Bayer 04 Leverkusen reclaimed top spot in Germany with a spectacular 4-0 win against BV Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. The result meant Klaus Topmöller's side leapfrogged their opponents at the head of the 1. Bundesliga.
Ballack leads the charge
Ewerthon had a goal disallowed for offside after eight minutes for the visitors before Leverkusen took control of the game with Michael Ballack's 30th-minute strike from a Diego Placente cross. Five minutes into the second half, Carsten Ramelow made it 2-0, heading home after goalkeeper Jens Lehmann failed to hold a corner kick.
Dortmund cave in
Jan Koller was dismissed after 54 minutes for tangling with Placente, and from then on it was all Leverkusen. Oliver Neuville headed the third on 64 minutes and the rout was completed after 75 minutes when substitute Dimitar Berbitov lashed the ball past Lehmann from Neuville's cross.
Inter stay top
In Italy, Internazionale FC returned to the top with a 3-2 home win against Udinese Calcio. Goals from Christian Vieri and Nicola Ventola put Inter in controle and, after Roberto Muzzi pulled a goal back for the visitors, Sérgio Conceição then restored the two-goal advantage. But Udinese midfield player Giampiero Pinzi's late goal ensured a nailbiting finish in the San Siro, and left Inter coach Héctor Cúper unhappy. "We have not played well - we always struggle against Udinese," he said.
Roma maintain challenge
AS Roma had briefly held the lead in Serie A after a nervous 1-0 win against AC Perugia on Saturday, marked by Vincenzo Montella's first goal of an injury-hit season. Last week's leaders Juventus FC salvaged a point from the Turin derby thanks to Enzo Maresca's 89th-minute header.
Raúl back with a bang
Spanish international striker Raúl González marked his return to action by inspiring Real Madrid CF to a 3-1 win over Deportivo Alavés but Valencia CF still top the Primera División after beating FC Barcelona 2-0.
Alavés took the lead against Madrid after just seven minutes when Dutch midfield player Richard Witschge headed in. But the course of the game was changed when Madrid scored an equaliser on the stroke of half-time as Guti headed in at the near post after right-back Michel Salgado had weaved his way past three Alavés defenders.
Madrid stride on
It was Raúl, though, who was the architect of Madrid's victory. The 24-year-old scored just five minutes after coming off the bench in the second half when he latched on to a through-ball from Zinedine Zidane, chipped keeper Kike and lashed the ball into the empty net. The Madrid striker then won the penalty from which skipper Fernando Hierro made it three.
Betis trounce Celta
Real Betis Balompié forward Dani was on top form as his team swept to an impressive 4-1 home win over nine-man RC Celta de Vigo. The 20-year-old had a hand in three of his side's four goals, which helped propel them into third place in the table, two points behind Valencia.
Genk triumph over Brugge
KRC Genk blew the title race wide open in Belgium on Sunday night after clinching a 3-2 victory over league leaders Club Brugge KV in a thrilling match at the Fenikssonstadion. Genk, who still have a game in hand on Brugge, moved to within two points of their title rivals after teenager Koen Daerden sealed the win with a superb second-half goal.
Blackburn qualify for UEFA Cup
Blackburn Rovers FC earned a place in next season's UEFA Cup by winning the English League Cup on Sunday with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur FC. Former Manchester United FC striker Andrew Cole scored the winning goal for Blackburn after 69 minutes, but Graeme Souness's side had goalkeeper Brad Friedel to thank for maintaining their lead as Tottenham charged forward in search of an equaliser.
No joy for Schmeichel
Cole's former club won 1-0 against Aston Villa FC at Old Trafford as goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel completed an unhappy return to his old stomping ground, and there was little joy at Anfield for Liverpool FC as they could only draw 1-1 with Everton FC in the Merseyside derby - although Nicolas Anelka's first league goal for the club was some consolation for assistant manager Phil Thompson.
The top sides had mixed fortunes in the leagues playing their first games after the winter break. Prva HNL leaders NK Zagreb beat HNK Rijeka 3-0 in Croatia, but Slovenian leaders NK Primorje who suffered a holiday hangover against NK Zivila Triglav, crashing to a 2-0 defeat.
Rangers run riot
Elsewhere, Rangers FC ran amok ahead of their UEFA Cup fourth-round visit to Feyenoord with a 6-0 win against lower league Forfar Athletic FC in the Scottish Cup and FC Bayern München beat FC Energie Cottbus by the same margin.
Cwmbran goal feast
That was nothing compared to the performance of League of Wales side Cwmbran Town FC who scored a stunning eight goals against hapless Oswestry Town FC on Saturday. Not only did Cwmbran manage to win 8-2, they also had two players scoring three goals each - Craig Hughes and Mattie Davies.
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