With most of the major European leagues already in full swing, last weekend saw the return of the Bundesliga and a very ominous display from champions Bayern Munich.
Bayern have seemingly adjusted to the loss of Pep Guardiola with little fuss, as their title defence got underway with a 6-0 defeat at home to Werder Bremen. Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick but the goal of the night came from Xabi Alonso with a well-taken half volley to open the scoring after just 9 minutes.
Alonso Wonder Goal.. Enjoy pic.twitter.com/x3EknTIbY8
— The Bavarian (@fadi_kd) August 26, 2016
Elsewhere, last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to boss Thomas Tuchel’s former club Mainz. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice, the second coming from the penalty spot in the 89th minute, before Yoshinori Muto pulled one back for the visitors in injury time.
Borussia Mönchengladbach beat top four rivals Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 as both prepare for European football in the Champions League, while there were also early victories for FC Cologne, Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt against Darmstadt, Freiburg, Augsburg and Schalke repsectively.
Controversial side RB Leipzig ended their first Bundesliga game with a 2-2 draw away at Hoffenheim, while Hamburg and Ingolstadt played out a 1-1 draw.
In La Liga, Real Madrid maintained their 100% start to the season, but left it late against a spirited Celta Vigo. Still without Karim Benzema or Cristiano Ronaldo, it was left to Álvaro Morata to open the scoring with an hour gone, only for Fabián Orellana to equalise seven minutes later. However, up popped Toni Kroos to fire in a fine long-range finish ten minutes from time to give Zinedine Zidane’s side the win.
Barcelona also had to do it the hard way as they recorded a narrow 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés, Ivan Rakitic scoring the only goal of the game after 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Atlético Madrid’s poor start to the season continued as they drew with a newly-promoted side for the second week in succession, playing out a scoreless draw at Leganes.
Surprise package Las Palmas built on their opening-day 4-2 win at Valencia by crushing Granada 5-1. Speaking of Valencia, Pako Ayestarán’s side now have zero wins from two after losing 1-0 away at Eibar. Goals were in short supply everywhere else – Real Sociedad beat Osasuna 2-0 and Espanyol and Malaga drew 2-2, but there were scoreless draws in the games between Villareal and Sevilla, Real Betis and Deportivo, and Alavés and Sporting Gijón.
In Serie A, AC Milan were involved in the game of the week once again, this time at Napoli, though the result was far less favourable. Napoli surged into a 2-0 lead at half time courtesy of two goals from €35m striker Arkadiusz Milik, but Vincenco Montella’s side clawed the game back to 2-2 through M’Baye Niang and a brilliant hit from former Liverpool midfielder Suso.
However, it was at this point that Milan lost their heads a bit. José Callejón put the home side 3-2 in front on the 75th minute, and when Juraj Kuck and Niang were sent off late on, that ended any hope of another Milan comeback. To add insult to injury, Callejón added a fourth in injury time, though Chelsea target Alessio Romagnoli was lucky not to see red also for a blatant handball to keep out what would have been an own goal for the Milan defender.
Romagnoli’s handball ??? pic.twitter.com/ushdcmF7ES
— Neil (@FutbolDeGea) August 27, 2016
Champions Juventus kept up their 100% start to the season with a 1-0 win away at Lazio, courtesy of a second goal in two games for midfielder Sami Khedira. Roma threw away a 2-0 lead at Cagliari, a Diego Perotti penalty after 6 minutes and a Kevin Strootman strike early in the second half put the Giallorossi in control of the game before Marco Boriello and a late effort from Marco Sau ensured that the home side got a share of the points in a 2-2 draw.
Elsewhere, the signings of Joao Mário and Gabriel Barbosa are particularly timely for Inter boss Frank de Boer – his side followed up last week’s 2-0 defeat to Chievo with a limp 1-1 draw against Palermo at the San Siro. Torino, linked with Joe Hart this week, destroyed Bologna 5-1, Udinese beat Empoli 2-0, Sassulo defeated newly-promoted Pescara 2-1, Sampdoria beat Atalanta by the same scoreline and Fiorentina were 1-0 winners against Chievo. Crotone meanwhile, look set for a hard season after suffering a second defeat in a row, going down 3-1 at home to Genoa.
It took Paris Saint-Germain 28 games to lose one last season, this year it has taken them just three. Still struggling somewhat from the loss of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG went down 3-1 to Monaco at the Stade Louis II.
Joao Moutinho and reported Manchester United target Fabinho had the home side in a commanding position by half time, and although Edinson Cavani did pull one back for Unai Emery’s side in the second half, their misery was compounded as defender Serge Aurier put through his own net with ten minutes remaining.
Guingamp remain on top of the Ligue 1 table with a 2-0 win at Nancy, but last seasons runners-up Lyon fell to a 4-2 defeat at Dijon despite Arsenal target Alexandre Lacazaette scoring his sixth goal of the campaign.
Marseille, who could be set to welcome former manager Marcelo Bielsa back in the near future, beat Lorient 2-0 at the Vélodrome, while Caen and Metz defeated Bastia and Angers by the same scoreline. Bordeaux defeated Nantes 1-0, but there were draws in the games between Nice and Lille, St-Étienne and Toulouse, and Montpellier and Rennes.
As is the case in the Premier League, the top leagues in Europe all now take a break for the international fixtures before resuming in two weeks.