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Talking points from European soccer

Talking points from the weekend in European soccer leagues:



A year ago Union Berlin was launching what would become their most successful Bundesliga season, culminating in a fourth-place finish and a spot in this season’s Champions League.

But their 1-0 loss at promoted Heidenheim on Saturday confirmed the Berliners are now in freefall with their fifth straight defeat in all competitions.

Having dropped to 11th with six points from six games, Urs Fischer’s team have little time to recover as they host Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday and then visit Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga next Saturday.

“We are not even thinking about Dortmund, just Braga,” said striker Sheraldo Becker. “We have to start getting points again and find our game back.”



After Napoli’s lacklustre start to the season, it seems the champions are once again a force to be reckoned with in Serie A.

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In their last two matches, they have scored eight goals and are now third, four points off leaders Inter Milan and AC Milan.

Key striker Victor Osimhen has scored in consecutive games against Udinese and Lecce and proclaimed his love for the club and city on Sunday after his agent last week threatened legal action against Napoli after they posted a video mocking him.

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“The passion of the People of Naples fuels my fire to always play with my heart and soul, and the love for the badge is unwavering as I wear it with pride,” he said on social media.

Napoli and Osimhen have timed their resurgence well as they face Real Madrid in a challenging Champions League clash in Naples on Tuesday before Fiorentina visit on Sunday.



Real Madrid have bounced back with wins over Las Palmas on Wednesday and Girona on Saturday to regain top spot in LaLiga after a painful 3-1 loss to city rivals Atletico last week.

Second-placed Barcelona, one point behind their rivals, also returned to winning ways after a midweek draw at Mallorca with a 1-0 home victory over Sevilla on Friday thanks to an own goal from former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

After Girona briefly led the table, Real and Barca – among the biggest rivals in world football – are again setting the pace and look set for an exciting battle for LaLiga dominance this term after the Catalans claimed the title last season.

By The African Mirror