European review

Real hit the front; Bayern march on; Celtic drop more points

Lionel Messi: Netted a hat-trick inside the opening half-an-hour for Barcelona

Mario Gomez: Bagged a brace as Bayern Munich strengthened their grip on top spot

Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick for Barcelona, but Real Madrid lead in Spain, while Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain will take some stopping.

Celtic dropped yet more points in the Scottish Premier League, AC Milan edged a five-goal thriller and it was honours even in Holland's top of the table clash.

Primera Liga

Lionel Messi was at his unstoppable best for Barcelona on Saturday as he netted a hat-trick inside the opening half-an-hour in a 5-0 demolition of Real Mallorca.

The weekend encounter at Camp Nou also proved to be a memorable one for Isaac Cuenca, with the latest product of Barca's famed academy system netting his first senior goal.

It is, however, Real Madrid that top the Primera Liga table following a narrow 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad.

Gonzalo Higuain grabbed the only goal of the game for Los Blancos as they moved one point clear of Barca at the summit.

Surprise package Levante missed the chance to return to the top on Sunday as they suffered their first defeat of the season away at 10-man Osasuna.

Serie A

Juventus prevailed in their crunch clash with out-of-sorts Inter Milan on Saturday to maintain their one-point lead at the top of the Italian top flight.

Goals from Mirko Vucinic and Claudio Marchisio saw the Bianconeri pick up three valuable points at Giuseppe Meazza.

A solitary strike from Antonio Di Natale in their date with Palermo means Udinese remain second, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a brace for AC Milan as they edged a spectacular contest in the capital 3-2 against Roma.

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich added another four goals to their impressive tally and kept yet another clean sheet as they swept aside Nurnberg.

The prolific Mario Gomez proved to be the star of the show at the Allianz Arena as he bagged a deadly double.

Veteran frontman Raul was on target for Schalke as they beat Hoffenheim 3-1 to secure a fourth win in five outings.

Reigning champions Borussia Dortmund were held 1-1 on the road by Stuttgart, while Wolfsburg slipped to their sixth defeat of a disappointing campaign at home to Hertha Berlin.

Ligue 1

Paris St Germain continue to lead the way in France, with a 4-2 win over Caen on Saturday seeing them three points clear of the chasing pack.

Montpellier are now their closest challengers but Lyon, fresh from a hard-fought 2-0 victory over St Etienne, remain very much in the hunt.

Marseille left it late to see off Dijon 3-2 and maintain their impressive recent form, while Brest picked up their first victory of the season at the 12th time of asking.

Eredivisie

The latest round of fixtures played into AZ Alkmaar's hands, as they pulled six points clear at the top of the Eredivisie with a 1-0 victory over Heracles.

PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente failed to close the gap on Saturday as they played out at 2-2 draw, with PSV ending the game a man short.

Vitesse saw off De Graafschap 1-0 to stretch their unbeaten run to six matches, while Excelsior are finally up and running after seeing off RKC Waalwijk to secure their first three-point haul of the campaign.

SPL

Reigning champions Rangers strengthened their grip on the SPL title over the weekend, with nine points now separating them from second-placed Motherwell.

A 2-1 victory over Aberdeen saw the Gers stretch their unbeaten start to the season to 13 games.

Motherwell sit second after two goals in the final 13 minutes saw them come from behind to beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-2.

Celtic must console themselves with third place at present, with a disappointing goalless draw with Hibernian in their latest outing meaning they have now picked up just eight points from the last 18 on offer.

Best of the rest

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer led Molde to their first league title in his debut season as boss, with a 2-2 draw against Stromsgodset enough to see them take the crown.

Fenerbahce remain top on the Turkish top flight, but Istanbul BB, Galatasaray and Besiktas are just a point adrift of the leaders.

In Portugal, Benfica and Portugal remain locked together at the summit after proving too strong for Olhanense and Pacos Ferreira respectively.

RankingPlayerTeamCompetitionRating (10)Key stats
1Lionel MessiBarcelonaLa Liga10Scored his ninth La Liga hat-trick, made an assist
2Robin van PersieArsenalPremier League10Scored a hat-trick, made an assist
3Marco ReusBorussia MönchengladbachBundesliga10Scored his fourth Bundesliga brace
4Zlatan IbrahimovicAC MilanSerie A10Attempted five shots, scored two goals
5Dani AlvesBarcelonaLa Liga10Scored a goal and assisted another
6Gareth BaleTottenhamPremier League9Attempted six shots, scored a brace
7Rafael van der VaartTottenhamPremier League9Attempted six shots, scored a goal
8Klaas-Jan HuntelaarFC Schalke 04Bundesliga9Scored his ninth and tenth goals in this Bundesliga campaign
9Yannick SagboEvian Thonon GaillardLigue 19Scored his first ever Ligue 1 brace
10Joe AllenSwansea CityPremier League9Scored a goal, created five goal scoring chances