LONDON: The Bundesliga returned from its mid-season break with a bang as table-toppers Bayern Munich were humbled 4-1 at second-placed VfL Wolfsburg, while in England leading duo Chelsea and Manchester City shared the spoils.
The much-anticipated showdown between the Premier League’s top two failed to provide the expected fireworks with Chelsea and Manchester City drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.
A cagey affair never hit the heights apart from a two-goal burst just before halftime when Loic Remy fired Chelsea ahead and David Silva quickly levelled.
Chelsea still lead City by five points with Manchester United, 3-1 victors over bottom side Leicester City, a further five points back.
Southampton’s European hopes suffered a blow in a 1-0 home defeat by Swansea City as Ronald Koeman’s side were joined on 42 points by Arsenal, who thrashed strugglers Aston Villa 5-0.
Karim Benzema shone for Real Madrid in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo with a double in a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Real lead the Spanish table by a point and also have a game in hand over Barcelona who came from behind twice to beat Villarreal 3-2.
Villarreal arrived at the Camp Nou on the back of an 18-game unbeaten streak and caused Barca problems on the counter but the quality of the Catalan side’s attack was the difference with Neymar, Rafinha and Lionel Messi scoring.
Atletico Madrid are third, four points off the pace, after they beat Eibar 3-1 with Mario Mandzukic hitting a brace.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich suffered their first league loss of the season when they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg, with Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne scoring two goals apiece.
The Bavarians, a shadow of the team that had conceded just four goals in the previous 17 games, are now eight points clear at the top with Wolfsburg in second on 37.
Borussia Moenchengladbach jumped into third place, a further seven points behind, after snatching a 1-0 win at troubled VfB Stuttgart.
Last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund earned a point with a goalless draw at fellow Champions League club Bayer Leverkusen but still dropped to last place on 16 points.
Juventus stayed seven points clear of AS Roma at the top of Serie A after both teams drew.
Juventus played out a dismal goalless stalemate away to Udinese while Roma were held 1-1 at home by Empoli, their fourth successive draw in the league as both teams finished with 10 men.
Massimo Maccarone put Empoli ahead with a penalty before halftime and Maicon equalised for Roma. Juve have 50 points from 21 games and Roma 43.
Third-placed Napoli, on 39, crept closer to the leading pair by winning 2-1 at Chievo with Manolo Gabbiadini scoring the winner in the second half.
Olympique Lyonnais’ Ligue 1 lead was cut to two points when their could not break Monaco’s iron defence in a 0-0 draw at Louis II on Sunday.
Lyon, who were without injured striker Alexandre Lacazette, have 49 points from 23 games while Olympique de Marseille and Paris St Germain have 47 after posting 1-0 home wins against Stade Rennais and Evian Thonon Gaillard respectively.
Monaco, who have not conceded a goal in their last eight league games, are fifth on 40 points.
They are behind St Etienne on goal difference after Les Verts lost 1-0 at Caen.
Ajax Amsterdam, Dutch champions for the past four seasons, lost 1-0 at Vitesse Arnhem to fall further behind in the title race.
Leaders PSV Eindhoven have a nine-point advantage after a 2-1 victory over Willem II Tilburg.
Ajax remain in second place, five points ahead of third-placed Feyenoord who won 2-1 at home to struggling ADO Den Haag.
Goals from Kostas Mitroglou and Mathieu Dossevi helped defending champions Olympiakos Piraeus defeat nine-man Veria 2-0 away on Sunday and extend their lead over PAOK Salonika at the Super League summit to five points.
Their cushion over PAOK grew after the Salonica club’s surprising 2-1 home defeat to Panaitolikos 24 hours earlier.
That loss allowed third-placed Panathinaikos to move three points behind PAOK with the Greens bouncing back from their shock midweek Greek Cup exit to Skoda Xanthi with a powerful 3-0 home win over Platanias. (Reuters)