Barcelona maintains momentum but Bayern Munich finally drops points
March 29, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
Espanyol keeper Francisco Casilla was sent off against Barcelona for handling outside the area.
- Lionel Messi scores from the penalty spot as Barcelona beats Espanyol 1-0
- Barcelona temporarily took over top spot in Spain but Atletico Madrid regained its lead
- In Germany, Bayern Munich's 19-match league winning streak comes to an end
- Bayern ties Hoffenheim 3-3 at home after leading 3-1 in the first half
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- The Spanish title race might have taken another twist Saturday when Barcelona visited mid-table Espanyol in the Catalan derby. For more than 75 minutes, the home team blanked Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barcelona attack.
But just like in El Clasico on Sunday, Messi had the last word as he struck a late penalty to give Barcelona a 1-0 victory and all three points.
His goal in the 77th minute over Espanyol temporarily put Barcelona two points atop the league standings ahead of Atletico Madrid but Atletico later rallied to defeat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 to regain its one-point advantage.
Messi and Neymar missed good chances in the first half, while Espanyol's Pizzi also squandered a fine opportunity.
But there were fewer chances in the second half, although Barcelona defender Gerard Pique struck the crossbar.
With time running out, referee Clos Gomez ruled that Espanyol's Javi Lopez handled in the area and Messi made no mistake from the spot.
Lopez then had to play goalkeeper after Francisco Casilla's handball outside the area stopped a Messi shot in the 83rd minute. Casilla was shown a straight red and Espanyol had already used all three of its substitutes.
Iker Muniain put fourth-place Athletic ahead but Diego Costa leveled in the 22nd minute and Koke got the winner in the 55th. Aymeric Laporte saw red for hauling down Costa in the dying stages.
Real Madrid, reeling from defeats to Barcelona and Sevilla, had its own derby late Saturday. It blanked Rayo Vallecano 5-0, getting two goals from Gareth Bale, and once again moved to within three points of Atletico.
Barcelona and Atletico square off in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal next week.
Rare stumble by Bayern
Under-strength Bayern Munich finally dropped points in Germany's Bundesliga, drawing Hoffenheim 3-3 to end a 19-match league winning streak that dated back to October.
Bayern wrapped up the league title in record time this week and faces Manchester United in the Champions League quarterfinals Tuesday but it appeared as if Pep Guardiola's men were focused enough to claim three more points.
It led 3-1 -- at home -- only for Sejad Salihovic to pull a goal back and Roberto Firmino to equalize in the 75th minute. To make matters worse, Spanish international midfielder Thiago Alcantara suffered a knee injury.
Borussia Dortmund, which meets Real Madrid in the Champions League, maintained second place with a morale boosting 3-2 win at Stuttgart thanks to Marco Reus' hat-trick.
Stuttgart led 2-1 but Georg Niedermeier conceded a penalty and received a second yellow in the 67th minute.
Reus converted and added the winner in the 82nd minute.
Read: A Classic El Clasico
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.