Arsene Wenger says he will hold talks with Bayern Munich next week after discussing the head coach role with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The former Arsenal boss has been linked with the job at the Allianz Arena following the departure of Niko Kovac.

Wenger said this week that he would not turn down the chance to speak with a club of Bayern's stature, having spent more than a year out of management since leaving Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season.

However, it was reported by Sport Bild that Rummenigge had told Wenger he was not under consideration after the Frenchman called him personally.

Wenger, though, has attempted to clarify the speculation by insisting that he and Rummenigge agreed to speak properly about the job once he has returned from Doha.

"It's nice to let me explain the story because it's a surprising story," Wenger told beIN SPORTS.

"First of all, I don't have any agent. I am the only one involved in this story. Nobody can talk on my behalf.

"Secondly, I've known [Franz] Beckenbauer, Rummenigge and [Uli] Hoeness for 40 years. The success of this club has been built on its exceptional competency, honesty, discretion and simplicity. We always told the truth between all of us when necessary.

"What happened? My name came out of nowhere, without having anything to do with this. On Wednesday afternoon, Rummenigge called me. I could not answer at that moment, and by politeness, I called him back. He was in his car going to the game against Olympiacos.

"We talked for four to five minutes maximum and he told me that they had assigned Flick to be the coach. He will manage the next two games because they will play Borussia Dortmund [on Saturday].

"He asked me if I would be interested because they are looking for a coach. I told him I didn't have any thoughts about it. It needs some time to have a think about.

"We decided together we would talk next week because I am in Doha until next Sunday night. This is the true story.

"I wish well to Bayern, who are actually at a turning point, because Hoeness, a key man for this club, is leaving. Rummenigge will leave in one year. It seems the future of the club is uncertain.

"This club, which has always managed stuff by being very discreet and direct, is today very exposed, with rumours coming from everywhere.

"For myself, I wish good luck to Bayern, and for me, the situation is clear."

Ajax and Brazil forward David Neres has been ruled out for the remainder of the year with a knee injury sustained against Chelsea, head coach Erik ten Hag has confirmed.

The 22-year-old has featured 20 times for the Dutch champions in all competitions this season, scoring six times and providing a couple of assists.

Neres played 72 minutes of Ajax's 4-4 Champions League draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, but he damaged his meniscus in the first half and is sidelined until 2020.

"We will have to make do without David until the winter break," Ten Hag said at a news conference ahead of Sunday's home meeting with Utrecht.

"At half-time [against Chelsea] I asked everybody if they were okay and everybody said yes. Directly after the game it was clear that he was injured, but we didn't expect that it was so heavy.

"I think it happened in the first half. There were two small moments when he got a knock. But I can't know for sure."

Neres, who has started four games for Brazil this year, will miss Ajax's crucial Champions League games with Lille and Valencia.

"It's a major setback. These things happen. I feel really sorry for him," Ten Hag said.

"It's a major blow for him, but for the team as well. But it's mainly hard for him, because he was getting in a better shape. That makes it a big blow for the entire team as well."

Eredivisie leaders Ajax are top of Champions League Group H, level on points with Chelsea and Valencia.

Kylian Mbappe has been left out of Paris Saint-Germain's squad for Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Brest, but Mauro Icardi has been passed fit.

France international Mbappe is being rested after he sustained an adductor problem in the 1-0 Champions League win over Club Brugge on Wednesday.

It is unclear whether he will now be a doubt for France's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Albania on November 14 and November 17.

Fellow attacker Icardi injured his foot during that match, in which he scored the only goal of the game, but he is included in Thomas Tuchel's 19-man selection.

As confirmed by PSG on Thursday, Ander Herrera is absent with a thigh injury while Thilo Kehrer and Thomas Meunier are also out until after the international break.

This weekend's trip to Brest also comes too soon for Neymar, who is due to resume full training next week following more than a month out of action.

PSG suffered their third defeat of the Ligue 1 campaign last Friday, going down 2-1 to Dijon, yet they remain seven points clear at the summit.

Zinedine Zidane raised the issue of Karim Benzema's continued absence from the France team again on Friday ahead of Real Madrid's trip to Eibar.

Benzema has been one of Europe's outstanding strikers during a 10-year Madrid career, yet he has not represented his country since 2015.

The Madrid frontman has not featured at international level since he was allegedly involved in a plot to blackmail his then-France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

Zidane claims Benzema still wants to represent France, though, and believes his player to be "the best" and worthy of a call-up.

"He's always wanted to play for the French side," Zidane told a news conference. "To be honest, I don't know exactly what's going on.

"But from a football point of view, he's the best. I think he should definitely have a place in the French national team. It's beyond my role here, but he should definitely be called up."

Benzema scored his 50th Champions League goal for Madrid in midweek, surpassing the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano on the club's all-time list in the process.

Antoine Griezmann must learn to play to Barcelona's strengths if his Camp Nou career is to take off, according to head coach Ernesto Valverde.

The France international joined Barca from Atletico Madrid for €120million in July but has failed to find his best form in Catalonia.

He has been used predominantly in a wide role and has scored just four goals in 14 matches in all competitions, firing blanks in his last four outings.

Having spent five seasons playing a different type of football under Diego Simeone at Atletico, Griezmann has been told by Valverde to adapt his style of play.

"A lot is said about his situation, but I think it's a lot simpler than it seems," he said at Friday's news conference. "He is used to a different type of football. 

"I played against Simeone teams lots - his players drop back quickly. As soon as they lose the ball, they run back. 

"Players like Koke and Saul [Niguez], [Diego] Costa and [Alvaro] Morata. That's the way Atletico play, a side that likes to get back and fill space. At Barcelona, we play a short passing game. 

"It's a case of looking for players and seeing space. Antoine is generous in that way - in fact we ask that of him, to lose his marker and create space. 

"When you go forward you must come back but I think he needs to mature into the way we play. Likewise, our players need to get used to the things Antoine does. 

"It's not been easy in his first year, but once players start to gel it rolls a lot more smoothly."

Griezmann has played a full part in Barcelona's last two matches, the LaLiga champions following up a 3-1 league loss to Levante with a goalless home draw against Slavia Prague in the Champions League.

The 28-year-old was not alone in being criticised for his display against Slavia, with Ousmane Dembele also failing to impress prior to being replaced by teenage forward Ansu Fati.

"Tuesday's game was difficult. Ousmane could have done more in the first half but did better after half-time. I still see Ansu as a better option off the bench given his age," Valverde added.

Jordi Alba suffered a relapse of a previous hamstring injury against Slavia, potentially opening the door for Junior Firpo to start for the first time since September when Celta Vigo travel to Camp Nou on Saturday.

"This could be a game for him to have a chance," Valverde said. "We are happy with him. He is a good player and will do good things for us."

Roberto Mancini has handed maiden Italy call-ups to Riccardo Orsolini, Gaetano Castrovilli and Andrea Cistana for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Forward Orsolini has scored once and provided three assists for a Bologna side who sit 13th in Serie A after 11 games.

Castrovilli has been impressive in the heart of Fiorentina's midfield so far this term, while Cistana has been an ever-present for struggling Brescia.

Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri returns having missed the previous squad through injury, while Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora and Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi are also recalled.

Italy have already qualified for next year's Euros having taken maximum points from eight matches in Group J of qualifying.

The Azzurri will look to complete a perfect campaign when they face off against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia.


Italy squad in full: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Cristiano Biraghi (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Andrea Cistana (Brescia), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Armando Izzo (Torino), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma); Nicolo Barella (Inter), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Jorginho (Chelsea), Rolando Mandragora (Udinese), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Shanghai Shenhua), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna).

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde insists he is not worried about his future at the club.

A 3-1 LaLiga defeat at Levante last Saturday was followed by a 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague at Camp Nou in the Champions League, in which home fans made their frustrations clear with whistles from the stands.

Barca sit top of LaLiga after 11 matches but criticism is nonetheless mounting on Valverde, who appeared close to the sack at the end of last season but was given support by president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Valverde says he still feels he has the backing of the board and that he is not concerned about his position, especially since Barca had previously been on a seven-game winning run in all competitions.

"I'm not worried about my future," he told reporters on Friday. "The other day I had dinner [with Bartomeu]. I feel supported and respected.

"Whether you understand [the criticism] or not, it's how it is. I don't have much to say.

"If we'd scored a goal [against Slavia], everyone would be more calm. It's how it is. You have to accept things as they come.

"A week ago, we were on the highway, we had seven wins in a row. Now, we'll see."

Barca host Celta Vigo on Saturday in their final match before the international break.

Oscar Garcia's side are on a poor run of their own, having lost five of their past six league games, with just two goals scored in that run.

Despite a relative lack of preparation time for the match at Camp Nou, Valverde is determined to get his team back to winning ways.

"We need a win," Valverde admits. "We lost a game in six minutes [at Levante]. We need to get back on the path of taking three points because we need them and because we know what it means for this team to lose.

"We're motivated and we know how difficult a game it will be.

"We prepared for Slavia in two training sessions because we didn't have any more. It's normally like that for the whole season. There are two game days, four to prepare for the games – that seems normal to me."

Spain head coach Robert Moreno says there is no reason why Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati could not be in the squad for Euro 2020.

The 17-year-old, born in Guinea-Bissau but a resident of Spain since the age of six, has been a revelation at Camp Nou this season during an inconsistent first half of the season from Ernesto Valverde's side.

Fati was cleared to play for his adopted country in October and was named in the Under-21 squad for this month's qualifying matches for the Euro Under-21 finals in 2021.

Moreno admits he will keep an eye on the winger's progress with a view to including him for the senior tournament next year, for which Spain have already qualified.

"Ansu Fati is in the preliminary list and so there is no reason why he can't be with us at Euro 2020. He ticks all the boxes," Moreno told reporters in Madrid.

Spain's latest squad for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers against Malta and Romania includes Dinamo Zagreb winger Dani Olmo, who has impressed in the Champions League this season.

"Dani Olmo enjoyed a great tournament with the Under-21s [at this year's European Championship] and he's doing well for his club in the Champions League. We're very happy to be able to give him this opportunity," said Moreno.

Moreno also suggested there could be a place in future squads for Valencia centre-back Gabriel Paulista, who has not played for Brazil and is now obtaining a Spanish passport.

"Gabriel Paulista is processing his passport but right now he cannot be called up," he said. "When he gets his Spanish passport, we'll see.

"There are a lot of very good players but only 23 are able to make the squad. Out of a list of 45 players, we end up selecting the 23 who we think will do the best."

Moreno took charge after Luis Enrique stepped down in June for family reasons.

The 42-year-old wants to remain at the helm as far as the 2022 World Cup, but he says there are no plans for talks over a new deal.

"I haven't been offered the chance to renew and nor am I expecting it to happen in the near future," he said. "If you were to ask me how long do I expect to be in the job - I would like to still be here for the Euros and the World Cup - so at least for one whole period. But that will depend on the results, that's how it is for all coaches."

Five months on from the Raptors' stunning NBA Finals triumph in Oakland, the city of Toronto will hope to be celebrating further success after the MLS Cup final.

The Raptors defeated two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors for their first title, and Toronto FC can add another championship by beating Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

Toronto and Seattle are facing one another in the season decider in MLS for the third time in four years, winning a title apiece at BMO Field before this showdown at CenturyLink Field.

Victory would cap a sensational 2019 for sports in Toronto, but other cities have similarly been able to hail two or more major championships in the same year previously. We take a look at the seven most recent examples.
 

1998: CHICAGO - Bulls (NBA), Fire (MLS)

Michael Jordan's NBA dominance with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s gave the city's other sports teams plenty of opportunities to complete a double. In 1998, two years after the introduction of MLS, early force Chicago Fire were able to deliver.

Jordan ended his final season in Chicago a champion once again, the MVP and Finals MVP as the Utah Jazz were beaten 4-2 in June. Fire then defeated DC United 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in October, capping a fine year for the Windy City.
 

2000: NEW JERSEY/NEW YORK - Devils (NHL), Yankees (MLB)

The sports teams in the greater New York area brought in the millennium in real style as both the New Jersey Devils and the New York Yankees were able to clinch championships.

The second of the Devils' three Stanley Cup successes to date came against the Dallas Stars in June's Game 6, before a New York victory at the World Series was guaranteed as the Yankees faced the Mets four months later. The Yankees won inside five games for a third straight title.
 

2002: LOS ANGELES - Lakers (NBA), Galaxy (MLS), Angels (MLB)

Few cities have enjoyed a year as dominant as Los Angeles did in 2002, with the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Anaheim Angels all triumphing.

The Lakers won the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year in June, crushing the New Jersey Nets 4-0, before October brought double delight for the city's sports fans, with Galaxy beating New England Revolution 1-0 as the Angels began their World Series campaign, ultimately edging out the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
 

2004: NEW ENGLAND/BOSTON - Patriots (NFL), Red Sox (MLB)

It should have surprised no one to see the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, their second of three in four years, but it was a far bigger deal to see the Boston Red Sox come out on top in the World Series.

Tom Brady earned his second ring as the Carolina Panthers were edged out in a dramatic fourth quarter in February, before neighbours the Red Sox ended the 'Curse of the Bambino' and an 86-year wait for a championship by thrashing the St Louis Cardinals in October, having earlier come from 3-0 down against the Yankees.

2009: PITTSBURGH - Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL)

Pittsburgh sports fans have had plenty to celebrate since the turn of the century. The Pirates have largely toiled in MLB, but the NFL Steelers and NHL Penguins have each seen success - and did so in the same year in 2009.

The Steelers became the first franchise to win six Super Bowls when they held off a fourth-quarter fightback from the Arizona Cardinals in February, while the Penguins avenged their 2008 Stanley Cup defeat to the Detroit Red Wings against the same team in Game 7 in June.
 

2012: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

If Toronto can win a second MLS Cup in three years, they will then hope to kick on and pursue Galaxy's record of five titles - the fourth of which came in December 2012, six months after the Los Angeles Kings broke their Stanley Cup duck.

Playing just the second Finals in their history, the Kings dealt established winners the Devils a six-game defeat. Galaxy, far more accustomed with success, then defeated Houston Dynamo for the second year running in the MLS Cup final.


2014: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

Having waited so long for a first triumph, the Kings wasted little time at all to double their tally - much like Toronto FC, the Reds will hope.

Another New York outfit, the New York Rangers, were dispatched 4-1 in June, setting up another magnificent double with Galaxy when Bruce Arena's men beat New England thanks to an extra-time Robbie Keane strike in December.

Edinson Cavani is in line to start Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 clash with Brest on Saturday, head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

The French club's all-time leading scorer is out of contract at the end of the season and has cut a frustrated figure since returning from a hip injury last month.

He was an unused sub in the wins over Nice and Club Brugge last month and has been restricted to appearances off the bench in PSG's three most recent matches.

However, in-form striker Mauro Icardi is a fitness doubt with a foot injury sustained in Wednesday's 1-0 win against Club Brugge, opening the door for Cavani to make his first start since August 25.

"It is complicated for him because he's used to starting every game," Tuchel said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"For the last few weeks, it has been a big difference for him in terms of pace and speed. He has trained well and it is important he starts and regains his rhythm.

"He is disappointed not to play but accepts the decision and has kept a good state of mind."

Cavani has finished as Ligue 1 top scorer in two of the past three seasons and scored twice in as many matches prior to picking up his injury against Toulouse.

PSG boss Tuchel is hopeful that this weekend's clash will give the Uruguay international an opportunity to revive his campaign.

"I'm hoping that playing on Saturday will be a trigger for him," he said. "I do not like having Edinson on the bench, but I have made that decision. 

"He is an important player for us and I want him to start tomorrow. If he can score that would be good news for PSG."

PSG suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Dijon last week - their third loss of the campaign - and Tuchel suggested motivation may be an issue against lesser opposition.

"We can lose, it happens, but it must only happen against better sides than us," he said. "If we are missing key players, that matters - like [Marco] Verratti against Dijon.

"We do not always perform at the same level. That doesn't mean the match isn't important.

"We have to accept that the tension is different before Champions League games, or the Marseille match, compared to when we faced Dijon.

"We have to respect the opposition and prepare ourselves in the same way. I have players who know that and are super reliable."

Granit Xhaka has said he is not ready to return for Arsenal in Saturday's Premier League trip to Leicester City, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed.

The midfielder has not featured for the Gunners since being stripped of the captaincy after his outburst towards fans during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on October 27.

Emery says Xhaka is not in the right frame of mind to feature for the first team, even though he has been dedicated in training this week.

"Not yet," Emery told reporters on Friday when asked if Xhaka would be back in the squad.

"I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he's feeling now and how he is in his mind. He's working well, he's training well, but he said to me that he's not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was named Arsenal's new captain and Emery has backed the striker to embrace the role.

"I can remember how we did the process because last year the captains were Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal," said Emery. "They left the team, at the last moment as well, Koscielny. In that moment I decided, and also I used the characteristics to find a captain.

"After I started with Granit Xhaka because he has the quality to take the captain's responsibility. Then after the [Palace] issue, I decided it was better for him not to. Next in line is Aubameyang, the second after him is [Hector] Bellerin, third is [Alexandre] Lacazette and the fourth is Mesut Ozil.

"The first is Aubameyang because he has experience and he has the respect in the dressing room. He was the top scorer last year in the Premier League and also I know he needs time to take that responsibility 100 per cent. But we are going to support him.

"Every player, we are going to support the four captains, and we are going to support him as our first captain because he has also made one extra step to achieve that responsibility.

"For example, Sokratis [Papastathopoulos] said everybody can take responsibility as a captain. We want to be a strong family here and I know for the supporters it is very important who is the first face, in front, with the captain's responsibility. I decided to give it to Auba and everybody also agreed with that decision and now I am telling you he needs time to take that responsibility with confidence, but we give him that confidence, I give him that confidence. He has the quality and the values to do perfectly with that responsibility."

Emery's own position is under scrutiny following a run of one win in six games in all competitions, while Leicester are six points above them in the Premier League table.

While he insists he has not spoken to the board about his future, Emery believes off-field problems - such as the issue around Xhaka and the attempted armed robbery of Sead Kolasinac and Ozil in July - have complicated the Gunners' situation.

"We need to improve and also we are in one process," he said. "First we are speaking about the captain's circumstances, then also some circumstances with some players - with Sead Kolasinac and with Mesut Ozil - then also circumstances that didn't help us with Granit Xhaka. For example, we're losing one player at the moment, Granit Xhaka, who is important for us and the way we play, but I have confidence in the players and in our work.

"I know we are in one process and we are speaking with the club about the responsibility of the club, and they are supporting us, and the players are supporting me. We know we are taking one responsibility with the young players, but the young players need one process to achieve that responsibility and their performance in the team, but we are helping them."

Michael O'Neill has been appointed as Stoke City's new manager but will temporarily continue in his previous role as Northern Ireland boss.

Stoke, a Premier League club 18 months ago, are bottom of the Championship with just eight points from 15 matches.

Nathan Jones was sacked last week, but the Potters' poor form continued with a 2-0 home defeat to West Brom under the caretaker charge of former player Rory Delap.

Stoke have now agreed a deal for O'Neill ahead of a clash with fellow strugglers Barnsley, yet he will take on a dual role initially.

The Irish Football Association confirmed O'Neill would oversee Northern Ireland's remaining two Euro 2020 qualifiers and any subsequent play-off matches.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "We reluctantly agreed to allow Stoke to talk to Michael after they met the compensation requirements. Michael has now agreed terms with the Championship club.

"Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that Michael is leaving us.

"However, we are delighted all parties have agreed Michael will be in charge of the Northern Ireland team for the games against Netherlands and Germany and potential Euro 2020 play-off matches next March."

Northern Ireland are third in their qualification group, three points behind leaders Netherlands and second-placed Germany - their final two opponents.

O'Neill has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Stoke.

Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs have been called up to the Netherlands squad for the first time for the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Northern Ireland and Estonia.

The rising AZ stars were included in Ronald Koeman's 25-man squad, which was announced on Friday.

Boadu, 18, has 13 goals and five assists in 21 appearances this season in the Eredivisie and Europa League, scoring twice and setting up another in the 5-0 win at Astana on Thursday.

Twenty-year-old Stengs has eight goals and eight assists in 22 games in the same competitions.

Koeman has left out Marco Bizot, Hans Hateboer, Donyell Malen and Tonny Vilhena, who had all been on the provisional 28-man squad list, while Mohamed Ihattaren of PSV was omitted following a discussion with Oranje's head coach.

A draw against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on November 16 will be enough to secure Netherlands' place at the Euro 2020 finals.

They host Estonia at Johan Cruijff ArenA in their final qualifier on November 19.

Netherlands squad:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord), Jeroen Zoet (PSV); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Propper (Brighton and Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Myron Boadu (AZ), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Calvin Stengs (AZ), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes to have Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez fit and available after the international break.

Muscle problems will keep both players out of Saturday's LaLiga game against Eibar despite them being called up to their respective national teams.

Wales winger Bale has not played a minute since a Euro 2020 qualifier close to a month ago, while midfielder James has missed Madrid's past three matches.

The pair have started individual fitness programmes but will not be considered for selection until they are able to complete full training sessions alongside the rest of the first team.

"They haven't been fit enough to play," Zidane said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"If they're going to go [away on international duty], they're going to go. They've got five or six days to see if they're fit enough to play for their country. They're not fit enough to play on Saturday.

"They haven't trained with the team. They've been training a little but not at the same pace as their team-mates. If players aren't training with their team-mates they can't play.

"They're not injured right now."

Bale's injury occurred in the same international fixture that left Croatia midfielder Luka Modric with bruising to his right quadriceps.

The 34-year-old subsequently sat out two club games, leaving Zidane wary of a repeat as his squad prepares to disassemble.

"Hopefully nothing happens, but it could. It's true in the last call-ups the players got injured," he said.

"Hopefully the players get away with the national teams, they play, and there are no injuries, and everyone comes back fit and available."

Amid the probe over why Bale and James have been absent, Zidane was asked to clarify his recent claim that Kylian Mbappe harbours a "dream" of playing for Madrid.

The Los Blancos boss said that he was simply repeating the Paris Saint-Germain star's own acknowledged ambition.

The comment riled PSG sporting director Leonardo, who called for an end to transfer speculation surrounding Mbappe.

Zidane said: "He's within his rights to have his opinion and when I get asked a question I will also say what I believe.

"All I said was what [the player] said, that Mbappe's dream is to one day wear the Real Madrid shirt. There's not really much to it to be honest."

Hansi Flick has reiterated his stance regarding the future at Bayern Munich, determined only to concern himself with "the finish line" against Borussia Dortmund.

Flick has taken over at Bayern in a caretaker capacity since Niko Kovac's sacking, having previously served as assistant coach.

The 54-year-old's first game in charge saw the Bundesliga champions defeat Olympiacos in the Champions League in midweek, but he faces a mammoth fixture this weekend.

Bayern, fourth in the Bundesliga and four points off the top, host second-placed Dortmund on Saturday.

As Flick explained following Bayern's European win, the upcoming match can be his only concern despite the continued wait for the appointment of a new coach - potentially impacting his role at the club.

Thomas Tuchel was linked with the job but stated his desire to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, while reports suggest Bayern will not turn to veteran Arsene Wenger.

"Dortmund is the finish line," Flick told a news conference. "We want to get there with a win. That's what drives me and the staff. I feel that the team is ready.

"Everything else does not concern me. It's about Bayern - I have accepted that. The club will make their decision."

The pressure of Der Klassiker will not get to Flick, though, as he added: "I have seen many important games - for example, with the national team [assistant Flick stepped in for suspended coach Joachim Low at Euro 2008].

"I am enjoying the two games now. I am relaxed, although the nights do not bring a very deep sleep. You worry."

Kovac's position at Bayern appeared to be weakened by a dispute with Thomas Muller, who he suggested would only play a fringe role going forward.

Muller is back in the fold but it did not take Flick long to run into problems with naming a team from Bayern's packed squad.

Thiago Alcantara and Philippe Coutinho were both left out of the side against Olympiacos, settling for places on the bench.

"It is quite normal that you are angry if you do not play," Flick said. "But all who are in our 18-man squad can play. Everyone knows that the situation is not easy. It's a normal mix in professional football."

There will be increased focus on the Dortmund team, too, as Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho are both doubts, but Flick will prepare for the possibility they are each declared fit.

"We set the team out considering all possibilities," he said. "Then 90 minutes before the game, we know and then we have time for the final touches."

Page 6 of 246
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.