Arsenal go top, Bayern shocked
The weekend round of domestic league fixtures in Europe featured two of the biggest match-ups of them all, the English Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester United, and the Bundesliga showdown between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen. A draw in the first of these was perhaps predictable, but few will have bet on mighty Bayern slumping to their heaviest home defeat in almost 30 years.
The action was no less riveting elsewhere on the continent, with first wins of the term for AC Milan and Roma in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.
FIFA.com reviews the weekend action in Europe’s biggest leagues.
Bundesliga: Bremen outclass woeful Bayern
The bookies are unlikely to have paid out much on the big match in Germany, as last season’s runners-up Werder Bremen inflicted a stunning 5-2 defeat on Bayern Munich, the champions’ heaviest home defeat in almost 30 years. Bremen were five up after 67 minutes courtesy of Markus Rosenberg (2), Naldo, Claudio Pizarro and Mesut Oezil, before former Bremen man Tim Borowski struck a late brace to give the scoreline a semblance of respectability.
At the top, leaders Hamburg fell 3-0 away to northern rivals Wolfsburg and slipped back to fourth. Schalke took over first place with a 1-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Top three: Schalke 04 (11 points), 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart (both 10)
Bottom three: Energie Cottbus, Eintracht Frankfurt (both two points), Borussia M'Gladbach (three)
Leading scorers: Vedad Ibisevic, Patrick Helmes (both six goals), Markus Rosenberg (four)
Weekend stat: Bayern were undefeated in 20 home fixtures before the weekend, a new Bundesliga record
Premier League: Big guns draw as Arsenal go top
The eagerly-awaited clash of the titans saw champions and UEFA Champions League winners Manchester United travel to Chelsea, the team they pipped to the post in both competitions last term. The showdown at Stamford Bridge ended 1-1 after Korea Republic star Ji-Sung Park fired the Red Devils in front on 18 minutes, before substitute Salomon Kalou levelled ten minutes from time. Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo made a first league appearance of the season as a 55th minute substitute for the visitors.
Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 away from home to go top of the Premier League, after an excellent start that has seen them notch up four wins from five games so far. Rivals Liverpool missed a golden opportunity to take first place as the Reds were held goalless at home by promoted Stoke City.
Top three: Arsenal (12 points), Chelsea, Liverpool (both 11)
Bottom three: Tottenham Hotspur (two points), Newcastle United, Stoke City (both four)
Leading scorers: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Jermain Defoe, Amr Zaki (four each)
Weekend stat: Chelsea have now gone 43 months without losing at home. Their last defeat at Stamford Bridge was a 2-1 reverse against Arsenal on 21 February 2004
Serie A: Relief for AC Milan and Roma
Frenetic celebration tinged with relief was the order of the day for AC Milan and AS Roma after the Italian giants registered their first wins of the season. Roma eased to a 3-0 victory over Reggina. Christian Panucci, Alberto Aquilani and Simone Perrotta were on target for last season’s runners-up. In Milan, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta, Alexandre Pato and Kaka scored the goals as AC downed leaders Lazio 4-1, wth Mauro Zarate netting the visitors’ only goal.
Internazionale, champions for the last three years, continued their ominously good early-season form under new boss Jose Mourinho with a 3-1 win away to Torino, thereby recording their second victory in three matches. Marco Pisano, Maicon and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for the Nerazzurri, Elvis Abbruscato claiming the home team’s consolation. Juventus also won away, defeating Cagliari 1-0.
Top three: Inter, Juventus (both seven points), Lazio (six)
Bottom three: Cagliari (no points), Reggina (one), Sampdoria (two)
Leading scorers: Mauro Zarate (four goals), Alberto Gilardino, Diego Alberto Milito (both two)
Weekend stat: Three of the biggest clubs in Italy - AC Milan, Roma and Fiorentina – won for the first time with the season three games old.
La Liga: Real and Barca in comfort zone
After less than ideal starts, the big two in Spain are slowly but surely finding their feet. Real Madrid fell 2-1 in La Coruna on opening day but have won both their subsequent matches. Ruben de la Red and Ruud van Nistelrooy netted in this weekend's 2-0 victory away to Santander. Barcelona recorded a first win in three games with a thumping 6-1 triumph in Gijon. Xavi, Samuel Eto'o, a Jorge own goal, Iniesta and a Lionel Messi brace accounted for the Catalan half-dozen.
La Liga’s four remaining undefeated teams occupy the top four spots in the standings. Valencia beat Osasuna 1-0 at home, UD Almeria beat Malaga by the same score, Villareal won 2-1 in Numancia, and Espanyol drew 1-1 with Getafe.
Top three: Valencia, Almeria, Villareal (all seven points)
Bottom three: Sporting Gijon (no points), Malaga (one), RCD Mallorca (two)
Leading scorers: Alvaro Negredo, Mate Bilic, Florent Sinama Pongolle (three goals each)
Weekend stat: The last time Valencia topped the standings, almost four and a half years ago on 23 May 2004, the men in black and white were celebrating a sixth league title.
Ligue 1: Olympique Lyon pull clear
It is still early days, but the double winners already look set for an eighth Ligue 1 title on the bounce. Ederson’s strike was enough to earn Lyon a 1-0 triumph in Le Havre and send the serial champions four points clear of the pack at the top of the standings.
Second-placed Olympique Marseille were held to a goalless draw at home by Monaco, but still share with Lyon the distinction of being the only undefeated teams left in Ligue 1.
Top three: Lyon (16 points), Marseille (12), Toulouse (11)
Bottom three: Souchaux (two points) , Nantes (four), Le Havre (four)
Leading scorers: Karim Benzema (five goals), Loic Remy (four), Thorstein Helstad (three)
Weekend stat: Lyon previously ran up 16 points from their first six matches in 2005-6 and 2006-7, ending the season with the championship trophy on both occasions.
The biggest clash in the Dutch Eredivisie saw Rotterdam giants Feyenoord and Amsterdam rivals Ajax share the spoils in a 2-2 draw. Jeffrey Sarpong and Klaas Jan Huntelaar twice handed visiting Ajax the lead, but Danish hitman Jon Dahl Tomasson equalised on both occasions. The clubs now occupy 10th and 12th spots respectively in the standings.
In Turkey, Galatasaray are beginning to run into form and have moved fourth in the table. Coach Michael Skibbe’s men travelled to bottom club Kocaelispor and came from behind to win 4-1 courtesy of goals from Shabani Nonda, and newcomers Milan Baros (two) and Harry Kewell.