While fans of Italian and Spanish football are still patiently waiting for the big kick-off to the 2011/12 season, proceedings are well under way elsewhere in Europe.
The Premier League’s second week of fixtures saw Liverpool win away at Arsenal and Manchester City again demonstrate their attacking prowess. In Germany, Bayern Munich delighted their supporters with a convincing home win, but it is unfancied Borussia Monchengladbach who top the Bundesliga table. In Ligue 1, Lille and Paris Saint-Germain finally registered their first victories of the season.
FIFA.com takes a look back at all the weekend action from the major leagues across Europe.
Premier League: Struggling Arsenal suffer slip-up
With Tottenham Hotspur not travelling to Old Trafford to face Manchester United until Monday, it was the clash between Arsenal and Liverpool that received top billing in England. Deprived of numerous first-team regulars through injury and suspension, and of Cesc Fabregas, recently departed for Barcelona, the Gunners were powerless to prevent the Reds pulling off a fine 2-0 victory.
Manchester City picked up their second win of the season, beating Bolton Wanderers 3-2 in a match that included another goal from the rejuvenated Edin Dzeko. Chelsea gave their fans a scare against West Bromwich Albion, falling behind to a Shane Long goal after four minutes, but settled any nerves by equalising eight minutes after the break through Nicolas Anelka. The Blues’ 2-1 win was finally completed by Florent Malouda seven minutes from time.
Queens Park Rangers bounced back from last week’s 4-0 home defeat by Bolton with an impressive 1-0 triumph at Everton. Last but not least, the result of the Tyne-Wear derby between Sunderland and Newcastle went the way of the visitors, who secured a narrow 1-0 win.
Top three: Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers (both 6 points), Aston Villa (4)
Bottom three: Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Blackburn Rovers (all 0)
Top scorers: David Silva, Edin Dzeko, Ivan Klasnic (all 2 goals)
Weekend stat: 0 – The number of goals scored so far by Swansea, Fulham and Arsenal after two games of the new season.
Bundesliga: Bayern lay down the gauntlet
Bayern Munich put on a veritable attacking masterclass against Hamburg, blowing away their northern rivals 5-0 in a match dominated by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. And while the Bavarians were busy confirming their title ambitions, Borussia Monchengladbach, who narrowly escaped relegation last season, were maintaining their surprising start by seeing off Wolfsburg 4-1 and going top of the table in the process.
Champions Borussia Dortmund got the better of Nuremberg 2-0, while Bayer Leverkusen won 1-0 at Stuttgart. Werder Bremen demolished Freiburg 5-3, but it was arguably Schalke who achieved the performance of the weekend, coming back from 2-0 down away from home to defeat Mainz 4-2.
Top three: Borussia Monchengladbach, Hanover (both 7 points), Bayern Munich (6)
Bottom three: Freiburg, Hamburg, Cologne (all 1)
Top scorers: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Papiss Cisse (4 goals), Kevin Grosskreutz (3)
Weekend stat: 8 – The number of goals scored on Saturday at the Weserstadion, the home of Werder Bremen, where visitors Freiburg were beaten 5-3, despite the best efforts of Papiss Cisse, who grabbed a brace for the club from Baden-Wurttemberg.
Ligue 1: Montpellier off to a flyer
In overcoming Caen 2-1, defending champions Lille steadied the ship after a stuttering start to the season. Their opponents, meanwhile, tasted defeat for the first time, having previously won their first two games. Lyon had to make do with a share of the spoils in Brest, but the 1-1 result may well have felt like a victory in the end, as Les Gones had to fight back from losing the opening goal and having a man sent off to equalise via the on-form Bafetimbi Gomis.
Paris Saint-Germain handed a French league debut to star signing Javier Pastore in the second half of their 2-1 success versus Valenciennes, while Dijon’s 2-0 defeat of Lorient was their first-ever win in Ligue 1. The surprise team at this early stage is without doubt Montpellier, who maintained their 100 per cent record by disposing of Rennes 4-0. In Sunday’s late game, Marseille and Saint-Etienne played out a 0-0 draw at the Velodrome.
Top three: Montpellier (9 points), Toulouse, Saint-Etienne (both 7)
Bottom three: Nancy, Valenciennes, Nice (all 1)
Top scorers: Alain Traore (3 goals), Anthony Mounier, Bafetimbi Gomis (both 2)
Weekend stat: 1 – It took three matchdays for two of the pre-season French championship favourites, Lille and Paris Saint-Germain, to pick up their first wins of the campaign.
In the Netherlands, Ajax could not replicate the impressive results they had recorded thus far, drawing 2-2 with VVV-Venlo. Twente and PSV were quick to take advantage of this faux pas, beating Heerenveen (5-1) and ADO Den Haag (3-0) respectively, the latter game featuring another goal from the Eindhoven club’s Belgian international, Dries Mertens.
There were some surprising results in the Belgian championship this weekend, where the inability of Genk, Club Brugge or Anderlecht to pick up victories saw Mechelen take over at the top of the Jupiler League with a 2-1 win at Leuven.
In Russia, CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg consolidated first and second place in the table with comfortable wins over Tom Tomsk and Krylya Sovetov respectively. Ivorian forward Seydou Doumbia was instrumental once more for CSKA, notching two goals, a feat that propelled him to the top of the Russian scoring charts.
Anzhi Makhachkala, the probable new employers of Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o, beat Dinamo Moscow to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for Europe. The Dagestan-based outfit now lie fourth, two points behind Dinamo.