Philippe Coutinho will make the difference for Bayern Munich once he is fully up to speed, according to team-mate Benjamin Pavard.

Brazil international Coutinho joined Bayern from Barcelona on an initial season-long loan last month and featured twice in the Bundesliga before heading away on international duty.

Pavard, a fellow new signing, acknowledges the former Liverpool man may need some time to rediscover his best form but believes he will then have a huge impact.

Asked to describe Coutinho, Pavard told Sky Sport: "A little wizard! He is very discreet and really personable. First of all, a really fine guy. And of course a very good footballer.

"It's very hard to get him off the ball. He's not 100 per cent yet - he probably needs some more games because he joined the team very late.

"But I'm sure, in a few weeks, we will see the world-class footballer Coutinho.

"Of course [he can make the difference]. I now know him from a few training sessions and I have no doubt about that. He has incredible quality and will show it to everyone."

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka is set for a spell on the sidelines following an operation on his left thigh.

The former Schalke man underwent surgery on Wednesday to treat a bad bruise after initially sustaining damage last month.

Goretzka aggravated the issue on Germany duty and was forced to skip his country's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

"Bayern are set to be without midfielder Leon Goretzka for a period of time," read a club statement.

"The 24-year-old suffered another injury on his left thigh during Germany's preparations for their match against Netherlands last week.

"He was subsequently forced to undergo an operation on Wednesday to remove a haematoma. The surgery was successful."

Goretzka missed Bayern's opening two Bundesliga games of 2019-20 but returned to the bench for the 6-1 victory over Mainz at the end of August.

He made 30 league appearances for Niko Kovac's side last season, scoring eight goals.

Luis Suarez returned to first-team training at Barcelona on Wednesday to give head coach Ernesto Valverde hope that he could feature against Valencia on Saturday and lessen the need to rush Lionel Messi back from injury.

Suarez is nearing full fitness again after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in Barcelona's defeat to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the new LaLiga season.

After missing Barca's subsequent 5-2 win over Real Betis and their 2-2 draw at Osasuna, the Uruguay international trained with the team in the build-up to Valencia's visit to Camp Nou to provide Valverde with a welcome boost to his attacking options.

Messi, meanwhile, had been expected to make his first appearance of the season against Valencia after recovering from a calf injury but Valverde may opt not to risk the 32-year-old if Suarez is available.

The muscle strain sustained on the first day of pre-season training has kept Messi out of Valverde's matchday squads since then, but the Barcelona coach said he hoped to have him back in time to face Valencia.

However, the Spanish champions face a trip to Germany three days after the Valencia game to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and Valverde may give Messi extra rest as he completes his recovery.

Robert Lewandowski hopes to have won the same level of respect as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery when his time comes to leave Bayern Munich.

Veteran wingers Robben and Ribery moved on from Bayern at the end of last term, the pair given emotional send-offs after 10 and 12 seasons at the club respectively.

Their final Allianz Arena appearances proved a fitting occasion as both players scored in a 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt that sealed the Bundesliga title.

Star striker Lewandowski, now in his sixth season with the club, could rival their longevity after signing a new contract through to 2023.

By then, the prolific 31-year-old might be ready to make his own grand departure.

"To have that goodbye is definitely a dream of mine," Lewandowski told Sport1.

"I'm not yet thinking of leaving, but to be honest I almost had tears in my eyes when saying goodbye to them.

"The experience was not only a nice moment for Ribery and Robben, but also for us team-mates. To have such a nice farewell is something special."

Lewandowski seemed less enthused about Bayern during the close season, when he expressed frustration over the club's lack of transfer activity.

Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho and Mickael Cuisance all arrived late in the window, placating the Poland international.

"Those responsible have done a good job in the transfer market," he said.

"We can be glad that we now have such strong new additions to our team."

He added: "We prepared really well in pre-season.

"The results can already be seen in how we play football. How we build our game and the movements we have in attack already look very good. I benefit from that as well."

Bayern drew 2-2 against Hertha Berlin in their season opener but cruised past Schalke and Mainz before the international break to sit second on the table, two points behind Saturday's opponents RB Leipzig.

Marcelino has been sacked as Valencia head coach just three matches into the new LaLiga season.

The 54-year-old was dismissed on Wednesday following a reported falling out with club owner Peter Lim.

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Albert Celades, who was an assistant coach to Julen Lopetegui at the Santiago Bernabeu last year, has been tipped to take over at Mestalla.

Marcelino was appointed as Valencia boss in May 2017 and led them to a fourth-place finish.

His position came under threat 12 months ago during a difficult start to 2018-19, but the club kept faith in the former Villarreal boss and were rewarded when they ended the season by winning the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and clinching a Champions League spot.

Valencia have taken four points from three games this term but it was reported in Spain that Lim called club president Anil Murthy for an emergency meeting in Singapore on Wednesday after deciding to sack Marcelino.

A brief statement from Valencia confirming the news said: "The club wants to thank [Marcelino] for your work and dedication during your time in here and wish you the greatest success for the future."

There are also suggestions sporting director Mateu Alemany could be dismissed.

Ousmane Dembele is "still like a child" and needs guidance in order to fulfil his potential, according to former Barcelona team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Boateng spent the latter part of the 2018-19 season playing alongside Dembele at Camp Nou while on loan from Sassuolo and he opened up about the France international's temperament in an interview with Bild.

Dembele has earned a reputation for his poor timekeeping having been suspended for Barcelona's defeat to Real Betis last season after missing a training session and France coach Didier Deschamps publicly lambasted him, saying: "I know about his excuses when he turns up late."

Barcelona stuck by the 22-year-old in the face of speculation that he might leave the club, for whom he scored eight goals in 29 LaLiga appearances last season, but Boateng urged the Blaugrana to nurture his talent.

"He is very calm, and does not talk much," Boateng told Bild.

"He is still like a child to me. You have to take him as he is and it may be that he arrives late.

"There are players who do that in defiance, but that's different with him. He's just like a little boy – one who earns a lot of money, one who is extremely public."

Boateng's stay with the LaLiga champions was short-lived and he made just three league appearances during a five-month spell at the club.

In contrast, Dembele is someone Barca coach Ernesto Valverde and president Josep Maria Bartomeu seem keen to keep hold of as he embarks upon his third season in Catalonia.

Boateng warned Barcelona: "You have to point him in the right direction. If he does not learn then it is his fault.

"For me, he's still a little boy who was thrown into this huge pool, suddenly costing 150 million euros overnight and somehow does not even know how everything works – because he just wants to play football."

Marseille winger Florian Thauvin is expected to miss the rest of the first half of the season as he prepares to undergo keyhole surgery to correct an ankle problem he sustained in April.

Thauvin was injured during Marseille's 3-1 victory at Guingamp on April 20 and exacerbated the problem in training, although he recovered in time to help his side finish the 2018-19 season with back-to-back victories as they claimed fifth place in Ligue 1.

However, the issue continued to hamper the France international, who has played just 10 minutes as a substitute in the top flight this term, and he has made the decision to go under the knife in order to return to full fitness.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Florian Thauvin suffered an accidental ankle injury in a match about four and a half months ago.

"This type of lesion, small, very localised, usually allows [the player] to resume after appropriate care and rest. His current progress has allowed him to return to the group but the player still feels a discomfort.

"In order to be able to return to 100 per cent of his capacity, Florian and Olympique de Marseille have decided to carry out a small operation (arthroscopy) in the coming days.

"His period of unavailability should last until the winter break."

The news means Thauvin is likely to be out of action until January, with Ligue 1's mid-season break scheduled to run from December 20 until January 10.

Thauvin's injury problems hampered his side's progress last season, with a heel injury in October 2018 forcing him to miss a Europa League defeat to Lazio before his April absence left Marseille short of creativity at a key stage in the season.

Andre Villas-Boas' side had a mixed start to the new campaign, recovering from an opening-day defeat at home to Reims to go unbeaten in their past three league matches.

Marseille travel to Stade Louis II to face Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Mauro Icardi's decision to turn down Napoli and join Paris Saint-Germain was a move the Italian club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis found understandable.

Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal ahead of the closure of the transfer window, having become a fringe figure at Inter following the arrival of coach Antonio Conte, who signed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

The Argentina striker had previously endured frosty relations with the Nerazzurri, too, and his departure always seemed likely.

De Laurentiis confirmed he made a move for Icardi, yet he had no issue with the player opting to join the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at PSG instead.

"To buy [Icardi], I came to Inter with an offer of €60million, plus bonuses for a total of €65million," he told Corriere dello Sport. "For Wanda Nara, for her husband's contract, I proposed a gross of about €12million.

"Icardi is not stupid and perhaps he understood that to re-launch himself at European level, it was the best choice to go to a team like PSG, where he can stand out more easily than at Napoli."

Napoli instead signed Fernando Llorente following his release from Tottenham.

And De Laurentiis revealed head coach Carlo Ancelotti had made Llorente his preferred option all along.

"Llorente wasn't my idea but rather Ancelotti's," he said. "No-one would have turned their back on a top player like Icardi but, from the first moment, Ancelotti wanted Llorente.

"He argued that, in attack, we were already heavily stocked and only needed a champion to play in the last 30 minutes of games that required unlocking."

Therefore, with Arkadiusz Milik another option, De Laurentiis has no regrets about the failed transfer.

"I never regret in life. The arrival of Icardi would have prevented the purchase of Llorente, of whom I am as convinced as Ancelotti," he said.

"Above all, he would have overshadowed Milik, who I continue to consider the true big star of the Napoli attack."

Tite insists the changes he made to the Brazil team against Peru were not to protect players for club duty as he instead used the opportunity to assess his squad.

Neymar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Arthur and all dropped to the bench, having started the 2-2 draw against Colombia, and Brazil saw their 17-match unbeaten run ended in Los Angeles.

Luis Abram scored the only goal with an 85th-minute header for Peru, by which point Neymar had been introduced as a substitute.

Tite defended his team selection, though, insisting it was important to look at some new players following the Copa America, with Vinicius Junior making his debut.

"The most important thing was the team," Tite said. "The opportunities and changes were what I understood to be best in the moment, not to protect the players on the return to their clubs.

"I made the changes thinking about the Selecao.

"After the Copa America, another stage of opportunities began. It is only natural that we would not reach the same level of performance. I like to give opportunities to play - this is fundamental."

Meanwhile, Tite followed Fagner and Marquinhos in criticising the LA Memorial Coliseum pitch, which had been used by Argentina and Chile on Thursday.

"The pitch influences performance, this can't happen," he said. "There are risks of injuries.

"There is no excuse for defeat, I don't want to say that. Do not take only part of what I am saying. The opponent had a strategy and won.

"But this cannot happen in high level football. You can't have the field in this condition."

Casemiro has told Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior to start thinking about the Ballon d'Or and other major prizes after making his Brazil debut.

Vinicius made his first appearance for the Selecao in Tuesday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Peru, Brazil's first loss since last year's World Cup.

The 19-year-old has started 10 LaLiga matches across the past two seasons, too, and Casemiro believes he needs to be aiming high.

"Vinicius has a very good head and, in the past year, he has surprised many people with the football he played," the midfielder told reporters.

"It is not normal for a 19-year-old boy to do what he did with the Real Madrid shirt. I told him the other day that this year is a year that he has to start thinking big.

"I repeat: what he did last year was not normal. He surprised everyone and showed that he is ready to be a starter at Real Madrid.

"When you are a starting Real Madrid player, you have to think big. Think of the Ballon d'Or, FIFA's World XI. He is a great player and he has already proven it.

"Of course, he is very young, you cannot put too much pressure and weight on his back. But I think he has to start thinking big.

"It is very important for us that he is here with the national team, but we have to be calm; two years ago he was playing in the Flamengo youth team."

Gregg Berhalter believes the United States were given the sort of physical test they can expect in World Cup qualifying by Uruguay on Tuesday.

USA failed to qualify from the CONCACAF section for Russia 2018 but are rebuilding under Berhalter ahead of the next cycle.

Days on from a humbling 3-0 defeat to rivals Mexico, USA held Uruguay to a 1-1 draw - equalising through Jordan Morris after Brian Rodriguez's opener - and Berhalter was impressed by his team's spirit.

The coach suggested the Uruguay match in St Louis, where the hosts bossed 60 per cent of possession, would ultimately prove more useful than the clash with Mexico.

"We just played two different teams with two very important challenges," Berhalter told a news conference.

"Against CONCACAF teams, we will play teams that are very compact [like Uruguay]. We have to understand how to break those teams down. Mexico were a totally different challenge.

"Mexico are a high-pressing, active team in front of a loud, boisterous crowd. Mexico presented us with good challenges but also good learning opportunities.

"We talked about how this opponent [Uruguay] were going to be compact and be physical. I think the team did a great job on set-pieces.

"More importantly, it was about the tenacity of our guys and the relentlessness of our guys to hang in there and keep battling. We did a good job, particularly in the first half, of keeping our structure."

Tata Martino will not feel too low after his first defeat as Mexico head coach, believing neither the big defeat to Argentina nor their long unbeaten run showed their true state.

Former Barcelona boss Martino was appointed El Tri coach in January and enjoyed a sensational start to his new role, beating Chile in a March friendly and then winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

But an 11-match unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday as Argentina, Martino's former team and the last side to have beaten Mexico before their streak, ran out 4-0 winners in San Antonio.

Lautaro Martinez scored a hat-trick before being substituted at half-time, with all four goals coming in the first 45 minutes.

Martino explained: "I do not think this is our reality - nor do I believe that having 11 games without losing is our reality.

"Of the 'A' class [of team], this is the second game we played - the first was against Chile and the substantial difference is that tonight we made mistakes.

"Argentina could hurt us because there were 15 minutes where we played well and then the breakdown starts from an error.

"To learn from this, we need to play more major games of this stature. We must look to try to compete with the best in order to be able to take that leap we want to take."

LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos offered a similar assessment, frustrated by Argentina's ability to punish Mexico, who dominated possession but were outdone on the break.

"I think the team started well," he said. "I feel that the goals for Argentina were more our mistakes than their successes. We know that we cannot make these mistakes against these teams.

"We have to lift our heads, we are still working very well. The team is confident and I think it is a defeat that will make us learn."

Antoine Griezmann believes it would be a "very good" stance to stop matches in the case of homophobia or racism in the stands, disagreeing with French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet.

FFF chief Le Graet this week called for games to continue in spite of homophobic chanting or displays following a worrying number of incidents in French football.

But World Cup winner Griezmann, speaking after France's 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Andorra, was in support of halting play.

The Barcelona star believes stopping matches would be an effective way to prevent future incidents.

"For me, it's very good to stop the matches, whether for homophobic songs or racist songs," Griezmann told RTL.

"If we stop the matches, people will not be happy and they will stop doing it."

French president Emmanuel Macron called for the Ligue de Football Professionnel and its clubs to take responsibility and address the issue.

Ligue 1 games in Nice and Metz were paused in the space of a week last month after discriminatory banners were seen in the crowd.

Elsewhere, a second-tier encounter between Nancy and Le Mans in August was stopped by match officials following instructions to intervene in the event of homophobic chanting or displays.

Lionel Scaloni was delighted with the application of his Argentina side against Mexico, claiming they played "a perfect game" in a 4-0 victory.

Lautaro Martinez hit a first-half hat-trick as Argentina, still without Lionel Messi, ended Tata Martino's unbeaten start to life as Mexico coach in style, with Leandro Paredes also on target from the penalty spot.

Scaloni's men ceded possession to their opponents at San Antonio's Alamodome, but the coach saw his plan work to a tee and hailed the team's spirit.

"We knew the way that Mexico would play and we came out quickly to create some chances," he told a news conference. "We are happy because we played a perfect game.

"We knew that Mexico would dominate the opening minutes and that's why we were prepared to go out on the counter-attack.

"We gave the feeling that we are a team - that's the important thing. Everyone played for their lives, for their team-mates and for wanting to be in the Argentina team.

"We knew that if we recovered the ball, we would have to get it quickly to the striker.

"It's no good if we just defend well. We analysed Mexico a lot and we were courageous enough to do what we had to do in this match.

"We want an Argentina team that is competitive, where our opponents respect us."

Martinez was substituted at half-time, with Scaloni revealing the striker had been carrying a knock prior to the match, joking the Inter star appeared to play better injured.

"The change was planned, because he had some discomfort," the coach said. "Hopefully he can continue playing with discomfort."

Fagner called on Brazil to learn from Tuesday's defeat to Peru, although both he and Marquinhos criticised the LA Memorial Coliseum pitch.

Brazil were beaten for the first time since their 2018 World Cup reverse to Belgium, ending a 17-match unbeaten run, as they lost 1-0 to a late Luis Abram goal.

But Fagner insists the South American champions never questioned the threat of their opponents, who they defeated in the Copa America final.

The right-back, who started, with Dani Alves on the bench, hoped Brazil would be able to grow from a rare loss.

"We know the strength of South American football. There is no poor team," Fagner told TV Globo. "We played a consistent game and created chances to score. We were penalised by a set-piece at the end of the game.

"We need to grow and mature as soon as possible with these types of games to improve for the World Cup qualifiers.

"These games have to make us grow as a team. We know the importance of winning, of working calmly towards victory. But we also know that defeats can happen. This has to make us grow."

Fagner added the firm pitch in Los Angeles, used to hosting American football games, "undoubtedly" contributed to the defeat, and team-mate Marquinhos concurred.

"I think it was a very close game. We came from two good games against them and good results," Marquinhos said. "We knew they would come for the result and they did what they had to do.

"The pitch didn't help much. The ball bounced a lot. We tried to force passes through the middle, but both teams misplaced a lot. We knew it was a one-goal game and they were happy from set-pieces."

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