Lionel Messi has been tipped to leave Barcelona for either Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

But Haaland could reportedly unlock Messi's future.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND TO CITY MEANS BARCA STAY FOR MESSI?

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could hold the key to Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Barca, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

City have been tipped to sign Messi, but should they step up their pursuit of Haaland, the Premier League leaders could reportedly drop their interest in the Barca captain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says new Barca president Joan Laporta is preparing a contract renewal for Messi, who is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- Bayern Munich are eyeing a move for Tottenham star Son Heung-min, claims Football Insider. Son has reportedly been offered a bumper new contract by Spurs, but the former Bayer Leverkusen forward is wanted in Munich.

- Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha, Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria and Sander Berge of Sheffield United are on the list of midfielders to replace City veteran Fernandinho, reports A Bola.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus and Barca are interested in Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. The Italy defender is out of contract in 2022 and is reportedly seeking a €6million-a-year contract.

Napoli are eyeing Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi and sporting director Igli Tare, claims Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. Gennaro Gattuso has been tipped to leave Napoli at the end of the season, with ex-Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, Luciano Spalletti and Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric among the possible replacements. But Lazio duo Inzaghi and Tare are being monitored to replace Gattuso and Cristiano Giuntoli in Naples.

United are interested in Lille defender Sven Botman, according to Fabrizio Romano. Sevilla star Jules Kounde has been on United's radar but the club's asking price of €80m (£68m) is too steep.

- Romano also says there is no agreement with United and Paul Pogba over a new contract. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve, Madrid and PSG.

Manchester City have been linked with Erling Haaland.

As Sergio Aguero appears headed for an exit, Pep Guardiola wants to bolster his attack.

But Danny Ings has reportedly emerged as an alternative to the expensive and in-demand Haaland.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGET INGS

Manchester City are considering a move for Southampton star Danny Ings, according to Sky Sports.

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and no closer to extending his deal in Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City are reportedly among the admirers of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

With Haaland set to command a huge fee, City are eyeing former Liverpool forward Ings as a cheaper alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport report Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo is on the brink of being sacked. Juve are out of the Champions League and 10 points off the pace following their shock loss to Benevento. Former boss Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a return, while La Repubblica claims Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi and Luciano Spalletti are on a three-man shortlist.

- Former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is Roma's number one option should they sack head coach Paulo Fonseca, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Fonseca – under pressure in the Italian capital – has also been linked with Napoli, alongside Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric. Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has been linked with Fiorentina, Torino and Bologna.

Neymar re-signing with Ligue 1 holders PSG is "just a matter of time", according to Fabrizio Romano.

Aaron Ramsey is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Calciomercato. The Juventus midfielder, who left Arsenal for Turin in 2019, is seen as a possible replacement for rumoured Barca target Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

- The Daily Express reports Arsenal are eyeing Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho. However, a move will depend on whether Arsenal sign loanee Martin Odegaard permanently from Madrid.

Xabi Alonso is set to become the new head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach next season, replacing Dortmund-bound Marco Rose. Romano, however, insists no contract has been signed as the former Bayern Munich star remains in charge of Real Sociedad's B team.

Erling Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

Barcelona are reportedly prepared to go all out as Haaland grows frustrated in Germany.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND EYES DORTMUND EXIT

Erling Haaland has notified his agent that he wants to leave Borussia Dortmund if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Dortmund, heavily linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

Dortmund – through to the 2020-21 quarter-finals – sit outside the Champions League places this season, fifth in the Bundesliga.

Haaland has reportedly given Dortmund an ultimatum should they miss out on Champions League football.

It comes as Sport claims Barca have started to try and raise funds in their pursuit of the Norway international, with the LaLiga giants willing to let two strikers leave.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild says Germany boss Joachim Low is a candidate for the Real Madrid job should Zinedine Zidane ever leave. Low is set to vacate his post after the reschedule Euro 2020. Telefoot, however, insists Zidane has no intention of leaving ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Liverpool are unaware of Georginio Wijnaldum's reported pre-contract agreement with Barca, claims the Liverpool Echo. Wijnaldum is out of contract at season's end and the Dutchman has been tipped to join Barca.

- United are ready to listen to offers for forward Anthony Martial, claims The Touchline Talk. It comes as the Red Devils seek to sign Haaland.

- Fiorentina are asking €40million for forward Dusan Vlahovic amid links with Milan, reports Calciomercato.

- According to The Transfer Window Podcast, Liverpool are set to rival Arsenal in the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

PSG are still tracking out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli as the Ligue 1 champions also eye Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports Calciomercato.

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick insisted the tension between himself and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is behind them.

Champions League holders Bayern breezed into the quarter-finals of the competition on Wednesday, a 2-1 win over Lazio completing a 6-2 aggregate triumph in the last 16.

However, the build-up and the aftermath of the game was dominated by questions about Flick's strained relationship with Salihamidzic, which it was said could lead the coach to leave his post at the end of the season.

But Flick is adamant the pair are moving past their differences, telling a post-match media conference: "We spoke together and we wanted to leave these things behind us.

"Now we just look in front and we are very optimistic."

Asked what they had spoken about, Flick replied: "These stay internal. Of course this stays internal.

"We spoke together. We are very successful at the moment, we are playing well. We don't need these things.

"For both of us, for the team and for the club it was the right action. We are both very relieved now."

On the quarter-final draw, which will be held on Friday, Flick – who has been linked with Germany after Joachim Low announce his intention to step down following Euro 2020 later this year – added: "I am very relaxed because I can't change anything.

"The best eight teams in Europe will face each other. We are happy to be a part of it and crowned our performance today with a victory.

"It was well deserved that we reached the quarter-final."

Bayern reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the 19th time, setting up a new record in the competition after surpassing Barcelona (18).

Flick's Bayern are now unbeaten in their last 19 games in the Champions League, equalling their longest run of consecutive matches without defeat in European Cup/Champions League history (previously a run of 19 between 2001 and 2002).

Including finals, Flick is the first coach in Champions League history to win each of his first seven knockout-stage fixtures in the competition.

Bayern Munich coasted into the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, completing a 6-2 aggregate victory over Lazio with a 2-1 second-leg win at the Allianz Arena.

The holders were in complete command following a 4-1 first-leg triumph in Rome, and a highly improbable comeback from the Serie A side never looked like coming to pass.

Instead, it was another night that belonged to Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski, whose 39th goal of the season came via a 33rd-minute penalty.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting doubled the lead in the 73rd minute before Marco Parolo belatedly gave Lazio something to celebrate.

While Bayern will need to be more convincing if they are to retain the title, the several other gears they may need to go to in the latter stages were never required here.

Leroy Sane drifted an effort narrowly wide of the right-hand post in the 13th minute in what served as the best chance of the first half until Vedat Muriqi pulled down Leon Goretzka while defending a corner.

Istvan Kovacs pointed to the spot and Lewandowski made no mistake with a stuttered run-up, rattling the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Another defensive lapse from Lazio almost provided a second for Lewandowski, but his near-post effort was repelled by Pepe Reina.

Reina could do nothing as Choupo-Moting lofted a composed finish over him after being played through by David Alaba to add gloss to an already emphatic aggregate scoreline, with Lazio flattered by their consolation when substitute Parolo netted a far-post header from Andreas Pereira's free-kick.

ERIC MAXIM CHOUPO-GALTING! #UCL #FCBLAZ #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/06DtUC2GW2

— FC Bayern (@FCBayern) March 17, 2021

What does it mean? - Gulf in European pedigree shows in underwhelming spectacle

Bayern are into a competition-record 19th quarter-final, and it would take a brave soul to bet against Hansi Flick's men going all the way for a second successive season.

Lazio should be pleased with reaching the knockout stages in their first Champions League tournament proper appearance since the 2007-08 campaign. Across the two legs, however, this was a tie where the chasm in experience at this level was telling.

Lucky 13 for Lewy

Lewandowski has scored all 13 penalties he has taken in the Champions League, while no player has more goal involvements in the competition since the start of last season than the Poland international's 25 (20 goals, five assists).

A bad night at both ends for Muriqi

Muriqi demonstrated little aptitude for defending when he hauled down Goretzka to concede the penalty, and the forward did little at the other end either, playing one key pass but not attempting a shot before being taken off in the 56th minute.

What's next?

Bayern, holding a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, host Stuttgart on Saturday. Lazio are six points adrift of the Champions League places in Serie A and visit Udinese on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid's main focus this term is arguably maintaining their position at LaLiga's summit, but prolonging their Champions League campaign might provide a psychological boost and Luis Suarez will be eager to play the leading role.

The Uruguayan striker's struggles in the Champions League have been well-publicised, but if his move to Atletico from Barcelona has proven anything, it is that he is not one to be written off.

Suarez will hope to be decisive as Atletico go to Chelsea chasing a one-goal deficit, while in Wednesday's other tie, defending champions Bayern Munich are practically already through.

We used Opta numbers to preview the two clashes.

Chelsea v Atletico Madrid (1-0 on aggregate): Suarez's Champions League misery

Thomas Tuchel's men are in the driving seat thanks to a commendable 1-0 win at the Spanish top-flight leaders last time, though Atletico do have previous experience of downing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – they beat them 3-1 in London to secure a place in the 2013-14 Champions League final.

Nevertheless, the Blues will take confidence in the fact they have never been eliminated in a two-legged knockout European tie after winning the first leg away from home.

If any team can overcome the odds, however, it is Atletico, whose 50 per cent progression rate from European Cup/Champions League knockout ties after losing the first leg is bettered by only one team to have played a minimum of five knockout ties: Reims (60 per cent, three out of five).

Their chances will surely be boosted if Suarez can finally sort himself out at this level. He is still to net in five Champions League games for Atletico and has not scored in any of his previous 24 away appearances in the competition despite having 70 shots amounting to an expected goals (xG) value of 9.6 over the course of a run that stretches back to September 2015.

By contrast, Chelsea's Olivier Giroud is averaging a goal every 38 minutes in the Champions League this term, the best single-season record of any player to feature for at least 200 minutes since the 1979-80 European Cup campaign (Ton Blanker, Ajax, one goal every 34 minutes).

Bayern Munich v Lazio (4-1 on aggregate): Italians face challenge of historic proportions

While Hansi Flick surely will not fall into the trap of complacency, it's fair to say Bayern are looking pretty rosy heading into the second leg having handed out a comprehensive thrashing in Rome.

Even if you forget they are facing the reigning European champions, the task at hand for Lazio is monumental – no side in the history of the Champions League or its predecessor has ever progressed from a knockout tie after losing the first leg by three goals or more at home.

Additionally, Lazio have not scored four times – the figure they are chasing in Munich – in an away Champions League game since 1999 when they beat Maribor 4-0.

Bayern's record at home in the competition under Flick has been almost flawless as well, winning each of their six matches by an aggregate score of 18-3.

Each of Lazio's previous 13 games in the Champions League has seen both teams score, the longest run the history of Europe's top competition, so they will at least fancy their chances of netting.

But keeping Robert Lewandowski at bay is improbable – after all, he boasts 14 goals and five assists in 12 appearances for Flick in this tournament and has won all of those games.

A resurgent Leroy Sane has his sights set on achieving his "huge" career goal of experiencing the Champions League glory his Bayern Munich team-mates enjoyed last season.

The winger joined Bayern from Manchester City after they had tasted European success by defeating Paris Saint-Germain in the final.

Sane had a mixed start at Bayern, in and out the line up as he worked his way back from a long-term injury that restricted him to two appearances in his final season at City.

The 25-year-old has looked like his old self of late, registering either a goal or assist in four of his last five matches, including a strike in Bayern's emphatic 4-1 away win in the last-16 first leg away to Lazio.

Bayern were four goals up after 47 minutes of that game, but ahead of Wednesday's home second leg against Lazio, Sane wants his team-mates to take nothing for granted, which would jeopardise his Champions League dream.

"[Winning the Champions League is] a huge goal of mine," said Sane.

"That is why I place so much value on delivering a good match on Wednesday and for the rest of the season.

"When we have Champions League matches, we need to always be well prepared and up for it. 

"All of us know that a lot can still happen. Just because we scored a few goals in the first leg doesn't mean that we are through. 

"Lazio have a strong team and things could backfire if we don't take it seriously.

"I'm feeling better and better, and have had time to get to know the team and how we play. We get along very well off the pitch as well. Everyone is prepared to work hard, which benefits us all.

"At first, you need to get to know the workings of a team. For me it was even harder, because I didn't have a rhythm after a long injury. 

"So I needed to find my own rhythm back at first. Now I feel a lot better and I have got to know the team better. That is one of the reasons why things have gone uphill for me lately."

Bayern are hosting Lazio for the first time in European competition.

None of the last 21 sides facing them away from home for the first time in the European Cup or Champions League have won (W20 D1) since Bordeaux triumphed 2-0 back in November 2009.

Head coach Hansi Flick hopes to have fitness doubts Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman available.

"Manu has a slight cold, and Kingsley is dealing with some muscle issues," he said. "We will have to wait and see, but we are hoping that both will be able to feature on Wednesday.

"We want to win this game [the second leg] as well. We're in the midst of a good run and want to continue it.

"Especially since we're at home, we really want to win to further build our self-confidence.

"We've delivered strong performances in the Champions League, as well as in the Bundesliga. Our current aim is to continue on in this manner."

Flick was not keen to discuss the Germany job, which will become vacant when Joachim Low leaves after Euro 2020, any further.

"I have said everything about this topic, but nothing has changed for me," he said. "I do not comment on the topic."

Since Flick took charge of the club, Bayern have won their six home games in the Champions League by an aggregate score of 18-3. 

However, only one of the previous six have come in the knockout stages of the competition – beating Chelsea 4-1 in the second leg of last season’s round of 16.

Lazio, meanwhile, have only won one of their last 15 away games in the Champions League (D5 L9).

The Serie A side are winless in the last eight matches of that run (D4 L4) and have not one away in the competition was back in September 2003.

Andrea Pirlo saluted the spirit of his Juventus side after they came from behind to seal a 3-1 win over Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

The Bianconeri fell behind to Joaquin Correa's 14th-minute strike, but powered back to claim all three points thanks to Adrien Rabiot's fine strike and Alvaro Morata's second-half brace – the second of which came from the penalty spot. 

Morata's double took his goal involvement tally this season to 15 (seven goals, eight assists) – his best return in a Serie A campaign. 

The result means third-placed Juve are now seven points behind leaders Inter, having played the same number of games. 

With an eye on Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Porto, which the Portuguese side hold a 2-1 advantage in, Pirlo opted to shuffle his pack against Lazio. 

Serie A's leading goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo started on the substitutes' bench, while Federico Bernardeschi was deployed at left-back and Danilo was used in a defensive midfield role. 

While Pirlo was disappointed with his side's sluggish start, he was pleased they were able to secure all three points after going behind for the first time since the 2-1 win over Torino in December. 

"We started badly and conceded with our poor back pass, but then there was a strong reaction from the whole team despite missing so many players," he told DAZN. 

"We didn't let our heads drop, we started to step up the tempo and that was the most important thing.

"We thought about Tuesday's game. We knew tonight was like a final, some had to play in new positions and showed great professionalism and spirit of sacrifice.

"The most important thing was the three points. Danilo was ready to work in central midfield, while Bernardeschi deserves all the compliments for playing as a left-back.

"What I liked the most was the reaction of the team, as we didn't accept being behind in such a delicate and important game, so it was that spirit I appreciated."

While he did not get on the scoresheet, Federico Chiesa was particularly impressive for the reigning champions, and the winger, who laid on Morata's first, believes something has sparked amongst his team-mates. 

"We put in a great performance, but only after conceding the opening goal, which was a mistake," he said. "We proved that we have heart, grit and I think we'll battle to the end if we play like this.

"Lazio have shown themselves to be a great team, always in the fight for the top four, so it was a big game. Having said that, they are all big if we want to win the Scudetto.

"I do what the coach asks of me. Winning the ball back comes above all from the team pressing and not just individuals. The assist was mine, but I was able to get the ball because we all worked so hard to win it back.

"After tonight, I think we're all in great shape. Something sparked within us and from now on every game is a final, whether it's in Serie A, the Champions League or the Coppa Italia."

Alvaro Morata scored twice to help Juventus to a 3-1 home win over Lazio on Saturday and keep alive their faint hopes of a 10th consecutive Serie A title.

The Bianconeri, who started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes' bench, had started sluggishly and fell behind inside 15 minutes courtesy of Joaquin Correa's third league goal of the campaign. 

Adrien Rabiot pulled them level with their first shot on target in the 39th minute, though, before Morata's quickfire double after the break – the second from the penalty spot – sealed a third win in four top-flight games. 

Andrea Pirlo's side remain in third, but have moved to within a point of Milan and seven of leaders Inter, having played the same number of games.

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo was named on the substitutes' bench for Juventus' Serie A clash with Lazio on Saturday. 

With an eye on Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Porto, who hold a 2-1 lead from the first match, Andrea Pirlo opted to rest his talisman. 

Ronaldo is the leading scorer in Serie A this season with 20 goals and has netted four in his last three games. 

Speaking at his pre-match media conference on Friday, Pirlo hinted that 36-year-old Ronaldo might be suffering from fatigue. 

"When you play a lot of games, a day or two of rest is good," Pirlo said. "It also applies to Cristiano. 

"Now that we are short up front, he has gritted his teeth and will do it for as long as we need it. He has shown and continues to demonstrate his great professionalism."

Juve, who were 10 points behind leaders Inter ahead of kick-off, opted for Alvaro Morata and Dejan Kulusevski in attack.

 

Andrea Pirlo insists Juventus remain determined to push for glory on all fronts despite not being at 100 per cent, with the club heading into a pivotal stage of the season.

The reigning champions find themselves in a battle to remain in touch with Inter in the Serie A title race; they trail the leaders by 10 points, albeit with a game in hand. 

They host Lazio on Saturday in league action, then have a crucial Champions League clash with Porto to follow on Tuesday, the Bianconeri needing to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to make it through to the quarter-finals.

With a Coppa Italia final to come later in the year, Pirlo appreciates he will have to manage his squad carefully in the coming weeks, though insists his focus will not switch away from the Scudetto while there is still a chance of winning it for a 10th successive season. 

"All the matches are decisive for Juventus. The next game is tomorrow's match and we will concentrate on it with all our strength to win and only then will we think about Porto," Pirlo told the media on Friday. 

"We are still in the race on all fronts and as long as there is hope we will give our all to try to win the league. 

"The enthusiasm is there because we are going through a period of tough and important games. Tomorrow's match is also important for the standings and where we are is the same as last week. We can't make mistakes in case those in front of us do so."

He added: "We must play an intelligent game tomorrow, knowing that we are in a delicate period and we are not at 100 per cent.  

"It will be important to manage every situation and every play well, because you won't be able to go to 100 miles per hour for 90 minutes."

Pirlo is hampered in his preparations by injuries within the first-team squad, while Rodrigo Bentancur is isolating away from the group after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Alvaro Morata is nearing a return to action; the striker's recent absence has increased the reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored four goals in Juve's past three games. 

"When you play a lot of games, a day or two of rest is good," Pirlo said. "It also applies to Cristiano. 

"Now that we are short up front, he has gritted his teeth and will do it for as long as we need it. He has shown and continues to demonstrate his great professionalism."

Pirlo revealed Leonardo Bonucci has been able to take part in some sessions, though fellow defender Matthijs de Ligt is yet to resume training. Morata, meanwhile, is "getting better every day". 

There was also good news regarding Arthur, with the midfielder sidelined since early February but potentially close to a comeback.

"Arthur's medical check-up went well yesterday, the pain is reducing," the Juve boss revealed. "We hope he can give us a hand in the next few matches, it will depend on the pain when he resumes training with the team.

"Aaron Ramsey is fine and could play tomorrow. He can be an extra resource and we might need him."

Lazio turned up for a Serie A clash with Torino on Tuesday, but their opponents stayed away in a move that looks set to trigger a fresh dispute over how Italian football is handling the coronavirus crisis.

The Stadio Olimpico fixture had an early evening kick-off, scheduled for 18:30 local time, and home side Lazio duly arrived, with coach Simone Inzaghi announcing a team for the game.

That was already in the knowledge, however, that Torino would not be present to provide the opposition, having stayed in Turin on the advice of their local health authority after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Torino's home match against Sassuolo, due to take place last Friday, was postponed because of those cases becoming apparent.

However, Lega Serie A decided the Lazio game should go ahead, despite Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina declaring it was an "objective impossibility" to get the match on.

Gravina, quoted in La Gazzetta dello Sport, said he understood Torino's situation to be "a full-blown force majeure" and not a spur-of-the-moment decision not to travel to Rome for the game. League chiefs, however, were not as obviously sympathetic.

A string of training sessions were postponed by Torino last week. At around the time Lazio published their team sheet for Tuesday's game, Torino posted a training update, saying players had been working individually because of the restrictions imposed by local authorities.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper said referee Marco Piccinini declared the game abandoned at 19:15 in Rome, adding that two Lazio players were called for routine doping tests despite the fixture not being played.

It remains to be seen what steps Lega Serie A takes next, but there has been a precedent of sorts this season, when Napoli were barred from travelling to Turin to face Juventus in October.

League chiefs had turned down a request to call off the game and awarded a 3-0 victory to Juventus, also docking Napoli one point. However, the Naples side appealed to the Italian Olympic Committee's Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport - the highest sporting court in the land - and overturned the Lega Serie A decision. That game will be replayed, with March 17 reportedly a possible date.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare told Sky Sport Italia ahead of Tuesday's intended kick-off time: "I could say many things, but I keep them to myself.

"We respected the rules and we came to the stadium. Now we will wait 45 minutes, then we will leave everything in the hands of the competent bodies.

"Would I have preferred to play? Absolutely yes."

Tare said it was not important whether he understood Torino's point of view.

"I just have to respect the rules of the Lega," he said. "We know how things stand. We are here and this is the only thing that matters."

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."

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.

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