Another weekend of European football is in the books and, once again, there was drama across the board. Jack Grealish starred in Manchester City‘s 4-1 rout of Liverpool, but did Pep Guardiola’s celebrations take the gloss off the win?

Elsewhere, Karim Benzema was back to his best for Real Madrid, Bayern Munich swatted away title pretenders Borussia Dortmund, and Chelsea parted ways with manager Graham Potter.

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

Talking points

382 - Replay MadnessGuadiola’s goal celebration crossed the line

There are plenty of examples of Pep Guardiola losing it on the touchline when decisions go for or against Manchester City. He is a coach who has never kept his emotions in check and, by and large, his passion is a positive.

But the City manager let himself down with his goal celebrations during Saturday’s 4-1 win against Liverpool when he goaded Reds’ substitute Kostas Tsimikas and moved to the shake the hand of a bewildered Arthur Melo. Tsimikas and Arthur were both walking in or across Guardiola’s technical area, so it could be argued that they crossed a line first, but they were simply heading back to their bench after warming up further down the touchline.

– Dawson: Grealish shows there’s more to Man City than Haaland

There can be no explanation or mitigation for Guardiola’s behaviour, however, and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach can count himself lucky that Tsimikas chose not react to the provocation and take the situation to a whole new level of antagonism.

Back in 2013-14, then-Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was given a seven-game touchline ban for head-butting Hull City‘s David Meyler, so there is a precedent for tempers flaring up when opposition managers and player clash.

On this occasion, the incident passed without escalation, but with tension rising as the title race draws to a conclusion, Guardiola needs to dial down the celebrations and be more respectful of opponents to avoid the prospect of an ugly flashpoint. — Ogden

132 - Replay MadnessBayern brushes aside Dortmund … again

Saturday’s Klassiker was billed as a title decider and a chance for Borussia Dortmund to show that were a changed side; that they could grab their second win against eternal rivals Bayern Munich in the last 10 meetings. With Bayern in disarray following the abrupt firing of Julian Nagelsmann, and Dortmund riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, this was BVB’s time to shine, right?

– Watch replay: Bayern 4-2 Dortmund (ESPN+, U.S. only)

Of course not: Bayern did what they normally do, rattling their rivals early and cruising to a 4-0 lead thanks to a Gregor Kobel own goal, easy finish for Thomas Muller, a rebounded shot by Muller and a slick Kingsley Coman effort. By the time Dortmund gathered some reasonable offense, snatching two goals back in the final 20 minutes, it was rather moot.

This is the worry: every year, someone genuinely challenges Bayern and every year, the head-to-head games are comfortable wins for the Bavarians. While things could still steer in BVB’s favor elsewhere — Bayern still have games against Mainz, RB Leipzig and FC Cologne to come — it does seem as though history is repeating. — Tyler



How Tuchel made his mark on Bayern debut in big win over Dortmund

Alejandro Moreno reacts to Thomas Tuchel’s debut as Bayern manager in the 4-2 home win over his former team Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

86 - Replay MadnessReal red-hot ahead of Barca, Chelsea games

LaLiga may be beyond them, but Real Madrid — and in particular Karim Benzema — sent out a warning to Barcelona and Chelsea this weekend as they thumped Real Valladolid 6-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Defeat to Barca before the international break left Madrid 12 points adrift of their Clasico rivals in the title race, but they still have plenty to play for in the cup competitions.

– Marsden: Madrid warm up for Clasico by thrashing Valladolid

On Wednesday, they travel to Spotify Camp Nou for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal against Barca, trailing 1-0 from the first leg. A week later, they host Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinal. They showed a sharpness against Valladolid that will fuel belief they can win both of those ties and end the campaign with two more trophies.

Benzema was the star of the show on Sunday, scoring a first-half hat trick. Just over six minutes separated his three goals, with each one better than the last: a stooping header, a strike from the edge of the box and a bicycle kick from close range. The veteran striker has scored 16 of his 22 goals this season since the World Cup and looks to be peaking at the right time — with Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Marco Asensio all in fine form, too, against an admittedly feeble Valladolid side. — Marsden

3243 - Replay MadnessReims riding high under wonderkid Still

Watching Stade de Reims play at Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain host Lyon on Sunday was fascinating, but not for the reasons you would necessarily think. While Ligue 1 leaders PSG were an embarrassment again in their 1-0 home loss to Lyon, everything that Paris fans would have liked to see at the Parc des Princes was produced by a wonderful Reims team. Their 30-year-old manager Will Still continued his incredible tenure, where he has only lost one of his 19 Ligue 1 games in charge, with a stunning 3-0 win over Les Canaris. What’s more, that sole loss was against Marseille in a game where Reims were the better side and should have least got a point.

Still, who is half-English, half-Belgian and doesn’t have yet his full coaching badges which means that his club has to pay a €25,000 fine for each game that he manages, is doing an amazing job. His team plays with so much movement, structure, desire and intelligence. His players press and counter-press so well, and they are scoring for fun too. Folarin Balogun, on loan from Arsenal, has 17 league goals in the bag already this season.

Reims destroyed Nantes at the La Beaujoire Stadium to climb up to seventh in the table, only four points behind Rennes in sixth place. They have so much momentum under Still that they can clearly aim for higher this season. And next season? It will be hard for Reims to keep their wonderkid manager because he is clearly destined for greater things. But if they can have him at least just another year then they can build on their current success. — Laurens



Leboeuf questions if PSG players are taking Ligue 1 games seriously

Frank Leboeuf reacts to PSG falling 1-0 at home to Lyon and whether their players are taking league games seriously.


349 - Replay Madness Tavernier’s stunner keeps Cherries in the race

This weekend ended with the Premier League‘s bottom nine teams separated by just seven points, underlining the importance Marcus Tavernier‘s game-changing equaliser against Fulham may have in AFC Bournemouth‘s season.

– Premier League table: Relegation race going to the wire

Picking the ball up on the right flank after Fulham keeper Bernd Leno pushed clear a corner, Tavernier worked the ball onto his left foot before curling a stunning effort into the top corner. The 24-year-old had not made an appearance for Bournemouth since Feb. 18 due to a hamstring injury but came on at half-time on Saturday with Fulham in the ascendancy to score his fourth goal in five appearances. — Olley

103 - Replay MadnessGoal of the year from Saelemaekers-khelia?

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is the best winger in Serie A this season but the Georgian prodigy must have still enjoyed the copycat performance from AC Milan‘s Alexis Saelemaekers at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Sunday night.

On what was a nightmare night for Napoli, humiliated at home by their next Champions League opponents, it was good to see Saelemaekers scoring a goal “a la Kvara” in the second half. The Belgium international received the ball 30 yards away from goal, slalomed through the Napolitan defence using only the outside of his right foot before slotting the ball between the legs of keeper Alex Meret from close range.

It was an absolute masterclass from the former Anderlecht player who had not scored Serie A this season prior to Sunday. It has been a frustrating campaign for him where he has only started 10 league matches and didn’t get much game time either. But his special goal against the Italians champions-elect (Napoli are still 16 points clear of Lazio with 10 matches to go) will give him a massive boost to finish the season on a high. — Laurens

137 - Replay Madness7911 - Replay MadnessA nod to a trio of Bundesliga goals

There are few things more satisfying than a headed goal. What can I say: they come in as many forms and types as goals scored with the rest of the body. And Sunday’s clash between Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen, won 2-1 by Hoffenheim, had three lovely headers showcasing the many flavors.

You had a placed power header by Andrej Kramaric, a glancing/placed header by Christoph Baumgartner and a more comic head/shoulder effort by Amos Pieper to briefly give Bremen fans hope. And three cracking deliveries to boot, too. — Tyler



Hoffenheim win despite late Bremen charge

Goals from Andrej Kramaric and Christoph Baumgartner bring Hoffenheim the three points at Bremen.

Teams in trouble

363 - Replay MadnessChelsea’s abysmal season reaches new low

It turns out that dropping into the bottom half of the Premier League was the tipping point for Graham Potter. Chelsea’s 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday was the final straw for their beleaguered boss, who was sacked 24 hours later with the Blues sitting 12 points outside the top four.

Early indications are that Chelsea won’t make an immediate appointment, placing one of the coaches who made the journey from Brighton & Hove Albion to Chelsea with Potter, Bruno Saltor, in interim charge. That suggests that rather than having a replacement lined up, co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali simply lost patience with a manager they once hoped would be a long-term appointment.

The loss to Villa featured painfully familiar characteristics for Potter: dominating the ball but a failure to convert chances. They had 27 shots, eight on target with an expected goals figure of 2.09 and 69% possession but still lost 2-0. Villa’s opening goal was emblematic of the individual defensive errors that have undermined the Blues’ campaign, with Marc Cucurella‘s poor header gifting Ollie Watkins the chance to open the scoring.

There are still 10 league games for Chelsea to rescue the situation, but they require a dramatic reversal of fortune to avoid missing out on Champions League qualification. — Olley



Leboeuf: Chelsea hiring Graham Potter was a mistake

Former Chelsea star Frank Leboeuf says it was time for Chelsea to turn the page on Graham Potter as manager.

89 - Replay MadnessSociedad slipping at the wrong time

The wheels are in danger of coming off at Real Sociedad, if they haven’t already. In January, they looked well placed to finish third behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. Now, at the start of April, they are clinging on to the fourth after Villarreal beat them 2-0 to blow open the race for the final Champions League spot in Spain.

La Real have won just one of their last six games in LaLiga — at home to rock bottom Elche — and only three of their last 10. During that time, they have also been knocked out of the Europa League by Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma. In contrast, sixth-placed Villarreal’s fourth win in five games moves them within four points of the Basque side, who remain fourth, but are only three points ahead of Real Betis, who lost at third-placed Atletico Madrid this weekend. Real Sociedad were 10 clear of Betis in January. — Marsden

Weekend MVP

382 - Replay MadnessGrealish’s best City performance yet

Jack Grealish was sensational for Manchester City during their 4-1 win against Liverpool at the Etihad and showed exactly why Guardiola made him the first £100 million Premier League player in 2021.

But it wasn’t just the second-half goal or first-half assist for Julian Alvarez’s equaliser which made Grealish such an important figure for City. Had he not chased back over 60 yards to cut out a Mohamed Salah pass to Diogo Jota moments before the Alvarez goal, City could have been 2-0 down and facing a wholly different outcome to the game.

The 27-year-old has taken time to adjust to his new surroundings at City after leaving boyhood club Aston Villa nearly two years ago, but he has now made himself one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet. Grealish still dribbles past defenders, but he has now reduced those runs to a minimum having learned the effectiveness of a quick pass to a teammate.

Saturday’s performance against Liverpool showcased all the good in Grealish’s game and the development he has made under Guardiola. — Ogden

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Pep’s touchline antics, Potter gone