A fine goal from Thiago Alcantara was the highlight as Bayern Munich cruised to a 3-1 victory away to Mainz, their sixth straight Bundesliga triumph.

Bayern go two points clear at the top ahead of RB Leipzig, who have a chance to return to the summit when they play Borussia Monchengladbach later on Saturday.

The visitors were three up inside 26 minutes at Opel Arena, with Robert Lewandowski's 22nd top-flight goal of the campaign setting them on their way.

For the third straight game, both Thomas Muller and Thiago scored, as Jeremiah St. Juste's first-half header no more than a consolation.

Having reached 58 goals in their first 20 matches, a club record, Hansi Flick's side have huge momentum going into a huge match against Leipzig next week.

Mainz, meanwhile, have lost six of their last seven league matches and sit just three points off the bottom.

They had conceded six times in their last two meetings with Bayern and it only took eight minutes for the German champions to move in front, Lewandowski sending a thumping header past goalkeeper Robin Zentner from eight yards after Benjamin Pavard picked him out with a pinpoint cross from the right.

It was two just six minutes later, as Lewandowski ran in on goal and collided with Zentner, prompting Leon Goretzka to gather the loose ball and square for Muller to convert with a simple finish.

A clever Leandro Barreiro effort struck the post at the other end and Mainz were left to rue that near miss after 26 minutes, when Thiago took a pass from Alphonso Davies 25 yards and embarked on a weaving run past Pierre Kunde, St. Juste and Barreiro, before firing in with a left-footed finish.

St. Juste got one back in the last minute of the first half, heading in Daniel Brosinski's corner via a heavy deflection off Goretzka.

A quiet second period almost had a tense finale only for Thiago to make a decisive challenge as Mainz substitute Adam Szalai bore down on goal, while Lewandowski screwed wide from a late chance to make it four.

What does it mean? Bayern flying ahead of top-of-the-table clash

A key contest against Leipzig awaits next week, where depending on their rivals' result against Gladbach they will either go in top or just one point behind. With six straight wins, in which they have scored 23 times, Bayern are in great shape.

Lethal Lewandowski not slowing down

Lewandowski's impressive early header set the tone and he also created four chances for his team-mates. The clinical 31-year-old frontman has already matched his league goals tally for the whole of last season, though he should have added a late second.

Mainz lacking creativity

Jean-Philippe Mateta did not have his finest outing, substituted after 74 minutes having not had a shot or created a single chance for Mainz. But he did not have much help, with the trio behind him - Robin Quaison Jean-Paul Boetius and Levin Oztunali – not producing a single key pass between them.

What's next? 

In-form Bayern host Hoffenheim in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, while Mainz are away to Hertha Berlin next Saturday.

How close did Gareth Bale come to reuniting with Tottenham on transfer deadline day?

According to reports, the Premier League club went so far as to send representatives to Spain in an audacious attempt to lure the Wales international back to north London.

But even Jose Mourinho's backing could not force the deal over the line on Friday.

 

TOP STORY - SPURS INVESTIGATED AUDACIOUS BALE BID

Tottenham's interest in re-signing Bale prompted chairman Daniel Levy to skip across Europe for talks with Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, according to the Times.

Spurs reportedly believed a "breakthrough" had been made in the hours before the window closed and had "growing confidence" a deal could be agreed.

But, per the Daily Mail, Bale's reluctance to take a pay cut on his £600,000-per-week wages meant negotiations came unstuck.

The report claims head coach Mourinho was "fully behind" the ultimately fruitless attempt to pull off what would have been a statement of intent.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's near misses did not end with Bale. Sky Sports say Spurs and Antonio Conte's Inter attempted to sign Odion Ighalo before the Nigerian striker sealed his last-gasp loan switch to Manchester United.

- Serie A champions Juventus are certain to maintain their interest in United star Paul Pogba and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, claims CalcioMercato.

- Arsenal made two January additions but boss Mikel Arteta still wants a holding midfielder to arrive before next season, reports The Athletic.

- Crystal Palace called off their deal for Nathan Ferguson after the West Brom defender's medical revealed a knee issue, according to the Evening Standard.

- MLS expansion side Nashville are set to capture West Ham defender Winston Reid on a six-month loan, reports the New Zealand Herald.

Manchester United left it very, very late, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the extra striker he wanted in the form of Odion Ighalo.

With a move for Bournemouth's Joshua King dead in the water, the Red Devils focused their efforts on a loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua since last February.

Ighalo's deal, which Omnisport understands does not include a purchase option, will give Solskjaer another option up front during the injury absence of Marcus Rashford.

He is expected to travel to England in the coming days before United publicly announce the signing.

Ighalo was far from the only major deal to be concluded late in the transfer window, though, as West Ham just managed to finalise the signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City for a reported initial fee of £22million.

Aston Villa also announced a new striker signing about 10 minutes before the window closed, Borja Baston joining on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Elsewhere in England, Tariq Lamptey took the decision to leave Chelsea and sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on a contract until 2023. The Seagulls have also brought back Alexis Mac Allister from Boca Juniors, where he was on loan.


LOANS GALORE

Sheffield United had a busy end to the window, securing the arrival of Panos Retsos - initially on loan but with the option of a permanent deal - from Bayer Leverkusen, while Ravel Morrison has been sent on loan to Middlesbrough, having made one Premier League appearance this season.

Leicester City have loaned Ryan Bennett from Wolves, with Filip Benkovic allowed to leave for Bristol City for the remainder of the campaign with a view to earning regular game time.

Everton have sent Jonas Lossl back to Huddersfield Town on loan, while Connor Wickham is also heading to the Championship, the Crystal Palace striker moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Wolves have secured the signing of Luke Matheson, who famously scored at Old Trafford in September as a 16-year-old, and loaned him back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season.

Leverkusen have also brought in a signing for the future, with Edmond Tapsoba arriving from Vitoria SC for a fee said to be between €16m and €18m.
 

SERIE A FLURRY

Italy's window closed a little earlier than some others and there was a flurry of deals around the deadline.

Marko Pjaca will get the chance to kick-start his career with Anderlecht, Juventus having allowed the winger to leave on loan for the remainder of the season as he looks to earn regular first-team football.

Milan have signed Alexis Saelemaekers, a highly rated 20-year-old from Anderlecht who arrives on loan with the option of a permanent move.

Fiorentina have had a busy end to the window. Kevin Agudelo has joined the Viola from Genoa on an 18-month loan deal, while Valentin Eysseric has been sent to Hellas Verona until June.

Maya Yoshida secured a switch to Sampdoria from Southampton, while Gaston Pereiro's move from PSV to Cagliari was ratified. He will be joined in Sardinia by Alberto Paloschi, with Alberto Cerri heading the other way to SPAL.

Gervinho, meanwhile, has taken another step in his nomadic career by moving to Al Sadd from Parma, who brought in Vasco Regini on loan from Samp.
 

BUSY BARCA

Barcelona will give new €10m signing Matheus Fernandes for time to acclimatise to LaLiga, spending the rest of 2019-20 with Real Valladolid.

Barca have also sent Moussa Wague on loan to Nice, who have the option of a €10m permanent deal, while Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have signed Camilo Reijers de Oliveira for €2m.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a shock signing for Barca 12 months ago and the experienced forward is on the move again, this time heading to Besiktas on loan from Fiorentina.

Leganes bolstered their attacking depth with two loan deals, bringing in Roger Assale from Young Boys and former player Miguel Angel Guerrero from Olympiacos.

Getafe have landed Erick Cabaco on a permanent deal, the defender joining from Levante, Granada have signed Gil Dias on loan from Monaco, and Real Sociedad have sold Ruben Pardo to Bordeaux.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, have loaned Emre Mor to Olympiacos, while a late, late deal that saw Nicolas Gaitan sign for Lille for the rest of the season was completed in time.

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Emre Can from Juventus on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move.

Germany international Can joined Juve in 2018 after his contract with Liverpool expired, but has been short of match action this season.

The 26-year-old has made just eight Serie A appearances under Maurizio Sarri and was left out of the Turin giants' Champions League squad.

Can on Friday completed a return to the Bundesliga with Dortmund, initially on loan – for a fee of  €1,000,000 – and the transfer will become permanent if agreed parameters are met.

Dortmund could pay Juve €25million, over the course of three financial years, to keep the former Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich man.

"In Can we get a German national player who can be used across multiple systems in defence as well as in central midfield. A player who brings in his technique as well as his technique and has a strong will to win," said Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc on the club's official website.

"I think the team has great potential and can win something," added Can. "I am convinced that I can help them and can't wait to play in front of these fans for whom Borussia Dortmund is known all over the world for the first time."

Can becomes Dortmund's second major addition of the January window, after the club brought in striker Erling Haaland, who has scored five goals in his two Bundesliga appearances.

Haaland's stunning start allowed Dortmund to free up funds for the Can move by selling Paco Alcacer to Villarreal on Thursday, while winger Jacob Bruun Larsen has also left for Hoffenheim.

Manchester City left-back Angelino has been loaned to Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig until the end of the campaign.

The 23-year-old has been limited to just four Premier League starts since re-joining City in July following a season with Eredivisie side PSV.

He has not featured at all in the league since a 2-1 loss to Manchester United on December 7, being restricted to three cup appearances since then.

Leipzig confirmed on Friday the defender will spend the remainder of 2019-20 at the Red Bull Arena, and it has been reported they have an option to make the move permanent for €30million (£25m).

Angelino originally joined City's academy in 2013 and spent time on loan with New York City, Girona, Real Mallorca and NAC Breda during his first spell at the club.

Leipzig are one point clear of Bayern Munich at the Bundesliga summit and have already brought in Dani Olmo from Dinamo Zagreb this month.

Meanwhile, 30-year-old midfielder Stefan Ilsanker and Matheus Cunha exited Leipzig on deadline day.

Ilsanker completed a move from to Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-and-a-half-year deal, while Cunha signed a long-term contract at Hertha Berlin.

Leon Goretzka and Jerome Boateng's training ground incident has been settled, with Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick hopeful there will be no such further displays of emotion from his squad. 

Goretzka and Boateng were pictured in a bust-up on Wednesday as Bayern prepared for Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Mainz.

Images showed Boateng appearing to slap Goretzka in the face having reportedly been angered by a mistimed challenge from the former Schalke playmaker.

Flick, though, insists the dispute has already been put to bed.

"There were a lot of emotions in training. We played a small tournament, every team wanted to win," Flick told a media conference. 

"This shows that the attitude of this team is correct. What I didn't like was the emotionality. 

"I spoke to both of them on the phone in the evening. I am satisfied that it is in the past.

"I don't want to see this behaviour in the team. We have certain values. These things can be verbally sorted out, that's what I expect from the team.

"I don't think much of punishments. It happened for the first time under me. 

"I do not expect such forms of emotion again."

Bayern are a point behind Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig in a fascinating title race. They host Leipzig at the Allianz Arena a week on Sunday, but Flick is adamant their focus is entirely on the challenge posed by Mainz.

"It's important for us to play well in Mainz on Saturday," he added.

"The opponent will put us under pressure in certain situations, switch quickly. They have fast and good players on offense who are looking for a goal. 

"We think from game to game, Leipzig is of no interest to us at all."

Manchester United look set to continue scrambling for strikers throughout deadline day.

While Bruno Fernandes has finally arrived, the Red Devils were reportedly less successful in a surprise bid to bring Bournemouth forward Joshua King back to Old Trafford.

Now, with the countdown well and truly on, a Tottenham target appears to have been removed from United's radar.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED PASS ON WILLIAN JOSE

Though still without Marcus Rashford, United have rejected the chance to sign Willian Jose on loan, according to Sky Sports.

Real Sociedad reportedly failed to gain a bite after offering the Brazilian striker to the Champions League aspirants amid negotiations with another Premier League club in Tottenham.

Spurs earlier looked to be in pole position to sign the 28-year-old permanently, but may now have to settle for a temporary deal as discussions continue.

The prospect of a bolstering their attack following Rashford's injury would have appealed to United, who reportedly failed in an attempt to capture Cherries star King.

The Telegraph claims Eddie Howe's insistence on keeping the Norwegian denied Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the chance to reunite with the player he coached while in charge of United's reserve side.

 

ROUND-UP

- Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain will keep Edinson Cavani unless LaLiga side Atletico Madrid improve from €15million to €20m, according to ESPN reporter Julien Laurens.

- Juventus midfielder Emre Can will join Borussia Dortmund on loan with an obligation for the Bundesliga club to buy for €30m, reports Goal.

- Manchester City are set to beat Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen to Coritiba's 17-year-old Brazilian right-back Yan Couto, claims Mundo Deportivo. 

- Ricardo Rodriguez is out the door and Milan might have settled on a shock replacement. Sky Sports suggests the Rossoneri have agreed an €11.9m (£10m) deal to take left-back Antonee Robinson from Championship outfit Wigan Athletic. The Serie A side are also said to be on the cusp of signing Anderlecht youngster Alexis Saelemaekers.

- Inter and Lazio are competing to secure Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud before the transfer window shuts, claims Sky Sport Italia. 

Kingsley Coman returned to Bayern Munich training on Thursday as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Coman has been out of action since suffering a capsule tear in his left knee during Bayern's Champions League clash with Tottenham in December.

However, having previously returned to the pitch to undergo some individual sessions, the France international rejoined his team-mates for the first time on Thursday.

Bayern confirmed the 23-year-old, who had scored four goals across all competitions this season prior to his injury, completed 45 minutes of the session, taking part in passing and shooting drills before continuing on an individual rehabilitation programme.

The club also revealed only Niklas Sule – who is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury – was missing from training, though Javi Martinez took part in an individual session as he deals with a thigh issue.

Hansi Flick's side sit second in the Bundesliga, just a point behind leaders RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund have let Paco Alcacer depart for Villarreal and are in talks with Juventus midfielder Emre Can about a potential move.

Villarreal announced the arrival of Alcacer on Thursday, with the former Barcelona striker signing a five-and-a-half-year deal and reportedly commanding a club-record fee of €23million.

The 26-year-old Spain international enjoyed a stunning first season with Dortmund, scoring 18 goals in 26 Bundesliga appearances.

However, he has made just nine starts in all competitions under Lucien Favre this season and struggled with injuries, while the arrival of Erling Haaland from Salzburg led to increased competition for minutes.

Alcacer - linked with former club Valencia earlier in the window - has consequently returned to Spain with Villarreal, who are eighth in LaLiga and booked a place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday.

It may not be the last of Dortmund's activity in the transfer window, with Can close to arriving from Juve.

Germany international Can was left out of the Bianconeri's Champions League squad this season and has made just eight appearances in all competitions, two of which have come from the start.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told a news conference on Thursday: "Well, the transfer window isn't open much longer and I don't like to provide any updates until something is final.

"We are talking with the player, this is no secret. But a decision hasn't been made yet."

Krzysztof Piatek has joined Hertha Berlin on a long-term contract from AC Milan just a year after moving to the Rossoneri, the Bundesliga club have confirmed. 

The Poland striker made the switch to Milan in January 2019 after spending seven months with Genoa, for who he scored 19 goals in 21 appearances.

Piatek continued his fine form at Milan initially, scoring a further nine Serie A goals and drawing comparisons with compatriot Robert Lewandowski.

However, he has been unable to reach the same heights this season, having found the net just five times in all competitions and slipped further down the pecking order when Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer, while Ante Rebic has also found form.

Piatek, who was subbed off during Milan's 4-2 win over Torino in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, has now joined Bundesliga club Hertha on an unspecified long-term contract, for a fee reported to be in the region of €27million plus bonuses.

"I am very happy that this transfer worked out," Piatek told Hertha's official website. 

"I feel great desire to help the club together with my new team-mates and to climb up a few places in the table as quickly as possible."

Premier League clubs Tottenham and Manchester United had also been linked with a move for Piatek to cover for respective injuries to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

The time might have come for Chelsea to cash in on one of their longest and most loyal servants.

According to reports, LaLiga giants Barcelona are eager to take winger Willian to Camp Nou before the January transfer window closes on Friday.

The experienced Brazilian has been with Chelsea since 2013, but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY - BARCA WANT WILLIAN

Barcelona will test Chelsea's resolve with a late €23.6million (£20m) offer for Willian, Sky Sports have reported.

The Blaugrana are said to be are "long-term admirers" of the 31-year-old and hope to have him on board for the remainder of their title battle against Real Madrid.

Willian could leave Stamford Bridge on a free at the end of June if Chelsea choose not to cash in now.

Frank Lampard last month said contract talks were ongoing with the former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker, but he has not yet agreed a new deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- News of Barca's approach comes amid suggestions they have had an eye-watering €100m (£85m) offer for Richarlison rejected by Everton, rumours the Mirror indicates have been laughed off at Goodison Park.

- Chelsea, however, could be preparing their Willian replacement. According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League top-four aspirants are looking to sign 32-year-old Napoli forward Dries Mertens for a cut-price £6m fee.

- Barca, meanwhile, are trying to find a new home for Philippe Coutinho after learning Bayern Munich will not activate their €120m option to buy the on-loan playmaker, say Catalunya Radio.

- England international Danny Rose will spend the remainder of the season at Newcastle United after Tottenham accepted a £2m loan fee for the left-back, claim the Guardian.

- Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund must improve their bid from €22m to €30m to convince Serie A champions Juventus to part with midfielder Emre Can, claim CalcioMercato.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich face a struggle to compete with Premier League giants because of the financial muscle of top English clubs, admits Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

The Bayern chief executive says domestic television deals have created a major distortion in wealth between many teams in mainland Europe and those in England.

Speaking at the SPOBIS 2020 business event, Rummenigge also said there was "no need for change" when it comes to the Champions League after recent talk of expansion.

He spoke from experience when he pointed to how Premier League clubs have been able to attract the best players, the best coaches and create the most profitable academies.

And Rummenigge also stated how even 13-time European champions Real Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez he knows well, find it worrying to look at the money flooding into English teams.

"I think Florentino Perez's problem is the Premier League," Rummenigge said. "With Real Madrid he belongs to the world's most prominent club, because it's the most successful one and you have to admit it is also incredibly strong in terms of star power.

"However, his problem is the Premier League because it receives three times more money from domestic TV stations than all of us. No matter if it's Spain, Germany, France etc.

"That's why they have an undeniable advantage in the transfer market."

Rummenigge is full of admiration for how English teams have spent their money, by strengthening not only their squads but infrastructure too.

"The English clubs did well, one has to admit. In step one, they bought good players; in step two, they went out for good coaches, for instance Jurgen Klopp who has tremendous success at Liverpool; and in step three they gathered quality in management.

"They used their bigger income in comparison to other leagues to develop their quality. Their youth work has become a benchmark.

"And no matter in which country, or which city we play in, we all try to keep up with the English clubs, which is not easy."

Bayern sit second in the Bundesliga after 19 games of this season, a point behind leaders RB Leipzig, and are chasing an eighth consecutive title.

They last won the Champions League in the 2012-13 season, with Real Madrid triumphing four times since then, Barcelona winning in 2015 and Liverpool scooping last term's trophy.


The format of the Champions League is ripe for debate, with reports indicating the European Club Association is urging UEFA to include more rounds of fixtures in a push for expansion.

Rummenigge, though, as a major power broker with one of Europe's most powerful clubs, stressed there is no good reason for an overhaul.

"There is no need for change," he said.

"So far no one has come to me and said, 'We need to make drastic changes'. This radicalism that is being discussed at the moment is going too far.

"We need to respect the clubs and see if they are satisfied or if they are in need of change. How do the fans see it, how do the viewers on TV or even the TV stations?

"That's why I don't see a necessity. My press officer Stefan Mennerich has a nice saying - 'Don't fix, what ain't broken'. And the Champions League is everything but broken."

Bundesliga strugglers Fortuna Dusseldorf have sacked head coach Friedhelm Funkel.

Fortuna are languishing at the bottom of the table after winning just one of their last nine league matches and Funkel paid the price for that poor form on Wednesday.

The 66-year-old guided the club back into the top flight in 2018, two years after he landed the role, and kept them up last season.

Fortuna have only secured four Bundesliga victories in the current campaign, though, and a 3-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday proved to be the final straw.

Assistant coach Thomas Kleine took training on Wednesday amid reports that Uwe Rösler is set to replace Funkel.

Hertha Berlin have completed a move for Lucas Tousart, with the midfielder immediately heading back to Lyon on loan.

The 22-year-old has joined the Bundesliga club for a reported €24million for what a Hertha statement described as "the long term".

"I can identify very well with the ambitions of Hertha BSC," said Tousart, who will continue with Lyon for the remainder of the season.

"Something very exciting is happening in Berlin and I want to be part of it.

"At the same time, I am happy and grateful that I can finish my job in Lyon."

Tousart has been a regular fixture in the Lyon first-team squad for the past four seasons, making over 100 appearances in all competitions.

Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha have already signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart and are reportedly in the running to bring in Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Hertha sit 13th in the Bundesliga and host Schalke on Friday.

Tousart's next assignment with Lyon could be Thursday's Coupe de France trip to Nice.

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