football

Real Madrid retake top spot in La Liga while Leipzig hit Bundesliga summit


Real Madrid retook top spot in La Liga on Saturday night with a 2-0 home win against Celta Vigo, the sixth victory in their previous seven league matches.

Lucas Vázquez opened the scoring after just six minutes at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium with a header at the far post after Marco Asensio’s fine run and delivery from the left wing. Eight minutes after the break the roles were reversed as Asensio doubled the lead for Zinedene Zidane’s men, Vázquez laying the ball across the penalty area for Asensio to apply a cool finish.

Madrid now sit top of the table on 36 points from 17 matches, a single point ahead of Atlético Madrid, who face Alavés on Sunday.

Earlier on, Sevilla had goalkeeper Bono to thank after a 1-1 draw away to local rivals Real Betis but the point was not enough to prevent them dropping out of La Liga’s top four. Bono saved a penalty from French forward Nabil Fekir in the 75th minute to keep his side level after an earlier penalty from Sergio Canales had cancelled out a strike from Suso. Betis had dominated the first half but could not make their early pressure count and Canales and Fekir both failed to hit the target with clear chances. Sevilla are now fifth on 27 points after Villarreal took their place in fourth on 29 following a 2-1 win at home to Levante earlier on, with goals from Fernando Niño and Gerard Moreno. Betis are ninth on 20 points.

In Germany, RB Leipzig moved to the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at Stuttgart. Julian Nagelsmann’s side took full advantage of Bayern Munich not being in action until Sunday as a second-half volley from Dani Olmo was enough to send them a point clear.

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Bayer Leverkusen earlier missed the chance to go top themselves after Eintracht Frankfurt came from a goal down to win 2-1 with an Amin Younes strike and an Edmond Tapsoba own goal on Saturday. Nadiem Amiri had given visitors Leverkusen the lead with an outrageous piece of individual skill, taking a touch to control the ball before deftly back-heeling it between the legs of keeper Kevin Trapp in the ninth minute. Younes fired Frankfurt level on 22 minutes and they took the lead nine minutes into the second half when Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada rifled the ball into the penalty area and Tapsoba turned into his own net.

Union Berlin kept themselves in the top four when Taiwo Awoniyi scored one goal and made the other in a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen, who had a goal on the stroke of half time ruled out by VAR for offside.

Schalke, who are bottom of the table, are now one game away from equalling Tasmania Berlin’s long-standing Bundesliga record of 31 matches without a win after a 3-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Christian Gross’s debut as head coach. Gross was appointed on 27 December, becoming Schalke’s fourth manager of the season, but failed to make an instant impact. The on-loan Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi curled home for Hertha in the first half before Jhon Córdoba and Krzysztof Piatek struck after the break. Schalke have now gone 351 days and 30 games without a league victory and, if they fail to beat Hoffenheim next Saturday, they will match the league record set in 1965-66.

Hertha Berlin’s French midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi celebrates scoring a goal
Hertha Berlin’s French midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi, on loan from Arsenal, scored their first goal in a 3-0 win against Schalke 04. Photograph: Annegret Hilse/AFP/Getty Images

Freiburg netted three first-half goals as they climbed into the top half of the table with a convincing 3-1 win over Hoffenheim, and Augsburg edged out FC Cologne with an Iago goal making the difference in a 1-0 away victory.

A goal by Breel Embolo in the 58th minute gave Borussia Mönchengladbach a narrow 1-0 away to Arminia Bielefeld in a game that they dominated.



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