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The “New Zlatan” scores again and what we learned in Europe this weekend

The teen sensation scored his ninth goal of the season after reportedly drawing the attention of the man himself while a player at the other end of the career spectrum was again…

Alexander Isak has a lot to live up to having been billed in Sweden as the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He reportedly has the personal endorsement from the man himself with Juventus being tipped to land the Swedish teenage sensation on the back of Zlatan’s recommendation.

Isak currently plays for AIK in his homeland and became the youngest-ever goalscorer in Allsvenskan history after netting on his debut against Ostersund back in April. Isak celebrated his 17th birthday less than a month ago and was back at it this weekend – scoring his ninth league goal of the season against the same opponents.

Isak, who was born in Solna to Eritrean parents, claimed the September player of the month award before opening the scoring in the Friends Arena with a well-taken shot after having a header saved. It’s probably too late for AIK to catch Malmo at the top of the league but there is no doubting the breakout star of this Swedish season.

Isak is destined for stardom.


Aritz Aduriz endured a tough European Championship – his first major tournament for Spain at the age of 35 – before toiling helplessly as his club Athletic Bilbao lost their first two games of the La Liga season. But you can’t keep a good man down.

Athletic have recovered in stunning fashion with the striker having scored five goals in his last six games. His latest effort was an exquisite chip which helped Athletic to a pulsating Basque derby win against Real Sociedad in which Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams also scored.

Athletic might only be in sixth place but they are only three points behind the lead set by Atletico Madrid in a congested La Liga table.

Aduriz has more campaigns behind him than in front of him but will be integral if Ernesto Valverde’s side are going to have a say in the Champions League shake-up this season.


The sale of Leroy Sane to Manchester City was a bitter pill to swallow for Schalke fans but was made just about palatable with the signing of Breel-Donald Embolo as a replacement. The Cameroon-born 19-year-old is a full Switzerland international and represents Schalke’s record signing having cost them some €20m plus add-ons from Basel over the summer.

How tragic for Schalke and for the player himself that he is set to miss six months of his first Bundesliga season with an ankle injury. Konstantinos Stafylidis of Augsburg hit Embolo with a heavy challenge during their 1-1 draw on Saturday which left the striker requiring surgery.

“Everyone at Schalke is shocked by the injury,” said sporting director Christian Heidel, according to the club’s official website. “We’ve all seen how strongly Breel identifies with the club and, at just 19 years of age, has already developed into a very important player.”

It leaves Schalke in a poor shape offensively after a difficult start to the season. Embolo helped Markus Weinzierl’s side snap their five-match losing streak with two goals against Borussia Monchengladbach before the international break and his loss is will be devastating.

There was a sense among Schalke’s fans that Embolo was just about to hit his stride. They are not having the best of luck with their summer signings with Coke – the former Sevilla captain – having torn knee ligaments in one of his first training sessions too.


There is only one team in all of Europe’s top 20 leagues with a 100 per cent record at this stage of the season. Step forward Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Feyenoord.

They have played nine, won nine and are of course sitting pretty at the top of the Eredivisie table. There was nothing pretty about their latest victory – 2-1 away at NEC – but it was enough to get the job done.

Indeed Feyenoord were 1-0 down until the final 12 minutes when Nikolai Jorgensen struck. Michiel Kramer then capped a resolute performance with the winner in injury time.

Feyenoord have not won a Dutch title since 1999 and there is still widespread scepticism in the Netherlands that they will keep up their form. Nonetheless, there is much to admire about their determination and ability to ground out results.


At the risk of becoming repetitive, let’s talk again about RB Leipzig. The newly-promoted side earned third place in the Bundesliga with their win over VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday. The team owned and operated by the Red Bull energy drink company are now only two points behind Bayern Munich in their first-ever top-flight campaign.

Seven games played and unbeaten, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team heaped yet more misery on Wolfsburg. They are languishing in 14th position having played in the Champions League last season and have only one win to their credit. Coach Dieter Hecking could well be under pressure for his job if results don’t turn.

Nonetheless, despite the controversy they cause RB march on. There is an air of freshness about the way they play with players like Emil Forsberg, Diego Demme and Yussuf Poulsen among the best-performing players in their positions so far this season.

With Borussia Dortmund’s injury crisis showing no signs of slowing down and Bayern struggling for intensity following four straight title wins, the time has never been better for an upstart club to make their mark at the top end of the German league table.

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