European Football: Sun shines on island team

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The Independent Online
THE SUN-KISSED beaches of Majorca are likely to be eerily empty today. The usual loungers will instead be found watching Mallorca - the island's football team who hit the summit of the Spanish League for the first time last weekend - take on Deportivo La Coruna.

The islanders, whose stadium only holds 10,000 people, went top in style last week by thrashing Atletico Madrid 4-0, and leaving the Atletico coach Arrigo Sacchi's job prospects looking even less rosy at a club where patience is not regarded as a virtue.

The Mallorca coach, Hector Cuper, has risen to the top by producing a solid side who are still unbeaten. Their miserly defence, backed up by the Argentinian national goalkeeper Carlos Roa, has only conceded two goals in seven games.

In Serie A, Juventus, whose season has been dogged by indifferent form both at home and abroad, not to mention the judicial drugs probe, finally came good last weekend with a 1-0 win over last season's runners-up Internazionale.

Marcello Lippi's side will be looking to add to that victory against Sampdoria today. The Genoa club, struggling in the bottom half of the table, will have to defy the odds at the Stadio dellle Alpi if they are to prevent Juve from taking maximum points.

Internazionale, without the Brazilian Ze Elias, should get back to winning ways at home to Bari, and their co-tenants at the San Siro, Milan, will also hope to consolidate their third place at Piacenza.

Bayern Munich's remarkable early season run kept them on top of the European club rankings in a week which marked the entry of two Scandinavian teams in the top 20 for the first time.

The Danish League leaders AB Copenhagen rose from 24th to 15th place, and Rosenborg, after capturing their seventh successive Norwegian championship, came in at 18th place. The amazingly resilient men from Trondheim also top their Champions' League group at the half-way stage.

Andreas Moller, one of several members of Germany's old guard cast aside by the former coach Berti Vogts after the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Croatia last July in France, will be back in the Germany team for the friendly against the Netherlands next month. "He is an important player for us," said the new coach Erich Ribbeck. "He's fast and he can also score goals."

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