Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 22, 2015
MADRID---Barcelona s perfect
start will be challenged this week
when it travels to play Celta Vigo,
one of the early surprises of the
Still unbeaten after four rounds,
Celta Vigo has a chance to take the
lead from the defending champion
with a victory at its Balaidos Stadium
tomorrow. It trails Barcelona by two
points, along with Real Madrid and
"Celta is one of the most enter-
taining teams to watch," Barcelona
coach Luis Enrique said after his
team s 4-1 win over Levante on Sun-
day at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona has won its first four
matches for the fourth consecutive
year, and another victory in Vigo
will secure Lionel Messi s team a
place atop the standings.
Celta, which entered the season
with the goal of remaining in the
first division, earned a difficult 2-1
win at Sevilla on Sunday for its third
victory of the campaign. It could
have been savouring its own perfect
start to the season if it hadn t relin-
quished a two-goal lead at home
against 10-man Las Palmas two
"I think we can play a type of
football that allows us to beat any
team in this league," Celta s Argentine
coach Eduardo Berizzo said. "When
we play our best, we are capable of
beating the best teams in this league.
"It will be a very difficult game
against Barcelona, obviously, but we
think we can play up to their level
and get the victory," he said.
Here are other things to look for
in the Spanish league this week:
Give it a rest
Even Barcelona s top stars will
have to get used to sitting out match-
es from time to time.
After a 1-1 draw at Roma in the
Champions League last week, coach
Luis Enrique decided to rest Andres
Iniesta and Luiz Suarez against Lev-
ante, and said he was satisfied with
how the team performed without
the regular starters.
"The players need to rest and to
share playing time," Enrique said.
"It s something we need to do to
make sure that they are in the best
Suarez had been the only player
who had started in all of Barcelona s
seven matches of the season going
into the weekend.
Barcelona will play two league
games in the next six days, and seven
matches in all competitions in the
next 22 days.
Real Madrid is coming off four
straight victories, including against
Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions
League, and is also playing away this
week. It travels to Bilbao to face Ath-
letic, which has lost three matches
Cristiano Ronaldo was held score-
less in the 1-0 home win over Grana-
da after netting eight goals in his
two previous matches entering the
weekend, but Karim Benzema got
on the board for the fourth game in
a row, setting his best scoring run
to start a season.
The 27-year-old Frenchman, who
scored in five consecutive games for
Real Madrid in 2011, also scored
twice in four straight matches last
Villarreal, third in the standings,
also has a chance to take over the
league s lead this week. But coach
Marcelino Garcia Toral may be with-
out his top strikers when the team
plays at Malaga on Wednesday.
Cedric Bakambu sustained a right
ankle injury just 15 minutes into the
team s 3-1 home win over Athletic
Bilbao on Sunday, and Roberto Sol-
dado is nursing a left leg injury. Both
had to be substituted during the Bil-
bao match and are listed as doubtful
to play against Malaga.
"We have injuries to two very
important forwards," Toral said. "We
will have to wait for the tests to see
what will happen."
Atletico Madrid will open the fifth
round by hosting Getafe at the
Vicente Calderon Stadium on Tues-
day looking for a victory to stay close
to the leaders.
Atletico is in fifth place with nine
points, three behind Barcelona.
Uruguay defender Jose Maria
Gimenez said the current goal is to
stay near the top of the table to be
able to secure a Champions League
spot at the end of the year.
"We opt for the third place," he
said. "If later, during the season we
can compete, we won t lie to our-
selves, we will have to compete like
the year we became league cham-
pions, but right now we opt to qual-
ify for the Champions League and
get ahead of Valencia and Sevilla,
who are always fighting with us for
the third place."
BERLIN---Borussia Dortmund and
Bayern Munich are leading the
charge in the German league. No
two teams have ever before started
the Bundesliga with five wins at
the same time.
The sixth round see midweek
games taking place, with defending
champion Bayern hosting runner-
up Wolfsburg on Tuesday, before
Dortmund---which leads Bayern on
goal difference---visits Hoffenheim
Borussia Moenchengladbach and
Stuttgart are still looking for their
first points after dismal starts to
the season. Gladbach will have to
find a new coach after Lucien Favre
resigned Sunday night.
Here are some things to know
about the round:
Dortmund on song
Dortmund s fans are already
singing about the title following the
club s best ever start to the season.
The side is reinvigorated under new
coach Thomas Tuchel, with 11
straight wins from 11 games across
all competitions so far, the latest
an impressive 3-0 win over Bayer
Leverkusen on Sunday.
No team has ever made such a
good start in the Bundesliga, where
Dortmund has scored 18 goals and
conceded three in its five straight
Hoffenheim has often proved a
thorn in Dortmund s side and there
remains an element of bad feeling
between the clubs.
This season, however, has not
gone according to plan. Hoffenheim
has just one point after four defeats
in its opening five games.
Champion vs Vice-Champion
Wolfsburg defeated Bayern 4-1
when the sides last met in January
but the team hasn t fully clicked
yet this season following the depar-
ture of Kevin de Bruyne and the
arrivals of Julian Draxler and Brazil-
ian defender Dante.
Dante will be keen to impress
against his former colleagues after
being found surplus to requirements
at Bayern. Wolfsburg hasn t con-
ceded in three games.
But Wolfsburg s 2-0 home win
over Hertha Berlin was somewhat
fortunate on Saturday, and Bayern
will present a far greater challenge
Pep Guardiola was able to rotate
his side in the 3-0 win at Darm-
stadt, with Thomas Mueller, Xabi
Alonso, Philipp Lahm and Thiago
Alcantara all starting on the bench,
while Robert Lewandowski was left
out to recover from a knock.
From 'Gladbach to worse
Moenchengladbach s bad start to
the season took an unexpected turn
for the worse Sunday when Lucien
Favre decided he d had enough.
Favre saved the club from relegation
after taking over in 2011 and led it
to the Champions League last sea-
But the 57-year-old felt he was
no longer the "perfect coach" for
Gladbach despite strong attempts
from sporting director Max Eberl
to convince him otherwise. Satur-
day s 1-0 loss to Cologne in the
Rhine derby proved the final straw.
Former under-23 coach Andre
Schubert was to take charge on an
interim basis before Augsburg s visit
on Wednesday. Eberl said the club
would take its time to find Favre s
"We want the best solution for
Borussia and won t panic," Eberl
said on Monday.
Stuttgart's signs of life
Despite starting with five straight
defeats, Stuttgart has been showing
signs of life under new coach
His side dominated against
Schalke on Sunday and created a
host of chances to score, only to
find Ralf Faehrmann in inspired
form in the visiting goal.
Zorniger and the team still have
the Stuttgart fans support, even if
they have no points to show for
"Everything can t be that bad if
we re still being applauded after
five losses," captain Christian Gen-
tner said after the latest one.
On Sunday, Stuttgart visits Han-
nover, another side desperate for
points after four defeats and a draw.
Bayer Leverkusen is also won-
dering what has gone wrong after
three consecutive defeats in the
league. Sporting director Rudi
Voeller said the side was like a
"sleeping beauty" after the loss in
Roger Schmidt s side hasn t
scored in three games and its
defense looks suspect ahead of the
visit of Mainz on Wednesday.
Mainz was third, albeit for one
night only, after beating Hoffenheim
3-1 on Friday with Yunus Malli
scoring a hat trick.
"We didn t extend his contract
(to 2018) to sell him again two days
later," Mainz general manager Chris-
tian Heidel said.
FC Barcelona's Neymar, left, kicks the ball against Levante during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou
stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. AP PHOTO
Barcelona gets early challenge
Dortmund, Bayern still charging ahead in Bundesliga
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