Manchester City tumbled back out of the top ten with their loss to Arsenal, the club’s third defeat in the past five league games, and fourth out of eight in all competitions. Hertha Berlin, meanwhile, are a completely unexpected team on the rise. Running third in the Bundesliga at the halfway point, Berlin have won eight of their last ten in all competitions, losing only to Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Internazionale (LW: 10)
Serie A record: 11-3-3. // Upcoming match: None. // Talking points: Just four points separate the top five teams in Serie A at the moment, and at this point, it’s anybody’s game. Inter missed a chance to extend their lead at the top after a disappointing home defeat to struggling Lazio, but still hold a slender one-point advantage going into the winter break as they search for their first title since 2010.
Inter via Getty ImagesClaudio Villa - Inter
Borussia Dortmund (LW: 8)
Bundesliga record: 9-3-2. // Upcoming match: None. // Talking points: There’s no shying away from Dortmund’s disappointing result away to Koln over the weekend. With a win just about wrapped up, Koln mustered two goals in the final 10 minutes to deliver a huge blow to Dortmund’s chances of closing the gap on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
AFP/Getty ImagesPATRIK STOLLARZ
Atletico Madrid (LW: 4)
La Liga record: 11-2-3. // Upcoming match: at Rayo (Dec. 30, 12:15 p.m. ET). // Talking points: With Barcelona on Club World Cup duty and Real Madrid smashing 10 past a spirited and shorthanded Rayo Vallecano side, the onus was very much on Diego Simeone’s men to produce the goods against Malaga. Three points would’ve seen them go top of La Liga, but a late goal saw them succumb to a first defeat since late September.
AFP/Getty ImagesJORGE GUERRERO
Juventus (LW: NR)
Serie A record: 10-3-4. // Upcoming match: None. // Talking points: A newfound spark and vigor has seen last year’s Scudetto winners put together an incredible run of seven straight wins to close out 2015, after spending the better half of this campaign struggling to find form. Suddenly, the Old Lady sit only three points back of league leaders Inter.
Getty ImagesValerio Pennicino
Leicester City (LW: 5)
Premier League record: 11-5-1. // Upcoming match: at Liverpool (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET). // Talking points: As the Premier League nears its halfway point, Leicester’s surprise start in their return to the top flight can no longer be branded a “fairytale.” The Foxes recorded their 11th victory of the season away to Everton behind a brace from red-hot Riyad Mahrez, and are rightful title contenders. Let that sink in.
Getty ImagesMichael Regan
Arsenal (LW: 9)
Premier League record: 11-3-3. // Upcoming match: at Southampton (Saturday, 2:45 p.m. ET). // Talking points: Mesut Ozil assisted on both goals as the Gunners notched a statement win over fellow title-chasers Manchester City at the Emirates on Monday. Ozil now leads Europe’s top five leagues this season with a whopping 15 assists – no other player has more than nine!
Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesStuart MacFarlane
Real Madrid (LW: 6)
La Liga record: 10-3-3. // Upcoming match: vs. Sociedad (Dec. 30, 10 a.m ET). // Talking points: How do you bounce back from a disappointing 1-0 loss at Villarreal? How about by pouring in TEN goals in a home rout of Rayo Vallecano? Gareth Bale led the way with four goals, after scoring just five in his first 15 games for Real this season (all comps.).
Getty ImagesAnadolu Agency
Paris Saint-Germain (LW: 3)
Ligue 1 record: 16-3-0. // Upcoming match: None. // Talking points: And you think the Bundesliga is a one-horse race? PSG are up an incredible 19 points on second-place Monaco after cracking a Ligue 1 record for most points by the Christmas break with 51. Laurent Blanc’s men can safely turn their attention squarely on getting over the hump in Europe in the New Year.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
Bayern Munich (LW: 2)
Bundesliga record: 15-1-1. // Upcoming match: None. // Talking points: Pep Guardiola’s decision to leave the club at the end of the season was no surprise by the time he officially announced it after Saturday’s win in Hannover. The move may be a blessing in disguise for the runaway Bundesliga leaders. Just like under Jupp Heynckes three years ago, all focus and energy can now be turned to finishing this era with the ultimate goal – the treble.
Getty Images for FC BayernA. Beier
Barcelona (LW: 1)
La Liga record: 11-2-2. // Upcoming match: vs. Real Betis (Dec. 30, 2:30 p.m. ET)// Talking points: With a 3-0 win over River Plate in Sunday’s final, Barcelona not only added a record third FIFA Club World Cup to their trophy case, they also broke club records for most wins (50) and goals scored (176) in a calendar year. Thanks to Atletico’s upset loss in Malaga over the weekend, Barca also remained atop La Liga, now with a game in hand.