GERMANY: Dortmund routs Leverkusen 4-0, Leipzig holds Bayern 1-1
BERLIN — Paco Alcácer warmed up for the visit of his former club Barcelona by continuing his remarkable scoring streak as Borussia Dortmund beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Alcácer, whose loan deal from Barcelona was made permanent in November, claimed his fifth goal in four league games in the first half and produced a dummy which saw Marco Reus score off Jadon Sancho's cross in the second.
The striker has scored in each of his eight competitive appearances this season, claiming seven goals for Dortmund — including in the season-opening German Supercup — and three in two games for Spain.
Raphaël Guerreiro sealed the win before Reus claimed his second goal to celebrate his 100th win with Dortmund in the final minute.
Dortmund conceded in each of its previous three league games and was looking to bounce back after a surprise 3-1 loss at Union Berlin.
"The team stayed calm and didn't make any major mistakes," Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said. "It was important not to concede."
Dortmund hosts Barcelona in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.
LEIPZIG REMAINS UNBEATEN
Leipzig held Bayern Munich to 1-1 in the late game, staying top after four games, one point ahead of Dortmund and two clear of Bayern.
Robert Lewandowski got Bayern off to a flying start with his league-leading seventh goal in four games in the third minute.
The visitors thoroughly dominated the first half and might have added three more. Referee Sascha Stegemann pointed to the penalty spot after Leipzig winger Marcel Sabitzer appeared to bring down Lucas Hernández, but changed his decision after an intervention from the video referee.
Bayern was left to rue missed chances when Hernández conceded a penalty by bringing down Yussuf Poulsen after a mistake from Thiago Alcântara.
Emil Forsberg duly equalized with the last kick of the half.
The home side was much improved in the second half, when Manuel Neuer came to Bayern's rescue and defender Niklas Süle grazed the Leipzig post with the last play of the game.
THREE PENALTIES, TWO RED CARDS AND VAR
The first few minutes of Werder Bremen's 2-1 win at Union Berlin were spent on VAR checks after a second-minute penalty decision. Davy Klaassen had to wait till the fifth before opening the scoring from the spot.
TV replays showed it was a questionable call, with Klaassen apparently already falling before Christopher Lenz made contact.
VAR was required again in the 12th to check whether Christian Groß handled the ball at the other end, before Sebastian Andersson duly equalized from the spot in the 14th.
The visitors were awarded another penalty early in the second half, saved by Rafal Gikiewicz, but the Union 'keeper was helpless to prevent Niclas Füllkrug from scoring off the resultant corner in the 55th.
Referee Tobias Welz was kept busy in a hectic finale, sending off Union defender Neven Subotic and Bremen's Nuri Sahin, both former Dortmund teammates, and booking visiting coach Florian Kohfeldt.
"There wasn't any football played," said Union coach Urs Fischer, who criticized the application of VAR. "It will make football fairer, but that was definitely too much today. Too much discussion."
Alassane Plea's 14th-minute strike was enough for Borussia Mönchengladbach to mark club icon Günter Netzer's 75th birthday with a 1-0 Rhine derby win at promoted Cologne.
Mainz defeated Hertha Berlin 2-1 at home, and Augsburg enjoyed a 2-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
-- By Ciaran Fahey, AP
ITALY: Conte quickly making his mark at Inter with perfect start
ROME — Three rounds into Serie A, Inter Milan is already displaying the same grit, energy and determination that have been the hallmark of Antonio Conte's teams.
The Nerazzurri overcame a strong performance by 10-man Udinese for a 1-0 win on Saturday to extend their perfect start and establish a two-point lead over eight-time defending champion Juventus atop the standings.
"We're taking our own path," Conte said. "We're not following anyone."
Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi scored with a difficult, diving header shortly after Rodrigo De Paul — Udinese's most talented player — was sent off for slapping Antonio Candreva.
Conte spent last season idle after winning multiple trophies at Juventus and Chelsea — plus a spell as the coach of Italy — and he's picking up right where he left off.
For the full 90 minutes, Conte ran up and down the sideline, gesticulating and urging his team on from the coach's box.
"We need to fight for every match," Conte said. "Today was a very, very difficult match. Udinese stayed in it until the end. We could have been a bit more decisive."
Earlier, Maurizio Sarri had a disappointing touchline debut with Juventus in a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina as the Bianconeri dropped their first points.
Also, Napoli warmed up for its Champions League opener against titleholder Liverpool with a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria.
At the San Siro, the referee needed help from the VAR to determine De Paul's red card, although it should be noted that Candreva appeared to initiate the argument by waving his finger in De Paul's face.
Ten minutes after De Paul was sent off, Sensi crouched down to redirect a cross from Diego Godin with a defender draped all over him.
After the break, Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic produced a reflex save on a dangerous effort from Kevin Lasagna.
Inter threatened for a second goal when newly signed Alexis Sanchez came on at the end against one of his former clubs.
Franck Ribéry, Federico Chiesa, and unheralded Gaetano Castrovilli created numerous chances for Fiorentina but the Tuscan squad couldn't quite finish them off.
Sarri watched Juventus' opening two matches from home with pneumonia, and the coach will surely not have liked what he saw up close.
The Bianconeri seemed to struggle fitness-wise after the international break.
Juventus stalwarts Douglas Costa and Miralem Pjanic each limped off with apparent hamstring injuries in the first half and newly signed right back Danilo exited with cramps midway through the second. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't look close to scoring.
Heat was a factor with the temperature inside Artemio Franchi Stadium reaching 32 degrees (90 F), prompting cooling breaks midway through each half.
"It was a very complicated situation," Sarri said. "Fiorentina played well and we used up all our substitutions with injuries and had no more fresh legs to bring on.
"We did well in terms of character to get a point out of it. We lost possession too many times, which may also be a consequence of physical issues. Playing mid-afternoon in Florence when it's realistically still summer is tough for everyone."
Fiorentina picked up its first point under its new owner, Italian-American cable television executive Rocco Commisso.
Dries Mertens scored both for Napoli and also hit the underside of the crossbar but somehow the ball didn't go in.
It was Sampdoria's third straight loss.
While coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed concern over construction delays for Napoli's dressing room following a renovation to the San Paolo stadium, it was ready for the match.
-- By Andrew Dampf, AP
SPAIN: Camp Nou discovers Barca's teen sensation; Hazard debuts
BARCELONA, Spain — A teenage sensation led Barcelona to a commanding victory over Valencia in the Spanish league on Saturday, while Eden Hazard made his long-awaited debut for Real Madrid before both rivals face tough Champions League openers.
Barcelona visits German side Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday with Lionel Messi a doubt, and a day later Madrid plays at the Paris Saint-Germain of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid lost its first game of the season, three days before it also has a difficult visit to Juventus, which eliminated it from the European tournament last season.
Barcelona youth Ansu Fati took over a starring role from the injured Messi with a goal and an assist to lead a 5-2 rout of Valencia. His second-minute goal made him the youngest player to score at Camp Nou at the age of 16 years, 318 days. It was his third appearance since his Aug. 25 debut. He established a milestone in his second match as the youngest player to score in la Liga in the club's history in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna.
"(Fati) is a player that has something special," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "He is a striker who is mature beyond his years."
Hazard hurt a thigh in preseason, and the club-record signing from Chelsea missed Madrid's first three league matches. By the time he stepped onto the field with half an hour left at the Santiago Bernabeu, Karim Benzema's double and another goal from Casemiro had given Madrid the advantage it needed to end a run of two straight draws and beat Levante 3-2.
"When he touches the ball he has his aim set on the goal, but what he needs now is to train more. He has only had four practice sessions with the team," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said of Hazard.
Atlético won the first three rounds until its attack failed at Real Sociedad, which dictated the game, the playmaking, and scored the opening goal through Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard in the 2-0 victory.
Atlético leads Madrid and Athletic Bilbao by one point. Barcelona is two points behind.
Fati, officially a player on Barcelona's third team for 16-18 year olds, needed only two minutes to write his name into the club's history a second time.
With his second touch of the ball, the player born in Guinea-Bissau rifled in a pass from Frenkie de Jong who found him arriving to the center of the area.
He returned the assist to de Jong five minutes later after he sped down the left flank, juked past a defender, and set up for the Netherlands midfielder.
Gerard Pique netted Barcelona's third after Kevin Gameiro had pulled one back.
Luis Suárez, who hadn't played in a month due to injury, netted Barcelona's fourth and fifth goals after replacing Fati with half an hour remaining.
Maxi Gómez scored late for Valencia, which was playing its first match under Albert Celades since he replaced Marcelino García Toral on Wednesday.
Odegaard, who is on loan from Real Madrid, put Sociedad ahead in the 58th when he culminated a quick buildup by cutting across the area before firing a shot that deflected off an Atlético defender and left goalkeeper Jan Oblak without a chance.
Usually so sure in goal, Oblak was at fault three minutes later when he fumbled a ball in the box and Nacho Monreal blasted it home in his debut with the Basque club. The ball smacked Oblak in the face before going in, leaving him in need of medical assistance.
Oblak was substituted even though he appeared to tell team doctors he was feeling fine.
"Those of us up front lacked the poise we needed to find a way through. They deserved the win," Atlético midfielder Saúl Ñíguez said. "Fortunately, we have an important game in three days, and if we change how we played today, we will be fine."
Benzema started the scoring against Levante with a header in the 25th, and six minutes later added a second after a slick pass from James Rodríguez.
The French striker has four goals in four rounds.
Levante got back into the match in the second half with strikes from Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero.
Only one player in La Liga has more goals than Benzema so far. Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno took his tally to five after striking twice to help beat last-placed Leganés 3-0.
-- By Joseph Wilson, AP
FRANCE: Jeered and insulted by some PSG fans, Neymar scores winner
PARIS — Amid loud jeers and insulting banners from his own fans, Neymar scored a stunning bicycle kick during injury time for French league leader Paris Saint-Germain to beat Strasbourg 1-0 on Saturday.
Neymar met Abdou Diallo's left-wing cross as it drifted behind him, brilliantly hooking it in with his left foot as he was falling backward. Even as Neymar celebrated, PSG ultras behind the goal where he scored still jeered him.
He angered those fans with his public desire to rejoin former club Barcelona in the offseason. The forward, who scored for Brazil last week, sat out four league games as he tried to force a move back but talks broke down.
"I stayed calm. We all know what happened; I understand that it's very difficult for them," Neymar said. "But as from now I am a PSG player. If they want to whistle me, no problem."
Two offensive banners insulting Neymar — and his father who has also represented him in transfer talks — were also deployed at Parc des Princes. One of those referenced Neymar's reported willingness to spend 20 million euros ($22 million) of his own money to push through the deal, which would reunite him with his friend and former teammate Lionel Messi.
Neymar thought he scored a second goal with seconds left, but Angel Di Maria was ruled offside before squaring to give him a tap-in.
Aside from the spectacular goal, it was mostly a rough afternoon for Neymar.
Some fans whistled and made offensive hand gestures when he ran out onto the field for the pre-match warmup. Then, when Neymar's name was read out over the loudspeaker as the teams were announced, PSG's ultras jeered loudly.
His first few touches of the ball were also met with loud boos. He was loudly whistled when he took a first-half corner and jeered again after trying an audacious lob over the goalkeeper from far out. The vitriol from PSG ultras behind the goal continued in the second half, although other sections of the crowd cheered him.
"It wasn't easy because he's a very sensitive person," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. "It wasn't either for the fans during the transfer window, and for that reason we have to accept their reaction ... That's the way it is."
Neymar was asked if he had a message for the ultras.
"No, nothing. I just want to thank my teammates for allowing me to score this goal," he said in comments translated to French. "The other players don't deserve to put up with this situation. When the fans are behind the team, we are stronger together."
It was his sheer determination to leave the club, along with an interview recounting how much he enjoyed playing in Barca's 6-1 humiliation of PSG in the Champions League in 2017, which led to hostile chanting against him by PSG ultras in a home game last month.
One banner held aloft during that game urged him to "Get Lost."
Neymar faced Strasbourg again, having been injured when the teams met in a physical French Cup match in January.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Keylor Navas made his PSG debut after joining on a long-term contract from Real Madrid.
He made a crucial save in the 18th, diving low to his left to stop Ludovic Ajorque's stinging shot reaching the bottom corner, and denied the striker again with 15 minutes left.
Striker Mauro Icardi, who joined PSG on a season loan from Inter Milan, came off the bench in the second half.
PSG is two points ahead of second-place Rennes, which drew at Brest 0-0.
Bordeaux beat Metz 2-0 at home, both goals inside the first 10 minutes.
Montpellier won 2-1 at home win against Nice.
Bottom side Dijon picked up its first point in a 0-0 home draw with Nimes.
Lyon drew at Amiens 2-2 on Friday.
-- By Jerome Pugmire, AP