European Teams of the Week: Brilliant Bayern Munich top as excellent Everton make top 10

Matt Jones - Editor 22:48 08/04/2019
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The only thing in football more contentious than a dubious refereeing decision is a rankings system.

There are plenty of them out there – though many are deliberately divisive – but given the tribal nature of football they do drum up some interesting debates among supporters.

We’re going to add our twist to the list. Each week we pick out the 10 best teams from Europe’s top-five leagues (minus cup competitions).

It’s not cumulative, the rankings is based on a team’s performance in that particular game week.

So, who makes the top-10 this week? Find out below:

1 BAYERN MUNICH (beat Borussia Dortmund 5-0)

Fully deserving of top spot this week. With a crippling show of force, the Bavaria behemoths showed that they are well and truly still the force of German football with a brutish beating handed out to Dortmund.

Ahead of ‘Der Klassiker’ we were expecting a tight, tense and entertaining affair with two points separating first and second in the Bundesliga. But what it turned into was a classic example of Bayern still being the bullies of the Bundesliga. They were 4-0 up at the break and leapfrogged BVB into top spot, while Robert Lewandowski became just the fifth player in history to score 200 Bundesliga goals.

2 BARCELONA (beat Atletico Madrid 2-0)

Luis Suarez celebrates his fine winner against Atletico.

Luis Suarez celebrates his fine winner against Atletico.

The title race also delivered a twist in Spain too, but only in the sense that Barcelona look to have wrapped up an eighth La Liga crown in 11 seasons following a telling triumph over Diego Simeone’s second-placed side.

Los Rojiblancos had threatened to take a point with a typically tenacious and dogged defensive display – especially after losing tyro Diego Costa to a 28th-minute red card.

But Barca huffed and puffed and eventually blew the door down – Luis Suarez curing in a classy winner eight minutes from time, while Lionel Messi added an even later second to put one hand on the trophy. The Blaugrana are 11 points ahead with seven games remaining.

3 EVERTON (beat Arsenal 1-0)

It’s three wins in a row for Everton with the Toffees having come through a sticky spell in style with triumphs over Chelsea and now Arsenal.

Marco Silva finally seems to be moulding the Merseysiders into shape, with the likes of high-profile summer signings Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Bernard all shining.

But it was old warhorse Phil Jagielka who fired them to victory over the toothless visitors, although the hosts dominated proceedings and should have won by more – they had 27 shots on goal compared to the goal-shy Gunners’ seven.

4 RB LEIPZIG (beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2)

Timo Werner made it 2-2.

Timo Werner made it 2-2.

Leipzig took another leap towards a Champions League return with a superb 4-2 win against Leverkusen – twice cancelling out Kai Havertz goals, one a penalty, the second a stunning volley, to earn a splendid win.

Ralf Rangnick’s side are one of the form teams in the Bundesliga – unbeaten in 10 games – and they scored some delicious goals to extinguish the Leverkusen threat. Marcel Sabitzer and Timo Werner’s equalisers were eye-catching but Matheus Cunha’s pirouette and chip to seal the three points was breathtaking.

5 CELTA VIGO (beat Real Sociedad 3-1)

Celta’s battle against the drop in Spain received a massive boost at the Balaidos with talismanic skipper Iago Aspas leading them to a come-from-behind victory against Real Sociedad.

Vigo fell behind to Willian Jose’s penalty but Aspas’ brace put his side 2-1 ahead and Maxi Gomez sealed the win. That makes it three games unbeaten since the influential captain returned, with Aspas scoring five goals in those three games since returning from six weeks out with a recurring calf problem. The Sky Blues have now risen to 16th in La Liga.

6 MAINZ (beat Freiburg 5-0)

An amazing result for free-scoring Freiburg – not least because the mammoth win was achieved via all five of their shots on target resulting in goals. They also triumphed with just 29 per cent possession.

It was a counter-attacking masterclass from Sandro Schwarz’s side who leapt above Freiburg with victory at the Opal Arena.

Young French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta, 21, was the main man for Mainz with a hat-trick – two composed left-foot finishes and a diving header bringing to an end a run of four straight defeats in style.

7 JUVENTUS (beat AC Milan 2-1)

Moise Kean came to Juventus' rescue yet again.

Moise Kean came to Juventus’ rescue yet again.

The Old Lady are one step closer to an eighth successive Scudetto after coming from behind to beat old foes Milan.

Having gone behind to Krzysztof Piatek’s 21st league goal of the season, the Cristiano Ronaldo-less Bianconeri got back in it through Paolo Dybala’s penalty on the hour.

Teenage sensation Moise Kean clambered off the bench to yet again net a winner – firing clinically beyond Pepe Reina for his fifth Serie A goal in his last five games.

Napoli’s 1-1 draw with Genoa on Sunday means just a point is required at relegation-threatened SPAL on Saturday to lift yet another league crown.

8 FROSINONE (beat Fiorentina 1-0)

Staying with Italy, and the most impressive performance at the weekend might well have been Frosinone’s slender 1-0 victory over Fiorentina.

The second-bottom Canaries are flying dangerously close to a return to Serie B but moved to within five points of safety thanks to a priceless win delivered courtesy of veteran substitute Daniel Ciofani’s excellent low finish.

It means Marco Baroni’s men have taken four points off La Viola and won back-to-back games for the first time this season. And they will need all that momentum to survive as they face top six sides Milan, Inter and Napoli in their run-in.

9 DIJON (beat Lyon 3-1)

To another battle to get out of the basement and Dijon, who registered a much-needed victory in their Ligue 1 survival scrap, as well as mounting the pressure on Lyon boss Bruno Genesio with a superb 3-1 victory.

It was a first win in over two months and just their second of 2019, and all the more impressive considering Martin Terrier gave Lyon the lead inside the first minute.

Wesley Said’s brace saw Dijon 2-1 up after seven minutes though and Rafael’s late own goal sealed a first win in 10 games for Antoine Kombouare’s side that moved them above Caen into 18th and the precious relegation play-off spot.

10 BURNLEY (beat Bournemouth 3-1)

It’s been a troubling season for Burnley but they stitched together back-to-back victories following four straight defeats to do their Premier League survival hopes the world of good following a 3-1 win at Bournemouth.

Sean Dyche’s side got off to the worst possible start at the Vitality Stadium following Ashley Barnes’ fourth-minute own goal. But Barnes scored at the right end in the second half to make it 3-1 to the Clarets who moved into 14th and eight points clear of the drop zone.

They’re now full of vitality after this win.

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Video: Take a look at this week's European Teams of the Week top 10

Sport360 staff 19:38 08/04/2019
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The only thing in football more contentious than a dubious refereeing decision is a rankings system.

There are plenty of them out there – though many are deliberately divisive – but given the tribal nature of football they do drum up some interesting debates among supporters.

We’re going to add our twist to the list. Each week we pick out the 10 best teams from Europe’s top-five leagues (minus cup competitions).

It’s not cumulative, the rankings is based on a team’s performance in that particular game week.


So, who makes the top-10 this week? Find out here:









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Niko Kovac sets Bayern Munich bar high ahead of Der Klassiker

Press Association Sport 21:00 05/04/2019
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Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac insists his side are desperate to replace Borussia Dortmund at the summit of the Bundesliga in Saturday’s seismic 100th league instalment of ‘Der Klassiker’.

Two points separate first and second in the table heading into a showdown at the Allianz Arena that is shaping up to be a potential title decider.

Dortmund have seen a nine-point lead established in December disintegrate but Bayern have also suffered their own dip recently.

Both clubs were knocked out of the Champions League by English opposition, leaving them to concentrate on a thrilling domestic title race.

“Second place is the first loser. We want to win,” said Kovac.

“The game on Saturday is very, very important. We all know what’s at stake and what will be demanded of us both defensively and going forward.

“It will be an interesting game between two evenly-matched teams. The players, the fans and the club will give everything to win this.”

David Alaba, Manuel Neuer, James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski are expected to recover from knocks in time to play, but Alphonso Davies and Arjen Robben will definitely miss out.

Bayern shipped four goals against second-division Heidenheim on domestic cup duty on Wednesday and Kovac insists that denying the opposition is a team effort.

“It’s about responsibility and discipline,” he said. “I do not just start with the defenders, it starts earlier. You have to be ready, no matter what your level.

“France have become world champions because they played well but also defended well.

“It is not for nothing that titles are decided at the back. We have to come back to defending well, as individuals and as a team.

“That’s what we have to go back to, but you have to want it even if you’re an artist. It will be an interesting game. The team that makes fewer mistakes will win.”

Dortmund boss Lucien Favre refused to overstate the importance of a fixture that has been billed as the biggest domestic club match in Europe this season.

“This game is very special – Bayern v Dortmund,” he said. “The table is close, seven games remain, and two great teams.

“If we win, nothing is decided, if we draw, nothing is decided, if we lose nothing is decided. It’s completely open!”

Dortmund have injury concerns over Paco Alcacer, Lukasz Piszczek and Abdou Diallo.

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