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European Round-Up | Jan 20-23

Two massive results for 1. FC Köln and VfL Wolfsburg highlight all the action in Germany, Spain, and Italy while two former Premier League players produced the headline performances across Europe’s top leagues this weekend


Preamble


Bundesliga

  • Biggest win: 1. FC Köln 7-1 SV Werder Bremen
  • Shock result: VfL Wolfsburg 6-0 SC Freiburg
  • Star Performance: Steffen Tigges (CF: 1. FC Köln) - Two goals/one assist vs SV Werder Bremen

A return to action in the Bundesliga offered up some of the biggest results of the entire weekend across the continent’s top league competitions, with perhaps none more important than Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw in Saxony against RB Leipzig. Though both outfits continued their undefeated run of form, the rest of the chasing pack will feel indebted to the Saxons should they turn down the Bavarian giants over the remainder of the Rürkrunde.

Both Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin equally benefitted from that result, with Die Adler and Die Eisernen posting wins over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Schalke 04 respectively, seeing them go into the midweek program sitting 2nd and 3rd in the table.

The shock of the weekend came when Christian Streich’s high-flying SC Freiburg hit the wall that was VfL Wolfsburg at Volkswagen Arena on Saturday as Breisgau-Brasilianer looked to keep their storied run in the Champions League places well-supplied but would return to the foot of the Black Forest on the back of a 6-0 thrashing by Niko Kovač's Die Wölfe, with SCF dropping to 4th while Wolfsburg earned their fifth-consecutive win while jumping up to 7th.

To wrap up, 1. FC Köln’s sensational 7-1 home drubbing against visiting SV Werder Bremen offered up the biggest margin of victory across any of the top leagues in a much-needed three-point haul by Steffen Baumgart’s Die Geißböcke to arrest a five-match winless run to begin 2023 in scintillating fashion.


La Liga

  • Biggest win: Club Atlético de Madrid 3-0 Real Valladolid Club de Fútbol
  • Shock result: Elche Club de Fútbol 1-1 Club Atlético Osasuna
  • Star Performance: Paulo Gazzaniga (GK: Girona Futbol Club) - 8 saves/1 saved penalty vs Villarreal Club de Fútbol

The top flight of Spanish football offered few if any talking points that were out of the ordinary at the weekend that saw all five of the top six in the table earning three-point hauls across play in La Liga.

Barcelona fought to a 1-0 win at the Spotify Camp Nou against Getafe while Real Madrid took to their away day in Basque Country to earn a 2-0 win against Athletic Club, with the two giants of Spanish football remaining in the fight for another La Liga title. But not far behind them sit Real Sociedad in third, who remain just three points adrift of Madrid after their own weekend performance against Rayo Vallecano in a 2-0 away win. Atlético Madrid and Villarreal continue to be locked in 4th after home results against Real Valladolid and Girona, which featured a standout performance by goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga who produced 8 saves, including a penalty save in stoppage time, to keep the scoreline respectable for his traveling comrades only for Villarreal to be awarded a second penalty in the tenth minute of added time to earn a late 1-0 win.

In what can probably go down as a shock result, bottom-sitting Elche earned just their sixth point of the season, despite still being without a win, against visiting Osasuna who sit joint-6th in the table and level on points with Real Betis. A second-half strike from José Ángel Carmona canceled out Chimy Avila’s goal twenty minutes after kick-off to give the home support even just a small moment to savor in what looks like a relegation season.


Serie A

  • Biggest win: Hellas Verona 2-0 Unione Sportiva Lecce
  • Shock result: Bologna Football Club 1909 1-1 Unione Sportiva Cremonese
  • Star Performance: Ademola Lookman (RW: Atalanta Bergamo) - 2 goals/1 assist in 3-3 draw vs Juventus

During a news cycle in Italy this week that has been dominated by the story surrounding Juventus’ 15-point deduction as the Old Lady of Italian Football continues to be embroiled in one controversy after the next across its recent history, action in the Serie A during the weekend program impressed as usual as Italian football has enjoyed a period of resurgence putting back in the collective consciousness for many across the continent like the days of old.

Only one side in the top half of the table - Fiorentina - suffered defeat at the weekend, with SSC Napoli, AS Roma, Udinese Calcio, and Torino all grabbing wins over US Salernitana, Spezia Calcio, UC Sampdoria, and the aforementioned Fiorentina respectively. Both Milan clubs, as well as Lazio, have yet to feature at the time of writing, but despite the possible results, Napoli will remain comfortably at the top of the table and in line for their first Scudetto since the 1989-90 campaign while being led to just their second-ever league win by the late, great Diego Maradona and his 16 league goals.

Hellas Verona enjoyed one of three 2-0 wins at the weekend against Lecce as the biggest result in terms of goals, while a shock 1-1 away draw by bottom-dwelling Cremonsese - who have yet to win this season - came at the expense of European-motivated Bologna. But a former Premier League young player to watch produced the weekend’s brightest moments after Ademola Lookman continued to produce the best football of his otherwise disappointing career in his debut season in Italy with a brace and an assist for Atalanta against Juventus. Lookman is now second in the league in goals (11), behind countryman Victor Osimhin (13) as the pair look to become the first African player to ever win the Capocannoniere.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.



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