Real Madrid earned a spirited 2-1 win at Alavés with a scrappy late goal from the defender Dani Carvajal. Real’s captain, Sergio Ramos, put the visitors in front by heading home a Toni Kroos free-kick after 52 minutes but gave away a penalty from which Lucas Pérez levelled in the 65th.
Real demonstrated their new-found grit to retake the lead four minutes later. Isco pounced to head a Luka Modric cross against the post and the ball trickled across to Carvajal, who bundled it in from close range.
Alavés threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser but Real stood firm, with Marcelo blocking a goal-bound shot and the goalkeeper Alphonse Areola stopping an effort from the hosts’ captain, Manu García, in the eight minutes of added time.
That put Real on top of La Liga, for a few hours at least, with 31 points from 14 games ahead of Barcelona, who visit their title rivals Atlético Madrid on Sunday.
Alavés, who had lost one of their previous seven home games this season and conceded two goals on their own turf before facing Real, are 13th on 18 points.
Later in the day, Real Sociedad can go fourth for a day at least with a home win against Eibar, a game that is followed by Mallorca v Real Betis and Valencia v Villarreal.
The most attractive match in Germany is probably in the capital, as Jürgen Klinsmann takes charge of struggling Hertha Berlin for the first time, against Borussia Dortmund.
With Borussia Mönchengladbach not playing until Sunday, RB Leipzig, away to Paderborn, or Bayern Munich, at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the later kick-off, could finish the day top of the table.
In Italy, Brescia host Atalanta, Genoa are at home to Torino and Lecce travel to Fiorentina.
This story will be updated