World Football Weekend Review: Highlights from the Top Leagues

Alana NassiahCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2013

World Football Weekend Review: Highlights from the Top Leagues

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    This was the first weekend of domestic soccer after two weeks of World Cup qualifying. 

    All the top teams from the various European leagues were in action. 

    In case you missed some of the bigger games from March 29 to March 31, here are the highlights which include matches from the Bundesliga, the Barclays Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A.

German Bundesliga

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    Undoubtedly, the team that stole most of the headlines this weekend was Bayern Munich. 

    Munich scored nine goals in its game against ninth-placed team Hamburg. Claudio Pizarro netted four goals, and Arjen Robben added two more. The other goals were scored by Bastian Schweinsteiger, Xherdan Shaqiri and Franck Ribery.

    Borussia Dortmund defeated a 10-man Stuttgart 2-1 with goals from Lukasz Piszczek and Robert Lewandowski. In the win, numerous Dortmund players suffered minor injuries, while left-back Marcel Schmelzer suffered a fractured nose.

    Elsewhere in the league, third-placed Bayer Leverkusen scored four goals in its victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf, while Schalke defeated Hoffenheim 3-1.

    After this week's fixtures, Munich is now one win away from clinching the 2012-13 German Bundesliga title. Dortmund and Leverkusen are in prime position to clinch Champions League spots.

Barclays Premier League

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    This weekend in the Barclays Premier League saw Manchester United maintain its lead over crosstown rivals Manchester City. United defeated Sunderland with an own goal from Titus Bramble, while City dominated Newcastle United in a 4-0 win.

    With both teams winning, the Red Devils maintain their 15-point advantage. 

    Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur defeated Swansea City at Liberty Stadium with goals from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale.

    After Chelsea lost to 15th-placed Southampton in a 1-2 defeat, the Spurs took possession of the third spot on the table. Chelsea moved down to fourth, while Southampton now sits safely in 12th place. 

    Although Arsenal won its game against Reading, the Gunners still sit in fifth place on the table, but only two points behind Chelsea. However, both Chelsea and Arsenal have a game in hand over Tottenham, which will most likely come in handy as the homestretch nears. 

    Only eight games are left this season, and the table is bound to see some more movement before May 19.

La Liga

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    Barcelona has one hand on the La Liga title already. The Catalan giants will most likely win another title this season once everything is official. 

    However, Barca failed to add three more points to its tally after drawing with 18th-place Celta Vigo. Despite Lionel Messi adding a new record to his resume, Barcelona could not pull off a win. Borja Oubina Melendez scored late for Celta, but the team remains in the bottom three.

    Although a La Liga title is almost impossible for Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho's men could have made up some points against Barcelona. However, the team drew with Real Zaragoza. Zaragoza got on the board early with a sixth-minute goal by Rodri, but Madrid answered back in the 38th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo scored.

    Madrid could have trimmed Barcelona's lead to 11 points but failed to. However, the top three teams—Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid—have a commanding lead over the other teams in La Liga and will more than likely be the three to automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League. 

Ligue 1

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    On Friday, Paris Saint-Germain defeated seventh-placed team and last season's Ligue 1 champion Montpellier with a late goal from Kevin Gameiro. 

    PSG was on top of the table with an eight point lead, but after Marseille's 1-0 win over Nice, the lead was cut to seven.

    Marseille's win allowed the team to go ahead of Olympique Lyon and into the second place slot on the league table. 

    Lyon had the chance to regain its second-place spot against Sochaux but could not. Rémi Garde's men went down in the 50th minute but bounced back in the 68th when they received a penalty call. However, a late goal by Cédric Bakambu handed Lyon a loss.

    The race for the top two spots is very close. Should any team slip in the upcoming weeks, it could prove to be detrimental. Most teams are separated by only one or two points.

Serie A

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    Juventus faced Internazionale Milan on Saturday in what is known in Italy as Derby d'Italia. 

    Juve is trying to win consecutive Serie A titles, and a win over Inter would be a massive step in the right direction. 

    Fabio Quagliarella scored early to put Juve up. It wasn't until the 54th minute that Inter score on a Rodrigo Palacio goal. However, six minutes later Alessandro Matri netted the game-winner. 

    Juventus defeated Inter 2-1 and had a 12 point lead atop the table before Napoli defeated Torino 5-3 later that day.

    Elsewhere in the league, AC Milan maintained third place with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona, while AS Roma was surprisingly defeated by relegation-zoned team Palermo. 

    Eight matches are left in the Serie A season, and the title is not guaranteed to go to Juventus. There are still a number of big fixtures left that can change the race a bit.