German sides Schalke and Borussia Dortmund both warmed up for Champions League matches with Premier League opponents this week with victories in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Schalke, who entertain Chelsea on Tuesday, required a last-minute goal to see off bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig 3-2. They trailed 2-1 before goals from Leon Goretzka on the hour-mark and midfielder Roman Neustädter, in the 90th minute, completed a comeback which saw the fifth-placed side extend their unbeaten run to three games.
An early Marco Reus penalty was enough to secure a 1-0 victory for Dortmund at home to Hannover. The win saw Dortmund, who travel to the Emirates to face in-form Arsenal on Tuesday, return to winning ways after Jürgen Klopp’s side suffered their first defeat of the season against Borussia Mönchengladbach before the international break.
In a tight encounter, Dortmund enjoyed the better of the play with Germany midfielder Reus causing problems for the Hannover defence while youngster Sokratis Papastathopoulos impressed in place of the suspended Mats Hummels in defence.
Reus’s fourth-minute spot-kick took Dortmund to within a point of leaders Bayern Munich, who had half-time substitute Mario Götze to thank for inspiring their 4-1 victory over Mainz after they had trailed at the break. The summer signing from Dortmund set up two goals in the second half to keep the Bavarians unbeaten in the league.
In Spain, Real Sociedad defeated Valencia 2-1 at the Mestalla on Saturday to end a barren run of seven games without a win in La Liga. Jagoba Arrasate’s side visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Wednesday and warmed up with a deserved victory. Valencia were on top before winger Antoin Griezmann finished off a well-worked move for Sociedad and midfielder Ruben Pardo secured the points with a fine strike after being set up by former Arsenal forward Carlos Vela. The home side then hit a late consolation.
Elsewhere, leaders Barcelona’s 13-match winning run came to an end as they were held to a goalless draw at Osasuna. Second-placed Atletico Madrid failed to take advantage, losing 1-0 at Espanyol, while Real Madrid moved into third with a 2-0 victory over Malaga, Cristiano Ronaldo converting a last-minute penalty controversially won by substitute Gareth Bale on his return from injury.
Reigning Russian Premier League champions CSKA Moscow slumped to a 2-0 defeat away to fellow Champions League competitors Zenit St Petersburg on Friday to remain in fifth place ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s visit of Manchester City.
CSKA are without a win or goal in their last five league matches, Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa missing a gilt-edged chance from six yards before forcing Zenit goalkeeper Yuri Lodigin to produce a fine save low to his left-hand corner with a powerful drive from outside the box.
In the Dutch Eredivisie, reigning champions Ajax equalised in the last 10 minutes to rescue a 1-1 draw against leaders FC Twente on Saturday. Frank de Boer’s side trailed from the 22nd minute following a tap-in from Luc Castaignos but a defensive mistake allowed Icelandic striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to restore parity late on and take Ajax up to fourth, a point behind Twente.
Ajax face Scottish champions Celtic in Glasgow tomorrow evening and are unbeaten in three games since a 4-0 demolition by PSV Eindhoven last month.