In this week’s edition of The Corner, our weekly round up of European club football, we feature matches in Germany, Spain, The Netherlands and England.
At the top of the table In Germany, Bayern Munich continued their march towards the Bundesliga crown after closest challengers Bayer Leverkusen slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to Schalke.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka calmly chipped in to open the scoring for Schalke before an own goal by Felipe Santana leveled things for the hosts. Knocked out of the German Cup by second division Kaiserslautern earlier in the week Leverkusen spurned several chances to grab the winner and they were duly punished when Schalke’s Klaas Jan Huntelaar headed home the winner in the 74th minute. While still in second place the defeat now leaves Leverkusen sixteen points adrift of table toppers Bayern.
In Spain’s La Liga, it remains a tight three-way battle for the title.
Barcelona demolished Rayo Vallecano 6-0 at the Camp Nou. That saw Lionel Messi score twice taking him above Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano and into third in La Liga’s all time scorers list. Even without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid maintained their title push with a 3-0 victory over struggling Getafe.
Jese, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric were all on target to help move Real back level on points with Barca and Atletico Madrid, who beat Valladolid. After matchday 24 the three leaders are locked on 60 points.
Over in The Netherlands Ajax midfielder Lasse Schone stole the show at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday. The Denmark international scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, to propel the reigning champions and current leaders to a 3-0 win over Heerenveen. Franck de Boer’s men wasted little time in taking control of the encounter. Schone converted two penalties, the first coming after a tackle on Siem de Jong inside the box by Joey van den Berg. The second spot kick was awarded after a hand ball by Stefano Marzo.
Schone was made to wait until the 82nd minute to score his third capitalizing on a cross by teammate Victor Fischer, but with Twente also winning Ajax still only remain four points ahead of their title rivals.
In England, Manchester City beat Chelsea 2-0 to send the Londoners out of the FA Cup and themselves into a quarter-final clash with Wigan. Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri scored either side of the break for the 2011 Champions. After the match ‘Blues’ boss Jose Mourinho criticised the referee for what he believed was offside in Nasri’s goal. Arsenal also progressed to the quarters when they exacted revenge against Liverpool – a side they lost to 5-1 in the League earlier this month but beat 2-0 on Sunday. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski scored for the Londoners who meet Everton in the March 8-9 quarter-finals.