Mbappé’s century and Juve’s problems

Atletico Madrid stayed on course to win La Liga even as their rivals continued the pressure, Kylian Mbappé reached a milestone and Juventus saw their Serie A title jump certainly come to an end. A summary of some of the most important points of conversation from across the continent:

Oblak keeps Atletico on course

Atletico Madrid were grateful for goalkeeper Jan Oblak’s fantastic late save from Joselus’ penalty when they edged Alaves 1-0 to stay on their way to the Spanish title. Luis Suarez scored his 19th goal of the season when Atletico put their Champions League exit to Chelsea behind them and came back on track in La Liga.

How they needed to win also when Barcelona destroyed Real Sociedad, Sergino Dest and Lionel Messi who both did twice in a 6-1 victory. There are 18 games unbeaten for the Catalans, with Messi at 23 league heights.

Barca are four points behind Atletico with ten games left, including a meeting between the sides at the Camp Nou in May. Ronald Koeman’s team may even be favorites now, but Real Madrid is still in it and sits six points from the leaders in third place after winning 3-1 at Celta Vigo. Karim Benzema’s stay leaves him with seven goals in his last five league matches.

Mbappé sprints to the century

Kylian Mbappé is always in a hurry, whether he runs past opponents on the pitch or collects trophies. World Cup winner as a teenager and already four times a Ligue 1 title winner, Mbappé on Sunday became the youngest player to reach 100 goals in the French top flight with a stay in Paris Saint-Germain’s 4-2 victory in Lyon.

At 22 years and three months old, Mbappé is more than a year younger than Saint-Etienne big Herve Revelli when he reached 100 goals in 1969, according to the sports daily L’Equipe. Fontaine was 24 years and eight months old when he reached a century when he played for Reims in 1958, the year he did 13 times for France at the World Cup in Sweden.

Flickrad is swimming at Bayern

Everything looks good at Bayern Munich, with a 4-0 victory against Stuttgart that keeps them four points away from RB Leipzig above the Bundesliga after they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last midweek.

But pull back the lid and talk about tensions simmering behind the scenes between coach Hansi Flick and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic. Some suspect that Flick, linked to the soon-to-be vacancy in Germany, deliberately stumbles upon players signed by Salihamidzic.

On Saturday, Spanish midfielder Marc Roca – signed at the beginning of the season – was left on the bench despite Joshua Kimmich’s absence. Instead, David Alaba went into midfield but Lucas Hernandez, the club’s record holder, was also left on the bench and stayed there after left-back Alphonso Davies’ early dismissal.

With ten men Bayern still cruised, as Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to advance to 35 goals in 25 league games this season.

What happens now for Juventus?

Juventus’ hopes of a 10th straight Scudetto certainly vanished as they sank to a 1-0 home defeat by Benevento, a result that leaves them 10 points behind leaders Inter with 11 games left.

The defeat comes soon after their exit in the Champions League-16 match to Porto and means that Andrea Pirlo’s first season as coach seems to end in failure, even though they still have the Coppa Italia final coming against Atalanta.

On Sunday, Pirlo was improved by his old AC Milan teammate Pippo Inzaghi, now in charge of Benevento. Will Pirlo still be there next season? And is Cristiano leaving Ronaldo or is he staying the last year of his contract?

Gladbach bounces back in Alonso’s reports

Borussia Moenchengladbach had suffered seven straight defeats since the announcement that coach Marco Rose would leave for Borussia Dortmund in the summer. What they really needed was a match against the struggling Schalke and they duly won 3-0 at the bottom of the Bundesliga on Saturday to revive their dizzying European hopes.

Meanwhile, the club continues its search for a successor to Rose with reports showing that they have selected Xabi Alonso, ex-Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern star now in the coaching staff at Real Sociedad.

(AFP)