Bayern Munich forward Mathys Tel said scoring his first Champions League goal was "wild", as he reflected on an "incredible and unforgettable moment".

The 18-year-old joined the Bundesliga giants from Rennes in July 2022, after making just 10 competitive appearances for the French club's first team, and quickly wrote his name into Bayern's history books.

He became their youngest-ever goalscorer when he netted in a 5-0 win over Viktoria Cologne in the DFB-Pokal at the age of 17 years and 126 days.

Tel followed that up by marking his Bundesliga debut with a goal in a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart less than two weeks later, claiming the record of Bayern's youngest scorer in the competition.

This season, he has continued the theme of getting big goals to commemorate special occasions, and the youngster reflected on his memorable impact in the Champions League by scoring what turned out to be the winner in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester United in Bayern's group-stage opener.

Tel told FedEx's Outside the Box: "The coach called me over, 'Mathys, it's time for you to go on'.

"I'm in my own bubble, I focus on getting out onto the pitch. I get ready to make a difference for my team.

"The game against Manchester United, it was quite a different atmosphere, because it's the biggest competition, the best players in the world, the biggest teams in the world. The mental preparation was really important for me.

"I came on as a left winger and then the game started. Everything went so fast. That's when my head exploded. The stadium went wild. Everybody went wild. It was an incredible and unforgettable moment."

That goal is one of seven that Tel has scored this season, already beating his tally of six from his debut campaign, and his style has drawn comparisons to fellow Frenchman, Kylian Mbappe.

However, Tel's focus is on his own game, and not comparisons to others.

"I've achieved quite a lot but today, I want more, I want to keep going. I still have a lot to learn. So, I come onto the pitch with a great deal of desire and ambition," said Tel.

"What I'm working on in training is my movement through different zones to be able to score goals. I have my own way of playing. I run fast, I try to create chances, I try to score a lot."

After a season and a half in Munich, in which he won the Bundesliga last term, Tel has already cemented himself into the team, and chosen to extend his time there, signing a new long-term contract that will see him stay at the club until 2029.

Tel added: "The FC Bayern transfer was an incredible time for me. My hard work had paid off.

"This is what makes me such an ambitious player today. I was immediately welcomed like a new member of the family. I wasn't sidelined.

"All the players came to me; they helped me and included me straight away. They would tell me: 'If you need anything, you can come find me'".

 

Mathys Tel featured in episode one of FedEx's 'Outside the Box' content series. To watch the full episode, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXrG24OQEY

Pep Guardiola feels his Manchester City side are playing like a team that believes they can win the Champions League again.

The City boss also saluted the team’s consistency after they secured their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club competition with a comfortable victory over FC Copenhagen.

City eased to a 3-1 win in the second leg of their last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium to complete a convincing 6-2 aggregate success.

Guardiola said: “We are a team that believes we can do it. Listen, we’re competing with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but the important thing is that seven years in a row we are here. Consistency.

“I felt the people when we arrived from a club like Barcelona and Bayern Munich – where they demand to always be there – I felt the club, not the players, didn’t feel it.

“We are here because we needed time. People, managers don’t get time, hierarchies don’t get time. But they gave us time to lose against Monaco, lose against Liverpool, lose against Tottenham – all (part of) the process to do it, because when a team comes from never ever being in that position, you cannot do it.

“It is easy for clubs that have big history – start with the best ones, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich or Man United – they have been used to it.

“You need time and they gave me time. Now we are in a process where we can lose, definitely, but we can compete everywhere because we’ve come from the final, semi-final, final, now the quarter-finals again. That means our consistency in Europe.”

A much-changed City largely went through the motions after early goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez put them on course.

Mohamed Elyounoussi pulled one back for the spirited Danes but they were ultimately outclassed and Erling Haaland’s 29th goal of the campaign wrapped up the scoring.

Guardiola said: “We went through against a difficult team. Bayern Munich felt it, Man United felt it, and Galatasaray. They are a difficult opponent, well organised.

“To win the titles we need everyone and we used them. I am really pleased for the performance. People may expect a lot of things but I know how difficult it is.”

Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup felt his players could hold their heads high after what has been a memorable European campaign for the European champions having progressed from a tough group.

He said: “I could not ask for more from my players. I am proud of the campaign we had in the group stage and we advanced to play the best team in the world. I am filled up with pride.

“Obviously, you need to do everything you can because these are moments in your life you will not get back.”

Real Madrid endured a nervy night against RB Leipzig before they booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win on aggregate after a 1-1 second-leg draw.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team held a one-goal lead from the first game in Germany on February 13, but came close to exiting in the last-16 stage only for Lois Openda to miss several chances while Dani Olmo hit the crossbar in stoppage time.

It meant Vinicius Junior’s 65th-minute opener, after a superb assist by Jude Bellingham, proved decisive with Leipzig’s equaliser via Willi Orban not enough to earn Marco Rose’s men a famous European victory.

Bellingham started days after his red card at Valencia following the controversial decision by referee Jesus Gil Manzano to blow for full-time before his headed effort could count as a last-gasp winner.

Leipzig had created plenty of chances in the first leg and should have put the ball in the net with 10 minutes played when Benjamin Sesko was sent through, but Andriy Lunin made a simple save and the offside flag was raised.

Vinicius diverted an effort over the crossbar with his chest soon after, which proved a rare venture into the Germans’ half in a one-sided first 45 minutes.

Openda curled wide moments later before his golden chance arrived in the 16th minute, but he dragged wide after an excellent ball by Olmo.

The Bernabeu crowd were already restless and a blocked Bellingham effort failed to turn the tide, with Paris St Germain loanee Xavi Simons next to test Lunin.

Simons was involved again three minutes before the break when his corner picked out Openda, who brushed the side-netting with his wayward shot from inside the area.

Whistles followed at half-time and Ancelotti reacted with Rodrygo introduced, but the visitors continued to create chances with Openda able to round Lunin before his decision to cut back inside allowed the Madrid goalkeeper to dive at his feet.

Madrid frustration boiled over when Vinicius was booked for shoving Orban to the ground, but he almost created the opener on the hour mark with a great run only for Bellingham’s scuffed effort to hit Rodrygo before a Toni Kroos shot was parried away.

Ancelotti’s team had finally started to move up the gears and the breakthrough occurred with 65 minutes played.

Bellingham was at the heart of the move, carrying the ball half the length of the pitch before he found Vinicius, who made an excellent run and rifled into the corner.

Any chance that Leipzig would fold was dispelled when Antonio Rudiger deflected a shot from Simons wide, which sparked big celebrations with Bellingham.

It was the visitors celebrating with 22 minutes left though when David Raum’s cross was headed in by Leipzig captain Orban to set up a grandstand finish.

Rose urged his team to press forward for a decisive second and Olmo sent a shot wide before Orban headed another chance over.

Leipzig pushed for a final opportunity, which did arrive in stoppage time but Olmo’s side-footed effort hit the top of the crossbar and bounced over to ensure Madrid progressed.

Erling Haaland netted his 29th goal of the season as Manchester City eased into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Copenhagen as Real Madrid battled past RB Leipzig.

The Norway international found the net after early strikes from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez at the Etihad Stadium to ease the holders to a 6-2 aggregate win.

Defender Akanji volleyed City into a fifth-minute lead from Alvarez’s corner and it was 2-0 within four minutes when, after Rodri’s header had come back of the crossbar, Copenhagen goalkeeper Kamil Grabara palmed Alvarez’s follow-up into his own net.

Mohamed Elyounoussi reduced the deficit with 29 minutes gone when he fed Orri Oskarsson and then ran on to his back-heeled return to fire past Ederson but Haaland restored the home side’s cushion in first-half stoppage time.

Willi Orban ensured Real Madrid suffered a nervous conclusion at the Bernabeu Stadium as they edged into the last eight after a 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg in Germany, the Spaniards had to wait until the 65th minute for Vinicius Junior to put them ahead on the night.

However, Orban levelled within three minutes and then went close with a header as the LaLiga leaders eventually made it through 2-1 on aggregate.

Holders Manchester City eased into the Champions League quarter-finals for a seventh successive season with a routine 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen.

Early Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez goals put City on their way and the prolific Erling Haaland netted his 29th of the season as Pep Guardiola’s side completed a 6-2 aggregate success at the Etihad Stadium.

Copenhagen showed some spirit and pulled one back through former Southampton player Mohamed Elyounoussi but there was never any doubt City would be going through to the last eight.

It was a game played largely at a slow tempo as City, bidding to win unprecedented back-to-back trebles, conserved energy for bigger challenges ahead.

Guardiola made seven changes from the side that beat Manchester United in Sunday’s derby with match-winner Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Bernardo Silva among those on the bench.

That suggested Guardiola already had half an eye on this weekend’s crunch Premier League trip to Liverpool and his selection was vindicated inside five minutes as Akanji volleyed them ahead.

The defender went forward for a corner and was almost nonchalant in the way he swung out his boot to meet Alvarez’s cross with a sweet strike.

Alvarez doubled the lead four minutes later after a calamitous error by goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, who had been one of the Danes’ stand-out players in the first leg.

Alvarez first picked out Rodri, who thumped a header against the bar. The ball was half-cleared and the Argentinian picked up possession again but this time curled in a shot.

Grabara should have claimed but the ball slipped through his fingers and into the net.

After completely dominating the meeting between the sides in Denmark last month without putting the matter beyond doubt, City appeared to have finished the job in quick fashion.

Yet for all their dominance and control of possession, the hosts were caught out by a rare Copenhagen break on the half-hour.

Defence was turned into attack as Elyounoussi broke down the left, found Orri Oskarsson inside the box and then took his backheel return to slot a fine goal beyond Ederson.

That at least gave Copenhagen’s vociferous following something to savour but City were hardly unsettled.

Haaland restored a two-goal advantage on the night on the stroke of half-time when he controlled a lofted Rodri pass, cut inside and then buried a low shot inside the near post.

City eased off in the second half and cruised towards the final whistle.

To their credit, Copenhagen, as manager Jacob Neestrup had promised, refused to throw in the towel and, despite seeing little of the ball, did manage to piece together some attacks.

Substitute Magnus Mattsson even tested Ederson with a sharp shot on the turn and Elyounoussi blasted over.

City almost added another in stoppage time when Rico Lewis hit the bar.

Harry Kane fired Bayern Munich into the quarter-finals of the Champions League as the German side overturned a first-leg deficit against Lazio with a 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Rome, Bayern were kept out until Kane headed home from close range – his 50th goal in European competition.

Thomas Muller doubled the lead on the night with another header seconds before the break as Matthijs de Ligt’s volley flashed across the six-yard area.

Lazio’s best chance had fallen to Ciro Immobile, their spot-kick scorer from the first game, just moments before Kane had levelled the tie.

But Immobile planted his header wide from six yards when it appeared easier to score.

Bayern sealed their progress into the last eight of a competition they have won six times after 66 minutes.

Leroy Sane’s shot was parried into the path of Kane, who had to adjust his feet sharply to score his second on the night and 33rd Bayern goal in as many appearances.

Kylian Mbappe’s brace saw Paris St Germain cruise into the quarter-finals, with a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad completing a 4-1 aggregate victory.

With a 2-0 lead in their pocket from the first leg, PSG were comfortable throughout.

Mbappe, the top scorer across Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, offered an early warning sign when he turned a shot narrowly over the bar from Fabian Ruiz’s cut-back in the fifth minute.

PSG were the dominant force and went ahead after 15 minutes through Mbappe’s fifth Champions League goal of the season, bending the ball across goal and inside the far post.

Mbappe punished Sociedad again 11 minutes into the second half, bursting on to Lee Kang-in’s through ball and whipping the ball in majestically at the near post. Mikel Merino scored a consolation for Sociedad a minute from time.

Harry Kane reached his half-century of European goals with an Allianz Arena double as Bayern Munich turned around their Champions League tie against Lazio to reach the last eight of the competition.

Kane scored twice and Thomas Muller added another to overturn Lazio’s first-leg lead in style and give Bayern a comfortable 3-0 victory in Bavaria.

Lazio’s resistance lasted 38 minutes, but there was only one outcome after Kane levelled the tie on aggregate with his 50th goal in European competition.

Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel sprang a surprise before kick-off by preferring England defender Eric Dier at centre-back to big-money summer purchase Kim Min-jae.

Lazio were aiming to reach a Champions League quarter-final for the first time since 2000 and had the first sight of goal inside five minutes, Matteo Guendouzi firing wide after being set up by Felipe Anderson.

But the pattern of the game was soon set as Bayern dominated possession, territory and chances before an expectant home crowd.

Leroy Sane shot straight at Ivan Provedel in the Lazio goal and Mario Gila stayed alert to block Jamal Musiala from 12 yards.

Provedel batted away Musiala’s firm effort and Gila was in the right place to deflect Kane’s effort wide.

Lazio bodies got in the way again to deny Musiala and Raphael Guerreiro, and Dier headed over Joshua Kimmich’s cross.

It had been one-way traffic for over half-an-hour, but Lazio should have doubled their aggregate lead eight minutes before the break.

Matthijs de Ligt inadvertently flicked Mattia Zaccagni’s cross into the path of Ciro Immobile but the Italy striker planted his header wide from six yards.

It was to prove a very costly miss as Kane instantly punished the Italians.

Muller headed down into a crowded goalmouth, Guerreiro’s mishit effort bounced into the ground, and Kane reacted first with a stooping header that Provedel got in the way of but could not stop.

Musiala sent a close-range opportunity wide and Bayern seized the lead in the tie for the first time in the second minute of stoppage time.

Immobile hoped he had diverted Guerreiro’s corner out of danger, but De Ligt sent back a ferocious volley which Muller headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Lazio had a penalty claim when Immobile went down under De Ligt’s challenge at the start of the second half.

But the Dutch defender appeared to make contact with the ball and normal order was quickly restored as Lazio hopes faded once and for all.

Provedel pushed out Sane’s shot and England captain Kane adjusted his feet sharply to plunder the rebound for his 33rd goal in as many Bayern games.

Muller hit a post as Bayern sought to add extra gloss, but their passage into the last eight had been confirmed long before the final whistle.

Kylian Mbappe’s brace saw Paris St Germain cruise into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 win away to Real Sociedad completing a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Mbappe should soon play in the same league as Sociedad once his long-mooted Real Madrid move is complete but he showed he is a level above the San Sebastian side with his clinical finishing making the difference on the night.

With a 2-0 lead in their pocket from the first leg, PSG were comfortable throughout, with the only blot coming when Mikel Merino scored a consolation goal a minute from time.

Mbappe, the top scorer across Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, offered an early warning sign when he turned a shot narrowly over the bar from Fabian Ruiz’s cut-back in the fifth minute.

Sociedad went to the other end, where PSG defender Nuno Mendes was relieved to see his header go just wide of the post as he cut out Sheraldo Becker’s cross.

PSG were the dominant force and they went ahead after 15 minutes through Mbappe’s fifth Champions League goal of the season.

Ousmane Dembele played the ball into the left channel and the France striker cut back from the byline and bent the ball across goal and inside the far post, leaving Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro, unsighted by his own defenders, rooted to the spot.

Remiro would have better luck in the 29th minute when he made a superb save to keep out Mbappe’s low shot at his front post, but PSG were bossing the game.

Sociedad’s most dangerous moment came late in the half when Takefusa Kubo’s shot from range sailed just wide of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s post.

But 11 minutes into the second half, Mbappe killed off any remaining sense that Sociedad were in the contest.

Lee Kang-In’s ball through gave Mbappe the freedom to run at goal uncontested, and he opened up his body as if shaping for the far post before whipping the ball in at the near post with Remiro wrong-footed.

Sociedad had the ball in the net in the 63rd minute when Ander Barrenetxea headed home but the flag went up for offside.

Sociedad took encouragement as they stepped up their attacks, having found fresh impetus from a series of substitutions.

Merino turned his chance wide from the centre of the area and, late on, Jon Ander Olasagasti saw his close-range effort deflected over the crossbar.

They would finally reward the vocal support of their fans at the very end. Benat Turrientes drilled in a cross from the right, Donnarumma got a strong hand to it but could only push it out to Merino, who had a relatively simple task to rifle home from the centre of the goal.

Real Mardid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has warned his players only their best will do against RB Leipzig as they look to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Los Blancos will defend a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg in Germany when Brahim Diaz scored a fine solo goal.

Ancelotti’s side have been held to three frustrating draws in their last five domestic matches, with Jude Bellingham shown a red card after the game at Valencia ended 2-2 when he thought he had headed in a dramatic stoppage-time winner as the referee blew up for full-time.

The 14-time European champions may be favourites to get the job done against Leipzig at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night, but Ancelotti insists there can be no sense of entitlement.

“It’s a big opportunity to progress in a competition that is very special for us, but we will have to be at our best,” Ancelotti told a press conference.

“The tie is not over, even if we do have a small advantage. We have to be at our best from the first minute to the last.

“The first leg was difficult against Leipzig, even though we created a lot of chances.

“We have to improve on that and be more dangerous because it’s going to be a different game tomorrow.

“They will look to play more in transition than us. Dealing with that defensively is going to be very important.”

Ancelotti reported no fresh concerns from the weekend, with captain Nacho Fernandez in contention to return to the side having missed some training with a minor issue which saw him start on the bench at Valencia.

England midfielder Bellingham, making his own return from an ankle injury, was sent off after the players surrounded the referee in the wake of his disallowed goal, with Madrid having earlier fought back from 2-0 down.

Ancelotti, though, feels there is no need to add further fuel to the situation, with his side now seven points clear at the top of LaLiga.

“I have not spoken to Bellingham about this matter,” the Italian coach said.

“He is someone who tries to give everything on the pitch and he is doing very well.

“The red card the other day was a mistake. He was a bit frustrated, but he didn’t insult anyone.”

Leipzig head to Madrid on the back of a 4-1 win at Bochum which left them fifth in the Bundesliga.

Defender Mohamed Simakan is suspended for the second leg, while Lukas Klostermann is doubtful because of a hip problem.

Leipzig coach Marco Rose said: “We are going to travel to Madrid and try everything.

“We want to be the most difficult opponent possible for Madrid so that they really have to stretch.”

Pep Guardiola claims winning the Champions League is getting tougher every season.

Guardiola finally ended Manchester City’s long wait for European glory when he guided the club to success in the competition last season.

It had been City’s 12th successive campaign in the Champions League and their seventh under Guardiola, who had previously won it twice as Barcelona boss.

City will look to cement their place in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition on Wednesday when they go into the second leg of their last-16 tie against FC Copenhagen holding a 3-1 aggregate lead.

City manager Guardiola said: “It’s getting better and tougher. Always I had the feeling, when I arrived in Barcelona in the first years that OK, we arrive in semi-finals.

“Now to reach the semi-finals is so difficult. The teams are better, managers are better.

“Everything is even more difficult than when I was a football player.

“But at the end, the better teams always go through. When you play two good games, you have more chance to go through.”

Guardiola insisted, however, his triumphs with City were no more special than those he achieved with a Lionel Messi-inspired Barca side in 2011 and 2013.

He said: “I would not say that. Otherwise we would undermine what we achieved in Barcelona and I would not like that.

“Every moment is every moment. Every title you win is difficult. It’s not taken for granted.”

City outplayed Copenhagen in the first leg at the Parken Stadium three weeks ago and could have won more comfortably than the scoreline suggests.

Yet Guardiola maintains the tie is not over and will not allow focus to switch to Sunday’s crunch Premier League showdown with title rivals Liverpool yet.

He said: “Selection will depend on how people recover from the last game and that’s all.

“In this competition it is so really important to be focused because in football everything can happen and you have to be aware of that.”

Erling Haaland has refused to rule out a move from Manchester City despite stressing his happiness at the club.

The prolific Norwegian was linked with Real Madrid earlier this season and he did not dismiss the idea he may one day move at a press conference on Tuesday.

Showing an awareness of media operations, the 23-year-old even said this could be the main news line to come from his appearance in front of reporters to preview Wednesday’s Champions League clash against FC Copenhagen.

He was therefore especially keen to point out how satisfied he is with life at City, for whom he has scored a staggering 80 goals in 84 appearances since joining in the summer of 2022.

Haaland said: “I’m really happy, especially with the people that I’m surrounded with – the manager, the directors, the board, they are a group of amazing people and I’m really happy, I have to say.

“If I say this now it’s probably going to be a massive headline – tomorrow you never know what the future brings. But I’m happy. You can write this but you also have to write everything I said before! I’m happy.”

Haaland is contracted to 2027 but refused to comment on whether he might sign a new deal.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker said: “My focus mainly now is on the pitch, there’s a lot of games.

“Two days ago was the Manchester derby, now Champions League. Sunday is Liverpool. I think I should focus on that. I don’t think I should focus on anything else at the moment.”

Haaland helped City win a glorious treble in his remarkable first season at the club but getting his hands on so many trophies has not dulled his appetite to win more.

He said: “You can think about it in two ways. One thing, I came here and won it all, and the other thing, I’m 23 years old and I won everything and I got the taste of it, how it is to win everything.

“How I work is that when I feel this is, I want to win it again. Easy as that.”

Such has been Haaland’s stunning impact at City that him missing a chance can now create headlines.

This was the case on Sunday when he contrived to volley over an open goal from close range against Manchester United, although he did later get on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win.

Haaland said: “People say I’m good at scoring goals but I missed the biggest chance in the world ever a couple of days ago.

“Yes, I’ve been missing, I missed a lot of chances. I will still keep on missing chances, but I will still keep on scoring goals.

“I’ll probably miss a big chance in the future as well, and people are going to criticise me, but what can I do then? Should I think of that? No, just focus on scoring more goals and to help the team.”

Haaland admitted when he was younger such a miss would have bothered him a lot but now he has learned to bounce back from disappointments.

“It’s been a challenge for me,” he said. “I remember when I was young I would start crying if we lost and I missed a lot of chances.

“I’ve been working on it a lot and in the end everything is in here (taps head).”

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique has offered Kylian Mbappe no guarantees about his playing time in the Champions League.

The reported wantaway striker was taken off at half-time during PSG’s goalless draw with Monaco on Friday, having been substituted just over an hour into the draw against Rennes a week earlier.

Asked what he expected from Mbappe in their second leg at Real Sociedad on Tuesday night, Enrique told a press conference: “I expect my team to be up to the level of the game and to approach it in the way we have throughout the season.

“I can see that the team is full of confidence and we have a clear target, which is to try to win the game.

“We want to beat Real Sociedad away from  home, but it will certainly be very tough.”

PSG lead 2-0 from the first leg and Enrique added: “It is an attractive position to be in and we have the desire to be in this competition.”

Enrique confirmed that full-back Nuno Mendes was fit to start following his lengthy injury absence.

Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil knows his side face a tough task to overturn the two-goal deficit, but is hopeful they can spring a surprise.

“I will ask the team to show personality, just like in Paris. We made it clear over there that we are capable,” he said.

“For our part, we will do everything we can to achieve it. I want the best atmosphere, both on and off the pitch. It won’t be easy, but we are full of hope. The important thing is to compete and to stay alive.”

Thomas Tuchel is not contemplating whether Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Lazio could be his last in charge of Bayern Munich.

It was announced last month that Tuchel would leave Bayern at the end of the season, but speculation over his future continues after Bayer Leverkusen opened up a 10-point lead at the Bundesliga summit over the weekend.

Bayern go into Tuesday’s last-16 second leg trailing 1-0 from the first meeting in Rome and failure to progress would further increase the scrutiny on their German boss.

Asked if it could be a knock-out game for him, Tuchel told a press conference: “Not from my side. Maybe from other sides but what we did discuss and decided is what we communicated on.

“I think there is no one else that wants to win this game more than myself.”

Given Leverkusen’s healthy advantage in the title race, the Champions League appears Bayern’s most likely chance to win silverware this season.

Ex-Chelsea manager Tuchel acknowledged the importance of this fixture, but hopes it can inspire his out-of-form team, who dropped two more points at Freiburg on Friday.

“I think everyone is aware that it is important and obviously in a situation like that, a certain amount of pressure is to be expected,” Tuchel admitted.

“With the first-leg result, it is not going to be super easy. The pressure is normal and the pressure is needed to bring special performances.

“Obviously the situation is clear. We need to win with two goals more against an Italian team, against a (Maurizio) Sarri team.

“It is about what we can bring to the pitch and the fans are there to support us from the first minute to hopefully create a specific atmosphere that could lead us to win with two goals.”

Bayern will be boosted by the return of Matthijs de Ligt, who missed the 2-2 draw at Freiburg due to a one-match ban.

Dutch defender De Ligt has struggled with a knee injury this season but urged his team-mates to stick together during a difficult period and admitted they must take responsibility for Tuchel’s imminent exit this summer.

 

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De Ligt added: “We players are responsible. We do everything together. When the coach has to go, then we also have to say we didn’t do well.

“We’re in this spell together and have to come out of it together. That’s why tomorrow is an hugely important game.

“Tomorrow is very important for us, for the whole club. We’re in a tough spot in the Bundesliga. The Champions League is also very important for us. We need to be ready.

“If you reach the quarter-finals, it’s good for the whole season, gives you energy. That’s why it’s a very important game for us.”

Plans to found a European Super League are "purely about money" and the breakaway competition would cause smaller clubs to disappear if it ever came into being.

That is the view of Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Serhiy Palkin, who believes the vast majority of European clubs are united in their support for UEFA.

The threat of a Super League has never fully gone away despite fierce fan and media opposition causing the competition's attempted 2021 launch to fail in spectacular fashion.

Real Madrid and Barcelona remain committed to the project, and in late 2022, A22 Sports Management was enlisted to oversee its revival, with a plan for a three-tier competition featuring promotion and relegation with no permanent members made public last year. 

Those plans were met with widespread criticism, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin saying the proposal was "even more closed" than the initial Super League format, given a tier-one founder would be guaranteed three years in the competition regardless of their results. 

Last December, the European Court of Justice ruled UEFA cannot stop breakaway competitions by threatening to sanction clubs, but Palkin feels there is no real desire for change.

"For me, it's difficult to discuss. When this news was issued about A22 winning in court, we had already issued our statement, we are supporting UEFA," he told Stats Perform.

"Almost 90 per cent of clubs did the same statement on their websites. We have a special group on WhatsApp, everybody supports UEFA. I don't understand this Super League. 

"I don't understand what kind of essence they have. I don't understand why we need to change something, when under the umbrella of UEFA, we have very well-structured competitions. 

"If you look from 10 years ago to today, they developed a lot of things in a good way and they are always raising the amount of money that we receive. 

"They are increasing the number of games, they are increasing the number of competitions with the Conference League.

"They involved a lot of clubs. It's not all clubs, but the number of clubs involved in European competitions is increasing significantly. 

"The most important thing for me is the involvement of clubs in European competitions and the financial support of these competitions. All the numbers are just increasing."

Palkin believes only the very richest clubs stand to benefit from the Super League, warning smaller sides might struggle to stay afloat if the plans ever come to fruition. 

"We don't have just 25 clubs in Europe. We need to pay attention to the whole of football. The most important thing is to spread football over the whole of Europe," he added. 

"Otherwise, don't go to stadiums, just switch on the TV and see the top, top clubs playing between each other, and that's it. Then they become much, much richer, and others disappear. 

"For them [smaller clubs], receiving these bonuses from UEFA is critical from a financial point of view. 

"I support football, the game itself, and we need to promote this idea. This Super League, it's not about the game, it's just about money. It's purely about money."

Mikel Arteta wants his players to improve their use of the dark arts and believes it is not in Arsenal’s “DNA” to be nasty on the pitch.

The Gunners boss wants his players to harness the ability to be more streetwise in approaching clever opponents and is training his Premier League title challengers to improve.

Declan Rice admitted after a 1-0 defeat in Porto on Wednesday night that Arsenal need to be more “savvy” as a last-gasp goal saw them beaten in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

Porto did a great job of slowing the game down at the Estadio do Dragao, with 36 fouls committed by both teams combined – a Champions League record this season.

Newcastle could prove a similarly tough nut to crack for Arteta’s side at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night – but Arteta will be hoping his techniques work their magic.

“There are ways to do it,” Arteta replied when asked how a manager develops dark arts in his squad.

“It is the way you talk to them, showing them clips, training – putting them through scenarios, pinching them a few times as well.

“Learning from other players who do it really well and from teams who are masters at it. There are ways to do it.

“It’s very important. That’s a way of competing for a team, you know. And you can tell that the best players in the world have the ability to take advantage – always.”

Arteta conceded such an approach has been missing from Arsenal and that it is something that is considered in recruiting new players.

“Overall when you build a squad you need that certainly – but it comes,” he added.

“Sometimes it comes from the culture of the club. You see that there are clubs that they have that in their DNA.

“It is not something that you would directly link with Arsenal, that’s for sure but it is something that has to be developed.

“We have many other things and a lot of other clubs don’t have what we do. You want to have the best of the best – that’s the aim.

“You have to control your emotions, that’s for sure, if not you get dragged into a game that will take you away from what we want – but certainly I have seen my team face very difficult opponents, very difficult situations, face to face and we are not going to get away from that.”

Pushed on if his players were nasty enough, the Spaniard added: “Nasty? I don’t know. They are incredible players, that is for sure.

“I think this team has got enough intelligence and enough experience to deal with many situations.”

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