While English clubs were busy in EFL Cup action this week, a number of their European counterparts were engaged in league action, as La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga all had fixtures taking place.
In La Liga, the meeting of title rivals Barcelona and Atlético Madrid was the tie of the night, and ended in a 1-1 draw that would have pleased Diego Simeone and Atleti far more than Barca.
Ivan Rakitic put the home side in front with a header just before half time, before substitute Angel Correa equalised on the hour mark to give Atlético a share of the points.
Of bigger concern for Luis Enrique right now, however, is the news that Lionel Messi will be out of action for the next three weeks having sustained a groin strain in the match.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, missed the chance to break a La Liga record on Wednesday night. Zinedine Zidane’s side had won their past 16 league matches – a record now shared with the Barca side of 2010/11 – but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Villareal at the Bernabéu.
The away side took the lead on the stroke of half time through a Bruno penalty, after Sergio Ramos handled in the penalty area. The defender made amends soon after, however, as he scored the leveller just three minutes into the second half but there was to be no winner.
In Wednesday’s other games, Athletic Bilbao recorded a 2-1 away win at Granada, Celta Vigo defeated Sporting Gijón by the same scoreline, while Real Sociedad enjoyed a comprehensive 4-1 win at home to Las Palmas. On Tuesday night, Malaga beat Eibar 2-1, while Sevilla had a narrow 1-0 win at home to rivals Real Betis.
Tonight, managerless Valencia play Alaves at the Mestalla, Osasuna host Espanyol while Deportivo entertain Leganes.
In Serie A, Juvntus recovered from their Derby d’Italia defeat to Inter last week by destroying Cagliari 4-0. Dani Alves, Gonzalo Higuaín, Daniel Rugani and an own goal from Luca Ceppitelli gave Juve the win, which sent them back to the top of the Serie A table.
The replace Napoli at the summit, as Maurizio Sarri’s side could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Genoa.
Roma also enjoyed a productive night at the Stadio Olimpico, as Luciano Spaletti’s outfit enjoyed a 4-0 win at home to bottom side Crotone courtesy of goals from Stephan El Shaarawy and Mohamed Salah, and a double from Edin Dzeko.
Inter maintained their good domestic form by beating Empoli 2-0 away from home, captain Mauro Icardi scoring both within the opening 20 minutes.
In the other midweek results, AC Milan beat Lazio 2-0 at the San Siro, Bologna beat Sampdoria by the same score, Chievo defeated Sassuolo 2-1, Palermo recorded a much-needed 1-0 win at Atalanta, Pescara and Torino played out a scoreless draw, while Udinese drew 2-2 at home to Fiorentina.
In the Bundesliga (as with La Liga) the fixtures were spread out over more than one night. On Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund continued their frighteningly good form by crushing Wolfsburg 5-1 away from home. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged two, with Raphael Guerreiro, Ousmane Dembélé and Lukasz Piszczek also getting on the scoresheet.
Daniel Didavi scored for the home side, for what it was worth.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Inglostadt 2-0, Freigburg beat Hamburg 1-0 and Darmstadt and Hoffenheim played out a 1-1 draw.
24 hours later, champions Bayern Munich maintained their 100% start to the season with a 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena. An unlikely trio of goalscorers in Thiago Alcántata, Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben were the deciders to send Carlo Ancelotti’s side back to the top of the Bundesliga table.
Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach drew 1-1 away at newly-promoted RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Augsburg, Schalke’s abysmal start to the season continued with a 3-1 home defeat to Cologne, and Werder Bremen are also in serious trouble after they lost again, this time 2-1 at home to Mainz.