What the papers say

Tottenham are confident they will keep manager Ange Postecoglou amid interest from Liverpool, the Telegraph reports. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp announced he will step down from the club at the end of the season, with ex-midfielder and current Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso favourite for the position.

The Daily Mail says West Ham have delayed contract negotiations with manager David Moyes as he deals with a seven-game winless streak.

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt, the Sun reports, with the 24-year-old said to be unhappy at the German club.

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Bernardo Silva: Manchester City’s 29-year-old midfielder is a target for Paris St Germain with the French club reportedly ready to pay his £51million release clause, Spanish outlet Fijaches says.

Kylian Mbappe: The Athletic reports the French striker, who is available on a free transfer this summer, is not happy with Real Madrid’s latest offer.

Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt has suffered a knee injury at the club’s training camp in Faro, Portugal.

It is unknown how long De Ligt will be out of action but Bayern confirmed he will not be able to train with the squad as they prepare for their match with Werder Bremen on Sunday.

A club statement read: “Matthijs de Ligt has suffered a capsular injury in his left knee during the training camp in Faro, Portugal. The diagnosis was confirmed by FC Bayern’s medical department following an MRI scan.”

The Dutchman missed the training session on Tuesday alongside fellow defenders Dayot Upamecano and new signing Eric Dier, who left the camp ahead of the birth of his first child.

Bayern will continue preparations in Portugal before returning to Germany for the weekend’s fixture as they look to close the gap on league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel is expecting the unexpected when his side returns to Bundesliga action on Sunday against Freiburg.

Bayern sit third in the table, unbeaten in their opening six matches, but had to fight back from 2-0 down to salvage a point in last week’s 2-2 draw at Leipzig.

Tuchel’s side also came from behind in midweek to win 2-1 in Copenhagen and make it two wins from two Champions League group matches.

After quickly refocusing on this weekend’s domestic challenge, Tuchel told a press conference: “We really want to get all three points, but we know how difficult it will be, so we’ll have to show up on Sunday.

“Freiburg change their system a lot and I’m 100 per cent sure that they’ll do everything possible to make our lives difficult. We’ll have to be ready for that.”

Freiburg have not beaten Bayern in the Bundesliga in 14 attempts – their last win being in 2015 – but they knocked Tuchel’s side out of the DFB Cup last season.

Lucas Holer scored a 95th-minute penalty as Freiburg came from behind to win the quarter-final tie 2-1 in Tuchel’s second game in charge of Bayern.

The Bavarians’ last three matches have all been on the road and Tuchel admitted after Tuesday night’s win in Denmark that the travel had taken its toll.

“It was a long journey, which the boys are feeling the effects of,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of away games recently.”

Tuchel confirmed Matthijs de Ligt has still not recovered from the knee injury sustained in last month’s 7-0 home win against Bochum, but Raphael Guerreiro was back in training.

The Portugal midfielder has been sidelined since injuring his calf during pre-season.

“Unfortunately, Matthijs de Ligt has not made as quick a recovery as we had hoped for. Dayot Upamecano and Kim (Min-jae) are fit to play,” Tuchel added.

Freiburg, whose cup success at the Allianz Arena last season was their only win against Bayern in Munich, will be without suspended midfielder Nicolas Hofler.

Michael Gregoritsch and Yannik Keitel both missed Freiburg’s 2-1 home Europa League defeat to West Ham on Thursday and remain doubtful.

Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick as Bayern Munich maintained their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga after hammering Bochum 7-0.

The hosts ran riot with the England captain scoring just minutes after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s opener and goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Leroy Sane gave them a 4-0 lead at half-time.

Their dominance continued after the break as Kane scored from the spot and assisted Mathys Tel before earning his first hat-trick for Bayern with minutes to go.

Kane’s excellent start with Bayern means he has now scored seven goals in five league matches as the defending Bundesliga champions sit top of the table.

The hosts threatened early as Manuel Riemann saved from Choupo-Moting in the first minute, but the forward made no mistake the second time after Kingsley Coman squared the ball to him for an easy tap-in just four minutes into the match.

Kane doubled their lead in the 13th minute with a neat finish into the bottom corner and soon had a chance to earn his second but blasted the ball over the bar.

Sven Ulreich was called into action to make a diving save from Christopher Antwi-Adjei, but Bayern quickly had their third in the 29th minute after Joshua Kimmich’s corner found De Ligt, who thumped a header into the corner.

Another great chance saw Kane thread the ball through to Choupo-Moting, who was denied by Riemann, but the England captain then hit a great pass for Sane, who burst down the centre of the pitch to tuck the ball into the far bottom corner seven minutes before half-time.

Riemann made two crucial saves late in the first half to deny Kane and Coman in quick succession, but the goals kept flowing for Bayern after the break.

Ivan Ordets conceded a penalty after handling the ball in the box and Kane earned his brace in the 54th minute with a low spot-kick beating Riemann.

Coman kept the pressure on, going close a few minutes later with a curling effort clipping the post and Frans Kratzig smashed an effort towards goal forcing Riemann to tip the ball over the bar, but Bayern extended their lead in the 81st minute when Kane found Tel who fired the ball into the far corner.

The former Tottenham man then earned his hat-trick with two minutes of normal time left, getting on the end of a ball from Sane to slot the ball in at the near post.

Bayern Munich exacted some revenge on Freiburg and maintained their two-point lead on Borussia Dortmund at the Bundesliga summit with a 1-0 win at Europa-Park Stadion.

Thomas Tuchel's side were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by Freiburg on Tuesday, but they dug deep four days on to remain on course for an 11th successive domestic title.

Matthijs de Ligt gave Bayern the key breakthrough six minutes into the second half with a thunderous long-range strike, either side of some fine goalkeeping from Mark Flekken.

Fourth-place Freiburg had been unbeaten in seven league games, but they were unable to respond as Bayern made it back-to-back league wins since Tuchel took charge.

Flekken was kept busy in the Freiburg goal in a lively – albeit goalless – first half to keep out efforts from Serge Gnabry, Sadio Mane, Benjamin Pavard and Leroy Sane.

Those missed chances almost came back to haunt Bayern when Ritsu Doan got an outstretched leg to Michael Gregoritsch's cross and sent the ball against the right-hand post. 

Bayern's breakthrough arrived through their first on-target attempt of the second half, with De Ligt's deflected shot from 25 yards swerving past a helpless Flekken.

Flekken produced one of the saves of the season soon after to deny Mane from close range, while Sane clipped the ball over the crossbar with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Sane squandered another chance when through one-on-one, but only after Yann Sommer had produced a superb save at the other end to keep out Roland Sallai's shot.

Gnabry struck the post in the closing seconds, while Matthias Ginter glanced wide from the final meaningful attack, but Bayern successfully saw out another crucial victory.

Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt was surprised by the club's decision to part company with head coach Julian Nagelsmann and says it has been "hard to swallow".

German heavyweights Bayern officially called time on Nagelsmann's 20-month reign on Friday and swiftly appointed Thomas Tuchel as his successor.

Nagelsmann won the Bundesliga in his only full season in Bavaria, but Bayern find themselves a point behind Borussia Dortmund with 25 games of this campaign played.

Bayern face leaders Dortmund in a huge clash on Saturday, while they also have DFB-Pokal and Champions League quarter-final ties to play in April.

And with the club still in the hunt for a treble, De Ligt – who has been away on international duty with the Netherlands – did not see Nagelsmann's sacking coming.

"I was surprised," he told Dutch TV broadcaster NOS. "We're second in the league and in the quarter-finals of the cups. We're still playing for everything.

"Those in charge decide who the coach is, but it was a difficult decision that is hard to swallow. But I also believe that Tuchel is a coach who suits us."

According to a report in the German media, certain Bayern players turned against Nagelsmann and effectively forced him out of the Allianz Arena.

But De Ligt, who has played 31 times since arriving at Bayern from Juventus at the start of the season, refuted those suggestions.

"Oh, the German media. That says it all," he said. "I had a good relationship with him and his team.

"I sent him a message and thanked him for everything he taught me.

"He really wanted me here at the club and was very important to me. 

"Thanks in part to him, I have taken important steps in my development over the past few months."

Cody Gakpo and Matthijs de Ligt were among five players sent home from the Netherlands national team camp on Thursday after being hit by a virus.

The drastic news meant coach Ronald Koeman was forced into a rapid rethink of his plans for Friday's Euro 2024 qualifier away to France.

In a statement on its website, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said Liverpool forward Gakpo and Bayern Munich defender De Ligt had left the squad, along with Newcastle United defender Sven Botman, PSV midfielder Joey Vermeen and Anderlecht goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

Botman, Vermeen and Verbruggen are uncapped and were hoping for their first active involvements with the Oranje, while Gakpo and De Ligt are key figures in the Dutch side.

Koeman called in Vitesse goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen, Inter defender Stefan de Vrij and Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch to fortify his group.

The KNVB described the problem facing the five sick players as "a viral infection", without giving further details.

The Netherlands tackle World Cup runners-up France at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday and then host Gibraltar on Monday in Rotterdam.

Bayern Munich were indebted to Matthijs de Ligt's heroics against Paris Saint-Germain and Yann Sommer offered the centre-back a sweet reward for his pivotal Champions League intervention.

Julian Nagelsmann's side recorded a 3-0 aggregate triumph in the last-16 on Wednesday after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Serge Gnabry secured a 2-0 second-leg triumph at Allianz Arena.

However, PSG should have twice restored parity in the tie in the first half as Alphonso Davies thwarted Lionel Messi from close range before De Ligt cleared off the line with Vitinha firing at an open goal.

The latter chance came from an inexplicable Sommer error as he squandered possession inside his own area and the goalkeeper joked a deserved treat will await for De Ligt's last-ditch efforts.

"I will leave a truck filled with Swiss chocolate on his doorstep!," Sommer said on DAZN, before attempting to explain his error.

"The problem was, I had my solution to pass to [Josip] Stanisic but it was closed, then I had no more solution," he added.

"It was unbelievable what De Ligt was doing there, of course, I'm not happy with [my part] in the scene. 

"It's amazing how he thinks and saves me. If that goes wrong, then this game looks very different."

De Ligt's hooked clearance at full stretch proved the difference as Bayern kept a fourth straight clean sheet in the Champions League, their longest run in the competition without conceding.

While Sommer hailed his centre-back team-mate, Gianluigi Donnarumma was left to rue a "disappointing" performance as PSG were dumped out at the last-16 stage in Europe for a second straight term.

"There's a lot of disappointment in the dressing room," the Italy international told Canal Plus. 

"In the Champions League, the small details make the difference. We could have done better in the first half, we didn't. We're all annoyed and disappointed."

Bayern Munich beat relegation-threatened Stuttgart 2-1 on Saturday to reclaim Bundesliga top spot from Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.

In-form Dortmund defeated RB Leipzig 2-1 on Friday to reach the summit, but Bayern responded well at Mercedes-Benz Arena as they made it four wins in five league outings.

Matthijs de Ligt's 25-yard drive shortly after clearing an effort off the line gave Bayern the lead six minutes before half-time, with the game having been evenly matched until that point.

The visitors added a second through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the 62nd minute and saw out the victory, despite Juan Jose Perea pulling back a late goal for Stuttgart, boosting confidence ahead of facing Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Fabian Bredlow produced a sublime save to keep out Leon Goretzka's early header, but Bayern did not look entirely comfortable against Stuttgart's high press and gave away chances.

Goalkeeper Yann Sommer was equal to Silas Katompa Mvumpa's near-post effort and De Ligt was then well positioned to hook Konstantinos Mavropanos' header off the line.

De Ligt was involved at the other end two minutes later as his low shot caught out Bredlow, who reacted late and could not keep the ball out despite getting a hand to it.

Kingsley Coman fired straight at Bredlow early in the second half, but Choupo-Moting slotted home a second for Bayern after being played in by Thomas Muller.

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann introduced substitutes Sadio Mane, Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry for the visitors, but it was Stuttgart who scored the next goal through Perea's angled header in the 88th minute, before fellow substitute Tanguy Coulibaly headed inches wide in a major let-off for Bayern.

Kylian Mbappe was desperate to help Paris Saint-Germain as he returned from injury against Bayern Munich, and remains confident of their progress in the Champions League.

Mbappe had been a doubt for Tuesday's last-16 first leg between PSG and Bayern at the Parc des Princes.

However, the World Cup Golden Boot-winning forward was named on the bench and appeared in the second half, introduced shortly after Kingsley Coman had scored the opening goal.

That would prove the decisive strike in a 1-0 Bayern win as Mbappe twice had the ball in the net but was twice denied by offside calls.

Although PSG have now lost three matches in a row in all competitions within a single season for the first time since 2011-12, the late rally that included Mbappe's disallowed goals provided cause for optimism ahead of the return match in Munich next month.

"We have to remember the end," Mbappe told Canal+. "We have a disadvantage, but we have seen that we are able to put them in difficulty. We're going to go there to qualify.

"It was unpredictable, I wasn't supposed to play, but I wanted to help my friends. We worked day and night.

"All our players have to be healthy for the return leg, everyone has to eat well and sleep well. When you have our team and you play attacking football, they are not comfortable."

Mbappe was clearly offside the first time he netted, but it was a marginal decision against Nuno Mendes that saw the second struck off.

"It's the new football, it's VAR," Mbappe added. "If it was offside, it's like that.

"From what I've seen, there's room [to be optimistic] for the return leg."

Mbappe should be available from the start for the second leg on March 8, and Bayern defender Matthijs de Ligt told BT Sport: "You saw in the last 30 minutes. When he [Mbappe] comes in, it's a different team.

"We have to be really concentrated in the second leg."

Julian Nagelsmann expects to be without Sadio Mane for the first leg of Bayern Munich's Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain but says there is a chance he could feature in the second.

Mane was ruled out of the World Cup in Qatar after suffering a fibula injury in November.

The Senegal forward, who joined Bundesliga champions Bayern from Liverpool last June, underwent surgery and is on the road to recovery.

Bayern head coach Nagelsmann does not envisage Mane playing a part in the clash against PSG at the Parc des Princes on February 14.

However, if Mane does not suffer any setbacks, Nagelsmann hopes he may be able to call upon the 30-year-old for the showdown with the Ligue 1 champions at the Allianz Arena on March 8.

Nagelsmann said during a press conference in Doha on Thursday: "He's [Mane] an important player. If everything goes well, then it could be the case that he returns in time for PSG.

"We will see how he reacts to the workload. Personally, I'm not yet considering him for the first leg."

Bayern will face Salzburg on Friday in a friendly before resuming the Bundesliga season with a trip to RB Leipzig next Friday.

Matthijs de Ligt will not face the Austrian side due to an ankle injury, but new signing Daley Blind will be included after joining the Bavarian giants following his release by Ajax.

Nagelsmann said of the Netherlands full-back: "He will play tomorrow. He still needs some time, because the intensity in training is a bit higher.

"You can tell that he has a lot of experience and he looks confident on the ball. He will be the player that we imagined he'd be."

Matthijs de Ligt is hoping Bayern Munich land their goalkeeper target as they chase Yann Sommer to plug the gap left by injured captain Manuel Neuer.

Defender De Ligt said it "would be nice" to have a new number one in place as 10-in-a-row German champions Bayern prepare for a fresh trophy push in the second half of the season.

Neuer's broken leg, which he suffered during a skiing accident, has thrown a curveball Bayern's way, with the club unexpectedly having to consider the goalkeeping position.

Swiss shot-stopper Sommer, 34, is out of contract at the end of June. He has keen admirers at Bayern, but Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Roland Virkus indicated his club were not willing to negotiate a sale.

Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann hinted that was perhaps posturing on Gladbach's behalf, and three weeks remain in the transfer window to get a deal done.

Asked about the Sommer situation, De Ligt said on Tuesday: "It's difficult for me to say. Manuel is now out for half a year, and of course that's not good for the club.

"But it's not my job to say which goalkeeper we should buy. It would be nice to have a new goalkeeper on the pitch, but I can't influence that."

Bayern have Neuer's understudy Sven Ulreich as an option, but they look certain to bring in a goalkeeper before the window closes, whether that is Sommer or not.

Away with Bayern this week at a Doha training camp, De Ligt is delighted Bayern have brought in his Netherlands team-mate Daley Blind, following the defender's release by Ajax.

Blind arrived on a free transfer last week, in a surprise move that De Ligt is convinced can prove a shrewd piece of business for the Bundesliga leaders.

The 32-year-old Blind played at the World Cup for his country, and De Ligt said: "He's a very good player. With his experience, he can have very good games for us and help us."

Matthijs de Ligt has no issues with being left out of Louis van Gaal's starting line-up for the Netherlands' past three games as he "expected to play nothing" at this World Cup.

De Ligt came on as a 93rd-minute substitute in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over the United States in Saturday's last-16 encounter.

That marked the 23-year-old's first appearance for the Oranje since starting in their World Cup opener, the 2-0 win over Senegal, having been demoted to the bench by Van Gaal for the ensuing three games.

"It's not so frustrating, honestly," De Ligt told The Athletic. "Every player wants to play but we are a group of 26 players.

"Honestly, I have played more than I expected to play at this World Cup. I expected to play nothing. I'm quite okay. We won together and we are in a quarter-final."

The defender, who has established himself at Bayern Munich since his off-season switch from Juventus, has seen Ajax 21-year-old Jurrien Timber take his place alongside Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk in Van Gaal's back three.

"No, it's just the way of playing," De Ligt replied when asked if injury was behind his non-selection. "Maybe the coach doesn't put me in the team and I am okay with that. I expected it.

"So for me it's fine. I know my role and I train hard every day to be important for the team."

Meanwhile, Van Dijk backed 23-year-old Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo to take the next step in his career.

Gakpo, who scored in all three of the Dutch's World Cup group-stage wins, has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

"Are Manchester United and Real Madrid the same level at this moment? No disrespect, not at all," Liverpool defender Van Dijk told The Athletic.

"I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell.

"But he's a great boy. Works hard, is very talented and there's definitely more in him. We are very pleased he's doing so well and long may it continue."

Gakpo would not be drawn on his future after the win over USA, while United defender Tyrell Malacia backed him to step up should an opportunity arise.

"He's good enough for the top, there's no doubt," Malacia said.

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."

Former Juventus coach Fabio Capello thinks the Bianconeri enjoyed the best transfer window of any Serie A club, but still believes they are not favourites to lift the Scudetto.

Juventus have claimed two wins and three draws during a solid if unspectacular start to the new season, and have faced criticism for their ponderous style of play under Massimiliano Allegri.

Their underwhelming performances have come in the aftermath of a window in which the Turin giants acquired Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria, Gleison Bremer, Filip Kostic and Leandro Paredes.

Capello was impressed by their recruitment, particularly with the decision to replace Matthijs de Ligt with Bremer, but does not believe they will win their first title since 2019-20 this season.

Speaking to SportWeek, Capello said: "Looking at the names, Juventus were the winners. 

"They had a top summer with Di Maria, Pogba, Paredes, all champions that other teams don't have. Bremer is better than de Ligt on a defensive level. 

"Juve have invested in quality, catching up with Inter and Milan. Without the new players they're already among the top teams, while the others lost players."

However, when asked for his title favourites, Capello added: "It's still Inter, even though they lost [Ivan] Perisic and have [Romelu] Lukaku injured. The Belgian is the market coup of the summer. 

"Milan made an important effort for [Charles] De Ketelaere, whom I confess I don't know. 

"Napoli have replaced the departing players with good alternatives. Lazio will also be one to watch."

Juventus spent an estimated €105million during the transfer window, more than any other club in the Italian top-flight.

However, they have been beset by injury troubles in recent weeks, with a knee injury threatening to rule Pogba out of the upcoming World Cup and a thigh problem continuing to plague Di Maria.

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