Away from the crazy land of English football, several European teams picked up important victories as they push towards their respective league titles. Many top forwards were particularly on fire this weekend as they banged in goals left, right and centre.
In Spain Fernando Torres, one of the most loved yet hated men in the Premier League, notched both goals in a 2-0 victory over Leganes. Messi bagged another for Barca, his 16th this campaign, as his Atletico Madrid counterpart Antoine Griezmann missed an eventually unimportant penalty.
In the Bundesliga, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed his 17th goal this season and Robert Lewandowski his 15th, while Anthony Modeste matched the Bayern forward’s tally with a vital winner for Cologne.
Dries Mertens found the net yet again with a hat-trick at Bologna as he became the league’s top scorer with 16 goals this season, while Torino’s Andrea Belotti took his impressive total to 15.
Forgotten forward Radamel Falcao proved he hasn’t lost his knack for goals with a double in a 3-0 win over fellow Ligue 1 challengers Nice. Edinson Cavani however still leads the chart with an incredible 22, scoring again this weekend away at Dijon.
Moving away from the closely-scrutinized yet wonderful world of strikers, many notable events transpired as these leagues approached an exciting finish.
Germany legend Philipp Lahm made his 500th appearance in a Bayern shirt as he helped his team stay top of the Bundesliga. The veteran defender has one eight league titles throughout this time, and more impressively hasn’t picked up a single red car. Surprise package Hoffenheim romped to a 4-0 win over Mainz as they joined Dortmund in third place. Hoffenheim’s incredible rise this season has involved a 16 game unbeaten streak, eventually losing at the hands of the equally impressive RB Leipzig.
Paco Alcacer earned a rare Barcelona start as Luis Suarez found himself on the bench. The Spaniard took no time at all to find the back of the net with an 18th minute goal as they moved to within one point of Real Madrid. Madrid’s proposed match with Celta Vigo meanwhile was cancelled due to poor weather conditions, meaning they now have two games in hand.
Monaco’s vital win over shock performers Nice allowed them to leapfrog their opponents into the top spot, and a PSG victory moved them joint second as the French league is certainly not as one sided as it has been in recent years.
The game of the weekend was unquestionably Napoli’s 7-1 rout over Bologna, where two hat-tricks were scored, with a red card for each team and a missed penalty for the home side. Their close competitors Lazio also picked up an astonishing win, beating Pescara 6-2 as Marco Parolo found the net four times.