The Bundesliga is now not the only major European league to have resumed play following the resumption of La Liga last week.
Beginning on Thursday with the small matter of a Seville derby – won 2-0 by Sevilla – the action was drip-fed over the following days, as all the sides in the division returned to action.
El Clasico duo Barcelona and Real Madrid restarted with routine-enough wins, while Atletico Madrid’s domestic struggles remained despite the extended period away from the pitch.
Two will become four by the end of the week as the Premier League and Serie A gear up for their respected returns, and with games coming pretty much every day, there’s plenty to keep fans excited over the next few weeks.
Thursday 11th June Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Star Player: Lucas Ocampos (2p)
- Top Defender: Jesus Navas (2p)
- Top Midfielder: Lucas Ocampos (2p)
- Top Forward: Munir El Haddadi (2p)
- Media: Dele Alli (3p)
Friday 12th June Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Star Player: Peter Gulacsi (2p)
- Top Defender: Peter Gulacsi (2p)
- Top Midfielder: Dani Olmo (2p)
- Top Forward: Rodrigo Moreno (2p)
- Media: Timo Werner (3p)
Saturday 13th June Gold Match Day Winners:
- Star Player: Lionel Messi (8p)
- Top Defender: Bernardo Espinosa (8p)
- Top Midfielder: Leon Goretzka (8p)
- Top Forward: Lionel Messi (8p)
- Media: Erling Haaland (3p)
Sunday 14th June Silver Match Day Winners:
- Star Player: Sergio Ramos (4p)
- Top Defender: Sergio Ramos (4p)
- Top Midfielder: Toni Kroos (4p)
- Top Forward: Florian Niederlechner (4p)
- Media: Lionel Messi (3p)
Lionel Messi Leaves His Mark on the Return of Gold Match Days
Saturday 13th June marked the return of Gold Match Days here at Football Index, 97 days after the last one, so it was almost fitting that Star Player was none other than a certain Lionel Messi (£5.13).
Barcelona marked their return to action with a 4-0 win away to Mallorca, with Messi at the centre of their victory with two assists and a goal late on.
It may have only been his first game back, but it didn’t stop him from making history once again. His late strike took him to 20 league goals for the season, becoming the first player to score in 12 consecutive La Liga seasons in the process.
As well, his two assists take his league goal contributions total to 34 for the season (20 goals and 14 assists), which is a tally no other player across Europe’s top five leagues can better.
Having risen by 6p since Saturday, Messi looks in the mood which is a good sign for Barca, as they remain two points ahead of Real Madrid in their pursuit of a 27th league title come the end of the season.
A Look to the Future for Real Madrid
Real Madrid won their first game back 3-1 against Eibar on Sunday, with Sergio Ramos (£0.98) earning the Star Player and Top Defender Dividends, while Toni Kroos (£3.54) took home Top Midfielder Dividends.
However, their biggest riser over the weekend actually came from a prospect on loan in the shape of Takefusa Kubo (£2.29).
Currently, on loan at Mallorca, Kubo faced a side with whom he spent some of his early career with at La Masia, and caught the eye over the course of the game.
He was the creative hub for the relegation-threatened side, while continually looking for space and attempting to drive his side forward.
It was a performance that resonated with Traders, resulting in a 23p price increase following the game. If Messi represented the present as La Liga’s very best, then Kubo perhaps gave a glimpse of what’s in store for the future.
Bayern Munich One Game Away
The proverbial Bundesliga title race for this season has almost run its course thanks to events over the weekend.
An extremely late winner from Erling Haaland (£8.33) for Borussia Dortmund against Fortuna Dusseldorf meant Bayern couldn’t lift the title later in the day, but their crowning is now a matter of when rather than if.
With Robert Lewandowski (£2.23), Thomas Müller (£1.25) and Alassane Pléa (£1.51) all suspended for Bayern’s game with Borussia Mönchengladbach – that’s 47 league goals and 33 assists between that trio this season – the game was crying out for someone to step up.
Enter Leon Goretzka (£1.75).
The German has been key for Die Roten since the restart, with this game being no different. The midfielder arrived right on cue, akin to Michael Ballack, to slot home the game’s winner four minutes from time to secure the win for the hosts.
It means that Bayern will now be Bundesliga champions if they beat Werder Bremen on Tuesday, resulting in their eighth consecutive league title and 30th in the club’s history.
There is also the small matter of a DFB-Pokal final against Bayer Leverkusen and the Champions League to look forward to. It wouldn’t be a bad season for Hansi Flick to win the treble in his first season in charge.
Dries Mertens – History Maker
While Football Index don’t pay out for the Coppa Italia, it would be remiss of us not to mention a goal that saw Dries Mertens (£0.98) make history.
His equaliser in the semi-final against Inter Milan saw the Belgian become the club’s all-time leading scorer, taking him one ahead of Marek Hamsik.
The goal was just as important as it was significant, as it sent Napoli into the Coppa Italia final in the process, where they will face Juventus after they came through their semi-final against Inter’s great city rivals, AC Milan.
Mertens’ historic goal is all the more staggering considering how close he was to leaving Napoli in January for Chelsea. According to journalist Kristof Terreur, Mertens was “quite convinced” in regards of a move to Stamford Bridge, before performing a U-turn.
It seems to have paid off, with him now set to stay at the Stadio San Paolo for the next few years, while doing so as the most prolific scorer in the club’s history.
Chelsea Midfield Duo Star in Friendly Ahead of Premier League’s Return
Clubs in England have been playing friendlies in the past week or so to regain something that resembles match sharpness ahead of the resumption of the Premier League.
For Chelsea, they appear to be sharper than quite a few others following a 7-1 thrashing of fellow London club QPR, with two midfielders, in particular, catching the eye.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£2.82) and Billy Gilmour (£3.25) both scored braces in the win, which has seen them enjoy price increases by 9p and 5p respectively. News of Loftus-Cheek’s return to fitness will be huge for Chelsea, with the midfielder spending over a year on the sidelines with a ruptured Achilles.
Gilmour meanwhile was finding his groove before play was suspended in March, having started, and impressing, in Chelsea’s last two games.
With the Blues looking to keep hold of their place in the top four, as well as the FA Cup to worry about, the number of quality options in the centre of the park will delight Frank Lampard.
*All Share Prices, rises and falls accurate at time of writing