The European first legs were embarrassing for English teams, as only Manchester City managed to record a win.
But in the end, there was no need to fear those pesky Europeans. All three English teams are through in the Europa League, and with Manchester United drawn with Liverpool in the next round, at least one English team will make the quarters of the Europa League. Rejoice. Nice work propping up the coefficient, lads.
City and Chelsea, meanwhile, have varying degrees of opportunity in their Champions League second legs. Are we winding the clock back a decade when the Premier League reigned supreme? Probably not.
This week’s European round-up is sick of taking in the sights of imposing medieval cathedrals and is packing up to interrail off to somewhere sunnier. We sleep uncomfortably on overnight trains – with one eye open and one hand firmly clasped around our backpack at all times – so you don’t have to; and all to bring you the winners and losers from across the continent this weekend.
We all know that Bayern Munich are Germany’s Serena Williams: powerful, mesmerising and dominant, but with enough verve and style that you don’t hate them for it.
Strangely, though, if this were any other season, it would surely be Borussia Dortmund who comfortably lead the table.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) February 28, 2016
Borussia Dortmund's last 15 home Bundesliga games:
7 clean sheets pic.twitter.com/1Pcjf3QDLo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 28, 2016
BVB remain eight points behind Bayern, but 15 ahead of third place. Spurs better watch their backs when they face Thomas Tuchel’s team in a few weeks’ time as they notched up another win and another three goals.
In the race for the Champions League, Salomon Kalou’s Hertha Berlin are inexplicably plodding along in third place, whilst only separates the teams between fourth and ninth.
Bayer Leverkusen possess the third-best striker in the league this season by a distance, and the Little Pea Javier Hernandez has scored 21 goals in 21 games. It’s just a shame that his defence can’t defend. Leverkusen slumped to defeat against Mainz, who may well find themselves playing Champions League football next season if their form holds up.
Elsewhere, Hannover and Hoffenheim occupy the doomed spots.
Winners – Hertha, who are now three points clear of fifth place. And Mainz, who are only outside the Champions League places on goal difference.
Losers – Schalke, Gladbach, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, who all failed to win and lost more ground in the Champions League race.
Juventus’s win over Inter Milan piles the pressure on Napoli who now find themselves four points behind the ruthless Bianconeri machine who refuse to even conceded a Serie A goal, let alone lose a game.
Gianluigi Buffon has gone 746 mins without conceding in Serie A, beating his previous personal record by 2 mins. pic.twitter.com/SDNRr11sLA
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 28, 2016
Napoli, however, have the opportunity to close that gap as they play Fiorentina on Monday night, when the pressure will be on.
A Fiorentina victory would not only throw Napoli’s title-race into crisis, but it would also throw Inter’s Champions League hopes into crisis, too. Roma’s win on Saturday puts them in the final qualification spot and five points ahead of Inter, whilst Fiorentina can go third themselves with a win, leaving Roberto Mancini’s Inter a full seven points off Champions League qualification.
Elsewhere, Hellas Verona, Carpi and Frosinone all remain doomed.
Winners – Juventus, who may well have taken the big step towards another title win this weekend.
Losers – Inter Milan, but depending on Monday’s results, Napoli too.
Ligue 1 has been blown open! Monaco have been thrown a lifeline in their quest for a first French League title since David Trezeguet finished as their top scorer in 2000. That year, Monaco won with 68 points, so far this year, PSG already have 73.
Zlatan and co. lost their very first league game of the season at Lyon on Sunday night, bringing the gap down to a very-doable 23 points. PSG will surely be looking over their shoulders nervously – giving Chelsea a great chance to capitalise when they bring PSG to London next midweek.
Lyon’s victory brings them into that third and final Champions League spot, capitalising on St Etienne’s defeat at home to Caen and Marseille’s inability to play their game at Ajaccio due to an unplayable pitch.
Elsewhere, Troyes remain doomed, and would still be doomed even if they magically doubled their points tally.
14 – Troyes have won none of their last 14 homes games in Ligue 1 (D6 L8), longest winless run at home in Ligue 1 history. Collapse.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) February 27, 2016
Winners – Lyon, whose unexpected victory puts them in a great position to clinch that final Champions League spot.
Losers – St Etienne, whose defeat saw them fall from third to seventh, yet they still remain only one point off the third and final Champions League place.
The big game of the weekend was the Madrid derby, but even in February it seemed like a damp squib as both clubs are already conceding the title. Barcelona are in relentless form winning at Sevilla, and so too is Leo Messi, who has now scored 30 goals this season, bringing him to the 30+ mark in the last eight consecutive seasons.
34 – @FCBarcelona have equaled the longest unbeaten run of La Liga team in all competitions (Real Madrid in 88/89). Unstoppable.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 28, 2016
Both Madrid clubs will be looking to the Champions League for a taste of glory this season, but it was Atletico who won the derby – they are unbeaten in Madrid derbies in 17 games, but lost perhaps the biggest one in that time period: the Champions League final.
Elsewhere, Villarreal’s victory takes them to 13 games unbeaten, managing ten clean sheets in that time. They are now only two points behind Real Madrid – it’s surely inconceivable that Real Madrid could finish fourth and have to qualify for the Champions League group stages in a play-off next season. Isn’t it?
And finally a word on Gary Neville’s Valencia™, who slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
Winners – Villarreal. Finishing in the Champions League would be incredible, but to finish above Real Madrid would be astonishing.
Losers – Real Madrid, whose defeat puts them out of this season’s title race once and for all, and leaves them in danger of not even finishing in the top three.