Varying returns for heavyweights

Bayern Munich and Manchester United both registered crucial victories to move within striking distance of the leaders, while Inter Milan and Barcelona consolidated their positions at the top of the standings. It was not all rosy for the big guns, however, with Real Madrid and Chelsea slipping up. reviews the latest action from Europe.

Premier League: Chelsea outgunned, United beat City
The Manchester and London derbies both produced away wins. A 42nd-minute Wayne Rooney effort was enough for champions Manchester United to beat bitter rivals City and climb to third in the table.

In the capital, Arsenal stunned Chelsea 2-1. The Blues took a 31st-minute lead through a Johan Djourou own-goal, but Robin van Persie struck either side of the hour as the Gunners staged an impressive comeback to inflict Chelsea’s second home defeat of the campaign.

Top three: Chelsea, Liverpool (both 33 points), Manchester United (28)
Bottom three: Sunderland (15), Blackburn Rovers (13), West Bromwich Albion (11)
Leading scorers: Nicolas Anelka (12 goals), Cristiano Ronaldo, Amr Zaki, Jermain Defoe, Robinho (8 each)
Weekend stat: In Sunday’s Manchester derby, England international Wayne Rooney netted his 100th goal in the league for United.

Bundesliga: Bayern go second

Newly-promoted Hoffenheim continued their stunning progress this term with a giant stride towards sealing top spot at the winter break. Striker Vedad Ibisevic scored for the 17th time in 15 matches as the leaders cruised to a 3-0 home success over Arminia Bielefeld. In the biggest game of the weekend, Bayern Munich won 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen courtesy of goals from Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose. The Bundesliga holders swapped places with Bayer to claim second spot, and now host Hoffenheim next Friday.

Werder Bremen vented their frustration at their midweek UEFA Champions League exit with a 5-0 reverse of Eintracht Frankfurt, Claudio Pizzaro scoring a hat-trick. UEFA Cup hopefuls Hamburg and Wolfsburg dropped points in draws with Bochum and Borussia Dortmund respectively, but Stuttgart recorded a first win under caretaker coach Markus Babbel; 2-0 at home to Schalke.

Top three: Hoffenheim (34 points), Bayern Munich (31), Hertha Berlin (30)
Bottom three: Bochum, Borussia Monchengladbach (both 11), Karlsruhe (10)
Leading scorers: Vedad Ibisevic (17 goals), Patrick Helmes, Grafite (both 11)
Weekend stat: Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat was Bayer Leverkusen’s eighth consecutive defeat to Bayern Munich. Bayer last beat Bayern back in August 2004.

La Liga: Real stumble, Barça stride
Champions Real Madrid crashed to a bitter 3-1 defeat away to Getafe. The club from the Madrid suburbs, coached by Bernd Schuster until his departure for Real in 2007, took a 2-0 lead with a brace from Uruguayan Juan Angel Albin. Javier Saviola pulled one back on 55 minutes, but Ikechukwu Uche wrapped up the points for the home side eight minutes from time.

At the top of the table, Barcelona won 3-0 at Sevilla thanks to a Lionel Messi brace and a Samuel Eto'o strike. The win sent the Catalans six points clear of fourth-placed Real. There were no slip-ups from the other chief pursuers, as second-placed Villareal beat Recreativo Huelva 2-1 away from home and third-placed Valencia downed Real Betis 3-2.

Top three: Barcelona (32 points), Villareal (28), Valencia (27)
Bottom three: Numancia (11 points), Osasuna (8), Recreativo Huelva (7)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o (14 goals), David Villa (12), Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi (both 9)
Weekend stat: Guti made his 500th appearance for Real Madrid in the 3-1 defeat by Getafe.

Serie A: Inter and Juventus march on, setback for Milan
Leaders Inter Milan extended their advantage at the top of the standings to six points with a 2-1 win over Napoli. The Nerazzurri benefited from city rivals AC Milan’s unexpected 3-1 defeat in Palemo.

Juventus stepped up to second spot with a 4-0 victory over Reggina. UEFA Champions League hopefuls Roma continued their recovery from a disastrous start to the campaign with a 1-0 defeat of Fiorentina, the precious winner coming from the boot of Francesco Totti.

Top three: Inter (33), Juventus, AC Milan (both 27)
Bottom three: Reggina (11 points), Bologna (10), Chievo Verona (9)
Leading scorers: Diego Milito (11 goals), Alberto Gilardino (9), Marco di Vaio (8)
Weekend stat: Veteran marksman Alessandro del Piero netted his 250th goal for Juventus against Reggina

Ligue 1: Lyon and Marseille disappoint
On Matchday 16 in France, leaders Lyon took on bottom club Valenciennes and Marseille visited Toulouse, but the big boys misfired and both had to be content with goalless draws.

Rennes took advantage with a 1-0 success against Paris Saint-Germain. Bruno Cheyrou’s effort shortly before the break propelled the men from Brittany into second place.

Top three: Lyon (34 points), Stade Rennes (29), Olympique Marseille (28)
Bottom three: Le Havre (12 points), Sochaux, Valenciennes (both 11)
Leading scorers: Karim Benzema (9 goals), André-Pierre Gignac, Guillaume Hoarau, Fernando Cavenaghi (8 each)
Weekend stat: Sochaux kept a clean sheet for the first time this term in a scoreless draw with Bordeaux

Fenerbahce beat Besiktas 2-1 in their Istanbul derby. All the goals came in the first half-hour, Selcuk Sahin and Daniel Guiza netting for Fener, with Mert Nobre pulling one back for the visitors.

In the Polish Ekstraklasa, promoted Polonia Warsaw slipped two places to third after a goalless draw with Arka Gdynia. Lech Posen now top the pile on goal difference from Legia Warsaw.