David Alaba will miss up to three weeks with the thigh tear he suffered on Saturday, Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac has confirmed.

Austria international Alaba was forced to skip the Bundesliga draw against RB Leipzig after injuring his left thigh during the warm-up at the Red Bull Arena.

Kovac's timeline potentially rules the left-back out of action until after the October international break.

He will miss Wednesday's home meeting with Red Star Belgrade and is in doubt for the club's second Champions League encounter, a trip to Tottenham at the start of next month.

"David will be out for two, maximum three weeks," Kovac said.

"Obviously, David is a really important player for us. Unfortunately he's going to be out for a couple of weeks but Lucas Hernandez won the World Cup in that position.

"He has a different interpretation of how to play at left-back than David does but he does a very good job.

"Alphonso [Davies] can play in that position, that's actually why we fielded him against Leipzig. He didn't play as a left-back but we fielded him so that he could work together with Lucas. Tomorrow is a Champions League game, it might be a bit different."

One man who could benefit from Alaba's injury is Jerome Boateng.

The centre-back, routinely linked with a move elsewhere during the transfer window, stepped into the starting XI at late notice against Leipzig and impressed Kovac.

"I keep saying the same thing about Jerome Boateng - he's a part of this team and as a part of this team I treat him like everyone else," the Bayern boss said.

"Everyone has the right to play here. Jerome didn't play a lot in the last couple of weeks, however, on Saturday he had to play from the first moment to the last and it was a class performance. I want to emphasise that.

"Of course, I have a lot of very good players. It was his first game [in the Bundesliga] and he played 90 minutes. That's a different rhythm from someone who plays once or twice a week.

"We'll have to see how he copes. I am happy with him and he will get chances to play, that's all I can say really."

Jesus Navas says years of covering for Dani Alves at Sevilla made it easy for him to become a full-back for Manchester City.

Having spent his earlier career as a winger, Navas was deployed as an emergency right-back in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium due to injuries.

Navas returned to Sevilla after the 2016-17 season and has mostly been used in defence for club and country since, including in all four LaLiga appearances this season and the 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Romania on September 5.

The 33-year-old says it was a natural progression for him to become a defender, partly because of his experience of covering for the marauding Dani Alves during the Brazilian's time at Sevilla between 2002 and 2008.

"There were players injured [at City] and he [Guardiola] asked me if I could play there," Navas said, courtesy of LaLiga. "I told him that I could do it without a problem because when I played with Dani Alves he used to attack a lot, so I normally covered him in the defence.

"I did not have any problem doing it. Everything went well."

Navas won six trophies in his first spell with Sevilla before helping City to one Premier League and two EFL Cup triumphs.

However, his crowning achievement came when his burst forward from his own half led to Andres Iniesta's winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

"Thinking about that play, for me to have won a World Cup is the biggest thing ever as a player," he said. "You dream of that from when you're a child. It was a dream that became true. It was incredible. The greatest moment for me.
 
"My next dream would be to win another title with Sevilla and with our fans. That would be something big."

Navas twice won the UEFA Cup with Sevilla before it was rebranded as the Europa League and he now wants to lift the trophy for a third time this season.

He also predicts a Spanish team can triumph in the Champions League - as well as former club City.
 
"Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona or another team that's always on top can win the Champions League," he said. "The Spanish teams always fight for this title.
 
"[The Europa League] is very special for us. We have won it on various occasions and feel very comfortable playing it. We know that it is difficult and a long tournament, so we have to go game by game. The truth is that this competition has given us a lot of happiness."

 

Atletico Madrid captain Koke insists revenge is not a motivating factor ahead of the Champions League rematch with Juventus on Wednesday.

The Spanish side entertain the Serie A champions just over six months on from their capitulation in the second leg of last season's rollercoaster round-of-16 tie.

Diego Simeone's men appeared on course for the quarter-finals following a 2-0 home win but collapsed in the return encounter as a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick earned Juve a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The turnaround in Turin extended Atletico's wait for Champions League glory, yet Koke is not worried about getting one back on the Bianconeri.

"Not, revenge no. Every year is different," the midfielder told Marca.

"It is true that we are going to play against one of the best teams in the world, with great players, and it will be a nice game.

"But what matters to us is to try to get out of the group, which is our goal, and to beat Juventus or whoever we come up against."

He added: "To tell the truth, it was inexplicable [to lose].

"Just like anyone, one day on the job is not the same as another. We had a bad day, they were good and the goals were in specific moments, in the middle of the first half, at the beginning of the second and then at the end."

Stefan Savic watched the match unfold from the bench and views it as the "worst" of his four years at the club.

The centre-back appears likely to start this time around and warned his team-mates against focusing solely on stopping Juve star Ronaldo.

"Juve are much more than Cristiano," Savic said. "They have great champions in their team. Ronaldo is one of the most important players in history and we will be watchful."

Atletico Madrid captain Koke insists revenge is not a motivating factor ahead of the Champions League rematch with Juventus on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone's side entertain the Serie A champions just over six months on from their capitulation in the second leg of last season's rollercoaster round of 16 tie.

The Spanish side appeared on course for the quarter-finals following a 2-0 home win but collapsed in the return encounter as a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick earned Juve a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The turnaround in Turin extended Atletico's wait for Champions League glory, yet Koke is not worried about getting one back on the Bianconeri.

"Not, revenge no. Every year is different," the midfielder told Marca.

"It is true that we are going to play against one of the best teams in the world, with great players, and it will be a nice game.

"But what matters to us is to try to get out of the group, which is our goal, and to beat Juventus or whoever we come up against."

He added: "To tell the truth, it was inexplicable [to lose].

"Just like anyone, one day on the job is not the same as another. We had a bad day, they were good and the goals were in specific moments, in the middle of the first half, at the beginning of the second and then at the end."

Stefan Savic watched the match unfold from the bench and views it as the "worst" of his four years at the club.

The centre-back appears likely to start this time around and warned his team-mates against focusing solely on stopping Juve star Ronaldo.

"Juve are much more than Cristiano," Savic said.

"They have great champions in their team. Ronaldo is one of the most important players in history and we will be watchful."

Neymar has had his European suspension reduced from three matches to two on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The ban, extending across all UEFA competitions, was imposed upon the Paris Saint-Germain forward following his foul-mouthed Instagram outburst about the match officials who presided over the club's Champions League loss to Manchester United in March.

Neymar was upset with the awarding of a late penalty in the second-leg meeting at Parc des Princes, which knocked PSG out of the competition at the last-16 stage.

"This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR," he wrote at the time.

"There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back! Go f*** yourselves!"

Neymar's initial appeal was rejected by UEFA in June but CAS has seen fit to lower the ban to two European games, the smallest possible sanction under the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

The decision means the Brazil international will be eligible to feature in the Champions League trip to Club Brugge on October 22, PSG's third Group A fixture.

Thomas Tuchel's men first face Real Madrid in Paris on Wednesday and Galatasaray in Istanbul on October 1.

Having attempted to secure a return to Barcelona during the close-season transfer window, Neymar only returned to the pitch for PSG over the weekend.

The 27-year-old marked his club comeback with a spectacular stoppage-time winner in the 1-0 victory over Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

Ajax will miss Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt but have not been deflated by the dual departures, according to Dusan Tadic.

The Dutch champions parted with their two brightest stars during the close season as midfielder De Jong moved to Barcelona and defender De Ligt joined Juventus.

The pair had been instrumental in Ajax's stunning run to the Champions League semi-finals, starting 17 games apiece.

Erik ten Hag's men return to European action against Ligue 1 side Lille on Tuesday and winger Tadic believes success on the continent remains within reach.

"We were not sad De Jong and De Ligt left," Tadic told the Telegraph.

"We will miss them, but it's the next step for them and Ajax likes to support their players who feel the time is right to move on.

"They have both gone to big clubs, nobody was surprised. The nice thing is, there were a lot of other players who could have left and decided to stay because they are having their best days here. This is important.

"It will be harder without those two, but not impossible. We still have a good team, we can still win trophies, we can still do well in Europe and there are more young players coming through who will make their impact.

"Ajax have sold big players before, that is the way of life for us, so it is up to the young players to stand up and take more responsibility.

"They will have a chance, there are so many of them coming through."

Tadic was another hugely important figure in Ajax's superb 2018-19 season, the Serbia international scoring 38 goals.

His performances justified the Eredivisie club's decision to break with their tradition of focusing investment on young prospects and Tadic's own choice to leave the Premier League.

"I was 29 when I left for Ajax and I can confidently say I made the right decision," he said.

"It is easier to show my true self for Ajax, it was harder at Southampton. I stopped enjoying it. I wanted to come to Ajax and I have enjoyed every minute."

Lionel Messi has his sights on a record set by Real Madrid great Raul when Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, as the Champions League proper gets started for the 2019-20 season.

Barca's talisman is back in their squad for the trip to Germany after missing the start of the campaign with a calf injury and, while he is unlikely to start, few would bet against him having a decisive impact if he does make an appearance.

Reigning champions Liverpool begin their title defence at Napoli in what will surely prove to be a tricky test, although Sadio Mane will be aiming to equal a record set by Didier Drogba.

There will also be Champions League bows in the dugout for Frank Lampard and Sylvinho.

Below, we examine the key data for Tuesday's encounters...

Salzburg v Genk

0 - Salzburg have not lost any of their last 18 home matches in European competition (W14 D4 – including qualifiers), with their most recent defeat at home coming in October 2016 against Nice in the Europa League.

1 - Genk forward Mbwana Samatta scored nine goals in 12 appearances in European competition last season and he also finished with 23 goals in the Belgian top flight in 2018-19. Should he play in this match, he will be the first Tanzanian player to make an appearance in the Champions League.

 

Napoli v Liverpool

5 - Napoli have won just one of their past six European meetings with English clubs, losing the other five in this run and failing to score in the most recent three. That one victory was against Liverpool last season, though.

15 - Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has scored 14 goals in 24 Champions League appearances. Should he score in his next outing, he will equal Didier Drogba's record of needing just 25 appearances to score his first 15 goals in the competition, a record for any African player.

 

Inter v Slavia Prague

20 - Inter will be making their 20th appearance in the Champions League/European Cup – only Juventus (34) and AC Milan (28) have had more among Italian sides (including 2019-20).

24 - Inter forward Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 24 goals (12 goals, 12 assists) in his 52 Champions League appearances, but none of these involvements came in six games in the competition for Manchester United, the club he left on loan last month.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona

33 - Lionel Messi has scored against 32 of the 37 different opponents he has faced in the Champions League. Should he score against Dortmund, the Barcelona star will equal the competition's record for different teams scored against, set by Raul (33 clubs).

2 - Borussia Dortmund have won just two of their past eight Champions League home matches (D2 L4), losing their most recent match 1-0 against Tottenham in the last 16 in 2018-19.

 

Lyon v Zenit

1 - Lyon boss Sylvinho will manage in the Champions League for the first time, also becoming the first non-Frenchman to take charge of the club in Europe's elite competition. The Brazilian made 32 Champions League appearances as a player for Barcelona, Celta Vigo and Arsenal, scoring three goals.

58 - Zenit captain Branislav Ivanovic could make his first Champions League appearance since March 2016 (for Chelsea) in this match. He has made 58 appearances in the competition; only Dejan Stankovic (87) and Predrag Djordjevic (62) have made more among Serbian players.

 

Benfica v RB Leipzig

10 - Benfica are Portugal's sole representative in the 2019-20 Champions League, making it the first time in a decade that there is only one Portuguese club in the competition.

3 - Timo Werner scored three goals from just seven shots on target in the Champions League back in 2017-18, more than any other RB Leipzig player. He went on to net seven times in European competition that term, the highest total by an RB Leipzig player in a single season.

 

Ajax v Lille

6 - Ajax won six games in the 2018-19 Champions League, as many as they did in their previous four participations in the competition.

11 - Including qualifiers, Lille have not won any of their past 11 European matches in all competitions (D6 L5) and scored only five goals in these games.

 

Chelsea v Valencia

102 - Frank Lampard will take charge of a Champions League game for the first time in his managerial career. As a Chelsea player, he made 102 appearances in the competition and is one of only 22 players to have played 100 games or more in the tournament with the same club.

2 - Valencia have reached the Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012-13 (three in a row), which was also the last time they made it to the knockout stages of the competition, before being beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold believes Napoli attacker Lorenzo Insigne is similar to Real Madrid star Eden Hazard.

Insigne's late winner saw Napoli edge Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League in October last year.

The Italy international has made an impressive start to the Serie A season, scoring twice and providing two assists in three games.

Ahead of Liverpool's clash against Napoli on Tuesday, Alexander-Arnold talked up Insigne and compared the 28-year-old to Hazard.

"Obviously he's a really good player. He's someone who really helps them play football, understands the way that they want to play, really encourages the team to play out, able to hit [it to] him and he'll be able to hold the ball up," the right-back told UK media, via the Liverpool Echo.

"He's a really tricky player, really strong, fast, quite agile. He's kind of like Eden Hazard I'd say, that type of player who is tricky to get hold of and mark. Coming up against him is always a tough test but they are the things that you expect in the Champions League.

"He's a great player, probably a little bit underrated in terms of the respect and the plaudits that he gets, but he's a real fantastic player.

"I think his team-mates will say the same and the people that come up against him will say how tricky he is to actually nullify. He's a good player, they've got many a good player and we need to be ready for that."

Insigne has helped Napoli claim six points from three Serie A games to start the season, while Liverpool are top of the Premier League after winning five from five.

Jordan Henderson dismissed suggestions Liverpool were Champions League favourites, saying it was too early for such talk.

Liverpool begin the defence of their European title on Tuesday, making the trip to Napoli in their opening game in Group E.

But amid talk Jurgen Klopp's men were favourites to go back-to-back, Henderson played down those suggestions.

"I think it's too early to be saying stuff like that," he told a news conference.

"For us, we've started the season really well and we just want to continue that on. We still feel that we can improve and get better.

"That's what we try to do [against Napoli], we try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

Liverpool have made a perfect start to the Premier League season, winning their opening five games to open up an early five-point lead at the top.

While they may be targeted as champions of Europe, Henderson said it was something Liverpool had to deal with regardless.

"I feel as though being at Liverpool everybody wants to beat you anyway so it's the same for us. We want to beat anybody we play, they want to beat us," the midfielder said.

"For us it's the same as it always has been which is to give everything in every single game we play and we know that it will be a tough, tough game [against Napoli].

"They are a great side but we've got to concentrate on what we can do and if we perform to the level I know we can then we have a good opportunity to win the game."

Liverpool will be without Divock Origi, who is set to be sidelined for up to two weeks due to an ankle injury suffered in Saturday's 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

That could provide an opportunity for Rhian Brewster and Henderson backed the 19-year-old forward.

"Rhian's been really good pre-season, he was really strong, in training he's been really good. It gives us another option," he said.

"We've got a lot of strength in the squad but he's been doing really well and he just needs to continue in that way."

Valencia coach Albert Celades backed his squad ahead of their Champions League clash against Chelsea, although he admitted their situation was far from ideal.

The LaLiga club stunningly sacked Marcelino, who helped them win the Copa del Rey in May, as coach last week.

No Valencia player attended a pre-match news conference alongside Celades on Monday, but the former Real Madrid assistant – in his first senior coaching job – backed his squad to get through a difficult period.

"I'm the coach here and I take the decisions," he told a news conference.

"The players have to adapt to the coach, it's a two-way street.

"I have experience of situations like that which they are going through. It isn't ideal, but I'm convinced that we will get through it well."

Valencia make the trip to Stamford Bridge on the back of a slow start to the LaLiga season, having won just one of their opening four games.

However, Celades, who played for Barcelona and Madrid, believes his side will perform in the Group H clash.

"I'm the one taking decisions here. Some may like them, some may not. I'll take the decisions I see fit. I've no fear, I'm completely calm," he said.

"Whenever a coach changes it is a process of adaptation for everyone. There is a need to gel, but it is a fantastic challenge.

"I'm sure we're going to do well."

Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool were not favourites for their Champions League clash against "cheeky b*******" Napoli on Tuesday.

The Premier League giants begin the defence of their European title at the Stadio San Paolo, where they were beaten in October last year.

Reflecting on that 1-0 defeat, Klopp said Liverpool's failure to adjust tactically was the reason for their loss in Naples.

"We talk a lot about intensity. The Napoli game last season was not intensity, Napoli was an organisation problem," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

"All the things we tell the boys, it is all about intensity and how much we have to invest, but before that it is all about information. What do you have to do in these moments?

"And Napoli play a specific style. To make it very simple, we played against them in our defending like they had one number six but they had two number sixes, the cheeky b*******. We knew before.

"We told them they had two number sixes but then everyone came too late. We tried to change it in the game and nobody listened and nobody could change and in the end, we were lucky it was only 1-0. It was really this kind of off day."

The loss to Napoli was one of three away defeats Liverpool suffered in the group stage last season, although they improved on the road on their way to the title.

Despite being the defending champions, Klopp said his side were underdogs heading into the clash.

"We will have to invest whatever we have in the game and then we have a chance but we don't go there as a favourite," he said.

"Yes, we won the competition last season but it is difficult against the runner-up in Italy for the last few seasons, who is really close to Juventus this year and a really strong team.

"They are different to last year, not too much, but enough to have a view on it."

Jurgen Klopp dismissed his agent's talk of the weather in Liverpool as a joke that had been misunderstood, clarifying he would not leave Merseyside simply for a warmer climate.

The Reds boss' future was brought up as friend and agent Marc Kosicke complained to DAZN of the gloomy weather during Liverpool winters, suggesting it had hindered contract talks in the past.

But Klopp, facing the media ahead of playing Napoli in the Champions League, sought to set the record straight.

While making repeated light-hearted comments about the temperature of the sweltering media room in Naples, Klopp explained: "He wanted to make a joke so I have to be serious.

"I could make a lot of jokes about the weather - especially sitting here sweating like crazy... I'm not sure I could work here.

"It was obviously the German humour and nobody got it. The weather was never a reason for me to choose a city.

"Liverpool is not always nice but, between March and September, it's nicer than I imagined. I came in October and you could say not to move to Liverpool in October because, until March, it's not too cool.

"It was a bit harsh and I spoke a lot about the weather, but it was long ago. Now, when I speak about the weather, I speak about the wind, which has an affect on football, but that is not allowed as well in England.

"It's not a reason for me to leave the country. I'm fine with the weather. Maybe, at the moment, it's the most healthy weather in the world - we have enough rain, wind is there, it's pretty much the opposite of this room.

"I enjoy that quite often. There's nothing in that story. Obviously it was a bump - he said something and they all went for it.

"He's not only my agent, he's my friend; friends say what they want and he did that and nobody got his joke. That's how it is."

Meanwhile, preparing for the first match of Liverpool's title defence, Klopp remained in jovial mood as it was put to him that his side might be the best in Europe.

Laughing as he heard the question, the manager said: "We cannot be the best team in Europe as Man City are the best team in the world. That's the same planet, I heard.

"There are a lot of good teams out there and you have to prove it constantly. Last year, we were really good. I'm not sure we were the best team in Europe, but we were really good at the right moments. That's why we won the Champions League."

Captain Jordan Henderson similarly was not interested in talk of being considered favourites for the Champions League.

"It's too early to be saying stuff like that," he said. "We have started the season really well and just want to continue that.

"We still feel we can improve and get better - that's what we will try to do tomorrow night. We will try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

Miralem Pjanic has been passed fit for Juventus' Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, but Douglas Costa is set to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

Both players hobbled out of the 0-0 Serie A draw with Fiorentina on Saturday, Costa managing only eight minutes and Pjanic forced to depart shortly before half-time.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder had tests at J Medical on Monday and no muscle damage was detected, meaning he should be clear to play in his side's Champions League group-stage opener away to Atletico on Wednesday.

However, Costa has been diagnosed with a thigh injury and it will be 15 days before a definitive time frame on his recovery can be put in place.

It means the Brazil winger will sit out the Atletico clash and potentially Juve's second Group D match at home to Bayer Leverkusen on October 1.

He will also miss league matches against Hellas Verona, Brescia and SPAL over the coming 10 days.

Lionel Messi has trained well in recent days but Ernesto Valverde remains wary of rushing him back into action when Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

The Argentina star has not featured this season due to a calf injury sustained in pre-season but was named in the travelling squad for Barca's opening Champions League group game at Signal Iduna Park.

Valverde has been pleased with Messi's training performances but will not make a decision on whether his captain will start the match until closer to kick-off.

"We'll decide before the game," he said. "It wasn't very clear a week ago if he could come, but he was with the team in the last few training sessions, finishing well, taking the fear of pain out of his mind. We'll see what we do."

Whether or not Messi returns, Barca could well hand a Champions League debut to Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old who has taken LaLiga by storm this season.

Fati became Barca's youngest ever league goalscorer against Osasuna last month and marked his full Camp Nou debut on Saturday with a goal and an assist in the first seven minutes of the 5-2 thrashing of Valencia.

"I've not spoken with him, save for tactical matters," Valverde admitted. "I don't like the history of giving advice. Of course I will talk with him, but you have to give him some breathing space.

"What he is doing is exceptional. If he plays, it's not so he can break a record, but because of the needs of the team. We love him."

Barca have only lost one of their past 28 group-stage matches but are under huge pressure to perform this season after collapsing in the semi-finals to throw away a 3-0 first-leg lead over Liverpool.

Valverde believes Dortmund will offer a good litmus test for his side, as he looks to put the disappointment of the 4-0 loss at Anfield and the dramatic quarter-final exit to Roma the year before behind him.

"I expect a rival of the highest level, a challenger for everything in their country and in Europe, and a good yardstick for us," he said.

"It's a competition in which one bad day can knock you out, even if you have had a great competition until that moment. The two teams in the final last year [Liverpool and Tottenham] lost more games than we did. You can't neglect even 10 minutes."

Tuesday's game will see Barca come up against Paco Alcacer, who has flourished since leaving Barca initially on loan in 2018.

"Alcacer is a great player and he's showing that for Dortmund and the national team," Valverde said. "He's playing regularly with Dortmund. What we know about him is both an advantage and a disadvantage."

Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are set to miss Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League meeting with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions confirmed on Monday that the attacking duo are not likely to resume first-team training until the end of this week.

Neither player has featured since suffering muscle strains in the 4-0 defeat of Toulouse last month.

It means Neymar, who scored on his return to the first team on Saturday after being left out amid the uncertainty over his future during the transfer window, and Mauro Icardi will likely lead the line at Parc des Princes.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is the other option at head coach Thomas Tuchel's disposal.

Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba will also miss the visit of Zinedine Zidane's side as they continue to recover from injury problems.

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