Philippe Coutinho will make the difference for Bayern Munich once he is fully up to speed, according to team-mate Benjamin Pavard.

Brazil international Coutinho joined Bayern from Barcelona on an initial season-long loan last month and featured twice in the Bundesliga before heading away on international duty.

Pavard, a fellow new signing, acknowledges the former Liverpool man may need some time to rediscover his best form but believes he will then have a huge impact.

Asked to describe Coutinho, Pavard told Sky Sport: "A little wizard! He is very discreet and really personable. First of all, a really fine guy. And of course a very good footballer.

"It's very hard to get him off the ball. He's not 100 per cent yet - he probably needs some more games because he joined the team very late.

"But I'm sure, in a few weeks, we will see the world-class footballer Coutinho.

"Of course [he can make the difference]. I now know him from a few training sessions and I have no doubt about that. He has incredible quality and will show it to everyone."

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka is set for a spell on the sidelines following an operation on his left thigh.

The former Schalke man underwent surgery on Wednesday to treat a bad bruise after initially sustaining damage last month.

Goretzka aggravated the issue on Germany duty and was forced to skip his country's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

"Bayern are set to be without midfielder Leon Goretzka for a period of time," read a club statement.

"The 24-year-old suffered another injury on his left thigh during Germany's preparations for their match against Netherlands last week.

"He was subsequently forced to undergo an operation on Wednesday to remove a haematoma. The surgery was successful."

Goretzka missed Bayern's opening two Bundesliga games of 2019-20 but returned to the bench for the 6-1 victory over Mainz at the end of August.

He made 30 league appearances for Niko Kovac's side last season, scoring eight goals.

Robert Lewandowski hopes to have won the same level of respect as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery when his time comes to leave Bayern Munich.

Veteran wingers Robben and Ribery moved on from Bayern at the end of last term, the pair given emotional send-offs after 10 and 12 seasons at the club respectively.

Their final Allianz Arena appearances proved a fitting occasion as both players scored in a 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt that sealed the Bundesliga title.

Star striker Lewandowski, now in his sixth season with the club, could rival their longevity after signing a new contract through to 2023.

By then, the prolific 31-year-old might be ready to make his own grand departure.

"To have that goodbye is definitely a dream of mine," Lewandowski told Sport1.

"I'm not yet thinking of leaving, but to be honest I almost had tears in my eyes when saying goodbye to them.

"The experience was not only a nice moment for Ribery and Robben, but also for us team-mates. To have such a nice farewell is something special."

Lewandowski seemed less enthused about Bayern during the close season, when he expressed frustration over the club's lack of transfer activity.

Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho and Mickael Cuisance all arrived late in the window, placating the Poland international.

"Those responsible have done a good job in the transfer market," he said.

"We can be glad that we now have such strong new additions to our team."

He added: "We prepared really well in pre-season.

"The results can already be seen in how we play football. How we build our game and the movements we have in attack already look very good. I benefit from that as well."

Bayern drew 2-2 against Hertha Berlin in their season opener but cruised past Schalke and Mainz before the international break to sit second on the table, two points behind Saturday's opponents RB Leipzig.

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Manuel Neuer will call time on his career as soon as he feels Germany and Bayern Munich no longer need him.

Neuer, 33, has been first-choice Germany goalkeeper for the best part of a decade, while he has been of similar importance to Bayern since joining them in 2011.

But the Schalke academy product has endured injury problems more frequently in the past three seasons, missing almost the entirety of 2017-18 with a broken foot.

Neuer was also absent for a chunk of last term with thumb and calf issues, though he remains the go-to man between the posts for club and country, starting all but one of Germany's 11 post-World Cup matches and Bayern's three games of the new Bundesliga campaign.

Once that regularity disappears, however, Neuer expects to retire because he will find it a challenge to remain motivated.

"When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it is difficult to get up and motivate [yourself] each day," Neuer told Welt am Sonntag. "When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on.

"I have the feeling that I am very much needed here in the national team and that everyone is happy that I'm here. It's clear that I have to show it in my performance.

"[My durability] is a result of my love for this sport. It excites me a lot when I'm on the pitch training or playing. It's a great fulfilment for me. I'm 33 years old, but when I'm on the pitch I always feel that I can improve on my goalkeeping.

"I'm still as annoyed with things that don't work out as they did nine or 10 years ago and I'm still happy about things that work out.

"These are signs that mean something to me. Namely, how ambitious I am still. [I want to] play as long as my body can do it, I'm having fun and I'm needed.

"At a young age you don't have to do so much to keep fit. It's changing. I've already noticed that, so I pay close attention to what I do and how I approach things."

With Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines, Manchester City are looking for reinforcements.

Laporte's knee injury has left City with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as their only recognised centre-backs.

Could a star defender from Serie A be the answer in January?

 

TOP STORY – CITY LOOK TO SKRINIAR

Pep Guardiola wants defensive reinforcements in January and Manchester City are set to target Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to CalcioMercato.

Aymeric Laporte is set for a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, depleting City's options as they eye a third consecutive Premier League title.

Inter star Skriniar has emerged as an option for City, though the Italian side are not keen on losing the 24-year-old – who was linked to Manchester United in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Real Madrid will try to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe at the end of the season. Madrid were linked with Neymar prior to the transfer deadline but now appear set to target his PSG team-mate.

- According to Aksam, Liverpool will monitor the form of Trabzonspor goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir throughout the season.

- Tuttomercatoweb says Napoli are ready to re-sign Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zielinski and Nikola Maksimovic, while a contract extension for Gianluigi Donnarumma is AC Milan's priority.

- Former AC Milan forward Jeremy Menez wants to return to Serie A via Sampdoria, according to CalcioMercato. The 32-year-old former France international is a free agent after leaving Mexican side Club America.

- Serie A champions Juventus are eyeing a double swoop for Tottenham stars Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld, says the Daily Mail. Eriksen and Alderweireld are set to become free agents at the end of the season and Inter are also reportedly monitoring the situation.

- Valencia are determined to tie down Carlos Soler and Ferran Torres to new deals, reports SuperDeportes.

Gareth Southgate believes more English players will follow the example of Jadon Sancho and Kieran Trippier in moving abroad to European leagues.

Sancho left Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund in 2017, and has since become a star in the Bundesliga.

Trippier, meanwhile, joined LaLiga heavyweights Atletico Madrid in the close season, after he was deemed surplus to requirements at Tottenham.

There has been an uptick in the amount of English players moving abroad to further their development in recent seasons, and Southgate has no doubt the success Sancho in particular has achieved in Germany will continue to inspire England hopefuls in testing themselves across the continent.

"I think it is brilliant for the perspective of playing out of the country, it is a brilliant life experience for Jadon and Kieran," Southgate told a news conference ahead of England's Euro 2020 qualifier with Bulgaria.

"I don't see a negative, it clearly is not harming their chances with us and we monitor players very closely.

"There are players who have played in France, Germany, the Netherlands such as Mason Mount, so it would become more apparent young people from England are more prepared to travel, whatever happens politically.

"They are different styles, Kieran is playing for one of the most successful teams and coaches in European football and Jadon is playing in front of 80,000 people at Dortmund.

"It is definitely a positive and I am certain more players will follow their path."

Sancho scored 12 Bundesliga goals last season and made his England debut in October, and striker Marcus Rashford has been thrilled to see the 19-year-old – along with other youngsters such as Mount and James Maddison – adapt swiftly to the squad.

"It has been brilliant, the [new faces] seem to fit right in," Rashford, who at 21 has 32 caps to his name, told the news conference.

"Since Gareth has come in, the younger players have trained the same as the main squad and they fit in seamlessly. The more we get coming in the better."

Lionel Messi will get to decide his Barcelona future, regardless of when the star is contracted until.

Messi, 32, re-signed with the LaLiga champions two years ago, extending his contract until 2021.

But such extensions may not matter when it comes to arguably the world's best player.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CAN LEAVE BARCELONA AT THE END OF ANY SEASON

Messi can choose to leave Barcelona at the conclusion of any campaign regardless of his contract, according to El Pais.

The Argentina superstar made his debut for the club in late 2004, and his future is seemingly in his own hands.

It remains to be seen when, or if, Messi decides to depart Camp Nou.

ROUND-UP

- Philippe Coutinho eventually left Barcelona for Bayern Munich on loan, but it could have been different for the playmaker. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola rejected the chance to sign the 27-year-old, according to Marca.

- Left out of Juventus' Champions League squad, Mario Mandzukic is eyeing a January exit, according to Calciomercato.com. The striker was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United during the transfer window.

- Staying in Turin, Juventus could have signed Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng in the close season. Calciomercato.com reports Maurizio Sarri rejected a move for the centre-back.

- Ousmane Dembele was reportedly wanted by Paris Saint-Germain while they were in talks with Barcelona over a move for Neymar. But the attacker refused to leave because he is at his dream club at Barcelona, according to L'Equipe.

- Former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is reportedly in talks with Monaco, but the 55-time Italy international turned down a move to Scottish giants Rangers, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Left out of the England squad, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is worried he has no international future under Gareth Southgate, the Daily Star reports.

Marco Reus will "try everything" to get Kai Havertz to join Borussia Dortmund.

Following Julian Brandt's switch from Bayer Leverkusen to Signal Iduna Park in the close season, BVB captain Reus has his eye on another of their Bundesliga counterparts' prized assets.

Havertz, training this week alongside Reus in preparation for Germany's European Championship qualifier against Netherlands on Friday, enjoyed a breakout campaign last season with 17 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances.

Asked if he saw Havertz playing for rivals Bayern Munich in the future, Reus told Sport1: "I will try everything to guide him to Dortmund.

"I don't know how much further the fees will increase and if it could maybe be too much for Dortmund.

"But I will try my best just as I did with Julian Brandt. And now, with Julian, I have an ally who knows him [Havertz] very well. So, let's see what happens."

Havertz said to Sky Deutschland he was not concerned by being linked to Bayern and a host of Premier League heavyweights during the recent transfer window, only for no move to materialise.

"They haven't scared me off," he said.

"I don't know exactly what it was like with Timo [Werner, the RB Leipzig and Germany forward], but it just didn't happen for me this year. I think there were a number of reasons why.

"But I'm happy to be here and stay in Leverkusen for another year. We'll see what will happen next summer." 

The matter immediately at hand for Reus, Havertz and their Germany team-mates is the latest instalment of one of international football's most intense rivalries.

Netherlands beat Germany on their way to the Nations League Finals last season, although Joachim Low's side gained a measure of revenge with a thrilling 3-2 Euro 2020 qualification win in Amsterdam in March.

"I can still remember when we won at home in Hamburg in 2011 [a 3-0 friendly victory]," Reus told a news conference.

"They're just great games and classics where you're on the pitch thinking, 'Great to be here!'.

"You try to give your best for your country. That's why there's nothing nicer when you leave the field after 90 minutes as the winner… hopefully."

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has been charged with assault after allegedly attacking his former partner, prosecutors in Germany have confirmed.

In a statement seen by Omnisport, the Munich prosecutor's office said it opened proceedings against Boateng relating to "dangerous bodily injury" last year, before filing the charge this February.

Chief prosecutor Anne Leiding said: "The Munich prosecutor has, since the autumn of 2018, had a case against Jerome Boateng because of dangerous bodily injury and filed, after extensive investigation, on February 11, 2019, a charge to the Munich District Court."

Leiding explained the court is yet to open the case but had accepted an accessory prosecution from the alleged victim.

Police are also investigating another instance of alleged personal injury suffered by the same person – referred to only as "S" – two weeks ago.

Former Germany international Boateng remained with Bayern for 2019-20 despite falling out of favour with head coach Niko Kovac.

Club president Uli Hoeness advised the 31-year-old to seek a new challenge in May and he is yet to play in the Bundesliga this season, featuring twice as an unused substitute.

I wish I could decide my career like in Football Manager.

That was the thought of Christian Eriksen after he was unable to engineer a move away from Tottenham.

The transfer window slammed shut on Monday but Eriksen is still in the headlines.

 

TOP STORY – INTER EYE ERIKSEN BID

Inter are interested in making a January move for Tottenham star Eriksen, claims The Express.

Eriksen wanted to leave Spurs prior to the transfer window closing but a departure did not materialise amid reported interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.

Now, Antonio Conte's Inter could be willing to offer Eriksen a way out of London.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Inter may have a battle to secure Eriksen's signature. Having been linked during the transfer window, Manchester United are reportedly preparing a shock move for the Spurs star in January.

- Marca says Neymar's father "harassed" Real Madrid with phone calls as a return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain became more unlikely.

- AS reports that Mariano Diaz rejected a move to Schalke prior to Monday's transfer deadline day. The Bundesliga side wanted Diaz, however, the Real Madrid forward opted to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Yannick Bolasie turned down the chance to join Russian giants CSKA Moscow over racism fears, according to the Daily Mail. He decided to swap Everton for Sporting CP on loan instead.

- What is better than one Sessegnon? Two. After signing Ryan from Fulham, Tottenham are targeting his twin brother Steven Sessegnon, says The Sun.

Eden Hazard will not feature in Belgium's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers as expected, with brother Thorgan also absent this week.

The elder Hazard is yet to make his competitive debut for Real Madrid following a €100million move from Chelsea, having sustained a thigh injury on the eve of the new LaLiga season.

The 28-year-old was still named in Belgium's squad for the first international break of the season, although head coach Roberto Martinez insisted: "We will not take any risks."

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane subsequently announced Hazard would not be fit to feature for his country against San Marino and Scotland.

So it has proven, with Hazard leaving the Red Devils camp on Tuesday, along with Borussia Dortmund star Thorgan.

Thorgan Hazard's departure similarly does not come as a surprise after being substituted late in his second Bundesliga appearance for Dortmund against Cologne.

A rib injury was set to rule the former Borussia Monchengladbach man out for "several weeks" just days before he was called up by Martinez.

Belgium, who are top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group with four wins from four, visit minnows San Marino on Friday and then go to Hampden Park to play Scotland next Monday.

They had already lost back-up goalkeeper Koen Casteels to injury, with Hendrik Van Crombrugge called up in his place.

Eintracht Frankfurt took Europe by storm last season as they went on a memorable and breathtaking run to the Europa League semi-final.

Spearheaded by Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic, Eintracht were only spot-kicks away from their first European final since 1980.

Jovic, Haller and Rebic combined for 57 goals across all competitions and 41 in the Bundesliga, where Eintracht threatened to qualify for the Champions League before ultimately finishing seventh.

However, the star trio – put together by Eintracht mastermind and director of sport Fredi Bobic – have since departed for Real Madrid, West Ham and AC Milan respectively.

While pocketing a substantial profit, Adi Hutter's Eintracht have been left with big shoes to fill. Can Bas Dost, Andre Silva and Dejan Joveljic step up? We at Omnisport look at the club's new forwards.

 

BAS DOST

The towering Dutchman is no stranger to German football, and he has already made an immediate impact in Frankfurt. Haller's move to West Ham prompted Eintracht to turn to former Wolfsburg striker Bas Dost, who scored a staggering 76 goals in 84 league games for Portuguese giants Sporting CP. The 30-year-old previously spent four years in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, scoring 36 goals and winning the DFB-Pokal as well as the DFL-Supercup in 2015. And the €7million already looks like money well spent by Eintracht after he marked his debut with a goal in the club's 2-1 victory against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

ANDRE SILVA

The footballing world is yet to see the best of Silva but at the age of 23, the Portuguese striker has plenty of time to establish himself. Silva arrived at Milan from Porto amid much fanfare in 2017 but the Portugal international spent last season on loan with Sevilla, scoring nine LaLiga goals and 11 across all competitions. Silva, who netted 10 goals across all competitions for Milan in 2017-18, started the Rossoneri's win over Brescia on August 31 before being included in the deadline-day swap deal involving Rebic. A two-year loan will provide Silva with a chance for some much-needed continuity at Commerzbank-Arena.

DEJAN JOVELJIC

The next Jovic? After selling leading scorer Jovic to Madrid for a reported €60m, Eintracht signed Joveljic from Red Star Belgrade. Like Jovic, Serbia Under-21 international Joveljic was born in Bijeljina and both played for the Serbian giants. Eintracht lured the 20-year-old forward – who scored eight goals and supplied two assists in 17 league matches last season – on a five-year deal. Joveljic has already made eight appearances for Eintracht this term. He announced himself with the winning goal on debut for Eintracht in their Europa League qualifier against Flora in July.

Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho said he "wouldn't mind" a move to the Premier League as he also talked up the possibility of experiencing LaLiga in the future.

Sancho has been heavily linked to Manchester United after establishing himself as one of the most exciting attackers in football since joining Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was determined to bring Sancho to United in the off-season and the Red Devils are reportedly set to target the 19-year-old England international again at the end of the campaign.

While Sancho is keen to win the Bundesliga with Dortmund, the former City youngster hinted at a future return to England and a move to Spain.

"I can't tell the future but I wouldn't mind," Sancho told Sky Sports News ahead of Saturday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.

"LaLiga I wouldn't mind also, but we don't know yet."

Sancho added: "I don't really try to take notice of all the media. I just try to stay focused on my game.

"Obviously being in Germany has taken off the pressure of the media and I think that's really helping me a lot and keeping me focused."

Sancho made Bundesliga history this season – his 15th league goal seeing him become the youngest player to reach that figure in history.

He scored 12 goals and supplied 14 assists as Dortmund finished runners-up to Bayern Munich last term, while Sancho already has two goals and three assists in 2019-20.

"I am just happy that I'm playing and that's the main thing," Sancho said. "I'm just helping my team and learning every day when I'm on the pitch.

"It's a great start. I am just happy to have two goals and three assists. Hopefully I'll just carry on."

Ante Rebic has completed his switch to AC Milan, with Andre Silva moving in the opposite direction to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rebic joins Milan on Monday's transfer deadline, the Croatia international swapping the Bundesliga for Serie A on a two-year loan deal.

Rebic had been linked to Serie A rivals Inter throughout the transfer window but the former Fiorentina forward – who arrived at Eintracht from La Viola on an initial loan deal in 2016 – returns to Italy via Milan.

He moved to Fiorentina from RNK Split in 2013 but struggled to make an impact before being loaned out to RB Leipzig and Hellas Verona.

Rebic eventually made his way to Eintracht, where he completed two successive loan spells before the German side made the deal permanent for around €2million at the end of 2017-18.

The 25-year-old, who was part of the Croatia team that reached the 2018 World Cup final, scored 10 goals across all competitions last season.

Rebic scored nine Bundesliga goals and supplied four assists alongside former star team-mates Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller, who joined Real Madrid and West Ham respectively in the close season.

The trio played a key role in Eintracht's memorable run to the 2018-19 Europa League semi-finals, but Adi Hutter will be hoping Silva can help fill the void up front after agreeing a two-year temporary deal.

Silva arrived at Milan from Porto amid much fanfare in 2017 but the Portugal international spent last season on loan with Sevilla, scoring nine LaLiga goals and 11 across all competitions.

The 23-year-old arrives after new signing and fellow forward Bas Dost scored on his debut in Eintracht's 2-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.

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