Weekend Review: Borussia Dortmund dazzle, Odegaard MVP

There was no LaLiga action this weekend thanks to Saturday’s Copa del Rey final, but the European weekend delivered plenty to talk about across the major leagues, with Manchester City staying on course for the Premier League title despite Martin Odegaard‘s big game for Arsenal. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund both won to keep the Bundesliga race alive for another week.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden, James Olley and James Tyler break down the most interesting and important stuff you need to know about the weekend.


Talking points

Dortmund, Bellingham get it done in style

Tyler: Regardless of where the Bundesliga title ends up this season, credit to Borussia Dortmund for regaining some momentum and keeping it tight at the top with just three rounds of matches remaining. Sunday’s 6-0 shellacking of Wolfsburg means BVB are one point behind league leaders Bayern Munich and closed the gap (slightly) on goal difference thanks to a fluid, potent display of their attacking prowess against an opponent with very little to play for.

– Watch replay: Dortmund 6-0 Wolfsburg (ESPN+, U.S. only)

Jude Bellingham (two goals), Karim Adeyemi (goal, two assists), Sebastien Haller (goal, assist) and Julian Brandt (three assists) put on a show at a jam-packed Signal Iduna Park in what will likely be one of Bellingham’s final home games in black and yellow. Wolfsburg simply had no response for Dortmund’s proactive, relentless wide play. Adeyemi nodded home a Brandt cross after 14 minutes, then turned provider with a surge down the left and low cross for an easy Haller finish. Donyell Malen had a similarly easy conversion from Brandt’s low cross to make it 3-0 before half-time, and it just continued from there.

Bellingham had arguably the best goal of all, thumping a long-range shot that Koen Casteels palmed up onto the bar, the ricochet spinning over the line in hilarious fashion to make it 4-0. Adeyemi and Bellingham added the finishing touches for what was a surprisingly comfortable afternoon over a Wolfsburg side that had conceded the fourth fewest goals in the Bundesliga prior to this weekend.

In terms of the title, Bayern have a one-point edge but a much tougher run-in, with their game against RB Leipzig on May 20 a potential trap. Dortmund have regained some form of late, winning three and drawing two of their last five, but they’ll need to be perfect from here on out and hope Bayern have one more wobble left in them in order to break the Bavarians’ remarkable run of 10 straight league titles.

Gundogan’s miss sours a good day for Man City

Dawson: Ilkay Gundogan‘s double won the game for Manchester City against Leeds United on Saturday, but the veteran midfielder will still have walked off the pitch at the Etihad with some angry words from Pep Guardiola ringing in his ears.

Guardiola was annoyed that Gundogan — rather than Erling Haaland or Riyad Mahrez — had taken and missed a penalty that would have put City 3-0 in front before Leeds went down the other end and scored to make for a nervous finale. Fortunately for Gundogan, the City manager had calmed down by the time he walked into the media room for his post-match news conference and rather than berate the 32-year-old, he spoke only of his admiration.

Gundogan is out of contract in the summer and is yet to decide where he wants to play next season. Barcelona are interested, but asked whether he would want to keep Gundogan at City, Guardiola replied: “The club knows my opinion on that.”

City believe Gundogan has earned the right to decide his own future, but plans to revamp the midfield have been complicated by Real Madrid‘s aggressive pursuit of Bellingham. If Bellingham chooses the Bernabeu — and, crucially, if Real Madrid can agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund — then Guardiola may need Gundogan to stay a little longer.

Captains lead the way in Ligue 1

Laurens: It has been an unforgettable weekend in French football, especially if you are a club captain.

On Saturday, Seko Fofana, the Paris-born leader of Lens, opened the scoring with a wonder strike in the huge clash against Marseille at the Stade Bollaert. It was third vs. second in Ligue 1 and the home side’s victory put them (and Fofana) in the driving seat for direct qualification into the Champions League next season. Lens are now two points clear of Marseille with a slightly better goal difference (+31 against +28). With four games remaining, they’re dreaming of a return to the best club competition in the world.

Lyon and their captain Alexandre Lacazette cannot finish in the top three this season, but they’re still fighting to finish in the top five. For that, they had to beat Montpellier at home on Sunday and they did it in the most dramatic way. After being 4-1 down after 55 minutes thanks to a remarkable four goals from Elye Wahi for the visitors, Lyon came back to win 5-4 thanks to a quadruple from Laca, including a penalty in the 100th minute. The Groupama stadium exploded and the victory brings Lyon level on points with Rennes in sixth, and just three points behind Lille in fifth.

With two quadruples in the same game, a crazy scenario and a captain on fire for the home side, this Lyon-Montpellier match will go down in Ligue 1 history.

Mexico‘s Gimenez on form for Feyenoord, Celtic clinch the Scottish title

Marsden: Mexico international Santiago Gimenez struck twice this weekend to move Dutch side Feyenoord within touching distance of their first Eredivisie title since 2017. Gimenez’s brace — which took his tally in his debut season in Europe to 22 in all competitions — sealed a 2-0 win in the Rotterdam Derby against Excelsior, leaving Feyenoord eight points clear of PSV Eindhoven with just three games to go.

Arne Slot’s side have done remarkably well in recent weeks to hold off the threat of PSV, who have strung together a 13-game unbeaten streak that now looks in vain. Feyenoord have done so by losing just once in 31 league games all season and by playing some attractive football. As is often the case, though, their success could see Slot and Gimenez targetted by bigger European clubs in the summer.

Elsewhere outside of Europe’s Big Five leagues, Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic wrapped up the Scottish Premiership on Sunday with four games to spare by beating Hearts 2-0. Kyogo Furuhashi and Oh Hyun-Gyu got the goals as the Hoops made it 11 league title in 12 years to reassert their dominance over Rangers, whose 2021 triumph under Steven Gerrard now feels a long time ago.


Goals

Kane on song for Spurs

Dawson: Guardiola once referred to Tottenham Hotspur as “the Harry Kane team” and now more than ever, you can see why. The England striker appears to be the only thing between Spurs and outright collapse and it was fitting that it was his goal which won the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Tottenham are still somehow still in the mix to qualify for Europe next season, but they would be nowhere near without Kane’s 26 Premier League goals. Either way, his season would be getting far more attention if it wasn’t for Haaland’s record-breaking campaign.

Kane’s goal against Palace — a clinical back post header — saw him surpass Wayne Rooney as the Premier League’s second all-time goalscorer behind Alan Shearer and further cement his place as a great of English football.

Theo’s masterclass on point for AC Milan

Laurens: It is not like if Lazio didn’t know what could be coming when they faced Milan’s Theo Hernandez this weekend. Whoever analyses the game of the France international would see that if there is one thing he loves and is very good at, it’s running forward at pace with the ball before taking a shot; he scored a goal like that against Atalanta at the end of last season, running the length of the pitch with the ball before hitting it low in the bottom corner across goal.

And, on Saturday, he did it again as Lazio let him run 80 yards before smashing the ball in the top corner this time. It was a fabulous goal and shows just what he is capable of.

In what was a huge game in the race for the top 4 in Serie A, Theo delivered. Last season’s champions are still fifth in the table, but have closed the gap with Lazio in third to three points. As well as being one of the best goals of the season in Italy, this Theo strike could well go down as one of the most important.

A peach for Werder Bremen in defeat

Tyler: Bayern Munich hung on for a 2-1 win at Bremen to remain fully engaged in the Bundesliga title chase with Borussia Dortmund, but how about this beautiful long-range strike by Nicklas Schmidt?

That’s the kind of goal you tell your grandchildren about as Schmidt collected the ball from Milos Veljkovic and swung his leg through it from fully 30 yards, leaving Bayern keeper Yann Sommer pawing at thin air. At Weekend Review, we like to celebrate cool goals as well as consequential ones.


Teams in trouble

Leeds United

Olley: “Big Sam” Allardyce may consider himself Pep Guardiola’s equal when it comes to coaching, but he couldn’t avoid defeat to Manchester City in his first match as Leeds manager on Saturday.

Halting the City juggernaut was always going to be a tall order, with Guardiola’s side winning their 10th Premier League game in a row to move four points clear at the top. Allardyce only had three training sessions to work with his new players, but took a bold call in dropping goalkeeper Illan Meslier for Joel Robles and there were at least some positives the 68-year-old could take from the second half when Rodrigo‘s 85th-minute goal left City playing out time to complete a 2-1 win.

“When you see Manchester City running down the clock for four minutes at the end, you know you have given yourself a chance,” he said afterwards, though time really is against Leeds now. They hover above the relegation places on goal difference having played a game more than the three teams below them, all of whom are in action on Monday.

Leeds face high-flying Newcastle at home, West Ham away and then Tottenham at Elland Road on the final day of the season. At least one win will likely be required for Big Sam to pull off another one of his trademark escapes.

Spare a thought for Malaga

Marsden: The Copa del Rey final — that saw Real Madrid beat Osasuna 2-1 on Saturday to win the competition for the first time since 2014 — brought greater focus on Spain’s second division this weekend, with no LaLiga fixtures taking place. Malaga will not have been grateful for the attention.

It has only been 10 years since Malaga came agonisingly close to a Champions League semifinal, losing to eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund in dramatic circumstances, but this weekend their relegation to the third tier of Spanish football was all but confirmed with a 2-0 defeat at Ponferradina, who are also heading down. A recent flurry of four wins in five games had inspired belief that the great escape was possible, but a goalless draw at home to Huesca on Monday and Sunday’s loss to Ponferradina has left them eight points adrift of safety with just three matches to be played.

A sobering thought: just five years have passed since Malaga were playing Madrid and Barcelona; next year, their first team will likely be at the same level as those giants’ reserve teams instead.


Weekend MVP

Odegaard comes up big for Arsenal

Olley: Martin Odegaard kept Arsenal in the hunt for the Premier League title with a man-of-the-match display in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Newcastle. The Gunners needed guile and graft in equal measure at a raucous St James’ Park, where the home side had only lost one game all season, and the 24-year-old embodied both qualities with an all-action display.

Odegaard’s 14th-minute opener would swing the game decisively in the visitors’ favour, arrowing a shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Nick Pope‘s goal from 20 yards. It was a pivotal moment, quietening the home crowd and giving Arsenal a foothold in the match. Odegaard also scored twice in the midweek win over Chelsea and backed that up with another influential display here; he has now got on the scoresheet 15 times in the Premier League this season with nine non-penalty goals away from home, the latter being the highest tally for an Arsenal player in six years.

Arsenal cut City’s lead at the top to one point — having played a game more — and Odegaard is doing his best to help ensure Pep Guardiola’s side have to keep winning right to the wire.