Madrid march on, Bayern stumble and Robben is back: Talking points from around Europe
Real Madrid won the Clasico as the league title race tightened while Inter marched towards Scudetto but Bayern Munich stumbled in Germany.
AFP Sport rounds up some of the top talking points across the continent:
- A great couple of days for Zidane -
Real Madrid prevailed after a 3-1 victory in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in the first leg against Liverpool with 2-1 against Barcelona in an exciting Clasico. Zinedine Zidane's side remain remarkably well on their way to double in La Liga and European Cup.
A brilliant back-heel finish from Karim Benzema - his ninth goal in his last seven league games - and a free kick from Toni Kroos in form gave Real their fourth straight La Liga win and a result that further increases their momentum.
They advance to second place via Barcelona after winning both league Clasicos in one season for the first time since 2007/08, just before Pep Guardiola took over for the Catalans. Real are only one point behind leaders Atletico Madrid after the 1-1 draw at Betis.
Atletico have yet to go to Barcelona, which could play into the hands of a real team that will head to Liverpool this week full of confidence.
- Bavaria on the other hand -
Bayern's status as European champions is seriously threatened as they travel 3-2 to Paris on Tuesday after the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
Bayern are injured without top scorer Robert Lewandowski and many other players, and the difficult relationship between coach Hansi Flick and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic dominates the headlines.
They could therefore have achieved a better result and a better performance than in the 1-1 draw at home at Union Berlin, when Jamal Musiala opened the scoring before the guests scored a late equalizer.
The result shouldn't be a big setback for the pursuit of a ninth title in a row in the Bundesliga, even if the second-placed RB Leipzig finished with a 4-1 win at Werder Bremen within five points. Still, the atmosphere around the club could really deteriorate if they don't turn the PSG tie around.
- Fun Frankfurt near the Champions League -
Eintracht Frankfurt came a big step closer to their first top 4 result in the Bundesliga since 1993 when they defeated fellow pilots Wolfsburg 4: 3 in a thriller.
Andre Silva was among the goalscorers when the Portuguese striker scored his 23rd goal of the season - two more than Erling Braut Haaland.
With only one defeat in 17, fourth-placed Eintracht, who has scored eleven goals in the last three games, remains seven points ahead of Borussia Dortmund with six games remaining.
A place in the Champions League beckons the club, which lost the European Cup final in 1960 7-3 to Alfredo Di Stefano's Real Madrid.
- Relentless interim march on -
There is now little doubt that Inter Milan will win their first Serie A title since 2010, preventing Juventus from winning 10 Scudetti in a row.
Inter beat Cagliari 1-0 on Sunday with a late goal from Manchester United's ex-full-back Matteo Darmian. Antonio Conte's side have now taken eleven wins in a row in Serie A, but it has often been the case: the last six wins have all come from a single goal.
With eight games remaining, Inter are 11 points ahead of runner-up AC Milan, who beat Parma 3-1 despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic being sent off. Juventus beat Genoa 3-1, but are 12 points behind in third place.
- Robben returns -
It seemed that Arjen Robben's game days might actually be over as injuries hampered his return to first club Groningen last summer.
The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern winger, who announced his retirement after leaving Bayern in 2019, only appeared twice before succumbing to a calf problem in October.
On Sunday, six months later, at the age of 37 years and 78 days, he finally returned and was later used as a substitute in Groningen's 2-0 home defeat by Heerenveen in the Dutch Derby of the North.
"Nice to be back on the field. Thanks for the support," he wrote on Instagram.
as / td
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