Some of Europe’s biggest clubs endured frustrating matches at the weekend in La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga.
First to Spain, where Barcelona found themselves staring down the barrel of a hammering by falling 3-0 behind to Celta Vigo after just half an hour, with Pione Sisto, Liverpool legend Iago Aspas and a Jérémy Mathieu own goal doing the damage.
Even without Lionel Messi though, this Barca side is always capable of scoring goals, and when Gerard Piqué and Neymar (via a penalty) scored within the first twenty minutes of the second half, it looked like the comeback was on.
However, Celta had worked too hard to throw this away, and Pablo Hernández ended the tie as a contest with twelve minutes to go after a huge error from Barca goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.
The away side still had enough time to score one more, and they did just that with three minutes remaining as Piqué bagged a second. 4-3 at full time, and Barcelona slip to fourth in the table.
At Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane is already having to play down talk of a crisis after seeing his side draw for the fourth consecutive game. Eibar stunned the Bernabéu crowd by going ahead through Fran Rico after just six minutes, and though Gareth Bale equalised just ten minutes later, Real were unable to find the breakthrough in the remaining 70 or so minutes. 1-1 at full time, and Real drop to second.
Overtaking their rivals at the top of La Liga are Atlético Madrid, who saw off the challenge of Valencia by winning 2-0 at the Mestalla. New Valencia manager Cesare Prandelli watched from the stands as his side were unable to build on their two wins in a row. Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro scored the goals, and Diego Simeone’s men could even afford to miss two penalties with Griezmann and Gabi both unsuccessful from the spot.
In the weekend’s other games, Real Sociedad defeated Real Betis 1-0, newly-managerless Granada are still without a win this season, they lost 1-0 at home to Leganés, Osasuna were denied their first victory of the campaign by a late Las Palmas equaliser in a 2-2 draw, Sevilla move up to third after a 2-1 win against Alavés, Deportivo La Coruna beat Sporting Gijón 2-1, Malaga needed two late goals to overturn a deficit and beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1, and Espanyol and Villarreal played out a 0-0 draw.
To Serie A next, where Roma recorded a badly-needed 2-1 qin at home to fellow Champions League hopefuls Inter at the Stadio Olimpico. Edin Dzeko put the hosts in front within the first five minutes, and while both sides had chances to score, it was Inter who enjoyed the bulk of possession.
Ever Banega equalised for Inter with twenty minutes remaining, only for defender Kostas Manolas to put the Giallorossi back in front just four minutes later. Frank de Boer will feel his side should have taken something from this game – but despite the poor result, Inter are still just two points outside the top three.
Juventus extended their lead at the top to four points with a routine 3-0 away at Empoli, Paolo Dybala and a double from €90m man Gonzalo Higuaín doing the damage for the Bianconeri. Second-placed Napoli finally lost their unbeaten record, meanwhile, as an Andrea Petagna goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Atalanta.
However, the best Serie A game of the weekend came from the San Siro, where AC Milan took on Sassuolo. Giacomo Bonaventura put the home side in front after nine minutes, but Matteo Politano pegged them back almost immediately.
Sassuolo raced into a 3-1 lead within the first ten minutes with goals from Francesco Acerbi and Lorenzo Pellegrini, only for Carlos Bacca, Manuel Locatelli and Gabriel Paletta to completely turn the tie on its head with three goals in eight minutes starting from the 69th minute.
Milan held on to win 4-3, a victory that sends them up to third in the table.
In the weekend’s other results, Lazio defeated Udinese 3-0 away from home, Chievo moved up to fourth with a 2-0 win at Pescara, Bologna lost 1-0 at home to Genoa, bottom side Crotone are still looking for their first win as they lost 2-1 to Cagliari, Sampdoria and Palermo played out a 1-1 draw, and Torino recorded an impressive 2-1 win against Fiorentina.
To the Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich’s winning run came to an end with a 1-1 draw at home to FC Cologne. Joshua Kimmich kept up his fine run of goalscoring form to put the home side in front just before half time, but Anthony Modeste levelled the score just after the hour mark.
Borussia Dortmund endured a torrid weekend as they went down 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena. Admir Mehmedi and Javier Hernández scored the goals that saw Thomas Tuchel’s side slip to third in the table.
Elsewhere, two goals from Vedad Ibisevic moved Hertha Berlin to second with a 2-0 win at home to bottom-side Hamburg, and Breel Embolo scored twice as Schalke finally got their first win of the season with a comprehensive 4-0 destruction of Borussia Monchengladbach.
RB Leipzig beat Augsburg 2-1 to continue their fine start to the season, Inglostadt lost 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim, Darmstadt and Werder Bremen played out a 2-2 draw, Freiburg defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0, and the game between Wolfsburg and Mainz ended in a 0-0 draw.