Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti is hopeful Victor Osimhen will be fit to face Milan in the Champions League quarter-finals, but the striker has "no chance" of playing at Lecce on Friday.

Osimhen sustained a thigh injury while representing Nigeria during last month's international break, causing him to miss last Sunday's Serie A meeting with Milan.

His absence was felt as Milan thrashed the champions-elect 4-0, but Napoli are positive regarding his prospects of featuring in the first leg of their European tie against the Rossoneri.

Before Wednesday's trip to San Siro, Napoli will look to get their title charge back on track at Lecce, where Spalletti will not have Osimhen available.

Asked about Osimhen's chances of facing Lecce, Spalletti said: "Tomorrow there is no chance. With the schedule, we said we must get to the following week. 

"There are many possibilities to see him against Milan, but we have to wait for the practical development of next week's work."

Osimhen's tally of 21 goals in Serie A this campaign is at least seven more than that of any other player, with Inter's Lautaro Martinez second in the scoring charts with 14.

The 24-year-old has hit 15 goals across all competitions since the turn of the year – a tally only bettered by Karim Benzema and Marcus Rashford (17 each) among players from the top five European leagues.

Despite Osimhen's absence, Spalletti expects Napoli to respond to last week's disappointment as they look to close in on a first Scudetto since the 1989-90 season.

"The week developed in the best possible way, I saw some great training sessions," Spalletti said. "It always amazes me, I've only had this a few times in my career.

"It's a very important match, we know how to face it. A performance is needed in these cases, after a defeat. 

"We still need five victories, 15 points, then everyone can say what they want."

Paris Saint-Germain are struggling to come to terms with again failing to win the Champions League, according to former coach Laurent Blanc.

Blanc led Lyon to a 1-0 win at PSG on Sunday, potentially breathing life into the Ligue 1 title race.

PSG looked to have the championship all but wrapped up before back-to-back defeats, with this latest reverse following another home loss against Rennes before the international break.

The gap to second-placed Lens and third-placed Marseille is now just six points; Lens are the next visitors to the Parc des Princes.

But Blanc does not believe this slump is anything new, identifying a long-standing problem at a club where he was coach between 2013 and 2016.

PSG exited the Champions League to Bayern Munich last month, meaning their wait to win that trophy will go on, and the Lyon boss suggests their subsequent form is linked.

"I know a bit about the place, the club, et cetera," Blanc said. "The problem with Paris is that when the number one goal and the goal that interests you and all the fans is no longer achievable, it seems that the season no longer exists.

"At all levels, at all levels, that's the way it is. That's how it is, you feel it, you perceive it.

"The Champions League goes on and everything is fine. The Champions League unfortunately stops, and then it's all over. The season is over and we talk about the next season. We talk, we anticipate everything.

"It's very difficult to motivate ourselves and all the players for the objective of the league.

"I think that Christophe Galtier will succeed, but it's hard, it's hard, it's hard, because the environment is not easy either.

"That environment goes in all directions, it goes in all directions: the next season, the recruitment... You hear things, it's difficult to bear, because the season is not over and there are still nine games left.

"So, we have to be aware that the season is not over, that we have to motivate everyone. It's not easy, I tell you; it's not easy.

"But Christophe will succeed because the pride of the players also, at some point, takes over, because the players are also very, very down when they haven't achieved all their objectives.

"So, there is this period; they are in the middle of it. Paris is in the middle of this moment, which is a bit tricky. It will come back."

Blanc won the league three times as PSG coach, including two domestic trebles, before he was replaced by Unai Emery.

But Blanc dismissed a question about "personal revenge" following Lyon's win, saying: "I'll stop you, I'll stop you. That's the stuff of journalists, of the media.

"The image, I don't care about that, I don't care, I don't care. If you know how much I don't care about that, then it's incredible.

"There's nothing personal about a football team. If you want to have personal feelings, you have to play an individual sport. It's a collective feeling.

"I'm happy to have won at the Parc for my team, for myself, of course, but that's where it ends.

"I don't have any revenge. Revenge on who, on what, on how? I had a great time here in Paris. It ended sooner than I expected. And that's life, that's life.

"All coaches are subject to this. And that's it, you have to accept it. There's no revenge."

Luciano Spalletti is confident Napoli will bounce back when they face Milan in the Champions League quarter-finals, having seen his side suffer a crushing 4-0 defeat against the Rossoneri.

The Serie A leaders collapsed at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday, as the outstanding Rafael Leao scored twice for Stefano Pioli's rampant visitors.

While Napoli remain 16 points clear of their closest rivals Lazio, the defeat is their heaviest in Serie A since a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Atalanta in December 2007.

With Napoli looking certain to end a 33-year wait to win the Scudetto, their upcoming Champions League tie with Milan represents their most important assignment remaining this season, and Spalletti expects the Partenopei to improve for those games.

Asked whether the result represented a bump in the road for Napoli, Spalletti said: "Let's hope it's a hole and not a chasm. 

"Tonight I saw great willingness on the part of the boys, I'm very confident. We'll go back to work tomorrow morning for the next one.

"Here, we played against the Italian champions, they are a team of the highest level. Last year they deservedly won the title – if you get something wrong you'll get a clear result."

Asked whether the result could have a psychological impact on the Champions League tussle, he added: "We don't know. 

"We've always reacted since I've been here. Sometimes we've lost a few games, but we have always reacted."

Napoli have lost two of their last three home games in Serie A (W1), as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 20 league matches in Naples.

Spalletti's side also recorded 20 shots without scoring in a league game for the first time since December 2021, when they managed 26 attempts in a 1-0 defeat to Spezia. 

Napoli visit Lecce in their next Serie A game on Friday, before travelling to San Siro for the first leg of their Champions League last-eight tie five days later.

Stefano Pioli hailed Rafael Leao after he returned to form with a brace in Milan's remarkable 4-0 rout of Napoli, declaring the forward had not gone anywhere during his recent goal drought.

Having gone 11 games without a goal for Milan, Leao tore Napoli apart as the defending champions claimed a memorable win over the Serie A leaders at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

After lobbing Alex Meret for the opener, Leao scored his second of the game – and his 10th of the Serie A season – with a powerful left-footed finish to cap a lightning break from Pioli's men.

Leao – Serie A's Player of the Season last campaign – attracted criticism during his recent lean spell, but Pioli always had faith he would rediscover his best form.

Asked whether Leao was 'back' after his double, Pioli told DAZN: "He never left!

"He scored two goals, one from a central forward position and one from out wide. He has incredible potential and will become a champion."

As well as providing a huge boost to Milan's hopes of a top-four finish, the result served as a warning to Napoli ahead of this month's Champions League quarter-final tie against the Rossoneri.

Pioli, however, does not believe Milan's win will have any impact on those contests, adding: "Certainly today's victory gives us confidence, but they will be different matches. 

"Just because we won 4-0 today, it doesn't mean that Napoli have lost their certainties. We'll think about Napoli and face those two matches – I hope – with the personality of this evening.

"It will be a balanced match between two strong teams who are doing well in the Champions League. This season will be positive if we play in the Champions League again next year.

"There are still 10 days to go. It will be 180 minutes, but now we head to Empoli [on Friday] – in the league we haven't always faced matches with the right attitude."

Since Pioli joined Milan in 2019, the Rossoneri have posted five wins against teams starting that matchday top of the Serie A table – at least two more than any other team in the competition.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen faces a race against time to play any part in the Champions League quarter-final against Milan after suffering an injury.

Osimhen played both games in the international break for Nigeria but has returned to the Italian club with a left thigh problem.

The club announced on their website he will be assessed next week, with president Aurelio De Laurentiis hopeful the star striker will soon be back in action.

De Laurentiis said, according to Tuttomercato: "He should be out a couple of weeks, we hope."

Napoli host Milan in Serie A on Sunday before travelling to face Lecce on the following Friday, with Osimhen likely to miss both fixtures.

The Champions League quarter-final first leg in Milan comes on April 12, with the return fixture taking place in Naples on April 18.

The 24-year-old Osimhen has enjoyed a prolific season, scoring 25 goals in 29 games in all competitions, with Luciano Spalletti’s 19 points clear of second-placed Lazio in Serie A and through to their first-ever Champions League quarter-final.

Argentine striker Giovanni Simeone will likely deputise in Osimhen’s absence, with the striker having netted eight times in all competitions this season.

Graham Potter confirmed that Chelsea and Bayern Munich are in talks over assistant coach Anthony Barry.

However, a potential switch from London to Munich might well be delayed until a potential Champions League meeting between the sides.

Thomas Tuchel, who was appointed as Bayern coach after the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann last week, worked with Barry during his time at Chelsea and is keen to get the 36-year-old on his staff.

Barry is away from the Chelsea training ground while negotiations take place but Potter hinted that any agreement may be delayed until after a potential semi-final Champions League clash.

"Obviously that delay is something I'm pretty sure is in the conversation for obvious reasons," Potter said at a press conference on Friday.

"I have spoken to Anthony, he's someone I respect a lot and he's given everything for Chelsea. I understand that people have aspirations and it's about respecting that.

"He's away from us for the moment. It's between the clubs, it's not something I get involved in.

"I have huge respect for what he's done, here. He's a fantastic coach and a fantastic person."

Chelsea face reigning champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, as they did last year, but could be tasked with a semi-final face-off with former boss Tuchel if Bayern beat Manchester City.

Speaking to reporters in Germany on Friday, Tuchel was positive about the move for Barry.

"It's a matter between the clubs. It's still my absolute wish for him to come. The clubs have to reach an agreement. But I'm optimistic," he said.

Andrew Robertson warned Liverpool team-mates they cannot afford to make any more mistakes if they are to meet their minimum expectation of Champions League qualification.

The Reds have endured a disappointing season, with Jurgen Klopp's efforts not helped by a string of significant injuries to key players.

Last season, Liverpool won an EFL Cup and FA Cup double, reached the Champions League final, and finished just one point behind Premier League winners Manchester City.

However, this term has seen them fail to defend either cup crown, they were eliminated from the Champions League at the last-16 stage, and are facing an uphill battle to finish in the top four domestically.

Sixth-placed Liverpool are seven points behind Tottenham in fourth, and although the Reds have two games in hand on Spurs, so do Newcastle United, who only trail the north Londoners by a single point.

The underwhelming nature of Liverpool's campaign is not lost on Robertson, who thinks they are on their last life if they want to pip Spurs and Newcastle – they now face consecutive games against City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

"The motivations are the exact same," he told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to City. "We want Champions League football, and so the motivation is the exact same as though we were going for trophies.

"It is obviously a big week; we are playing against three big teams and it's going to be an intense week, but it's what you look forward to when you come to this club. These are the big games you want to be involved in.

"We don't want to be in this position, and…we don't really have time to waste, we don't have any mistakes left in us if we want to achieve top four."

He added: "[Expectations] have to be on the highest level when you play at this club – you don't get an option not to do that, the people around the club demand that. I think we do that, but we have just lacked a little bit of consistency this season.

"In the last five or six years, consistency is the one word that would be put next to our name, as we always showed up and even when not at our best, we still managed to grind out results. We haven’t done that this season, and we have to fix that."

Despite their issues this season, Robertson remains adamant Liverpool belong in the Champions League.

But he accepts the Reds cannot take qualification for granted.

"Going into April, not being in the Champions League, FA Cup or League Cup, and then not being in a title race is so disappointing – it's a position we don't want to be in.

"We are out of every competition, but we still believe we are a team that can compete in every competition.

"So to fix that, we have to be in these tournaments again next season, and the only way to do that is finishing in the top four.

"So we've got 12 games to fix it, and we are determined to put our all into those next 12 games."

UEFA has hit Eintracht Frankfurt and PSV with partial stadium closures after unsavoury scenes overshadowed European ties involving both clubs in February.

Both legs of Eintracht's 5-0 aggregate defeat to Napoli in the Champions League's last-16 were marred by violence, with clashes between supporters witnessed before the Partenopei's 2-0 away win on February 21.

Eintracht were subsequently charged with the lighting of fireworks and blocking of public passageways by UEFA, and the governing body has now fined the Bundesliga club a total of €70,000 and ordered them to close areas of Deutsche Bank Park for their next continental fixture.

The fear of further violence led Italian authorities to attempt to ban Eintracht supporters from travelling to Naples for the return fixture on March 15.

However, supporters clashed with local police after defying that measure, with footage on social media showing crowds throwing missiles at officers wielding riot shields.

Meanwhile, PSV have also been ordered to close sections of the Philips Stadion for their next UEFA game after a fan attacked Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic during a Europa League match.

PSV suffered a 3-2 aggregate defeat in the competition's knockout round play-offs, with the tie overshadowed by a supporter entering the pitch and throwing a punch at Dmitrovic in February's second leg in Eindhoven.

The 20-year-old man was given a two-month prison stint on March 8, as well as being made subject to a 40-year ban from PSV's stadium.

PSV have been fined €29,375 after UEFA investigated the incident, with the club also being charged with the throwing of objects at the same match.

With the last international window of the season over, domestic club campaigns now enter the final straight.

Everything is still to be decided – technically speaking. Title races, European qualification, relegation – all will come to a head over the next two months.

Of course, there are a few outcomes that already look like foregone conclusions, but there's still much to play for in each of the top five leagues.

With club football returning over the next few days, Stats Perform's Artificial Intelligence team have crunched the numbers using their supercomputer to predict the outcome of each league.

How's the outlook for your team?

Premier League

England is the scene of potentially most compelling title race among the top five leagues this season.

Arsenal may have an eight-point lead at the summit, but Manchester City still have a game in hand. As such, the Gunners' chances of winning a first league title since 2004 are 56.2 per cent, perhaps smaller than many might have expected.

That comes down in part to the statistical value attached to City's historic results, particularly over the past few years during their Premier League domination, whereas Arsenal haven't come close to that level of success over the same period.

Therefore, the title race still looks tight.

A little further back, Manchester United (74.5 per cent) are near-certainties to finish third, while the race for fourth promises to be engrossing – Tottenham (19.3 per cent), Newcastle United (29.1 per cent) and Liverpool (24.5 per cent) look set to tussle it out, with Brighton and Hove Albion (10.7 per cent) considered rank outsiders.

At the bottom, Southampton's 41.6 per cent likelihood of finishing 20th suggests they've a huge battle on their hands, but the supercomputer reckons West Ham and Leicester City have enough to pull themselves clear of the drop zone.

The signs are that two of Bournemouth, Everton and Nottingham Forest will join Saints in the Championship.

 

Bundesliga

Germany's top flight may come to rival the Premier League's title race. Ahead of the weekend's Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, BVB are a point clear.

Yet, Dortmund's probability of finishing top is just 22.4 per cent compared to Bayern's 76.4. Again, it largely comes down to their historic results and Die Roten's dominance suggesting they'll eventually get the job done.

But it's fair to say Bayern's decision makers aren't so confident given their brutal choice to sack Julian Nagelsmann on Friday, replacing him with former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.

Union Berlin aren't out of it given they are only five points behind Dortmund, though this is obviously uncharted territory for them, hence the 0.9 per cent chance of winning their first top-flight title since 1923.

Third looks the best bet for them (40.3 per cent), while RB Leipzig are the most likely to fill out the top four (37.2 per cent).

It's even tighter in the relegation scrap. Only seven points separate 18th from 13th, so even rock-bottom Stuttgart are given a reasonable chance of finishing 14th (10.6 per cent) or 15th (15.2 per cent).

 

LaLiga

Following Barcelona's dramatic 2-1 win in El Clasico before the international break, LaLiga looks done and dusted at the top with the Blaugrana 12 points clear.

The supercomputer also reckons Atletico Madrid are nearly guaranteed third (80.3 per cent), leaving what is effectively a two-horse race for fourth.

Real Sociedad have fourth at the moment and are 43.7 per cent likely to finish there, though Real Betis (36.7 per cent) aim to push them all the way.

At the other end, Elche are given no more than a 0.1 per cent chance of getting out of the bottom three after taking just 13 points from 26 games.

Otherwise, relegation is difficult to call. Almeria in 19th are only six points behind Real Mallorca in 11th, meaning there are a host of clubs who could yet get dragged into a fight for their lives.

There are two particularly big names among those potentially in trouble. Valencia are in the bottom three and have a 21.9 per cent chance of being relegated, while Sevilla – who are on their third coach of the season after sacking Jorge Sampaoli – are only two points clear of safety.

The computer says Man Utd's next Europa League opponents only have a 5.8 per cent probability of going down, however.

 

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain seemingly have little to worry about in Ligue 1, with the supercomputer calculating their title chances at 98 per cent.

The tiny hint of doubt gives Marseille (1.8 per cent) and Lens (0.2 per cent) a bit of hope – but even then, it's presumably nothing more than a pipe dream.

There is a similar degree of certainty at the bottom, where four teams will be relegated ahead of the league's size being reduced to 18 clubs next term.

Angers, with 10 points from 28 games, cannot get out of the bottom four according to the calculations, and the other three positions are currently taken up by Ajaccio, Troyes and Auxerre.

Brest and Strasbourg aren't out of the woods yet either, though the supercomputer believes those in the relegation zone are the ones most likely to drop into Ligue 2.

 

Serie A

If there's one league in Europe that's got a foregone conclusion at the top, it's Serie A.

Napoli have more than a 99.9 per cent chance of winning a first Scudetto since 1990, with the unrelenting Partenopei a whopping 19 points clear of second already.

The race for Champions League qualification promises to be a little more tense.

Eleven points is the gap between Lazio in second and Juventus in seventh. While the Bianconeri are very much outsiders, the other five teams have at least a 15 per cent chance of finishing in the top four.

Lazio, Inter and Milan appear to be the most likely to take those spots, though Roma and Atalanta will fancy their chances of putting a cat among the pigeons.

In the relegation fight, there's a rather clearer picture.

Cremonese and Sampdoria look doomed, while Hellas Verona in 18th are five points adrift of safety, giving them just an 18.8 per cent probability of avoiding relegation.

 

Kai Havertz hailed the impact Thomas Tuchel had on his career, with the new Bayern Munich boss having coached the Germany international at Chelsea.

Tuchel, who was announced as Bayern's coach following the shock sacking of Julian Nagelsmann last week, took charge of the Blues between January 2021 and September last year.

The German guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2021, with Havertz scoring the first-half winner in a 1-0 victory over fellow Premier League side Manchester City.

Speaking to The Guardian on Tuchel's influence, he said: "Tuchel gave me a different idea of football. 

"Every detail counts, every centimetre, how you touch the ball, how you control, where you pass, which foot, movement, creating spaces: he's just top level. 

"To come and win the Champions League in six months says it all.

"My brother and I used to watch every Champions League game and to hold the trophy with your family on the pitch was such a relief. 

"I scored this goal, I can be happy. I made my childhood dream come true."

Chelsea remain in this year's competition after overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit to Borussia Dortmund with a 2-0 home win at Stamford Bridge. 

Havertz scored the crucial second goal from the penalty spot and his side now face reigning champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

"The ambition is still there," Havertz said about Chelsea's Champions League aspirations this campaign. 

"In the league, we are not very good and we feel for the fans but against Dortmund, the atmosphere was the best I have seen. You feel the excitement. 

"The Premier League is big and winning it may be even more difficult but the Champions League is different. Hearing that anthem, playing at night, it's special."

Despite progress in the Champions League, Tuchel's successor Graham Potter sees his side sit tenth in the Premier League and 11 points off a top-four position heading into the final stage of the season.

Regardless of the pressure on Potter and the new singings brought in as part of an ambitious January spending spree, Havertz believes all of them will thrive at the club given time to develop. 

"Potter is very good for Chelsea even though he gets criticism; in the changing room, everyone knows his qualities.

"Enzo [Fernandez] and [Mykhaylo] Mudryk have come for a lot of money and they're only 22, you know? You cannot expect them to be Neymar straight away. It's like me: it takes time."

Inter deserve more respect in the Champions League after progressing from a group containing Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Nerazzurri goalkeeper Andre Onana says.

Simone Inzaghi's side finished second in Group C in UEFA's top club competition, with a home win and an away draw against Xavi's Blaugrana proving crucial to their group-stage progression.

Inter then negotiated a tough last-16 task against Porto, winning 1-0 on aggregate in the two-legged affair, and face Benfica in the quarter-final.

The Nerazzurri could face either runaway Serie A leaders Napoli or Milan in the last four as Italian clubs dominate in Europe, and Onana believes his side should get more credit.

"We deserve more respect in Europe, given that we sent Barcelona to the Europa League and faced a complicated group," he told Mediaset on Tuesday.

"We have shown that we are a strong team. It doesn't matter what will happen in the next round, we will face Benfica to win. I want to win everything."

The Scudetto appears destined for Napoli, who are 19 points clear at the Serie A summit, but Inter are still fighting on two fronts for silverware.

Alongside their Champions League exploits, a Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus awaits, with the first leg coming in a week at Allianz Stadium.

Onana insists Inter can go all the way due to their preparations and performances under Inzaghi.

He added: "We must always play without fear. If there is fear, it's better not to take the field. A difficult month awaits us, but we prepare every day to play matches like those against Juventus and Benfica.

"I am convinced that if we work in the right way, it will be a month full of satisfaction."

Before the Coppa Italia clash with Juventus, Inter – who are third in Serie A – host Fiorentina in the league on Saturday.

A collective of Paris Saint-Germain 'ultras' made a fresh request on Saturday to meet with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, while complaining about the "compulsive purchase of flashy names" and demanding a return of the team's famous Hechter shirt design.

In a press statement, the Collectif Ultras Paris complained the club have put marketing above sporting priorities, and warned the churn of personnel on and off the pitch was bringing the same results each season.

Some would argue PSG have never had it so good, with their success during the Qatar Sports Investments era – since 2011 – far exceeding anything previously achieved. They have won eight of the last 10 Ligue 1 titles, having only been champions twice before, while in 2020 they reached the Champions League final.

It is not winning over the ultras, however, with the club's most hardcore supporters insistent the club have underperformed.

An 11th Ligue 1 title this year would make PSG the most successful team in the competition's history, as they currently share the record of 10 with Saint-Etienne.

The ultras said in their statement: "Seasons pass and look the same. Players, coaches and sports directors follow one another and the same causes produce the same effects. Once again, our club has not lived up to its national and European objectives."

The group pointed to an early Coupe de France exit at the hands of fierce rivals Marseille, a "flat-lining" Champions League last-16 defeat to Bayern Munich, and a struggle to dominate in the domestic league.

PSG hold a seven-point lead over Marseille with 10 rounds of Ligue 1 games remaining.

The club have been able to attract major stars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma, but the goal of becoming champions of Europe remaining frustratingly out of reach.

The ultras said: "However, we have decided to maintain our support in the stands for the time being, the players not intended to be the scapegoats of a poorly constructed squad, a sports policy without real direction, the compulsive purchase of flashy names without worrying about the balance of the team, and the policy of a club where marketing seems to have taken precedence over sport.

"We will therefore continue our support until the 11th title of champion of France, which is meant to be historic, is acquired to our club."

The group added: "We ask for the umpteenth time to meet quickly with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to explain to him orally the many problems that we have identified in and around the club, sporting and non-sporting, for many years."

They want to raise a ticketing issue that the group says favours "tourists and other VIPs", and are up in arms about PSG abandoning the shirt style pioneered by fashion designer Daniel Hechter, who had a stint as club president in the 1970s.

That home shirt design featured a thick red strip, with thin white lines at either side, down the middle of a largely dark blue shirt.

This season it has been inverted, with a thick white strip and thin red lines, and the fans are revolting, also calling for PSG to stay at the Parc des Princes amid concerns about a possible move to the Stade de France.

"We want profound changes and guarantees concerning the permanent return of the Hechter jersey," the ultras said.

They added: "Our love of the club is limitless, not our patience."

Bayern Munich shocked the Bundesliga by making a dramatic change in the dugout, replacing Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel.

The decision came with Borussia Dortmund posing a serious threat to Bayern's hopes of an 11th consecutive league title.

Tuchel arrives with Bayern sitting one point off the Bundesliga summit and through to the Champions League quarter-finals, with the former BVB and Chelsea boss facing several pressing tasks.

Fending off his former club's challenge for domestic glory and plotting a route past Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will be among the immediate concerns, but there are others requiring Tuchel's attention.

From the futures of club stalwarts Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, to the need to suitably replace Robert Lewandowski, there will be plenty to keep Tuchel occupied until the end of the season and beyond.

Here, Stats Perform looks at five of the most pressing tasks facing Tuchel on his return to Germany.

Fix Bayern's sloppy backline

While Bayern boast the Bundesliga's best defensive record with 27 goals conceded this term, Tuchel – who was successful in making Chelsea tough to beat in his last managerial assignment – will be keen to examine a series of shortcomings at the back.

Having beaten Augsburg 5-3 in Nagelsmann's penultimate game at the helm, Bayern suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen last time out, with Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano clumsily conceding a pair of second-half penalties.

With Nagelsmann known for employing a high defensive line and adopting an aggressive approach, Bayern have often appeared too open this campaign.

Of the Bundesliga-high 13 errors leading to shots made by Bayern players this season, three have resulted in goals, while last year's big-money recruit Matthijs de Ligt is yet to establish himself as a dominant defensive presence.

Tuchel's Chelsea kept five clean sheets in seven Champions League knockout games en route to being crowned European champions in 2021 – he will be confident of having a similar impact in his new job, given the defensive talent at his disposal.

 

Make crucial Neuer decision

The most controversial incident in Bayern's season before the change of coach came in January, when captain Neuer hit out at the club's decision to fire close friend and goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

Those comments were met with a furious reaction from the club's hierarchy, throwing Neuer's future in Munich into doubt.

A series of injuries – the latest a broken leg sustained during a skiing holiday – have limited Neuer to 16 appearances across all competitions this term, and with Yann Sommer's arrival giving Bayern two top-class goalkeepers to choose from, Tuchel has a decision to make.

While Neuer boasts a better save percentage (75.44 per cent) than Sommer (64.1) for Bayern this term, the 2014 World Cup winner will be 37 by the time he returns to fitness, and there may not be room for both shot-stoppers in Bayern's long-term plans.

Find Lewandowski's successor

No discussion of Bayern's inconsistent season would be complete without a mention of their failure to find an adequate replacement for goal machine Lewandowski.

Lewandowski left for Barcelona last year, having led the Bundesliga's scoring charts in six of his eight seasons with Bayern (2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21 and 2021–22).

The Poland international hit 35 goals in as many league appearances in his final season with the Bavarian giants. This term, Jamal Musiala is their top Bundesliga marksman with 11 goals, one ahead of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

While having five separate players on double figures across all competitions this term is no bad thing (Choupo-Moting, Musiala, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane), an established successor to Lewandowski is surely required.

 

Solve the Mane conundrum

On a related note, getting the best of last year's marquee arrival Mane will also be high on Tuchel's to-do list, with the Senegal attacker yet to hit the heights he reached at Liverpool.

Injuries and mixed form have meant Mane has started just 14 of Bayern's 25 league games, failing to net in any competition since a 6-2 win over Mainz in October.

Tuchel's previous success with a fluid forward line could bode well for Mane. In his only full Premier League campaign with Chelsea, the Blues were only outscored by Manchester City and Liverpool, with a plethora of players chipping in as the returning Romelu Lukaku fell out of favour.

 

Examine Muller's role

While the acquisition of a centre-forward will surely be at the forefront of Bayern's plans at the end of the season, the Bavarians' chances of short-term success could hinge on finding a regular role for Muller.

Muller, who became Bayern's all-time leading outfield appearance maker in the Bundesliga last month, has started just 14 league games this campaign, but his tally of 11 goal contributions (four goals, seven assists) in just 1,062 minutes demonstrates his lasting quality.

With Nagelsmann alternating between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 shapes in recent weeks, Muller has featured in a number 10 role – where he previously thrived under Hansi Flick – and in a front two.

With high-stakes clashes against Dortmund and City on the horizon, Tuchel's first month at the helm could prove decisive, and finding a place for the experienced Muller could help the new boss make a flying start.

 

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is confident coach Luciano Spalletti will remain with the Scudetto hopefuls beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the season.

Napoli appear destined to win their first Serie A title since the Diego Maradona era this campaign, having built a huge 19-point lead over second-placed Lazio.

Having earned a club-record 71 points from their first 27 games of the Serie A season, Napoli will also face Milan in the club's first Champions League quarter-final appearance next month.

Napoli reportedly hold an option to trigger a 12-month extension to Spalletti's contract, with the 64-year-old having previously ruled out talks over fresh terms before the title is secured.

De Laurentiis is not worried about the prospect of Spalletti walking away, praising the coach's seismic impact upon the club as he recalled his 2021 appointment on Friday. 

Speaking at an event in Naples, De Laurentiis recalled: "To throw everyone off the track, I went for [Sergio] Conceicao and [Massimiliano] Allegri, who came to give me football lessons in my office four times.

"In the end, Luciano came to bring us back to the top three in Italy and also last year, something different could have happened. 

"If the rules of football were different, perhaps we would have brought the Scudetto to Naples a few other times already. Spalletti will stay in Naples."

Napoli host Milan in their next Serie A fixture on April 2, while the first leg of their Champions League last-eight tie with the Rossoneri will take place 10 days later at San Siro.

Simone Inzaghi has congratulated Milan and Napoli on joining Inter in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and says it is "a huge step" for Serie A.

Italy's top flight will have three representatives in the last eight of the competition for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.

With Juventus and Roma also through in the Europa League and Fiorentina progressing in the Europa Conference League, six Italian clubs are through to the quarters of UEFA competitions for the third time ever after the 1998-99 and 1990-91 seasons.

Inzaghi, whose Inter side will face Benfica over two legs in the next round, believes it can only be a good thing for Italian football when their teams hold their own on the continent.

"We all played great games," he said at a press conference on Saturday. "I have to congratulate Milan and Napoli – they deserved it like us. So too did Roma, Juventus and Fiorentina.

"There are six teams through, which is a huge step. Now we must all continue, because the more we go on, the better it is for our country."

 

Two of Serie A's European representatives face off at San Siro on Sunday in a game that could potentially have huge repercussions in the top-four race.

Second-place Inter are 12 points better off than Juventus in seventh, but the Bianconeri are said to be optimistic about overturning a 15-point deduction imposed on them in January.

That could change the complexion of the higher echelons of Serie A, and Inzaghi hopes a decision is soon made by the authorities one way or another.

"I look at the standings, but we are aware there are legal proceedings ongoing," Inzaghi said. "I hope that we find out soon because the teams need clarity."

Inter have lost three of their past six Serie A matches after their Champions League games, including their last two against Bologna and Juventus in the reverse match.

Juventus, by comparison, have won each of their last six league games after European matches.

"We are thinking only of tomorrow's game," Inzaghi said. "Now that we have obtained qualification, we have this final game of an intense period.

"The players are feeling fatigued and we have injuries, but we intend to not look back and think only of the next game."

Inter lost the reverse fixture against Juve 2-0 and are aiming to avoid losing both games against their Derby d'Italia rivals for the first time since the 2019-20 season.

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