In this week’s edition of The Corner, our weekly round up of European club football, we feature matches in Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Turkey.
Barcelona lost ground on arch rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish title race after a disappointing loss at Real Sociedad.
The Catalans rested a host of key players following Tuesday’s Champions League win at Manchester City, but the move did not pay off as Gerardo Martino’s men eventually lost 3-1, which leaves them three points behind los Merengues in the table.
Atlético Madrid missed the opportunity to leapfrog Barcelona following their 3-0 defeat away to Osasuna. Diego Simeone’s men will be looking to bounce back when they take on current leaders Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday.
In Germany, Bayern Munich thumped Hannover 4-0 at the AWD Arena.
The Bavarians are on course to break yet another Bundesliga record by being crowned German champions in March after opening a 19-point lead at the top of the table.
Bayern went ahead with their first clear cut chance when German international Thomas Mueller headed in at the near post. Former Barcelona playmaker Thiago Alcantara doubled the hosts’ advantage nine minutes later with this clever finish.
Mario Mandzukic set up the third for Mueller just after the restart before heading the fourth himself, taking his league tally for the season to 13.
Pep Guardiola’s closest challengers Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund both lost on Saturday while fourth-placed Schalke also slipped up as they were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Mainz at the Veltins Arena.
Over in the Netherlands, Ajax bounced back from their humiliating 3-0 home defeat to Red Bull Salzburg with an emphatic win over Alkmaar.
Team captain Siem de Jong drew first blood in the fourth minute with a clinical finish before setting up Lerin Duarte just after the break with a superb backheel. Young sensation Ricardo Kishna made it 3-0 in the 61st minute and Duarte netted his second after a solo run 12 minutes later to help the Dutch league leaders to a 4-0 home win.
Ajax are now six points clear of nearest rivals Twente as Michael Jansen’s men earned just a single point from their game against Feyenoord at the De Grolsch Veste stadium.
Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini tasted victory in the Istanbul derby as Galatasaray outclassed rivals Besiktas 1-0 thanks to a well-taken penalty from Selcuk Inan just before the break.
Didier Drogba’s team-mates are now three points behind current leaders Fenerbahce with the ‘Canaries’ travelling to Elazigspor on Tuesday.