Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick said the Champions League holders took a giant step towards the quarter-finals following their 4-1 demolition of Lazio.

It was one-way traffic in Rome, where Bayern made light work of hosts Lazio in the opening leg of the last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Robert Lewandowski, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane were on target in the opening 45 minutes before Lazio's Francesco Acerbi turned the ball into his own net within two minutes of the second-half restart.

Joaquin Correa pulled a goal back for Lazio two minutes later, but Bundesliga champions Bayern are in complete control of the knockout clash.

Bayern are now unbeaten in their last 18 Champions League games (W17 D1) – the fourth-longest such streak in the competition's history and the longest since a run of 25 for Manchester United in May 2009.

"Everyone lived up to expectations," Flick said post-match. "We turned in a very good team performance.

"We wanted to put our opponents under pressure from the start, it worked out well. We often won the ball high up the field, created chances and made the most of them. We're very pleased today.

"We want to advance to the quarter-finals, and today we took a giant stride towards our goal. But there's still a second match to play."

Musiala – just the second 17-year-old to start a Champions League knockout fixture for Bayern – enjoyed a memorable outing in the Italian capital, where he doubled the lead after Lewandowski's opener.

At 17 years and 363 days, Musiala became the youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League.

He also became the second-youngest player to score in the knockout stages of the Champions League, after Bojan (17 years and 217 days) netted for Barcelona against Schalke in the quarter-finals in 2007-08.

"We are very happy that he produced a good performance just like the whole team. The goal shows what he's about. He is very good when he has the ball and can play well between the lines," Flick added.

"He has a good feeling for open space on the pitch. He did well, just like the other players. We are happy with his goal and satisfied with his performance."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel hailed his players after the English club took control of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

Olivier Giroud's stunning overhead kick secured a 1-0 victory over Atletico in the opening leg of the European matchup on Tuesday – the match played in Bucharest due to coronavirus travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and Spain.

Chelsea dominated proceedings against the LaLiga leaders as Tuchel continued his fine run since replacing Frank Lampard last month.

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Tuchel has conceded just two goals in eight games as Chelsea manager – the only coach in the club's history to concede fewer goals after eight games in charge is Jose Mourinho (one).

Tuchel credited his players post-match, telling reporters: "I am super happy for my players and the team for such a big reward. We actually can read it on the score line that we have the result against top opponents.

"It was very important that we are absolutely concentrated over all 96 minutes. That we also accept that it’s very hard to create chances, but we did all that and it was a very good team effort."

While Tuchel became only the second manager in Champions League history to manage two different clubs within a single season after Ronald Koeman in 2007-08 (PSV and Valencia), Chelsea forward Giroud claimed a record of his own.

Aged 34 years and 146 days, Giroud became the oldest player to score a Champions League knockout goal for Chelsea, and the oldest to do so for an English side since Ryan Giggs (37) for Manchester United in April 2011.

Giroud's spectacular 68th-minute goal was initially disallowed for offside before VAR intervened.

"I'm not proud of [Giroud's goal] because I had nothing to do with it," Tuchel said. "So it was not my achievement. He can be proud."

Tuchel added: "If you see him on a daily basis, you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape and his physicality is on top level. 

"Mentally I really have the feeling he enjoys every day being a professional football player on this level and this is the level he needs to be. He trains like a 20-year-old, like a 24-year-old. He is a guy who has a good mixture of seriousness and joy in training.

"He is always positive and it is a big factor for the group. He starts, when he comes from the bench, he has all these qualities and it is good like this."

Simone Inzaghi accepted the pressure of the occasion got to his Lazio players after being thumped 4-1 by holders Bayern Munich in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg.

Competing in their first Champions League knockout-round tie in 21 years, Lazio found themselves three goals down by half-time against the German visitors in Rome.

Bayern star Robert Lewandowski pounced on a weak Mateo Musacchio backpass and rounded Pepe Reina for an early opener – his 72nd Champions League goal, moving him ahead of Real Madrid great Raul and behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (134) and Lionel Messi (119).

Jamal Musiala doubled the lead 15 minutes later to become the second-youngest goalscorer in the knockout stages behind Bojan, before Leroy Sane fired in number three at the end of an attack that came about as a result of Lazio's Patric losing possession.

A bad day for Serie A outfit Lazio got even worse 62 seconds after the half-time interval when Francesco Acerbi turned Sane's cross into his own net under pressure from Alphonso Davies.

Joaquin Correa pulled one back with a fine solo goal but, having seen his side ship four or more goals in a home European match for just the third time in their history, Lazio head coach Inzaghi was left to rue some horror defending.

"Unfortunately, we'd said this week with the lads that we should play our game," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We felt the occasion too much. We were tense against the world champions, but we basically scored three of the four goals for them.

"Disappointment in the locker room is natural, but it's already an achievement for us to be here. In games at this level, you need to be at 100 per cent, to do everything right and hope the opponents aren’t at their best.

"If we look at it, we're talking about the Club World Cup winners and we scored three out of four goals for them. You can't make those mistakes at this level."

However, Inzaghi felt that the game may have panned out differently had Lazio been awarded a penalty when trailing 1-0 for a challenge on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic inside the box.

"We knew the kind of team we were facing. I think we'd started well before the error for the opening goal, and there should've been a penalty when it was still 1-0," Inzaghi added.

"If the penalty had been given for 1-1, that might've changed the game, but none of it went our way tonight. We can learn from this experience in order to grow and be stronger in future."

Bayern are now unbeaten in their last 18 Champions League matches – the fourth-longest run in the competition's history – winning all but one of those games since the start of last season.

Hansi Flick was delighted with the Bundesliga champions' display but is refusing to take a place in the quarter-finals for granted ahead of the return fixture in Bavaria on March 17.

"Generally speaking everyone has met the expectations today. We won the ball high up the pitch and put the opponent under pressure. We are very satisfied today," he said at a news conference.

"The Champions League is a special competition for us.  Everyone was ready to do something special. The win was well deserved. 

"But we now have to play the second leg against Lazio first. We want to go to the quarter-finals and today we have come a lot closer to achieving that."

Thomas Muller has missed Bayern's last four matches after testing positive for coronavirus and Flick is unsure if the attacker will be back for Saturday's league visit of Cologne.

"There are still tests to be made," Flick said. "He will be back when the doc gives the green light. The earlier he returns, the happier we are."

Leon Goretzka is hopeful Bayern Munich team-mate Jamal Musiala will commit his international future to Germany following the midfielder's latest eye-catching display.

Musiala marked his second Champions League start with a long-range strike in Bayern's emphatic 4-1 win over Lazio in Tuesday's last-16 second leg.

At 17 years and 363 days, he is the youngest Englishman to score in the competition and the second-youngest player to net in the knockout stages after Bojan in 2007-08.

However, despite representing England twice at Under-21s level, reports suggest the youngster plans to pledge his allegiance to Germany at senior level.

Asked about Musiala's international future following Bayern's win at the Stadio Olimpico, 29-cap Goretzka told Sky Sport Germany: "I hope he chooses Germany!"

Having already become Bayern's youngest-ever Bundesliga goalscorer in September, Musiala also now tops the same list in the Champions League with his fourth goal for the club.

The Stuttgart-born prodigy scored from his only shot against Lazio and Goretzka was impressed by what he saw.

"He was extremely happy to play from the start," he said. "We tried to make him play freely and not worry too much. Joshua [Kimmich] and I protected his back and he did well."

Musiala's strike came after Robert Lewandowski had opened the scoring for Bayern with his 72nd Champions League goal.

That moved the prolific striker ahead of Real Madrid great Raul in the competition's all-time list of scorers and behind only Lionel Messi (119) and Cristiano Ronaldo (134).

Leroy Sane then added a third and played a key part in Bayern's fourth, which was turned into his own net by Francesco Acerbi, before Joaquin Correa pulled one back.

Germany winger Sane played more key passes (two) than any Bayern player and also contested the most duels (17) of any player on the field.

It is the third game in a row Sane has been directly involved in a goal and he is glad to have found his feet following a big-money move from Manchester City last year.

"I'm an attacking player and want to set impulses upfront," he said. "I want to help the team. Today I think I did quite well, but I'm not getting carried away.

"We were there from the first minute. Hansi [Flick] and the coaching staff pointed out to us before the game that Lazio would make mistakes if you put them under pressure. That worked right away."

With his latest strike, Sane has now been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 10 Champions League appearances – seven goals and three assists.

When the team sheets landed, it looked like Diego Simeone might have thrown his bottomless reserves of menacing caution to the wind.

Atletico Madrid lined up to face Chelsea in the Champions League with Angel Correa and Joao Felix either side of Luis Suarez in attack.

Marcos Llorente – a goalscoring revelation from midfield both this season and, famously, at Anfield at the same stage of the 2019-20 tournament – was at right wing-back, with Thomas Lemar arguably an even more offensive option on the other flank.

Hold onto your hats or, at the very least, your dark overcoats.

By half-time, Atleti had managed no shots on target and one attempt on goal overall.

Despite inviting mirth such as that immediately above, Simeone's men did not start by manning the barricades.

Joao Felix scampered into a first-minute dribble, drawing a foul that saw Mason Mount collect the quickest booking in this season's Champions League and a ban for the second leg.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's heavy touch nearly gifted a goal to Saul Niguez before Suarez mugged Kurt Zouma near the right byline and Lemar could not slide home the cross.

Those were uncomfortable moments for Chelsea, but they soon started to feel at home in a dubious 'away' game at Bucharest's Arena Nationala.

Thomas Tuchel has already stamped his mark all over this Blues side and they attempted 403 passes before the interval, over 100 more than any of Atletico's previous opponents in the first half of a Champions League game this season.

Atletico found themselves nudged, prodded and manoeuvred back into a familiar shell.

Jorginho became Joao Felix's latest victim, bringing down the Portugal forward to earn a caution and a ban, but Simeone talking himself into a yellow card after that moment of encouragement for his side suggested a state of fraught high-alert.

The Atleti boss paced in agitated fashion as he waited for the VAR decision that overturned an offside decision and awarded a splendid away-ish goal to Olivier Giroud – replays showing Mario Hermoso deliberately played the ball before the centre-forward's expert overhead kick.

Even when forced to chase the game, Atletico did not necessarily look more likely to score. Timo Werner tore forward on the break and thrashed into the side netting shortly after Joao Felix had been surprisingly removed.

Simeone has won deserved praise for loosening the shackles of his ridged 4-4-2 to embrace a more flexible 3-5-2 alternative this term. It was a switch that saw Los Rojiblancos rack up a commanding lead in LaLiga.

However, their most recent clean sheet is now eight matches ago and their domestic advantage has dwindled on the back of one win in four.

As Tuchel's Chelsea impressively kept them at arm's length, Atletico looked like a team dangerously caught between two stools at a terrible time to be in such a predicament.

Like in last season's quarter-final defeat to RB Leipzig, the favourite's tag weighed uneasily on Atletico – who are second only to Barcelona in terms of goals scored in LaLiga this season – and they became a more limp attacking proposition as the match wore on. Mendy concluded the 90 minutes untested.

Seemingly without the devilment of old, they were unable to drag Chelsea down to slug it out in the trenches with them. The Premier League team were an assured, moving target with no interest in grappling, much to Suarez's clear disappointment.

Simeone's best teams sometimes felt like they were nothing but edge and Atletico quickly need to rediscover some as a tough trip to Villarreal and a seemingly pivotal Madrid derby lie in wait. Maybe they will be relieved to have their backs to the wall once more.

Olivier Giroud's stunning overhead kick gave Chelsea a slender 1-0 advantage in their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.

Playing in Bucharest due to restrictions affecting travel between England and Spain, Chelsea dominated possession as has been the norm under Thomas Tuchel, yet the Blues needed a moment of supreme individual skill from their experienced forward to get the win.

Chelsea attempted 403 passes in the first half, with Atleti limited to just one goal attempt before the break – their lowest total after 45 minutes of a Champions League match since 2016-17 – and the breakthrough came in the 68th minute when Mario Hermoso's sliced clearance fell to Giroud.

He sent a wonderful bicycle kick beyond Jan Oblak, and although the offside flag initially denied Chelsea, the goal was awarded after a lengthy VAR check as the visitors took a lead into next month's second leg.

Chelsea had been let off the hook after Edouard Mendy's error inside the opening two minutes, and Tuchel's team escaped unscathed from another mistake when Thomas Lemar sliced wide.

Mason Mount has been a standout performer under Tuchel's tutelage and the England international crafted Chelsea's first opening a minute later – Timo Werner failing to divert a right-wing cross goalwards.

Mount should have done better with a volleyed cross-shot in the 40th minute, but Chelsea would have been punished had Luis Suarez managed to connect with Angel Correa's cut-back.

Joao Felix blazed an acrobatic attempt over the bar shortly after the restart, but whereas he failed, Giroud applied the finishing touch.

Mount forced a wild clearance from Hermoso which dropped over Giroud's shoulder, but the 34-year-old adjusted himself brilliantly to meet it and send a sublime finish into the left-hand corner.

Chelsea were made to wait as VAR checked whether it was Mount or Hermoso who had made contact, with the latter eventually adjudged to have deliberately played the ball, ensuring Giroud was onside and able to secure a vital away goal.


What does it mean? Chelsea on the cusp

Chelsea are attempting to progress past the round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, when the Blues lost to Atleti in the semi-finals. However, they will have to play the second leg without Mount and Jorginho, who have been prominent figures in Tuchel's midfield so far but picked up suspension-enforcing yellow cards on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, Tuchel has plenty of strength in depth at his disposal, and Atleti’s usually stringent defence has kept just one clean sheet in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Like a fine wine…

Like many luxuries in life, Giroud seems to be getting better with age. Aged 34 years and 146 days, he is the oldest player to score in the knockout stages of the Champions League for Chelsea, and the oldest to do so for an English side since Ryan Giggs (37) in April 2011.

The former Arsenal striker has now scored six Champions League goals this season, his best return in a single campaign in the competition.

Hudson-Odoi responds

Tuchel did not hold back in his criticism of Callum Hudson-Odoi following Chelsea’s Premier League weekend draw with Southampton, demanding more effort from the youngster, who was subbed on and then taken off at St Mary's.

Three days on, however, Hudson-Odoi turned in a solid display in his new-found wing-back role. He attempted a joint team-high two tackles, had one shot and finished with an 85.4 per cent passing accuracy before being replaced by Reece James late on.

What's next?

In a big clash in the upper echelons of the Premier League, Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Atleti, meanwhile, face Villarreal in LaLiga.

Robert Lewandowski moved outright third on the list of all-time Champions League goalscorers as he helped Bayern Munich to a convincing 4-1 win against Lazio in Tuesday's last-16 first leg.

Bayern have stuttered domestically with a draw and defeat in their past two Bundesliga matches, but they eased to victory at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring three of their four goals in the first half.

Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane put the holders in complete control after prolific striker Lewandowski had opened the scoring with his 72nd goal in the competition, moving him behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (134) and Lionel Messi (119).

Francesco Acerbi's own goal early in the second half gave Lazio an even bigger mountain to climb and, while Joaquin Correa did pull one back with a fine solo goal, Hansi Flick's men are in complete control ahead of the return tie in Bavaria on March 17.

The hosts, competing in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in 21 years, gifted Bayern the lead inside nine minutes as Lewandowski pounced on Mateo Musacchio's underhit backpass and rounded Pepe Reina for a simple finish.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was unfortunate not then to win a Lazio penalty and Bayern were soon instead two up through Musiala's drilled effort from the edge of the box following a smart team move.

Lewandowski was denied by Reina's leg, but the world champions added a third after some more lax play from Lazio, Patric losing the ball to Kingsley Coman, who fired in a shot that Reina could only parry to Sane.

Simone Inzaghi's side were further behind 62 seconds after half-time as Acerbi turned Sane's cross into his own net inside the six-yard box under pressure from Alphonso Davies.

But Lazio extended the Champions League record for both scoring and conceding in consecutive matches to 13 thanks to Correa's calm finish past Manuel Neuer after slaloming through the opposition defence.

Correa was denied a quickfire second by a good Neuer save and Ciro Immobile was also thwarted by the Bayern goalkeeper, although Lazio's deficit did not increase as Reina produced another good stop to keep out Lewandowski 10 minutes from time.

Tiger Woods was taken to hospital with "multiple leg injuries" sustained in a vehicle collision in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Woods was the sole occupant of a vehicle which rolled over on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Mark Steinberg, the 15-time major champion's agent, confirmed Woods was in surgery following the accident.

Well-wishes were swift to arrive for one of sport's true greats, who has 82 PGA Tour titles to his name across a remarkable career.

Stats Perform News has run through some of his most memorable achievements to date.

 

MAJOR WINS

Woods famously sits second in the list of men's major winners, edging to just three behind Jack Nicklaus' tally of 18 with his fifth Masters success in April 2019. After undergoing back surgery in January, he has been targeting a return to action in time to compete at Augusta again this year. Tiger has won the US PGA Championship on four occasions and boasts three successes at The Open and U.S. Open.

PGA TOUR WINS

Sam Snead long held the outright record for the most wins on the PGA Tour, but Woods moved alongside his fellow American great, who died in 2002, on 82 titles with victory at the Zozo Championship in October 2019. Snead won titles in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, landing his last win on the tour at the age of 52.

 

MOST WEEKS AT WORLD NUMBER ONE

Woods has topped the Official World Golf Ranking, which was introduced in 1986, for 683 weeks, more than double the time spent at number one by his nearest rival in this regard, Greg Norman (331 weeks). In eight years – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – Tiger remained atop the rankings for all 52 weeks of the year. His stint as number one between June 2005 and October 2010 – a period of 281 weeks – is another record.

 

CAREER EARNINGS ON PGA TOUR

Woods has amassed career earnings of $120,851,706 on the PGA Tour. He has earned over $28million more than his nearest rival in this regard, Phil Mickelson.

 

CONSECUTIVE CUTS

Between 1998 and 2005, Woods made the cut in 142 consecutive PGA Tour events, comfortably surpassing the previous record streak of 113 held by Byron Nelson.

 

RECORD SCORES IN MAJORS

Woods' record for the lowest 72-hole score in relation to par at The Open was taken by Henrik Stenson in 2016, the Swede's 20-under total at Royal Troon one shot better than Tiger's winning mark at St Andrews in 2000. Woods held the joint-best winning score at the Masters, having finished 18 under in 1997 - Jordan Spieth matched that effort in 2015 - until Dustin Johnson blew away the competition at Augusta in November 2020. His 20-under score set a new Masters record, and he joined Stenson and Jason Day as the only players to win a major with such a score.

 

CAREER GRAND SLAM WINNER

In addition to being one of only five men, together with Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen, to have won all of golf's four majors since the introduction of the Masters in 1934, Woods held all four titles at once following his 2001 triumph at Augusta, which completed the much-vaunted 'Tiger Slam'. No player has ever won the four present majors in the same year.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski moved outright third on the list of all-time Champions League goalscorers with his strike against Lazio on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old pounced on a poor backpass from Mateo Musacchio, rounded Pepe Reina and rolled the ball into an empty net to open the scoring in the last-16 tie.

Lewandowski now has 72 goals in UEFA's premier club competition, moving him above Real Madrid great Raul and behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Juventus forward Ronaldo tops the list with 134 goals while Barcelona's Messi has 119.

Poland international Lewandowski reached the 72-goal mark in 95 matches, scoring 47 with his right foot, nine with his left, 15 with his head and one via other means.

Jamal Musiala went on to double Bayern's lead at the Stadio Olimpico with a strike from the edge of the box, making him the youngest ever Englishman to score in the Champions League at 17 years and 363 days, before Leroy Sane made it 3-0 prior to half-time.

Erling Haaland can be a star for the next decade but only 10 clubs are realistically in the running to buy the striker when he leaves Borussia Dortmund, according to Mino Raiola.

The Norway international has been prolific since joining the Bundesliga club midway through the 2019-20 season, soring 43 goals in as many appearances in all competitions.

Only Robert Lewandowski (56) at Bayern Munich and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo (50) have managed more for a team in the top five European leagues since the start of January last year – and Haaland is still only 20. His minutes-per-goal average of 79.51 is better than both, though.

Haaland's contract at Dortmund is rumoured to include an agreement allowing him to leave for a €75million fee at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Raiola - who is the player's agent - explained why the list of potential buyers only just reaches double figures, with four possible destinations in the Premier League.

"It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it's so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level," Raiola said.

"He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: 'How long can we still enjoy them?' So everyone is looking for the new generation.

"Only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy [Haaland] and give the platform you would like after you've been in Dortmund… and four of those clubs are in [England].

"I don't think there's a sports director or trainer in the world who would say 'not interested'. It's like saying: 'Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'"

Raiola made clear he does not expect the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic to have an impact on "extraordinary talents" such as Haaland and Paul Pogba, another of his clients.

He caused a stir in December when suggesting ahead of Manchester United's crucial Champions League game with RB Leipzig that the midfielder was not happy at Old Trafford, making a contract extension appear unlikely.

United lost that game in Germany, a result that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side miss out on the knockout stages of the competition.

"I don't think that it destabilised anybody, because they had a fantastic run and they were even first, for a period, in the league," Raiola said of his comments.

"You think big players like Pogba - or Solskjaer, who won everything in his life - get destabilised by what Mino Raiola says? Come on, please."

Toni Kroos was not entertaining transfer speculation ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League trip to Atalanta, claiming he would rather pass to injured team-mate Karim Benzema than Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland.

Mbappe and Haaland were outstanding as Europe's premier club competition returned last week.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Mbappe became just the second player ever to score a Champions League hat-trick away to Barcelona, while Haaland netted twice for Borussia Dortmund to swell his tally in the competition to 18 goals in 13 games.

The pair, aged 22 and 20 respectively, have predictably dominated discussion since then, with Europe's leading coaches asked about the possibility of signing either Mbappe or Haaland.

But Kroos was reluctant to weigh in, pointing out Madrid would not be able to call on the duo against Atalanta.

Asked who he would bring to the Santiago Bernabeu, the midfielder replied: "Good question. It's true: they're both very good at what they do.

"Those players would help any team - that's normal with the quality they have. The problem is that tomorrow neither of them are going to help us.

"We're just focusing on tomorrow's game. It doesn't help me if one or the other comes, that's not what we're thinking about at the moment.

"We're just going to try to win tomorrow with the players we have now. The rest is a question for the president."

Pressed further on which player he would rather create chances for, Kroos said simply: "Benzema."

Benzema has 17 goals in all competitions this season, the most of any Madrid player but 10 shy of Haaland and four fewer than Mbappe.

Among players in Europe's 'top five' leagues with 15 goals or more, only Marcus Rashford (one every 161 minutes), Son Heung-min (every 155 minutes) and Lautaro Martinez (every 151 minutes) have scored at a slower rate than Benzema (every 140 minutes).

Haaland nets every 79 minutes, second only to Luis Muriel (every 73 minutes), a Madrid opponent this week with Atalanta.

Benzema remains out of action with a knock as Madrid head to Bergamo with a threadbare squad.

Zinedine Zidane was able to name just 19 players to his travelling party, including five - in Diego Altube, Miguel Gutierrez, Sergio Arribas, Antonio Blanco and Hugo Duro - who are yet to start a match this season in all competitions.

Due to Benzema's absence, holding midfielder Casemiro is the most prolific player in the group, having scored six times this term.

"We have to do everything together," Kroos said. "We are missing players, important players, and not just one, a lot of them.

"We have to do everything together. Everyone that's here has to do a little bit extra. If we do that, we can do great things together, as we've seen in the last games."

Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol has confirmed he is heading back to Barcelona, having earlier denied reports of a return to his former team.

Gasol started his career with Barca in the 1998-99 season before entering the NBA draft three years later, selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks.

A storied stay in the United States followed, notably taking in a six-year stretch with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But Gasol has not played in the NBA since March 2019 due to a foot injury and was waived by the Trail Blazers later that year without playing a single game in Portland.

The center, now 40, has continued to discuss a potential return to action, with the suggestion of a move back to the Lakers mooted when Marc Gasol, his brother, signed for the team this season.

However, the idea of turning out for the Blaugrana once again had also appealed to Barcelona-born Gasol.

Responding to the reported move last week, Gasol wrote on Twitter: "I remain focused on my recovery and I am not ready to get back to competing just yet."

But he added he would announce any future news on his social media account, and Gasol had an update on Tuesday.

"I'm very happy to announce that I'm coming home and that I'll soon join the ranks of Barca's basketball team," Gasol said.

"I want to put my skills and experience at the disposal of the club at a key point in the season, while at the same time making progress in my physical condition and getting into the rhythm of competition.

"I'm happy to return to the club where I began, and I'm excited about this new opportunity: I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barca and its technical staff for making it possible to join them."

Barcelona announced he has joined until June 30, stating on their website: "FC Barcelona is delighted that Gasol has decided to sign and return to the place that has always been his home. The club is pleased and honoured that Pau will be wearing the blaugrana colours once again."

The upcoming Olympic Games would appear to be a motivating factor in a move that seemingly ends the six-time All-Star's NBA career.

Gasol, the Rookie of the Year winner in his debut season with the Memphis Grizzlies, played 1,226 regular season games in the NBA, averaging 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.5 steals.

His best scoring season brought 20.8 points per game in 2006-07, his final full campaign with the Grizzlies, although he was an increased threat on the boards later in his career, with 11.8 rebounds per game with the Chicago Bulls in 2014-15.

Between starring for Memphis and Chicago, Gasol joined Kobe Bryant on two title-winning teams in LA, although he first lost in the Finals shortly after joining the Lakers in 2008.

Gasol started all 46 playoff games across their successes in 2008-09 and 2009-10, having been named to the All-NBA Third Team in the regular season on each occasion.

The Lakers star then made the Second Team with 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game the following year.

Jose Mourinho says he is already convinced over Gareth Bale's quality and wants him to play a key part in Tottenham's run-in.

Bale impressed with a goal and assist in a 4-1 victory over Wolfsberger in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie last week.

Spurs then suffered a damaging 2-1 Premier League loss at London rivals West Ham on Sunday but Bale came off the bench and produced a lively performance, which included an assist for Lucas Moura

Overall, though, the 31-year-old - who is on loan from Real Madrid - has not made the impact expected of him after he signed to huge fanfare in September.

Under-pressure boss Mourinho insists Bale has nothing to prove, other than his ability to play regular games ahead of another hectic part of the season.

"He doesn't need to convince me of anything," Mourinho said ahead of Wednesday's home second leg against Wolfsberger.

"I am totally convinced about everything. It's not about convincing me, it's about being ready to play the minutes we all would love him to play. 

"It's a process. You feel that in his matches in the last couple of years. We want him of course to be ready to play every minute of every game.

"He is a player with special qualities, you could see against West Ham in the second 45 minutes the positive impact in the quality of the game. 

"He had a cross, he had a couple of assists, he hit the crossbar. He is doing that better and better, but he is not playing 90 minutes, he is not playing every game. 

"We have to manage his evolution. But he has nothing at all to convince me about."

With five losses in their last six league games, ninth-placed Spurs are entering a pivotal period where Mourinho will need Bale at his best.

The manager added: "We play 10 matches - seven plus three - in March. That's seven for us at the club plus three for the national team. 

"Our players are going to be on a 10-match run in March which is something absolutely crazy, and Gareth is a special example of a player we need to take care of. 

"I can tell you that at this moment Gareth is playing all the minutes that he can and that we feel good for his evolution. 

"And what he wants and what we want is in this last part of the season is to play more minutes and more crucial matches than he did."

History suggests a dramatic turnaround in the Wolfsberger tie is unlikely.

No team in Europa League history - ncluding when it was known as the UEFA Cup - has overturned a three-goal deficit in an away second leg during the knockout stages of the competition.

In addition, Spurs have won each of their last four home matches in all European competitions, scoring 16 goals while conceding only twice. 

"We want of course to qualify but when you're in a bad run you need victories," said Mourinho, who also confirmed Toby Alderweireld will play.

"I believe what everyone wants in that dressing room is not only to qualify but also win the match. 

"In football anything can happen but the reality is that a 4-1 victory away from home is good. It's not about losing 3-0 or 2-0 though, so we go there with a strong side.

"We go with a bench to help us turn the direction of a game if we need to and at the same time with three or four young players.

"But our first-team line-up will be very similar to the one that started in Hungary because we want to go strong."

Kylian Mbappe will use his "shark" mentality to try to push aside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the summit of world football, according to Thomas Tuchel.

World Cup winner Mbappe has established himself as one of the sport's foremost stars since breaking through at Monaco but still has some way to go to match Messi and Ronaldo.

Now at Paris Saint-Germain, the striker has so far finished no higher than fourth in Ballon d'Or voting, while the two modern greats have won the prize 11 times between them.

Mbappe is also still waiting for a first Champions League triumph, losing with PSG in last season's final having failed to score in the knockout stages of the 2019-20 tournament.

The 22-year-old has quickly made amends this term, though, hitting a hat-trick at Barcelona in last week's last-16 first leg.

Mbappe became just the 10th player ever to score a treble away against Barcelona, and only the second - after Andriy Shevchenko in 1997 - to do so in the Champions League.

The performance from Mbappe in a 4-1 win was considered another breakout moment on the world stage, although Messi and Ronaldo are not going away.

While Mbappe has been involved in 30 goals in all competitions this season, ahead of the veteran stars (Ronaldo 29 involvements, Messi 27), his rate of a goal every 108 minutes lags behind Ronaldo, who nets every 95 minutes.

If Mbappe is to establish himself as the world's best, former PSG coach Tuchel says he must kick on again.

"They will never step aside, never of free will. They will never step aside," Chelsea boss Tuchel told BT Sport. "If he wants to be there, he has to push them aside.

"This is clear: on that level, nobody will step aside for him.

"Scoring a hat-trick at Nou Camp is a message and is what he demands of himself. It is his potential, it is what he has in him. He is still young, he is still hungry, he is a shark in his mentality.

"He wants to grab everything that he can have. This is the mentality that you need, and I mean it in the most positive way because he's a nice guy in private and in person.

"He's a nice guy, super intelligent, super funny, but once he's on the pitch, he's a shark. This is what the big guys are. If there is one drop of blood in the water, they arrive.

"This is Kylian, and if he wants to enter on the level from the guys that you mentioned [Messi and Ronaldo] - because they are there for years and years and years - I don't think they are ready to step aside just because he arrives.

"He has to take it. I think he will do everything to do it."

Jose Mourinho is convinced he can turn around a wretched run of Tottenham form and save his job as Spurs manager.

A damaging 2-1 loss at London rivals West Ham on Sunday represented a fifth defeat in six Premier League games.

Mourinho has never endured such a poor six-game sequence during his decorated career and Spurs are now ninth in the table having looked like title contenders earlier in the campaign.

The home Europa League last-32 second leg against Wolfsberger on Wednesday – a tie Spurs lead 4-1 – is likely to offer some brief respite to Mourinho.

But with suggestions the club are eyeing up RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann as a replacement if Spurs do not improve rapidly, Mourinho knows the pressure is on.

"I am not happy, but maturity helps, and I am feeling very confident," Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.

"I believe that we will win through and that I will be in Tottenham's history through good reasons rather than bad.

"Thank God I'm not the manager I was. We all evolve. Sometimes [in the past] I had problems, not in terms of results as I didn't have many bad results, but day-to-day problems.

"I reacted in a much more emotional way. Instead of helping myself, I was creating more conflicts. As an example, I left Chelsea as a champion.

"Maybe your experience as a journalist tells you that people with more experience can deal with negative things better. We are calm."

The West Ham match was Mourinho's 50th Premier League outing in charge of Tottenham, with those games yielding 23 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats.

Those 81 points overall are 14 fewer than Mourinho has amassed during his first 50 league games with any other club over the course of his career.

Mourinho added: "You say I'm not used to this, which is a positive in the negative, but I want to know which coach has always had blue sky and never cloudy or a bit dark. 

"Perhaps only a coach who is always at a dominant club in a league. It shows how beautiful my career has been. 

"Does it make me depressed? No. It's a challenge. I work for the club, the players and the supporters. I always feel I have to give them so much.

"It hurts me and it's a great challenge for me and I believe I can give it. I give it everywhere I've been and I'm more motivated than ever."

Mourinho was also asked about his relationship with chairman Daniel Levy amid the dreadful run.

He added: "My relationship is the same since day one, which is one of respect and open communication. We respect each other. 

"What I feel to Mr Levy is what I feel in every club I've worked in. I want to give happiness to everyone, the chairman, the players, the fans, everybody connected to the club.

"I feel one of them and I want to give happiness to them. I don't change.

"I never felt lonely in this building. I feel not only respected but supported. Everybody in the same boat. 

"I feel positive. Maybe that is a bit weird for you after losing so many matches but I'm positive. Nobody is happy, nobody is depressed, and everybody feels we are going to do better.

"I'm not happy but I wake up wanting to come here. Everybody is loving training and working hard with so many matches."

After the continental clash, games against Burnley, Crystal Palace and Fulham represent crucial opportunities for Spurs and Mourinho to reverse course.

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