It was back to work for many of Europe’s top leagues after their winter break, but it wasn’t a welcome return from holiday for Atiba Hutchinson and PSV Eindhoven.
Heading into the holidays, PSV had been tied for first place in the Eredivisie with Twente but fell down to second after losing 3-1 to PEC Zwolle last Friday. Hutchinson played the full 90 minutes again, this time returning to the right back position. The good news, though, is that with Twente drawing their first game back, Hutchinson & Co. are still just a single point out of first.
In Germany, the break also didn’t help Olivier Occéan and Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt had gone into the break winning two straight but they lost to Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in their first game of 2013. Occéan came off the bench in the 62nd minute.
Frankfurt remain in fourth place in the Bundesliga, good for a Champions League qualifying berth if they can maintain their run through the end of the season.
The one Canadian abroad the holiday break did benefit was Marcel de Jong and his club Augsburg. The Bundesliga strugglers picked up just their second win of the season on Sunday as they beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-2. De Jong came on as an 81st minute substitute and Augsburg hit the winner 10 minutes later.
Augsburg are still in the automatic relegation zone but they’re just one point back of 16th place and a position for a playoff to keep their spot in the Bundesliga.
In England, it’s been back-to-back starts for defender David Edgar, coinciding with the first back-to-back victories in all competitions for Burnley since November.
Edgar played the full 90 minutes on Saturday as Burnley beat Millwall 2-0. With their third league win in January, Burnley are making noise in the promotion playoff fight after climbing to eighth place in the Championship, four points back of the sixth and final playoff spot.
In Cyprus, Issey Nakajaima-Farran was on the mark for his first goal since moving to the Mediterranean nation. Playing in his third game in a loan spell with Alki from AEK Larnaca, he scored in the 58th minute with a left-footed shot that salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw at Enosis. Alki are in 12th place in the 14-team 1. Division.
In Portugal, it was something of a feat for midfielder Pedro Pacheco that he played a game without being sent off.
In his previous two appearances for Santa Clara in the Liga de Honra, Pacheco had seen red. But there were no such disciplinary problems for him on Sunday as he came on late in the first half of Santa Clara’s scoreless draw with league leaders Belenenses.
Just the top two teams in the Liga de Honra get to make the jump to the Primeira Liga. Santa Clara sit in fifth place and – with 35 points – are six points back of second.