Madrid: Withstanding the rain and cold, Real Madrid pulled off a hard-fought victory against Alaves to put pressure on Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league on Saturday.
Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal scored second-half goals as Real Madrid beat their tough Basque Country opponent 2-1 to take the league lead from Barcelona, which visits fifth-placed Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
It was the third straight league win for Madrid, which is unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.
“It’s a very important victory, but we are not concerned with what will happen tomorrow between Barcelona and Atletico,’’ Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann lost on his debut as Hertha Berlin coach, Bayern Munich was finally beaten under interim coach Hansi Flick and Leipzig moved to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Leipzig profited from Bayern’s 2-1 shock defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen by moving three points clear of the Bavarian powerhouse with a 3-2 win at last-placed Paderborn.
Klinsmann’s tenure of Hertha began with a lackluster loss at home to 10-man Borussia Dortmund, which held on for a 2-1 win to ease the pressure on coach Lucien Favre.
Early goals from Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard were enough for Dortmund’s first win in four games across all competitions.
Klinsmann, the former Germany, United States, and Bayern Munich coach, was hired by Hertha on Wednesday to replace the fired Ante Covic, but couldn’t prevent a fifth straight league defeat.
“It’s annoying, of course. We’d have taken a point at least. But generally I’m very satisfied with the team,’’ Klinsmann said. “They gave all that they have at the moment.”
Leverkusen striker Leon Bailey scored twice to end Flick’s four-game winning start across all competitions and deny Bayern the chance to join Leipzig at the top.
Bailey’s 10th-minute opening goal for the visitors was the first Bayern conceded since firing Niko Kovac four weeks ago. Bayern racked up 16 of its own goals in the meantime to give Flick the best ever start for a coach at the club.