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A View From Europe: Another good weekend for Bayer Leverkusen

We take a look at all of the standout results and hot talking points from the weekend across the biggest leagues on the continent - La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

La Liga: Depleted Real held by Rayo

La Liga

With Ferland Mendy suspended, Real Madrid were without their entire first-choice back four for their trip to the suburbs to face Rayo Vallecano. 

Under new boss Inigo Perez, Rayo made life tough for their neighbours. He described their performance as "dirty" and his plan worked as Los Franjirrojos held Real to a draw for the second time this season. 

That opened the door for Girona to reignite the title race, but they fell to a 3-2 defeat at Athletic Bilbao, who remain unbeaten at home since the opening weekend. 

Barcelona also floundered, but still managed to get a result at Celta Vigo, triumphing 2-1 thanks to Robert Lewandowski's retaken penalty in the 97th minute after Vicente Guaita had been adjudged to have been off his line. 

The Pole had given his side the lead, only for that strike to be cancelled out by Iago Aspas, who netted for the 11th time in his career when facing the Blaugrana. 

Another striker going well is Ante Budimir, who netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in Osasuna's 2-0 win over Cadiz, while midfielder Marcos Llorente played up front for Atletico Madrid as they beat Las Palmas 5-0. 

Antoine Griezmann was rested with an eye on Tuesday's Champions League game against Inter Milan, while Alvaro Morata is a doubt with a knee injury. Elsewhere, Almeria again fell short in their bid to finally win a game, drawing 1-1 at fellow strugglers Granada. 

There was more frustration for fellow Andalusians Real Betis, who continue to live up to the 'No Isco, no disco' jibes, this time drawing 0-0 against Alaves, and they are 2/1 to play out another draw against Athletic Bilbao.

The game of round 26 could be between 18th place Cadiz and 17th Celta at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla, while Real host Sevilla and Girona are 8/13 to do what Los Blancos have failed to do this season by beating Rayo. 

La Liga Results:

  • Villarreal 1-1 Getafe
  • Atletico Madrid 5-0 Getafe
  • Osasuna 2-0 Cadiz
  • Celta Vigo 1-2 Barcelona
  • Valencia 0-0 Sevilla
  • Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Real Madrid
  • Granada 1-1 Almeria
  • Mallorca 1-2 Real Sociedad
  • Real Betis 0-0 Alaves
  • Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Girona


Serie A: Martinez makes history as Inter power nine clear

Serie A

It was another good weekend for Inter Milan, who made it eight wins in a row in all competitions by beating Salernitana 4-0. 

There was even more reason to celebrate as Lautaro Martinez became only the third player in Serie A history to score at least 20 goals in three straight Italian league seasons, following former Nerazzuri forwards Giuseppe Meazza and Stefano Nyers. 

Scudetto success now looks like a formality for Simone Inzaghi's side, especially with Juventus being so accommodating. The Bianconeri have failed to win any of their last four, most recently drawing 2-2 at Verona, although they remain second after AC Milan lost 4-2 at Monza. 

The Rossoneri were 2-0 down when Luka Jovic was sent off for slapping Armando Izzo, but drew level only for Raffaele Palladino's side to net twice in stoppage time for their first ever win over Milan - with their fourth goalscorer Lorenzo Colombo on loan from the San Siro. 

Monza were the only side in the bottom half to win over the weekend and next face bottom club Salernitana, while second-bottom 14/5 Cagliari host 10/11 Napoli, who again stuttered to a 1-1 home draw with Genoa, rescuing a point thanks to Cyril Ngonge's late equaliser. 

That proved to be the final game of Walter Mazzarri's second spell in charge, with the club's former assistant and current Slovakia boss, Francesco Calzona, installed as his replacement until the end of the season before heading off to the Euros. 

It looks like a strong upcoming round of Serie A, with Monday's fixtures particularly intriguing. Roma, 3-0 winners at Frosinone, take on Torino who beat Lecce 2-0 at 17:30. 

The Giallorossi have really come on under Daniele De Rossi, with 'Capitan Futuro' bringing some optimism back to the club and they are 4/1 to win to nil against Il Toro. 

Local rivals Lazio then head to Tuscany aiming to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Bologna when they face Fiorentina at 19:45.

Serie A Results:

  • Torino 2-0 Lecce
  • Inter Milan 4-0 Salernitana
  • Napoli 1-1 Genoa
  • Verona 2-2 Juventus
  • Atalanta 3-0 Sassuolo
  • Lazio 1-2 Bologna
  • Empoli 1-1 Fiorentina
  • Udinese 1-1 Cagliari
  • Frosinone 0-3 Roma
  • Monza 4-2 AC Milan

Bundesliga: Goodbye 'Neverkusen'

Bundesliga

It almost feels inevitable that at 1/6, Bayer Leverkusen will win the Bundesliga. The soon-to-be-rebranded 'Neverkusen' look set to end what captain Lukas Hradecky described as 4/1 Bayern Munich's 'tyranny' of German football.

Xabi Alonso's side scored either side of half-time to win 2-1 at Heidenheim on Saturday and could afford to sit back and relax as Harry Kane again scored for Bayern - his 25th league goal of the campaign - but could not prevent a 3-2 defeat at Bochum as Thomas Tuchel's team fell eight points behind. 

After being dismissed against Lazio in midweek, Dayot Upamecano received his second straight red card and that result boosted Stuttgart's bid to finish second. 

They made it four wins on the spin by triumphing 2-1 at Darmstadt and they are now five points clear of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund, who drew 1-1 at Wolfsburg, 

That allowed RB Leipzig to move within a point of Der BVB thanks to their 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, while at the other end of the table Union Berlin grabbed another victory to move away from the relegation places and are 19/20 to beat Heidenheim. 

Bayer Leverkusen are just 2/9 to beat Mainz on Friday but the game of the weekend is Saturday's late match between Bayern and Leipzig. Kane is 4/6 to score at anytime, but Leipzig are 10/3 to win the game. 

Bundesliga Results:

  • FC Cologne 0-1 Werder Bremen
  • Wolfsburg 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
  • Mainz 1-0 Augsburg
  • Hoffenheim 0-1 Union Berlin
  • Heidenheim 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Darmstadt 1-2 Stuttgart
  • RB Leipzig 2-0 Borussia Monchengladbach 
  • Freiburg 3-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Bochum 3-2 Bayern Munich

Bundesliga

Ligue 1: Bamba makes history

Ligue 1

Can you name the only player in the last 50 years to have scored in each of their first four Ligue 1 games? Neymar? No. Lionel Messi? No. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? No. Mohamed Bamba? Yes. 

The Lorient striker netted twice in his team's 3-1 win at Strasbourg to take his tally to five goals in four matches since his January move from Wolfsberger AC and inspire his side to a third straight victory. 

It seems a striker was all that was missing from Les Merlus' make-up in the first half of the season, a situation that Paris Saint-Germain could find themselves in during the summer. 

With Kylian Mbappe due to depart, Luis Enrique started to plan for life without his talisman by naming him on the bench at Nantes. 

However, Mbappe still got his goal, netted the second from the penalty spot in a 2-0 victory at Nantes and his team are now 13 points clear of their nearest rivals, who are, incredibly, Brest, after they beat Marseille 1-0 resulting in Gennaro Gattuso's departure from the Velodrome. 

To add to the chaos, Gattuso's likely replacement will be Jean-Louis Gasset, the coach who was sacked by Ivory Coast midway through AFCON, with interim Emerse Fae leading the Elephants to glory.

Nice dropped below Brest with another defeat, this time at resurgent Lyon. 

That means Les Gones are closing on the top half and are 4/5 to grab a fourth straight victory at struggling Metz on Friday. 

PSG face Rennes, who have won six in a row in Ligue 1, but the standout game sees Lorient and Bamba, who is 11/4 to score, take on fellow strugglers Nantes on Saturday. 

Ligue 1 Results:

  • Lyon 1-0 Nice
  • Lille 3-0 Le Havre
  • Nantes 0-2 PSG
  • Strasbourg 1-3 Lorient
  • Rennes 3-1 Clermont
  • Monaco 1-2 Toulouse
  • Montpellier 3-0 Metz
  • Reims 1-1 Lens
  • Brest 1-0 Marseille

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