Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suárez combined to devastating effect to help Barcelona hammer Girona 6-1 and take the club 10 points clear at the top of La Liga, as well as set a club record of 32 league games unbeaten.
Portu gave Girona a shock lead in the third minute but Suárez quickly levelled, before two goals from Messi and another from the Uruguayan saw Barça march into a 4-1 half-time lead. Coutinho, who had set up Suárez’s second, then struck for the first time in La Liga with a spectacular long-range shot. Suárez completed a hat-trick when he tapped in a cutback from Ousmane Dembélé.
Real Madrid’s strikeforce hit back with a vengeance when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all scored in a 4-0 La Liga win over Alavés as the champions moved within four points of second-placed Atlético Madrid.
Ronaldo put Real ahead on the stroke of half-time, taking advantage of a clever backheel from Benzema, who set up Bale for Real’s third.
Ronaldo struck his 299th goal in La Liga when he turned home a cutback from Lucas Vázquez, before offering Benzema penalty-taking duties after Bale was brought down, the Frenchman making no mistake from the spot.
Elsewhere, goals from Iago Aspas secured Celta Vigo a 2-0 win over Eibar, while Leganés were held to a goalless draw at home to Las Palmas.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich’s 14-match winning run in all competitions came to an end as they were held to a 0-0 home draw by Hertha Berlin, who denied the runaway leaders for the second time this season.
The champions had the bulk of possession and chances but were frustrated by good defensive work from Hertha, whose goalkeeper, Rune Jarstein, made several stops from Robert Lewandowski and a diving save from Arjen Robben’s free-kick in stoppage time.
Third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt lost 1-0 at VfB Stuttgart with Erik Thommy scoring the only goal in the 13th minute, leaving them on 39 points, one ahead of Bayer Leverkusen before their home match with Schalke 04 on Sunday.
With RB Leipzig also not playing until Sunday, Borussia Mönchengladbach won 1-0 at Hanover 96 to climb to seventh on 34 points, while Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at home to Freiburg.
In Italy, goals from Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia gave Inter a 2-0 home win over Benevento. Benevento looked the more adventurous side in the first half, Massimo Coda forced a fine save from Samir Handanovic before blazing another shot over the bar on the hour. Skriniar broke the deadlock in the 66th minute, powering a header past Christian Puggioni, and Ranocchia made it 2-0 with a diving header.
Earlier Bologna beat Genoa 2-0 thanks to goals from Mattia Destro and Cesar Falletti.
In France, Yaya Sanogo struck late to deny second-placed Monaco as Toulouse fought back to claim a thrilling 3-3 draw. Monaco’s Rony Lopes converted Baldé Keita’s pass in the eighth minute before the hosts levelled 16 minutes later through Ibrahima Sangaré. Lopes restored Monaco’s lead two minutes after the break and Stevan Jovetic’s 72nd-minute strike looked to have wrapped up the points, but Andy Delort’s penalty six minutes later set the stage for Sanogo to snatch a draw with three minutes remaining.
Elsewhere Karl Toko Ekambi was the hero for Angers as his double helped his side to a 2-1 win against Lille, who had equalised through Nicolas Pépé. Gaël Kakuta netted the only goal as strugglers Amiens ended a four-game winless run with a victory over high-flying Nantes, while Lucas Deaux scored twice as Guingamp twice came from behind to hold basement club Metz to a 2-2 draw.
Troyes dropped into the relegation zone after goals from Wahbi Khazri and Sanjin Prcic inspired Rennes to a 2-0 victory, and Dijon beat Caen by the same scoreline courtesy of Damien Da Silva’s own goal and a Júlio Tavares penalty.