MUNICH: Bayern Munich returned to Bundesliga action by making 10 changes from the side who wrecked Barcelona with four goalas in midweek – and still carried on setting German league records.
Jupp Heynckes’s men, already crowned domestic champions, set a points best with a 1-0 win over Freiburg and with three rounds of matches still to be played.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s first-half free kick lifted treble-chasing Bayern to 84 points, three more than the record set by Borussia Dortmund last season. This was also their 27th victory in 31 league games and enhanced their goal difference to 76.
In Bulgaria Levski Sofia went top of the league after a last-minute goal from Portuguese striker Joao Silva secured a 2-1 win over CSKA but the derby was overshadowed by pre-match hooligan violence which brought 57 arrests.
The fixture has a long history of crowd violence. A 30-year-old man was killed by a bomb in 2000 and hooliganism and arrests have been rife ever since.
In France it was players involved in fighting after a first-half goal from Mathieu Valbuena brought Marseille a 1-0 win at Lorient. In the closing minutes players from both teams scrapped in a mass brawl after Fabien Audard slapped Valbuena in the face. Audard and Marseille’s Dede Ayew were sent off.
Marseille’s 12th 1-0 win of the season, their seventh clean sheet in a row, consolidated them in second place behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Ajax close in
In Holland Ajax Amsterdam stayed on course for a third straight title after winning 2-0 at struggling NAC Breda. The leaders have 70 points with two matches remaining and can secure the crown next week with a victory at home to bottom club Willem II Tilburg.
Breda went close to opening the score when a header from Eric Botteghin hit the bar. Iceland striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson then put the visitors in front two minutes into the second half and, five minutes later, Tim Gilissen headed into his own goal as he tried to clear a corner.
In Italy Napoli maintained their faint title hopes alive with a 3-0 win away to bottom side Pescara on second-half goals from Gohkan Inler, Goran Pandev and Blerim Dzemaili. Napoli are eight points behind leaders Juventus who must visit derby rivals Torino.
In Spain Barcelona were kept waiting for the league title after conceding a late goal to Ander Herrera and a 2-2 draw away to Athletic Bilbao while second-placed Real Madrid won the capital derby 2-1 away to Atletico.
Barcelona, thumped within four goals of a Champions League exit by Bayern in Munich in midweek, rested Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta on the bench.
But Bilbao took a surprise 27th-minute lead through Markel Susaeta and Barcelona needed to call up Messi in the second half to regain control. He weaved his way through a crowd of defenders to equalise in the 67th minute then provided an assist for Alexis to put Barcelona ahead.
Messi’s goal, his 44th in 33 league matches this season, set another record as it took his tally away from home to 24, one more than Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored last term.
The Argentine has also scored at least one goal in his last 20 league appearances while Barca equalled their La Liga record by scoring for the 26th consecutive away match.