Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to a confidence-boosting 2-0 win at in-form Sevilla on Saturday to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Dembele latched on to a through ball from Messi and knocked it through the legs of Sevilla keeper Bono to give Barca a deserved lead in the 29th minute after dominating the first half and barely giving their hosts a hint of a chance.
Sevilla improved after the break but Barca continued to have the edge and found a second goal five minutes from time when Messi played a one-two with teenage midfielder Ilaix Moriba and netted with a scrappy finish after his first effort was saved.
The result ended a six-game winning streak in the league for Sevilla, who remained fourth in the standings on 48 points, while Barca climbed above Real Madrid into second place with 53 points, two behind Atletico but having played two more games.
Sevilla can avenge the defeat on Wednesday when they head to the Camp Nou for a Copa del Rey semi-final second leg with a 2-0 lead in the tie.
Bundesliga: Bayern back to winning ways
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both struck twice as Bayern Munich crushed Cologne 5-1 to earn their first win in three league games and go five points clear at the top.
Apart from Lewandowski and Gnabry, Bayern were also indebted to Leon Goretzka who delivered another silky performance with three assists.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting opened the champions’ account with his first league goal this season, heading in Goretzka’s cross at the far post in the 18th minute.
Lewandowski struck 15 minutes later, combining with Goretzka after a bad pass back from Cologne and the Pole made it 28 league goals from an assist by Thomas Muller, seconds after the midfielder came on in the 65th minute following a coronavirus infection.
Muller is the league’s top provider with 11 assists while Lewandowski is looking to break Gerd Muller’s record of 40 league goals in one season dating back to the 1971-72 campaign.
Substitute Gnabry completed the rout with two late goals in four minutes.
RB Leipzig’s Alexander Sorloth headed in a stoppage-time winner as they battled back from two goals down to beat visitors Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2 and stay two points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Sorloth headed in at the far post to complete a second-half comeback deep in stoppage time.
Gladbach had stunned Leipzig with two goals in the opening 19 minutes, one from in-form Jonas Hofmann after six minutes and the second a flick off Marcus Thuram’s shoulder.
The hosts, who were lucky not to concede a third goal before the break, shot out of the blocks in the second half and overran their opponents, scoring twice in nine minutes to level.
Christopher Nkunku tapped in a cutback in the 57th and Yussuf Poulsen then thundered in a shot that went in off the post to equalise in the 66th.
Substitute Emil Forsberg’s 76th-minute free-kick forced a sensational save out of Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer, who tipped it onto the crossbar as the visitors thought they had done enough for a draw.
But Sorloth beat his marker to head in the late winner and put Leipzig on 50 points, one place behind Bayern.
Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider had to deny reports of mutiny within the squad before his struggling team lost 5-1 to Stuttgart.
Kicker and other media outlets reported several players asked for Christian Gross, already Schalke’s fourth coach of the season, to be replaced.
The team’s performance seemed to confirm the reports – Japan midfielder Wataru Endo was left completely free to score his first two goals in the league, before more lacklustre defending allowed Saa Kalajdic to score in the 34th minute.
Sead Kolainac answered for Schalke just before half-time, but substitute Nabil Bentaleb saw his weak penalty saved and Endo set up Philipp Klement for Stuttgart’s fourth late on. Daniel Didavi completed the rout in injury time.
Borussia Dortmund beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 with Jadon Sancho on target from the spot, while Hertha Berlin’s winless streak stretched to nine games after losing 2-0 at Wolfsburg.
Dortmund cut the gap on fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt to three points with their victory.
Bielefeld’s defeat was good news for Hertha, who lost despite a good performance in Wolfsburg. Only goal difference is keeping Hertha above Bielefeld in the relegation zone.