Lucas Hernandez has successfully undergone surgery after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in France's 4-1 World Cup opening win against Australia on Tuesday.

Hernandez's club Bayern Munich confirmed he had the operation in Innsbruck on Thursday, with his rehabilitation to commence in Munich in the coming days.

The defender was ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup due to the injury that saw him replaced after only 13 minutes.

Bayern did not provide a timeframe on Hernandez's recovery but it is expected he will miss the rest of the 2022-23 season.

Hernandez is the latest injury blow for the world champions, who saw Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku all ruled out before the tournament started.

France head coach Didier Deschamps said after Tuesday's game: "Like the whole group, players and staff, I am extremely sorry for Lucas.

"We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt that he will do everything possible to return to the game.

"I know him well. Courage, he will have it, that's for sure. On behalf of the group, I wish him the best possible recovery."

Hernandez has made 11 appearances, including 10 starts, for Bayern this season, having missed six weeks with an adductor injury sustained in September.

Lucas Hernandez will miss the rest of the World Cup, and likely the remainder of the season, after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

France were dealt a huge blow by injuries ahead of their campaign in Qatar, which began with a 4-1 rout of Australia on Tuesday.

Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku were all ruled out before the tournament started, and now Didier Deschamps has lost another key player.

Hernandez suffered the injury nine minutes into the win over Australia, as he went down clutching his right knee after being turned by Matthew Leckie in the build-up to Craig Goodwin's opening goal.

Deschamps and Hugo Lloris both conceded after the match that it did not look positive for the Bayern Munich defender, and France have now confirmed the 26-year-old's ruptured his ACL.

Given the extent of his injury, Hernandez will miss a chunk of the rest of the 2022-23 campaign when it resumes after the World Cup.

"Like the whole group, players and staff, I am extremely sorry for Lucas," said Deschamps.

"We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt that he will do everything possible to return to the game.

"I know him well. Courage, he will have it, that's for sure. On behalf of the group, I wish him the best possible recovery."

Hugo Lloris fears Lucas Hernandez has suffered an "important injury", dealing France yet another blow as they bid to defend their World Cup crown.

France began their campaign with a 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday but were without Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema, who were all ruled out of the tournament.

And left-back Hernandez was added to that injury list after he went down in attempting to stop Matthew Leckie's cross for Australia's shock opener.

The outlook does not look positive for the Bayern Munich defender, but France captain Lloris hopes his team-mates can rally as they have done before.

"It's never good to see one of your team-mates leaving the field in that way," he said. "I believe it's an important injury.

"He's not the first one, but we have to continue to look forward. Unfortunately we could not count on him, but we have a team with other players that we trust.

"We have to stay together and keep believing, keep our focus on that."

Lloris added: "We have important players left on the side for injuries, but luckily we have a lot of talented players in France, players we can trust, because they have the talent, the mentality and the desire to perform at the highest level.

"We try to create something special inside the team day by day. We try to enjoy the moment, not only on the pitch but also off the pitch.

"We have to take it game by game. Obviously it's a World Cup, there's no easy games and we have to be ready to face difficulties. When we face difficulties, we have to make sure that everybody raises their level."

The previous three holders have exited the World Cup at the group stage, but that sequence appears unlikely to be extended now.

Indeed, France's 4-1 win was the biggest in the first game of a title defence in World Cup history.

"We're obviously pleased with the result and pleased with the performance," Lloris said.

"I believe we had a good start in that game, but unfortunately we conceded that goal. We also lost one of our team-mates in this action by injury.

"But the team stayed calm, and we took control of the game and slowly started to dominate and created chances, then we scored one and two.

"Second half, I think we controlled perfectly. It's a good start."

Didier Deschamps believes Kylian Mbappe is set for another memorable World Cup after he claimed a goal and an assist in France's 4-1 win over Australia, declaring: "It's his competition".

Mbappe became just the second teenager – after Pele in 1958 – to score in a World Cup final as France downed Croatia to win the tournament in Russia four years ago, and he made a strong start to this year's competition as Les Bleus claimed a comeback win.

Craig Goodwin handed Australia a surprise lead in Tuesday's Group D clash, but Mbappe built on first-half strikes from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud as France got off to a winning start.

At 23 years and 337 days old, Mbappe is now the youngest player to have scored five World Cup goals for France, and Deschamps expects him to go from strength to strength in Qatar. 

"Kylian has been one of the best players in the world for some time now, and he's feeling very confident," Deschamps said. "You can see that in the way he plays. He is calm and concentrated. 

"He has been in good form for quite some time. I knew he was going to be ready for this World Cup, it's his competition and he knows how to make the difference.

"He's always been able to play as part of a team, so that's great for us, and I've got a lot of attackers, but Kylian is, of course, an outstanding one."

France's victory ensured they became the first World Cup holders to make a winning start at the tournament since Brazil did so in 2006, while their current five-match winning run at the finals is their joint-longest such streak (also five across the 1986 and 1998 editions).

However, France's win was tarnished as they received yet another injury blow, with Bayern Munich's Lucas Hernandez limping out of the game in the aftermath of Australia's early goal.

Deschamps fears the defender may have sustained a serious injury, which could open the door for his brother Theo Hernandez to start Saturday's fixture against Denmark.

"With Lucas Hernandez, we're still waiting for the results of the tests, but I'm afraid it could be pretty serious," Deschamps said.

"It's true that Lucas' injury was a tough blow. I'll have to think about his replacement.

"You can't have three players for every position in your squad, but there is obviously Theo Hernandez and other alternatives."

France saw their injury crisis deepen as Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez was forced off early on in Tuesday's World Cup meeting with Australia.

Didier Deschamps' side arrived in Qatar looking to become the first team to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962, but their preparations for the tournament were hampered by fitness issues.

Having already lost 2018's World Cup-winning midfield duo Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante before naming their 26-man squad for the competition, France have seen their rotten luck continue.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe was forced to withdraw from their squad after failing to recover from a hamstring injury, while RB Leipzig's in-form attacker Christopher Nkunku was ruled out of the tournament after he tore the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee.

The biggest blow was still to come for Les Bleus, as Ballon d'Or winning striker Karim Benzema – who was also absent from their triumphant 2018 campaign – was forced to leave their camp after sustaining a thigh injury in training.

Hernandez became the latest France international to be stricken nine minutes into their Group D clash with Australia, going down clutching his knee after being turned by Matthew Leckie in the build-up to Craig Goodwin's opening goal.

Having limped off the pitch to be replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez, the Bayern defender may now face a battle to be fit for France's fixtures against Tunisia and Denmark.

Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez were back in Bayern Munich training on Monday, with their respective hopes of being fit for the World Cup seemingly receiving a boost.

Bayern captain Neuer had been struggling with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss six games, but he returned to goalkeeper training ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter.

As recently as last week Nagelsmann did not want to commit to Neuer being ready to feature for Germany at the World Cup, saying he is not a "mystic".

But he appears hopeful of being able to call upon the 36-year-old away to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

"We hope he'll be available again for the weekend. He came through training well and didn't show any reaction. But we'll have to wait and see," Nagelsmann told reporters.

Tuesday's game will also come too soon for Hernandez, not that the match has much riding on it – Bayern and Inter are already confirmed as Group C winners and runners-up respectively.

However, the France international is close to a return to action after suffering an adductor tear in September, with Monday seeing him take part in full team training.

Thomas Muller remains sidelined for the time being as well.

The Germany attacker has struggled lately with a hip issue, and Nagelsmann accepts he may not even be available to face Hertha.

"We'll reduce Thomas's workload this week and see how things are for the weekend," Nagelsmann said.

"But I'm leaning more towards him not being back at the weekend."

Matthijs de Ligt is a new name to be added to the injury list for Tuesday with a minor knee injury, leaving Nagelsmann's squad down to its bare bones as they look to end the group stage with maximum points.

"We will have to rotate a bit because we have some injured players who shouldn't play more than 45 minutes," he added.

"Nevertheless, we want to win the game. Anyone can show themselves. It's still a Champions League game and 18 points would be nice."

However, Nagelsmann suggested he will not give chances to youngsters who do not deserve an opportunity as he bemoaned the Under-19s' Youth League elimination after winning none of their first five group games.

"We'll take everyone but we'll see [on Tuesday] whether [youngsters] get chances," he continued.

"In general, I'm a friend of the fact that you have to earn success. You have to develop your genes, which is particularly important for young players at FC Bayern Munich.

"Success is part of a good education. You're doomed to win here at the club, so it's a shame we were eliminated so early in the Youth League.

"At FC Bayern, you always have to be the best in the youth teams so that the step-up to the pros isn't so big."

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann believes either Jamal Musiala or Jude Bellingham should have beaten Gavi to the Kopa Trophy at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony.

The award – given to the best under-21 player in the world – went to a Barcelona midfielder for the second year in a row, as Gavi replicated Pedri's 2021 success. 

Bundesliga duo Musiala and Bellingham were both in contention for the prize, finishing third and fourth in the voting respectively, with Real Madrid's Eduardo Camavinga coming second.

Asked about Musiala's failure to land the award ahead of Bayern's trip to Augsburg in the DFB-Pokal, Nagelsmann said: "You wear club glasses. 

"In my eyes, both Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham have had better seasons than the winner. Gavi is an outstanding player, and I'm happy for him too."

No Bayern player has bettered Musiala's return of five league goals this season (level with Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane).

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham last week followed Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as just the third teenager to score in four consecutive Champions League appearances.

Attention for Bayern now turns to the DFB-Pokal, which they last won in 2020.

Their bid to go beyond the second round this season could be hamstrung by the absence of Manuel Neuer, but Nagelsmann is not prepared to take any risks with his shoulder injury.

"It's not a conscious pause. Anything in the shoulder area is unfavourable for a goalkeeper," the coach explained. "If you have a sharp pain, you can't react. 

"He has pain when moving and is therefore restricted. As a goalkeeper, it's impossible to get 100 per cent performance then, so it doesn't make sense [to play Neuer]. It would be easier with an outfield player.

"We do everything in the necessary care for the players. We try everything to prevent this and consult all possible values. The rhythm is what it is. It's annoying when players are out and injured."

Nagelsmann also offered an update on the condition of Lucas Hernandez, who he hopes will recover from a muscle tear before the World Cup begins next month.

"It's looking better. We're making a bit more of him," Nagelsmann said of the defender. "We have to be patient. I can't say how long it will take. 

"It hasn't been looking too good lately. He's making progress, but it's a tough injury. I hope he can play at the World Cup."

Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez has been ruled out "for several weeks" with an adductor injury sustained against Barcelona.

Hernandez opened the scoring for Bayern in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League victory and played a full part at the Allianz Arena.

However, the 2018 World Cup winner suffered an injury during the match and is now facing a spell on the sidelines.

No timeline has been given by Bayern for Hernandez's recovery, but widespread reports suggest he is facing four to six weeks out of action.

That will see Hernandez miss France's upcoming Nations League games against Austria and Denmark – Les Blues' final fixtures ahead of their World Cup title defence in nine weeks' time.

Didier Deschamps has been hit by a number of injury issues ahead of naming his squad on Thursday, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema also nursing fitness problems.

In more positive news for France and Bayern, Benjamin Pavard has confirmed the knock that forced him off early on against Barcelona is nothing serious.

Hernandez, who can play at both left-back and centre-back, has started eight of Bayern's 10 matches this season.

Robert Lewandowski's return to Bayern Munich was not a fruitful endeavour as a wasteful Barcelona were swept aside in a 2-0 Champions League defeat.

Second-half goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane condemned Xavi's side to yet another loss in Bavaria, a historically poor hunting ground for the Catalan giants.

Barcelona were unable to capitalise on a dominant first half, with Lewandowski spurning some fine opportunities, while Pedri struck the post after the visitors had fallen two behind.

A fightback never appeared likely, with Bayern producing a stellar display in the second period after a frustrating first 45 minutes.

After an end-to-end start, Barcelona looked the more threatening, with Pedri forcing Manuel Neuer to make a smart save and Lewandowski passing up a chance on the volley.

Lewandowski, ever the threat, then saw a header from close range saved well, while Raphinha dragged a low shot wide from outside the box.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen was belatedly called into action early in the second half as Leon Goretzka tested his compatriot from distance, and the resulting corner provided the breakthrough.

Joshua Kimmich's delivery to the near post was met by the head of Hernandez, escaping Marcos Alonso's attention and applying contact ahead of Ter Stegen.

And the lead was doubled four minutes later when Jamal Musiala fed Sane, who raced away and poked a deft finish into the net.

Pedri clipped the upright after a one-two with Lewandowski created space in the area, yet that was as close as Barca would come on another difficult night.

N'Golo Kante and Lucas Hernandez have dropped out of the France squad ahead of Monday's Nations League showdown with Croatia.

France head into next week's match sitting bottom of Group A1 after following up a shock 2-1 home loss against Denmark with draws away to Croatia and Austria.

The reigning Nations League champions are four points behind leaders Denmark and two adrift of Austria and Croatia with three games remaining and only one team advancing.

Les Blues will be without central midfielder Kante and versatile defender Hernandez for the visit of Croatia at the Stade de France.

Kante misses out due to a knee injury, while Hernandez has been given permission to join his partner, who is due to give birth.

Neither player played any part in Friday's 1-1 draw against Austria, with Kylian Mbappe cancelling out Andreas Weimann's first-half opener in Vienna to salvage a late point.

Romelu Lukaku's Chelsea return has not gone to plan – and it may well be that the striker departs after just one season back at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has 11 goals in 31 matches and is struggling to nail down a spot in Thomas Tuchel's starting line-up.

With Chelsea's problems growing off the field, they may now face a big decision regarding their record signing.


TOP STORY – LUKAKU WANTS INTER RETURN AT ALL COSTS

According to Calciomercato, Lukaku is doing everything in his power to push through a return to Inter ahead of next season after departing the Serie A champions in August.

The Italian outlet claims that Lukaku accepts he made a big mistake in departing San Siro and, amid a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea fans, he is desperate to return.

However, while the 28-year-old is said to be willing to take a pay cut, Inter are unable to finance a permanent transfer and may instead look to purchase him on an initial loan. 

Chelsea would also have to be cleared to sell the player following the heavy sanctions placed upon owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government this week.

ROUND-UP

- Those sanctions cast doubt over Chelsea's ability to sell or recruit players in the next transfer window, but that has not stopped the Blues being linked with more players. The Mirror reports that they remain hopeful of signing Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal.

- Should they be allowed to offload players in the coming months, Tuttosport suggests that Juventus will attempt to sign Jorginho from Chelsea. The Italian club are also reported to be in the mix to land wing-back Emerson Palmieri.

- With Harry Maguire struggling, Fichajes reports that Manchester United are targeting versatile Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez. However, United may face competition from LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid.

- According to The Sun, United are ready to offer Juan Mata a coaching role should the midfielder call time on his playing career. Mata has played just four games all season, starting two of those, and is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

- The Daily Mail reports that mega-rich Newcastle United intend to move for Leeds United's in-demand midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has also been linked with ambitious Aston Villa. Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea is another supposed target for the Magpies.

Lucas Hernandez and Tanguy Nianzou have tested positive for COVID-19, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

The club said in a statement that the pair have entered isolation and are "both well".

They will miss Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday – the champions' first match after the mid-season break.

France international Hernandez has made 19 appearances across all competitions this season, while teenager Nianzou has featured in 13 games, although just four of those have been starts.

Bayern also revealed that Leroy Sane, Dayot Upamecano and Josip Stanisic returned inconclusive results.

Julian Nagelsmann's side resume Bundesliga action with a nine-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

Lucas Hernandez sustained an injury in Bayern Munich's win over Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday, further depleting a squad Julian Nagelsmann described as "on a knife-edge".

Bayern headed to Dynamo for their fifth Champions League group game of the season without five first-team players who were forced into quarantine following close contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.

A vaccine debate has raged around Bayern in recent weeks, but Nagelsmann's side were able to maintain their 100 per cent European record this term – just the third time they have made such a start since 2003-04 – with a 2-1 success that secured their place at the top of Group E.

Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock with a sensational overhead kick, extending his scoring run in the Champions League to nine straight matches – making him the first player to enjoy such a sequence twice (also in 2019-20).

That goal was also Lewandowski's 25th of the season already in all competitions, nine more than any other player across Europe's big five leagues.

Kingsley Coman added a second – Bayern's 19th goal through matchday five, the third-most in a Champions League group stage – before Denys Harmash replied for Dynamo after half-time.

Bayern were on the back foot for much of the second period, but they were playing without Hernandez, who was replaced by right-back Bouna Sarr at the break.

"In the end, we gritted our teeth well, and it was an important victory," Nagelsmann said.

"In general, it wasn't an easy game, also considering the circumstances. Not just the pitch conditions, but also our squad situation, which was already on a knife-edge before the game.

"During the interval, we had to change what we were doing because Luci [Hernandez] had to come off injured and we didn't have a third centre-back. We took a while to readjust to the change and we were a bit too passive.

"However, we had two or three good opportunities to transition into counters, but our final ball wasn't right. The third goal would have finished the game off.

"The goal we conceded was a bit annoying. We still have a long way to go. We have to be more stable, especially against opposition like today's."

Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez has avoided jail time for disobeying a restraining order in 2017 after a Madrid court accepted his appeal.

The 25-year-old appeared in court last week and was given until October 28 to voluntarily enter a prison of his choosing, where he faced a six-month sentence.

However, the latest appeal Hernandez lodged was upheld by the Madrid Provincial High Court on Wednesday.

Hernandez, a World Cup winner with France in 2018, has instead been handed a suspended sentence of four years and ordered to pay a €96,000 fine.

"We consider that the appeal must be accepted and that the execution of the sentence of deprivation of liberty imposed on Lucas Francois Bernard Hernandez must be suspended," a statement from the court read.

The charge relates to a conviction of domestic violence against then girlfriend and now wife Amelia de la Osa Lorente from five and a half years ago.

He was sentenced to 31 days of community service at the time and barred from approaching or communicating with his partner for the next six months.

Four months later, Hernandez was arrested at an airport in Madrid in the company of Lorente, whom he had since married. The couple also now have a child together.

Hernandez was sentenced to six months in prison in 2019 as a result of breaching the order, with his appeal initially rejected due to being a repeat offender, but his latest appeal has been accepted.

"Regarding his family and social circumstances, it has been highlighted in the appeal that the convicted person lives with Mrs de la Osa and their son, without any new incidents between them being recorded," the court statement added.

Julian Nagelsmann expects normal order to be restored against Bayer Leverkusen as he backed Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski to get back on track this weekend.

Lewandowski's run of netting in 15 successive Bundesliga matches came to an end prior to the international break as he failed to find the net against Greuther Furth and then Eintracht Frankfurt.

It is the first time since November 2019 that the 33-year-old has gone scoreless in consecutive league games, and he also failed to find the net in Poland's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Albania over the international break.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker will be looking to put that right when Bayern travel to the BayArena, but his average of a goal every 225 minutes against Leverkusen is his worst record against all current German top-flight teams.

However, Nagelsmann is convinced the prolific marksman will return to the scoresheet in Sunday's top-of-the-table showdown, with Bayern only ahead of their opponents by virtue of a superior goal difference going into the weekend.

"Normally the situation takes care of itself when you take into the equation his quality and the number of chances we create," Nagelsmann said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "I expect things to return to normal again on Sunday.

"Of course I speak to him, like I do every other player, but mostly about the things that he can bring onto the pitch. Even a player like Robert can go a few games without scoring a goal." 

 

Bayern's unbeaten start to Nagelsmann's tenure came to a surprise end in their most recent match as they fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Frankfurt, with that also their first league loss at the Allianz Arena since November 2019.

The reigning champions now face a tricky trip to Leverkusen, but the omens are on the visitors' side.

In the past eight such meetings between the first and second-placed teams in Bundesliga, the league leaders have lost only once – Leverkusen against Bayern in this corresponding fixture last season.

Nagelsmann is not seeking excuses on the back of the Frankfurt loss, a game in which opposition keeper Kevin Trapp made 10 saves – the joint-most of any keeper in Europe's top five leagues this season – with full focus now on Leverkusen.

"It would be too cheap for me to say it was simply a case of the ball not going in in the last match," Nagelsmann said. "We played very similar to our other games this season, but on this occasion we didn't score four or five goals.

"We've spent time working on that. Over the course of several games, we will continue to work and deal with issues in the same way. On Sunday we can take the next step in our development.

"You can see Leverkusen have had good results and they have as many points as we do. I prepare for such a game by watching the opponents' matches, reading about them, watching interviews.

"I've learned about the good spirit they have. They have a good feeling of togetherness in their camp. But in the end we are looking forward to a top game and it is one we want to win."

Nagelsmann confirmed Lucas Hernandez is in contention to start against Gerardo Seoane's side, despite facing a six-month prison term for breaching a restraining order following a 2017 conviction of domestic violence against his then girlfriend.

Hernandez will attend court next week, but Nagelsmann has no concerns over the defender's mindset.

"I've experienced a normal player, not one with any negative effects," Nagelsmann said when asked about Hernandez. "If I hadn't read about the story, I wouldn't have asked about it.

"He's trained well again today and made a good impression. If he's healthy then he will play both in this game and the Champions League match against Benfica on Wednesday."

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