at the summit was short-lived for Real Madrid CF regained control in similarly emphatic fashion. Cristiano Ronaldo emulated Messi in striking three times as José Mourinho's team restored their one-point lead by sweeping Athletic Club aside 5-1.
Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC squandered opportunities to forge ahead in the Premier League after losing to Tottenham and Birmingham City FC respectively. Despite being 2-0 up at half-time, the Gunners lost their first home north London derby since 1993 as Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Younes Kaboul completed a remarkable second-half comeback for Tottenham. Birmingham's Lee Bowyer condemned Chelsea to a third reverse in four matches, enabling Manchester United FC to climb into second, level on points with the champions, after their 2-0 success against nine-man Wigan Athletic FC. Manchester City FC moved a point behind third-placed Arsenal and three shy of the leaders after a 4-1 triumph at Fulham FC.
It was a good weekend for Milan, who stretched their Serie A lead to three points thanks to a 1-0 win against ACF Fiorentina and second-placed S.S. Lazio's 1-1 draw at Parma FC. SSC Napoli are third following a 4-1 defeat of Bologna FC, a point and a place ahead of Juventus, 2-0 victors against Genoa CFC. FC Internazionale Milano, meanwhile, extended their winless league sequence to four matches, succumbing 2-1 at AC Chievo Verona and slipping nine points behind the Rossoneri, who had Zlatan Ibrahimović's overhead kick to thank for their eighth victory in nine Serie A fixtures. AS Roma's improvement continued with a 2-0 triumph at home to Udinese Calcio.
Borussia Dortmund remain seven points clear after completing their 11th win in 12 unbeaten Bundesliga matches. Having fallen behind in the first half, Robert Lewandowski's leveller and Mensur Mujdža's own goal ensured a comeback victory against SC Freiburg. Second-placed 1. FSV Mainz also rallied, winning 3-2 win at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach as substitute Sami Allagui scored twice in the last 14 minutes. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Schalke 04 enjoyed respective 4-0 successes against Eintracht Frankfurt and SV Werder Bremen, Raúl González scoring a hat-trick for Felix Magath's men. Third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen are nine points behind Dortmund after drawing 1-1 with FC Bayern München.
The Ligue 1 lead changed hands three times at the weekend as Stade Brestois 29, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Montpellier Hérault SC and eventually LOSC Lille Métropole enjoyed spells at the summit. On Saturday, Brest relinquished the lead after losing 2-1 to Stade Rennais FC, enabling PSG to steal ahead courtesy of a win by the same score against SM Caen. In the late game, Olivier Giroud's strike against OGC Nice took Montpellier top for a day, but on Sunday it was Lille's turn after a 2-1 success against AS Monaco FC edged them ahead of Montpellier on goal difference and a point clear of PSG and Rennes.
AFC Ajax failed to score for the third successive Eredivisie fixture when they drew 0-0 with leaders PSV Eindhoven. That allowed FC Groningen, 2-0 victors against Feyenoord, to displace the Amsterdam club in third, while champions FC Twente lost for the second weekend running, 2-1 at home to AZ Alkmaar. In Russia, ten-man PFC CSKA Moskva came from behind to defeat FC Spartak Moskva 3-1, a result which earned them a place in the group stage of next season's UEFA Champions League following third-placed FC Rubin Kazan's 2-2 draw with FC Zenit St Petersburg.
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