Gareth Bale has been included in the Wales squad for their final two Euro 2020 qualifiers despite still being out of action for Real Madrid.

The 30-year-old winger continues to train alone in the Spanish capital but Ryan Giggs is preparing to gamble on his fitness for this month's make-or-break games against Azerbaijan and Hungary.

Bale has not played a minute for Madrid since limping through the final stages of Wales' 1-1 draw against Croatia on October 13.

Giggs said the suspected calf problem appeared to be cramp but Madrid have not confirmed the exact nature of the issue.

Wales are likely to need a maximum six points to have any chance of pipping Hungary, their opponents in Cardiff on November 19, to the second qualifying spot in Group E.

Up first is a trip to Baku to face bottom-placed Azerbaijan on November 16.

Aaron Ramsey could make his first appearance of the qualification campaign in that match after recently overcoming a thigh injury.

The midfielder appeared off the bench in a 1-0 win for Juventus over Torino on Saturday.

 

Wales squad in full:

Adam Davies, Wayne Hennessy, Danny Ward; Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Tom Lockyer, Chris Mepham, James Lawrence, Regan Poole, Connor Roberts, Neil Taylor, Ashley Williams; Joe Allen, Ethan Ampadu, Dylan Levitt, Joe Morrell, Aaron Ramsey, Matthew Smith, Will Vaulks; Gareth Bale, Daniel James, Tom Lawrence, Rabbi Matondo, Kieffer Moore, Tyler Roberts, Sam Vokes, Harry Wilson.

 

Ronald Koeman has branded Barcelona his "dream club" but a potential route back to Camp Nou will not become clearer until after Euro 2020.

Royal Dutch Football Association director Nico-Jan Hoogma last month revealed the existence of a clause in Koeman's Netherlands contract enabling him to quit the post if Barca come calling.

The former Valencia and Everton boss confirmed Hoogma's account in an appearance on Dutch television but said the clause is not yet in effect and that he has no plans to leave in the immediate future.

Koeman won four LaLiga titles with Barca as a player and would be among the favourites to take over as head coach if the club parts ways with the under-pressure Ernesto Valverde.

"It's only about Barcelona and also about a time after the European Championship," Koeman told Fox Sports Netherlands when asked about the contract.

"I'm not leaving now, that's 100 per cent certain.

"I think that as a national coach you are entering a process and that takes two years. After the European Championship there is an evaluation moment and who knows, the KNVB may say: 'We have performed so badly at the European Championship, we are not going any further.' Then we will not go further.

"But I have the opportunity to leave for one club, and there is only one club in it.

"I can safely say that I will not leave the Dutch national team for anyone else. I have said often enough that [Barcelona] is my dream club."

Netherlands need only a point against Northern Ireland in Belfast on November 16 to book their place at Euro 2020.

The match might come too soon for uncapped teenager Mohamed Ihattaren but Koeman will be able to call on the highly rated PSV prospect in future.

Ihattaren, 17, has committed to representing the Oranje at senior level, spurning interest from Morocco.

Koeman welcomed the news in the wake of Ajax defender Sergino Dest's decision to pledge his allegiance to the United States.

"His choice is in any case a nice signal to other players who are faced with the same choice," he said.

Giorgio Chiellini only intends to play for "a couple more years" and will then turn his focus to a directorial role, with the Juventus defender not interested in coaching.

Chiellini, 35, has been out of action since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in August and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out until March.

However, the centre-back is confident of recovering in good time to lead Italy at Euro 2020, which could be his final international tournament after expressing a desire to retire in two years.

Chiellini is keen to stay in football but does not see himself coaching, although the former Livorno man is happy to stay patient.

"[I will play] a couple of years - not more," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would like to have a managerial career as a director.

"[I am approaching it] with great calm because I think that the biggest mistake us footballers make once our careers are over is to think of being immediately ready.

"When you retire, for the luckiest between 35 and 40, you think you know everything about football. But then you enter the world of work where those of your age have done at least 15 years at a good level.

"And even if you go one step below, you find people who are 10 years younger than you but 10 years more experienced. So you have a gap to compensate and you have to be humbly aware of it.

"You have an important know-how from a footballing point of view, but you have to put in the other pieces. It's like a puzzle. You don't have to be in a hurry. One step a day."

Asked about coaching, Chiellini replied: "It is nice to pick a squad or train players for 30 minutes, but I do not like the life of a coach.

"Choosing a system is no longer enough, coaches have to be psychologists and motivational leaders too.

"Directors can be like an administrator of a company that has to manage at least 50 or 60 people. It is an all-encompassing life, accepting pressure and sacrifices of all kinds. It's not a kind of responsibility that I feel inside me now."

Discussing his Euro 2020 prospects, he added: "Yes, [I will be there] if nothing happens. I will arrive nice and fresh.

"[Italy coach Roberto] Mancini called me the night I got hurt, and I said to him, 'Coach, I will be back in the spring. When June comes, I will be as fresh as a rose.'

"Playing as captain of Juve and the national team, with 500 games for Juve and 100 for the national team, it gives you a different serenity. I would like to enjoy the Euros like I am enjoying the final wonderful years as a footballer."

Ex-Germany midfielder Steffen Freund believes Joachim Low's side are not capable of winning Euro 2020.

Germany have not won the event since 1996, when they beat the Czech Republic in a Wembley final.

Next year's edition of the tournament will also conclude at Wembley and Germany have a strong recent record, having been finalists in 2008 before finishing third in 2012 and 2016.

But Germany did not make it out of the group stages at last year's FIFA World Cup and Freund said the side's depth is a problem.

"We have no chance of winning the Euro [2020]," Freund told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, driven by the new Nissan Juke.

"You will always have injured players and we need everybody healthy … in the past, World Cup 2002 for example, an easy start [and] so you can get on a run.

"This could be possible because this time, 24 teams will play [at the Euros].

"Of course I hope Germany will be able to win the Euro [2020], but I can't imagine it at the moment."

Freund said that Germany's recent form showed why they are unlikely to seriously contend at Euro 2020, citing the first half of a 3-0 win against Estonia in Tallinn earlier this month as the perfect example.

It took a below-par Germany 51 minutes to open their account in that fixture.

"Looking at the team, there are many talented players new in the team," Freund added.

"There were so many players injured during the last two games – that was not great and you could see in the first half against Estonia, how far away we are from the best in Europe, especially when we are missing key players.

"I'm not even talking about the world's top."

Germany sit second in Group C of Euro 2020 qualifying, with five wins from six matches.

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac warned Niklas Sule against rushing his comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in order to feature for Germany at Euro 2020.

Sule, 24, went into a challenge with Augsburg's Florian Niederlechner in the early stages of Saturday's 2-2 draw in Bavaria and tore his ACL.

He underwent surgery the following day and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, while Bayern president Uli Hoeness said Sule "can forget the Euros, that's all nonsense".

Nevertheless, with more then seven months to go until Euro 2020 begins on June 12, some have suggested he could yet be of use to Joachim Low in the tournament.

Kovac urged him to be careful to not rush his rehabilitation, however.

Speaking ahead of Bayern's Champions League clash with Olympiacos, Kovac said: "Niklas is an important part of the national team.

"But the injury is serious, but we cannot predict it the amount of time he'll need, you have to give it the time needed and you have to be careful.

"It's clear he's motivated, but he cannot make the mistake of [returning] too early or too soon. We'll give him all the time in the world.

"Sule is a very important part of the team, but we are at Bayern and have high-quality replacements, so I'm convinced we can compensate for the loss."

Thomas Muller was once again only used as a substitute against Augsburg, with the forward recently going public with his frustration at a lack of starts this term.

He featured for only 10 minutes in the draw, but Kovac insists he still sees the 30-year-old as a key player.

"I understand the questions about Muller, but I hope you understand me as well," he said.

"Thomas is an important part of the team, but whether he plays tomorrow [Tuesday] or in the coming weeks, you will see, but his value is undisputed.

"Muller always wants to play and of course he can also come on the right wing, he won the World Cup on the right wing. However, we also know that this is not his favoured position.

"But we have the squad we have. With [Philippe] Coutinho we got a player who's doing very well on the right.

"Also, against Augsburg I saw him do well and the number of games will ensure that everyone will play enough."

Niklas Sule can forget about featuring in Germany's Euro 2020 campaign, according to Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness.

The 24-year-old underwent surgery on Sunday after scans confirmed he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2-2 Bundesliga draw with Augsburg.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Bayern's Champions League clash with Olympiacos on Tuesday, Hoeness said: "Sule can forget the Euros. That's all nonsense. He should focus on the next season now."

Hoeness' assessment will come as a blow to national team boss Joachim Low, who has made the former Hoffenheim man a central part of his side over the past few years.

Sule played the full 90 minutes in last week's friendly against Argentina, as well as the Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.

The centre-back has made 11 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season.

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