A resurgent Leroy Sane has his sights set on achieving his "huge" career goal of experiencing the Champions League glory his Bayern Munich team-mates enjoyed last season.

The winger joined Bayern from Manchester City after they had tasted European success by defeating Paris Saint-Germain in the final.

Sane had a mixed start at Bayern, in and out the line up as he worked his way back from a long-term injury that restricted him to two appearances in his final season at City.

The 25-year-old has looked like his old self of late, registering either a goal or assist in four of his last five matches, including a strike in Bayern's emphatic 4-1 away win in the last-16 first leg away to Lazio.

Bayern were four goals up after 47 minutes of that game, but ahead of Wednesday's home second leg against Lazio, Sane wants his team-mates to take nothing for granted, which would jeopardise his Champions League dream.

"[Winning the Champions League is] a huge goal of mine," said Sane.

"That is why I place so much value on delivering a good match on Wednesday and for the rest of the season.

"When we have Champions League matches, we need to always be well prepared and up for it. 

"All of us know that a lot can still happen. Just because we scored a few goals in the first leg doesn't mean that we are through. 

"Lazio have a strong team and things could backfire if we don't take it seriously.

"I'm feeling better and better, and have had time to get to know the team and how we play. We get along very well off the pitch as well. Everyone is prepared to work hard, which benefits us all.

"At first, you need to get to know the workings of a team. For me it was even harder, because I didn't have a rhythm after a long injury. 

"So I needed to find my own rhythm back at first. Now I feel a lot better and I have got to know the team better. That is one of the reasons why things have gone uphill for me lately."

Bayern are hosting Lazio for the first time in European competition.

None of the last 21 sides facing them away from home for the first time in the European Cup or Champions League have won (W20 D1) since Bordeaux triumphed 2-0 back in November 2009.

Head coach Hansi Flick hopes to have fitness doubts Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman available.

"Manu has a slight cold, and Kingsley is dealing with some muscle issues," he said. "We will have to wait and see, but we are hoping that both will be able to feature on Wednesday.

"We want to win this game [the second leg] as well. We're in the midst of a good run and want to continue it.

"Especially since we're at home, we really want to win to further build our self-confidence.

"We've delivered strong performances in the Champions League, as well as in the Bundesliga. Our current aim is to continue on in this manner."

Flick was not keen to discuss the Germany job, which will become vacant when Joachim Low leaves after Euro 2020, any further.

"I have said everything about this topic, but nothing has changed for me," he said. "I do not comment on the topic."

Since Flick took charge of the club, Bayern have won their six home games in the Champions League by an aggregate score of 18-3. 

However, only one of the previous six have come in the knockout stages of the competition – beating Chelsea 4-1 in the second leg of last season’s round of 16.

Lazio, meanwhile, have only won one of their last 15 away games in the Champions League (D5 L9).

The Serie A side are winless in the last eight matches of that run (D4 L4) and have not one away in the competition was back in September 2003.

Where will Erling Haaland be playing in 2021-22?

That is the question everyone is asking as clubs queue up to sign the Borussia Dortmund goalscoring machine.

Manchester United are reportedly determined to prise the Norway international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET SIGHTS ON HAALAND

Manchester United have settled on Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as their centre forward priority in the transfer market, according to Manchester Evening News.

United tried to sign Haaland before he joined Dortmund from Austrian champions Salzburg last year.

Eyeing a long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with United veteran Edinson Cavani linked to Boca Juniors after signing a one-year deal at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough have agreed to target Haaland.

Haaland has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, LiverpoolManchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

It comes after United reportedly received little encouragement of the possibility of signing Tottenham star Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has an agreement in place to sign a new one-year deal with the LaLiga champions.

- Arsenal are keen to keep Martin Odegaard – on loan from Madrid – beyond the 2020-21 season, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily star says Donny van de Beek wants to quit United. Van de Beek only joined from Ajax at the start of the season but he has been unable to cement a spot in the starting XI.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel wants to keep Antonio Rudiger as the Blues seek to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2022 by offering a new contract, reports the Daily Mail.

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann played down reports linking him to Barcelona amid ongoing speculation.

Nagelsmann is reportedly wanted at Camp Nou by new Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who is believed to be eyeing a replacement for Ronald Koeman.

Leipzig boss Nagelsmann has also been linked with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich amid doubts over Hansi Flick's future.

Unfazed by it all, Nagelsmann instead believes such stories are normal to hear and conversations internally do not arise because of media speculation. 

"I keep in touch with Alfred [Schreuder – current Barcelona assistant coach], but not only since it has been made public," the 33-year-old German told reporters.

"It is simply because he was my assistant manager [at Hoffenheim], and we have a great relationship. We message each other every now and then but mainly talk about personal topics and not about any other things.

"I don't think the players are interested in all this, so they don’t ask about it. I think it's normal in football that such things are being written from time to time.

"For example, Sabi [Marcel Sabitzer] was linked with Tottenham for a long time, but I didn't talk to him about it once.

"I know he gives his best all the time and you can use any player as an example for that. This is normal in football. No one has asked me about this yet."

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo's future is dominating headlines.

After Juventus crashed out of the Champions League last 16, Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin.

Could a return to the Spanish capital be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO ON MADRID'S RADAR

Real Madrid are interested in bringing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, according to the frontpage of Monday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo – Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer – left Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018 but his future with the Serie A champions is far from certain following their Champions League elimination.

Diario AS says Ronaldo represents an easier and quicker target than Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Marca, though, insists Ronaldo's possible return does not alter Madrid's objectives as they weigh up either Haaland – heavily linked to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juve, PSG and Liverpool – or Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- TodoFichajes reports United will turn their attention to Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres if they miss out on star Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, whose contract expires at season's end.

Chelsea and United want to sign Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga, claims Diario AS. Camavinga has been tipped to join Madrid, while PSG have also emerged as a possible destination.

Bayern Munich are in danger of losing head coach Hansi Flick, claims Bild. Flick has been named as a possible replacement for Germany boss Joachim Low. It comes as Bild says Flick's relationship with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is worse than previously known, while RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann has reportedly been sounded out.

- Football Insider reports Barca's move for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is "95 per cent done". The Dutchman is set to become a free agent.

City are set to make an approach for Sporting CP left-back and Madrid target Nuno Mendes, says Diario AS.

- ESPN claims Barca are tracking Rapid Vienna sensation Yusuf Demir. The 17-year-old is also reportedly wanted by City, United, Dortmund and Bayern.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco are interested in a two-year loan deal for Bayern goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, according to Kicker. Monaco are led by former Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.

Hansi Flick is the ideal candidate to succeed Joachim Low as Germany's next head coach, according to Lothar Matthaus.

Low announced on Tuesday he will step down from his role with the national team after the Euro 2020 finals, having been in charge for the past 15 years.

Bayern Munich's Flick was installed as one of the early favourites to take over from Low, whom he previously worked alongside as assistant head coach for eight years.

Flick masterminded a magnificent Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble last season, which Bayern have added to with the Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup this season.

The 56-year-old appeared to rule himself out of the running earlier this week as he remains under contract at the Allianz Arena until 2023.

But Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will leave his role at the end of the year and Matthaus has urged the DFB to move for Flick should he become available.

"He's a person of harmony, but he has to feel good," Matthaus told Sky Sport Germany. "If he no longer feels comfortable at Bayern, he will tell his bosses and then he will be the ideal candidate for the national team."

Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann, in charge of Liverpool and RB Leipzig respectively, have also distanced themselves from one of the top positions in international football.

Meanwhile, Matthaus previously stated he had no interest in leading the country he represented 150 times as a player, but he has now changed his stance.

"The DFB has to think about what it wants. Pros and cons are weighed up against each candidate," he said.

"I'm someone who likes to help. If I had the feeling that those responsible were united behind the decision, I would start to think about it."

Germany Under-21s coach Stefan Kuntz and former Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick have also been linked with the position, though the latter is reported to be in talks with Schalke over the possibility of returning to the club as sporting director.

Hansi Flick paid tribute to coaches Toni Tapalovic and Miroslav Klose after Bayern Munich earned a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Bundesliga champions extended their lead at the summit to five points thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski at Weser Stadium.

The first of those came via a corner routine that saw Thomas Muller's near-post flick-on headed powerfully home by Goretzka.

Speaking after the match, Flick revealed that goalkeeping coach Tapalovic and assistant Klose came up with the set-piece.

He said: "It was a safe and more than deserved victory that could have been bigger. 

"We implemented what we set out to do, to have a good position on the pitch and to put our opponents under pressure. 

"I'm particularly pleased that we took the lead with a corner kick, and Toni Tapalovic and Miro Klose came up with something. That is thanks to them and a compliment to their work."

However, Flick was not impressed with the late concession of a consolation goal, which saw Bayern's high line exposed.

He added: "Of course the goal annoyed me. But our back four and the team in the entire defensive network did very well, we hardly allowed any chances. 

"I am very satisfied with the result, compliments to the team."

Goalscorer Goretzka echoed his manager's sentiments, expressing both delight over the well-worked nature of the opening goal and frustration over Werder marking the scoresheet.

He said: "It was a convincing performance. It's not easy in Bremen because we've struggled [there] over the past few years. 

"The opponent was very deep, so of course a goal like that [the corner] is good. We had a good plan in possession of the ball, so we were able to prevent the counterattack very well, except at 3-1, which annoys us a lot because we wanted to play to zero."

Robert Lewandowski moved joint-second in the Bundesliga's all-time top scorers list as Bayern Munich claimed a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Pole matched Klaus Fischer's tally of 268 goals as he joined Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry on the scoresheet in a comfortable win that extended the champions' lead at the summit to five points.

Lewandowski now needs another 97 goals to match Bayern legend Gerd Muller's incredible tally of 365.

Werder were given hope that they might put the champions under pressure when Ludwig Augustinsson produced the first shot on target of the match, cutting in before releasing a weak right-footed effort.

But it was all Bayern from there, with Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich signalling the visitors' intent as they each fired just over the bar in quick succession.

Julian Nagelsmann has no interest in discussing links to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, insisting speculation over his future is just a topic for the media as he remains committed to RB Leipzig.

Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement for Hansi Flick at Bundesliga rivals Bayern at the end of the season, while a report in Spain suggested new Barca president Joan Laporta wants him to take over from Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

However, the 33-year-old has made clear his indifference to such stories as he remains under contract with his current employers until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

Leipzig were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool in midweek but remain in contention for the title in Germany, sitting just two points behind reigning champions Bayern after 24 games.

"I have a contract until 2023. It would be a bit much to say that it annoys me - I know how professional football works," Nagelsmann told the media ahead of Sunday's game with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"Apparently, I would've joined Tottenham, Real Madrid or Barcelona by now.

"There are great coaches at all of these clubs and they have a contract, just as I do. It is not annoying me, nor is it flattering me. It doesn't have any relevance for me. I'm only concentrating on [the game against] Eintracht Frankfurt, where we have to do a lot already.

"No matter what coaches you are talking about, whether it is Bayern or Barcelona, it would be disrespectful to talk about these clubs. It would be disrespectful, as all of those coaches are very successful and have a contract as well.

"From my perspective, it is a topic in the media. I understand that it is interesting, primarily for the fans, so I'm not upset. Neither am I saying that the question is disrespectful. All I'm saying is, that it would be disrespectful for me to talk about these topics."

Rather than be concerned over talk about his next move, Nagelsmann is focusing on making sure Leipzig collect maximum points from their two Bundesliga games before this month's international break.

After hosting fourth-placed Frankfurt, they travel to relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld next Friday.

"I have enough to do by analysing the game against Liverpool and by preparing the game on Sunday and next Friday. We want to get the six points before the international break," Nagelsmann said.

"Afterwards, we have to start preparing the upcoming games perfectly, to stay at the top for as long as possible."

Hansi Flick is not interested in "speculation" he could take over as Germany head coach as he eyes more trophies for Bayern Munich.

Flick is among the names linked with the Germany job after long-serving boss Joachim Low decided to step down after Euro 2020.

Bayern supremo Flick masterminded a magnificent Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League treble last season.

The Bavarian giants have also won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup in a dream start to Flick's tenure.

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga and remain in the hunt to win the Champions League, so Flick is focused on the job in hand rather than the possibility of succeeding Low.

He said in a press conference on Friday: "I have a contract until 2023 and want to be successful and win titles with Bayern Munich. It's not the time to speculate about my future."

Flick added: "I'm interested in the here and now. I am now looking after my team and the game against Werder Bremen [on Saturday]. As I said, speculation is not an issue for me."

Asked if he was surprised Low will walk away from the job, he said. "Yes, yes. He did a very good job for German football. Can be very proud of what he has achieved."

Full-back Benjamin Pavard is back in the squad for the clash with Bremen at the Weserstadion after being out of action following his positive coronavirus test.

David Alaba missed training on Thursday due to a muscular injury, but will be monitored in a session on Friday.

Bayern have scored 13 goals in their last three games and Flick expects the leaders to show intensity from the start as they go in search of a fourth consecutive victory.

He said: "Bremen have a very good defence, they stay compact and don't give away much space. We found that in the home match. It's important that we are aggressive off the ball and find good solutions with it."

Germany head coach Joachim Low has insisted no final decision has been made on possible recalls for Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

The experienced pair have not played for their country since being told by Low in March 2019 that they, along with Jerome Boateng, had no future with the national team.

Low's decision to focus on younger talent has not always paid dividends, though, and last November's 6-0 demolition by Spain prompted loud calls from the likes of Mesut Ozil to bring those senior players back into the fold.

A report in Kicker claimed Muller and Hummels are set to be handed places in Low's Euro 2020 squad, which will be his last major tournament in charge before he steps down after 15 years in the role.

While insisting he has made no promises over either player's future, Low did admit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic could mean his planned "upheaval" of the team may have to be put on hold.

"I neither opened nor closed the door," he said when asked about Muller and Hummels' possible return.

"I said that, under normal circumstances, you shouldn't interrupt a radical change. We have the pandemic situation, and perhaps you can consider: should I interrupt the upheaval [of the squad] for a tournament?"

Muller, 31, has played 100 times for Germany since making his debut in 2010 and, like Hummels – who has 70 caps – he was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2014.

Muller's club form in the past two years, particularly during Bayern's treble triumph in 2019-20, has led to a clamour for his return to the national team.

Since the start of last season, as well as scoring 27 goals in all competitions, he has provided 37 assists, the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues apart from Kevin De Bruyne (38).

Only two Bundesliga players – Erling Haaland (65) and Robert Lewandowski (109) – have had more direct goal involvements than Muller in that time.

Speaking of a possible Germany comeback, he said: "I feel comfortable in the [Bayern] team. Standing on the pitch with the boys is fun, and there are a lot of national team players on the pitch.

"I feel like chasing titles in the summer. We will see if it is the end for me after the Champions League final or whether I will play for the national team. I'm definitely ready."

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

Thomas Muller has declared himself ready to return to international duty after Germany boss Joachim Low hinted at a recall for the Bayern Munich attacker ahead of Euro 2020.

Low said last week he is considering a U-turn that would see Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng return from the wilderness in time for the rescheduled tournament.

The World Cup-winning trio were told by Low in March 2019 that they would no longer be part of his plans, which left Muller – a regular up until that point – "dumbfounded".

However, with Low under pressure on the back of November's 6-0 thrashing against Spain, the long-serving coach has reiterated the door is once again open for the trio.

Speaking to Sky Sport Germany on Saturday, Low said: "The European Championship is a separate competition and our job is to bring the best players and the best team with us in order to guarantee the greatest possible success."

The three players have a combined 246 caps and have impressed at club level since last featuring for Germany, with Muller and Boateng helping Bayern to six major trophies since the start of last season.

Muller, who has a combined 50 goals and assists in the Bundesliga since the start of last season – only team-mate Robert Lewandowski (75) has more – would welcome the chance to represent his country again this year.

"I feel comfortable in the team. Standing on the pitch with the boys is fun, and there are a lot of national team players on the pitch," he said.

"I feel like chasing titles in the summer. We will see if it is the end for me after the Champions League final or whether I will play for the national team. I'm definitely ready."

Muller played 91 minutes of Bayern's 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in Saturday's Der Klassiker, a game in which Boateng was forced off in the second half with a knee injury.

Boateng has had numerous setbacks in the past and Bayern boss Hansi Flick is awaiting news on the severity of this latest injury.

"We don't know exactly what he has done," Flick said. "He said he thought he twisted his knee a bit, but we have to wait for the diagnosis. He is having a scan."

Erling Haaland was only substituted as a precaution in Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich, interim coach Edin Terzic said.

Superstar striker Haaland looked to have set BVB on course to a fine victory when he netted twice in the opening nine minutes at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Those efforts took his tally against Bayern this season to four goals across all competitions, the most in matches with the Bavarian giants over the course of a single campaign since Cristiano Ronaldo netted five in 2016-17.

But by the time Haaland made way after 60 minutes, nursing a cut to his ankle, Bayern were back level.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice before the break and then, following Haaland's departure, a crucial, controversial Leon Goretzka volley preceded the home forward's hat-trick goal.

Images of Haaland wincing in pain on the bench were unlikely to lift the mood among Dortmund supporters, already unable to watch Jadon Sancho following a muscle injury in midweek.

Yet Terzic said Haaland, now with 19 league goals to his name at a rate of one every 84 minutes this term, was merely being protected.

BVB host Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday, aiming to protect a 3-2 first-leg advantage, with Haaland set to start for the 28th time this season.

"He played a very good game," Terzic said. "He got a little kick, but that wasn't the problem.

"He's been playing every game for weeks; we've got to protect him a little bit. We expect him to be able to play against Sevilla."

Haaland's double took him to 32 Bundesliga goals across 34 matches this season and last.

Uwe Seeler is the only player in the history of the competition to score more often in his first 34 appearances (33).

Marco Reus believes Borussia Dortmund were denied "a very clear foul" that would have been given had it been for Bayern Munich just before their rivals scored the pivotal third goal in a thrilling Klassiker.

Dortmund surrendered a two-goal lead given to them by an early Erling Haaland double as they went down to a dramatic 4-2 away defeat to Bayern on Saturday.

It looked like they would still hold on for a point until Leon Goretzka scored a volley two minutes from time, before Robert Lewandowski struck again for Bayern to seal his hat-trick.

Dortmund captain Reus had been substituted by the time Goretzka struck, but he was adamant the crucial goal should not have stood after Emre Can claimed to have been fouled by Leroy Sane in the build-up.

"It's a very clear foul," Reus said to Sky Germany.

"I tell you quite honestly that if that had been for Bayern, it would have been whistled. 

"That's just the way it is. There is nothing to add. That's the way it is."

Responding to Reus' comments, Bayern attacker Thomas Muller insisted it was not the type of incident he would have liked to see whistled for either team.

"When you lose a game, it's clear that you focus on an incident like that," said Muller. "But you'll have analysed that. 

"We don't want these duels to be whistled at the halfway line, otherwise we only have stop-start games. 

"So I wouldn't have whistled that as a foul against us. I really, very much like the way Marco Fritz refereed today."

Despite the controversy about the key goal, Bayern had dominated much of the contest, racking up 27 attempts to just four from Dortmund while having 66 per cent of the possession.

The win moved Bayern two points clear of RB Leipzig atop the Bundesliga and left Dortmund sitting sixth, four points adrift of the top four.

Robert Lewandowski outscored Erling Haaland with a Klassiker hat-trick as Bayern Munich recovered from two goals down to again beat Borussia Dortmund in a 4-2 victory.

Bayern reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga hours after being knocked off the summit by RB Leipzig, despite an awful start to another epic encounter on Saturday.

The champions were two behind inside nine minutes following Haaland's brace, but Lewandowski had them level by half-time and Dortmund, already missing Jadon Sancho, saw their two-goal talisman hobble off with half an hour to play.

BVB still looked set to hold on and end a run of four league defeats to Bayern, only for Leon Goretzka to break their resolve before Lewandowski's treble-clincher capped another outstanding outing.

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