Outsiders join Bayern in command

Unexpected names sit proudly atop of the Premiership and Ligue 1: Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City in England and Nancy, Lorient and Le Mans, who share the lead in France.

In contrast, pre-season favourites Bayern Munich consolidated their position at the summit of the German Bundesliga by overwhelming one of their chief title rivals. With the Dutch Eredivisie and the Portuguese BWINLIGA also getting underway, FIFA.com reflects on the weekend's action in Europe.

Premiership: City fly high in Manchester
Seeing the city of Manchester represented at the top of the Premiership is something very familiar to followers of competition. However, three rounds into the new season it is not the 16-time national champions United that occupy the driving seat but their neighbours City. On Sunday, the arch-rivals met at Eastlands and Geovanni's 31st minute strike proved enough to maintain Manchester City's 100 percent start.

While United's third straight winless game handed them their worst start to a league campaign since 1992, their title defence was at least aided by results elsewhere. Robin van Persie scored his seventh goal in six games against Blackburn Rovers to put Arsenal ahead at Ewood Park, but David Dunn grabbed Mark Hughes' team a point, while Liverpool and Chelsea drew 1-1 in a clash of the contenders at Anfield.

Top three: Manchester City (9 pts), Chelsea (7), Wigan Athletic (6)
Bottom three: Birmingham City (1 pt), Derby County (1), Bolton Wanderers (0)
Top scorer: Antoine Sibierski (3 gls)
Weekend stat: Tottenham Hotspur equalled their record four-goal-cushion win under Martin Jol's reign to put their first points on the Premiership board, Steed Malbranque's brace inside the opening six minutes putting them on foot to a 4-0 defeat of Derby County.

Bundesliga: Ribery stars as Bayern cruise
If the rest of the German Bundesliga had any doubts that denying Bayern Munich a return to the top of the podium in May 2008 would be a difficult assignment, then they were obliterated at the weekend. Ottmar Hitzfeld took his star-studded, multi-million-euro cast to the Weserstadion to face Werder Bremen, third last term, and the Bavarians returned home having achieved an emphatic 4-0 win.

Goals from the magical Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and Hamit Alintop put Bayern in command, before an Andreas Ottl wonder strike capped a memorable afternoon's work for the 20-time German champions. Hamburger SV remain the only other side to have taken a full points haul from two outings, after Rafael van der Vaart's second half penalty downed Bayer Leverkusen, while holders Stuttgart lost 3-1 at Hertha Berlin.

Top three: Bayern Munich (6 pts), Hamburg (6), Schalke 04 (4)
Bottom three: Werder Bremen (1 pt), Hansa Rostock (0), Borussia Dortmund (0)
Top scorer: Tommy Bechmann (3 gls)
Weekend stat: A superb Christian Pander free-kick - Schalke 04's 100th Bundesliga goal against Borussia Dortmund - helped Die Königsblauen to a 4-1 success in the Ruhr Valley derby, which was their 500th win in the competition.

Ligue 1: Vahirua leads the Lorient charge
What a week it was for Lorient and Marama Vahirua. The Tahitian forward netted twice to inspire Christian Gourcuff's men to a comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain during last week, and on Saturday they overcame another giant to move joint top of Ligue 1. This time around it was Lyon who suffered at the hands of Vahirua, his second double in three days helping les Merlus beat the defending six-time champions 2-1.

Le Mans and Nancy share the ascendency with Lorient, having pocketed ten points from four games and posted an equal goal difference. Nancy recovered a two-goal deficit to hold Marseille to a 2-2 stalemate, while Rudi Garcia's charges drew 1-1 at home to Lille, Grafite's delightful, back-heeled equaliser preserving their unbeaten record.

Top three: Lorient (10 pts), Nancy (10), Le Mans (10)
Bottom three: Auxerre (3 pts), Sochaux (2), Metz (1)
Top scorers: Johan Audel (4 gls), Tulio De Melo (4), Marama Vahirua (4)
Weekend stat: One week after missing two penalties in a 2-0 loss to Bordeaux, Toifilou Maoulida scored Auxerre's first goal of the season to sink Caen 1-0 and move them off the bottom of the table.

Huntelaar and Ari hurt newcomers
A 0-0 draw between SC Heerenveen and Willem II got the Dutch Eredivisie up and running on Friday evening, before the title forerunners compensated for the goal-shy curtain raiser. Ajax led the way, four goals from Klaas Jan Huntelaar inspiring an 8-1 away win over top flight newcomers De Graafschap, and two goals from debutant Ari fired AZ Alkmaar to a 4-0 victory which handed VVV-Venlo a harsh welcome to the upper tier.

Elsewhere, Feyenoord opened up with a 3-0 success at FC Utrecht, Roy Makaay among their scorers, while PSV, who pipped Ajax and AZ for honours on the last day of the 2006/07 championship, needed two goals inside the last seven minutes to beat Heracles Almelo 2-0.

Over in Portugal, Sporting followed up their Super Cup win over FC Porto with a satisfying 4-1 defeat of Academica Coimbra, Derlei, Liedson, Tonel and 20-year-old skipper Joao Moutinho on target for the Leões. Ricardo Quaresma was Porto's saviour as they made a winning start to the defence of their crown, his double propelling the Dragões to a 2-1 win at Sporting Braga.

Benfica, the final member of domestic football's all-conquering triumvirate, thought they had stolen all three points when Petit broke the deadlock for them in the 89th minute against Leixoes, but Udochukwu Nwoko's goal deep into injury time earned the newly-promoted outfit a share of the spoils.