The five-point European review
It was a weekend to forget for a clutch of the biggest clubs in Europe's top leagues, as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Lazio and Paris St Germain all fell to agonising defeats, either surrendering top spot or losing ground to rivals in the process. The flip side of that particular coin saw Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Montpellier and Juventus celebrate success in top-of-the-table clashes. FIFA.com rounds up the latest events in Europe’s major leagues.
Borussia Dortmund-Schalke, Matchday 14 in Germany
In the 139th meeting between the big two in the footballing hotbed that is the Ruhr Valley, champions Dortmund eased to a 2-0 victory, Robert Lewandowski and Felipe Santana scoring the goals for the men in yellow and black.
“I'm more than happy with the match," a clearly ecstatic Dortmund boss Juergen Klopp said afterwards. "In fact, I'd say I'm almost thrilled. It's terrific, to be honest. We were on top from the first until the last minute, so yes, I'm thrilled. That was our best-ever victory over Schalke."
Courtesy of their eighth game without defeat, and by virtue of Bayern's reverse in Mainz, Dortmund moved to the top of the Bundesliga for the first time this season.
Bordeaux won at home for the first time this term, clambering from 18th to 14th in the French standings and bidding farewell to the drop zone for now. The 2009 champions beat Caen 2-0, perhaps buoyed by their unconventional white and red striped shirts.
In Italy, champions AC Milan have finally hit their stride. A 4-0 success against Chievo moved I Rossoneri up to second, just a point adrift of leaders Juventus, although they have played one game more. City rivals Inter beat Siena 1-0 to record a second win on the bounce and recover to 15th spot.
It was a memorable if not totally satisfying day for Bayer Leverkusen striker Eren Derdiyok. The Switzerland hitman struck the first hat-trick of his professional career, but still failed to finish on the winning side as promoted Hertha BSC held the UEFA Champions League contenders to a 3-3 draw at Berlin's Olympiastadion.
Across Germany’s south-western border, Olivier Giroud claimed a second three-goal haul this term for Montpellier, sending his side to the summit of Ligue 1. The men from the south beat Sochaux 3-1, making the most of previous leaders Paris St Germain’s 3-0 defeat away to Marseille. Giroud is now up to 11 goals in 15 matches, a total only equalled at the same stage of the campaign by Karim Benzema four years ago when the striker wore Lyon colours.
Arsenal's meeting with Fulham was a rollercoaster ride for the Gunners’ Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian put through his own goal on 65 minutes, but salvaged a point for his side with a header five minutes from time.
1,014 - Hannover striker Jan Schlaudraff had to wait more than 1,000 minutes of play for his second goal of the season. However, when it came, the 28-year-old’s strike to level it up at 1-1 against Hamburg was truly a goal of the month contender. Sergio Pinto sent over a 79th minute corner, met by Schlaudraff on the edge of the box with a thumping volley measured at 102 km/h.
8 – Lazio’s run of eight games without defeat ended against Juventus. In the big Serie A clash of the weekend, Simone Pepe scored after 34 minutes to ensure Juve remain undefeated at the top of the standings.
6 - The gap which has opened up between Barcelona and fierce rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga now stretches to six points. Barça have not been this far behind the men from the capital since the 2007/08 season, when Real comfortably walked off with the title.
2 - Bayern's 3-2 defeat away to Mainz cost them first place in the Bundesliga. Germany's most successful club were five points clear not so long ago, but have now slipped from top spot for the first time since Matchday 4, and have also lost two games in a row for the first time since February.
Five memorable moments
Yoann on a roll: Yoann Gouffran is the man of the moment for Bordeaux, with an outstanding five goals in the last five matches. The striker played a vital part against Caen with the opening goal on the hour.
Goals and cards galore: The Madrid derby certainly provided entertainment in spades with five goals, six bookings and two red cards, as Real comfortably saw off Atletico 4-1 at the Bernabeu. Jose Mourinho’s men conceded the opening goal, but soon recovered as Atletico shot themselves in the foot with sendings off for Thibaut Courtois midway through the first half and Diego Godin nine minutes from time.
Jinxed by the other side of town: Sporting Clube de Portugal have now gone two-and-a-half years without a win, let alone a goal, in Liga Sagres action against Lisbon rivals Benfica. The dismal run from a Sporting point of view continued at the weekend, Benfica scoring the only goal of the derby to remain undefeated after 11 matches this term. Javi Garcia settled the 185th meeting between the pair three minutes before half-time.
New broom sweeps clean: Club Bruges went six games without a win in the Belgian Jupiler League in the autumn, prompting the club to dismiss luckless coach Adrie Koster in early November and install Christoph Daum in his place. The move has paid off so far, as the 13-time champions beat Lierse 1-0 to make it two wins in two under the seasoned German.
Joy for Premier League pair: It was a weekend to savour for Chelsea and Spurs, and not only thanks to victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-0) and West Bromwich Albion (3-1) respectively. As it turned out, the London pair were the only teams in the top seven to collect maximum points. Manchester United and Newcastle, and Liverpool and leaders Manchester City, all took points off each other in 1-1 draws, leaving City five points clear of United at the top.