Welcome to this week’s edition of the “The Corner”.
We kick off with the return of the Bundesliga after the winter break and reigning Champions Bayern Munich, who began the second half of the season they way left off the first half – with victory. The Bavarian giants beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0.
Goals from Mario Goetze and Thomas Muller helped Pep Guardiola’s men secure their 15th victory from 17 league matches.
Elsewhere Borussia Dortmund dropped points with a draw at home against Augsburg.
Nuri Sahin thought his 66th minute goal was enough to seal the win, but Ji Dong hit the mark six minutes later for Augsburg for a 2-2 draw.
There was more frustration for coach Juergen Klopp and his injury-hit Dortmund side as midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski suffered a torn cruciate knee ligament and will miss the rest of the season.
The Black and Yellows climb to third in the table, but are 14 points adrift of leaders Bayern who have a great view from the summit with 47 points. Leverkusen are second but lost ground after a defeat to Freiburg.
Monaco take advantage of PSG slip-up
In France, Guingamp put a spanner in the works for leaders Paris Saint Germain.
The current champions almost suffered their second defeat of the campaign when Mustapha Yatabaré scored with six minutes to go for Guingamp, but Brazilian defender Alex saved PSG’s blushes on the 87th minute.
Even without injured star striker Radamel Falcao, Monaco took full advantage of PSG’s draw with victory over out-of-sorts Marseille.
Valere Germain and Emmanuel Riviere doing the damage for the principality club.
PSG remain at the top of the Ligue 1 table with Claudio Ranieri’s Monaco moving to within three points in second. Lille are third seven points further back.
Ajax outright leaders
In the Netherlands, where Ajax were tested all the way against Go Ahead Eagles but Frank De Boer’s 65th minute decision to play sub Lasse Schoene paid dividends.
Ajax entered the day level on 40 points with title rivals Vitesse Arnham and hunting their 13th league win this campaign.
But the Eagles proved difficult to break down thanks to some great goalkeeping from Elroy Room.
With the clock ticking down and a draw looking likely, Schoene was brought off the bench just after the hour mark.
He made his impact felt almost immediately and nine minutes after coming on he broke the deadlock.
After his free kick was blocked by the wall Schoene fired home the rebound passed Room to seal the three points for his team and a very relieved manager.
When Vitesse could only muster a one all draw against bottom club NEC Nijmegen – their fifth stalemate of the season – Ajax gladly moved two points clear at the top.
Unlucky 13 for Juventus
Lazio started the second half of the Serie A season in determined fashion holding Italian champions and current leaders Juventus to a one all draw at the Olympic Stadium.
It completed a stuttery week for Juve, who only four days ago lost to Roma in the Italian Cup quarter-finals.
Juventus were reduced to ten men on 24 minutes when keeper Gigi Buffon received a red card for taking down Miroslav Klose in the box.
Antonio Candreva converted from the spot but his goal was eventually cancelled out by Fernando Llorente as an impressive 13th straight league victory eluded Juventus in the capital city.
Lazio’s result helps Roma who, beat Verona, reignite the title race by reducing the gap on the ‘Old Lady’ to six points.
Angry Trabzonspor fans take to the streets
The Turkish match-fixing trial is officially over, but not for some 30 000 Trabzonspor supporters.
The masses gathered in the streets of Trabzon to protest against the Turkish FA’s decision not to award them the 2010/2011 title.
It appears to be somewhat of an injustice for Trabzonspor as Fenerbahce are at the centre of this match-fixing scandal and remain champions for that season.
That’s despite being banned for two years last summer by UEFA from all European competitions for match-fixing.
Adding insult to Trabzonspor’s injury, last week the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed the sentence of six years and 3 months for Fenerbahce’s disgraced President Aziz Yildirim for his role in the match-fixing scandal.
That’s it for this week’s edition of “The Corner”. Join us again next Monday for a round-up of European club football.