RB Leipzig will be able to welcome fans back into their stadium for their game against Mainz on September 20.

Ligue 1 is the only major domestic league to allow fans to attend matches since football first resumed in Europe in May following the coronavirus-enforced stoppage.

However, with Germany having curtailed the spread of the virus, Leipzig have been given the green light to have crowds back in attendance for their home match against Mainz.

Leipzig will be able to have up to 8,500 fans in the stadium, after a location-specific agreement was reached with the city's health department. 

The decision comes following new measures being introduced in the Saxony region on Tuesday, though it is dependant on infection rates in the area staying low.

"It is great news for the team but above all for our fans," said Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann. 

"It's almost six months since the last game with supporters and we've always stressed how much we missed the fans and atmosphere."

Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga in 2019-20, while also reaching the Champions League semi-finals, going out to Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon.

Sergio Gomez has extended his loan spell at Huesca ahead of the new season, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed.

Gomez – a 19-year-old midfielder – spent last season on loan at Huesca, making 36 league appearances in Spain's second tier as the side secured promotion to LaLiga.

However, rather than return to Dortmund, Spanish youth international Gomez will remain at Huesca for 2020-21 campaign.

Huesca also confirmed there is a purchase option included within the deal for Gomez, who signed for Dortmund from Barcelona in 2018.

Bayern Munich teenager Alphonso Davies is an exciting talent Marcel Desailly would like to see playing in the Premier League or LaLiga.

Davies, 19, enjoyed a breakout 2019-20 campaign with Bayern, establishing himself as one of the best left-backs in Europe as the club sealed a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble.

It capped a remarkable journey from being born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled their native Liberia during the country's second civil war.

Davies moved to Canada with his family and attained citizenship in 2017, with two-time Champions League winner Desailly, who was born in Ghana but lifted the World Cup with France in 1998, saying the Bayern star's career shows "miracles can happen".

And although the Canada international has a contract with Bayern until 2025, Desailly would like to see him test himself in England or Spain.

"Yes, it's a long journey, but that is one of the great things about sport. It can change lives and miracles can happen," said Desailly, speaking on behalf of Laureus Sport for Good.

"Few will ever achieve what he did in Lisbon, but it is a wonderful inspiration to all young people wherever they are to give them hope and give them a dream of better things ahead.

"My experience was not exactly the same as Alphonso, but, like him, it started as a young child in Ghana. He went to Canada, I went to France. Football changed our lives.

"Alphonso's performance in the Champions League for Bayern was amazing for someone just 19. The Bundesliga are lucky to have him. He is such an exciting talent, I would love to see him play in the English Premier League or LaLiga."

Desailly has relished being able to work with Laureus Sport for Good to try to help disadvantaged youngsters in Ghana.

He said: "In Ghana, my country of origin, Laureus helped an orphanage where we built some sport infrastructure and you can see that this opened up the mind of the kids.

"Most of the kids have been under shock because of prostitution, violence and problems they have and suddenly sports allow them to be more open and we can understand their need."

Antonio Rudiger hopes to help Chelsea secure the signing of Kai Havertz following his involvement in the arrival of Timo Werner.

Havertz is expected to make a £90million (€100m) move from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea, where he would link-up with Germany team-mates Rudiger and Werner.

Rudiger revealed in June he recommended the Blues do their utmost to sign Werner after being asked for an assessment of the striker.

Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz said on Monday he did not expect Havertz to train with the club again following his call-up to the Germany squad for Nations League games against Spain and Switzerland.

Asked if he was trying to entice Havertz to Chelsea, Rudiger said: "I made my contribution to Timo. I hope that it will happen with Kai too."

Chelsea signed Werner from RB Leipzig for a reported £45m (€50m) after he scored 28 goals in the 2019-20 Bundesliga season – a tally only bettered by Robert Lewandowski.

The 24-year-old scored within four minutes of his debut as the Blues drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion in a friendly on Saturday and he is eager to continue his goalscoring exploits in the Premier League.

"What the club is asking of me is no less than I am asking of myself. The club bought me to score and I didn't go to London to score 28 goals, saying a few at Leipzig is enough for me now," said Werner.

"I want to prove it there as well as in Leipzig. It feels less like pressure for me, but more like anticipation that I can help celebrate successes."

He added: "The defenders in England are more robust than in the Bundesliga. It's much, much more physical in the Premier League.

"I have to develop myself and take on this physical challenge. English football is very fast. That suits me because I have reasonably good pace."

Jesper Olsen believes Manchester United should continue to pursue a deal for Jadon Sancho as he hailed the quality of the Borussia Dortmund star.

United have been strongly linked with a move for Dortmund and England sensation Sancho, though his club have repeatedly insisted the 20-year-old will not be sold ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Sancho established himself as one of the hottest properties in European football last term after scoring 17 goals and supplying 16 assists for Bundesliga runners-up Dortmund, prompting links to the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona.

As United reportedly continue to try to negotiate with Dortmund – who remain unmoved on their £108million (€120m) valuation – former Red Devils winger Olsen told Stats Perform News: "It's always difficult because you see somebody and you like what you see and you would like them to play for your team. You have to come up with the money and after that, it's only when it begins because you want them to perform.

"If you can get somebody of that class and they want to come to United, of course you pursue it to the end. I've always tended to watch a lot of German and English football, but when you look at the likes of Bayern Munich and the way they perform, you know it's going to be very hard.

"You have incredible teams at the top of Europe, so you have to have bigger squads. Any player of that calibre that can add something to the squad, of course you look for that."

While a blockbuster deal to bring Sancho to Old Trafford is proving difficult, United are poised to sign star Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to bolster his squad after leading United to a third-placed finish in the Premier League last season and Champions League qualification.

United enjoyed a 14-match unbeaten streak in the league as they secured a spot in the top four, while Solskjaer's side also reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.

"Overall, it's fantastic for Manchester United but also Ole Gunnar Solskjaer," Olsen, who won the FA Cup during his four years at United, said. "All the flack that he got for a long, long time as you do when you manage United and not doing well. But you go back to [Alex] Ferguson's era, and it takes time to build up and get the players you want, the team playing the way you want. Sadly nowadays, you don't always have the time.

"We know how difficult it is to win anything in any sport around the world. Everybody says yeah we should win, but it is so tough to win anything, even getting into the semi-finals and final. To actually win something is not easy.

"I'm happy to see them play well. They were really getting into top gear at the end of the season. For Solskjaer too, he is a good guy. He is calm and collected and I think he is the right man for sure."

Bruno Fernandes played a key role in United's resurgence following his January arrival from Sporting CP – the Portuguese midfielder scoring eight goals and supplying seven assists in the Premier League.

Fernandes also managed 12 goals across all competitions as United featured in three semi-finals in 2019-20.

"He has shown, with the way he plays – simple and effective, and just makes things happen. This is what we need. He also has a good engine," former Ajax and Denmark star Olsen said.

"He's settled down some of the younger players too. Daniel James wasn't involved so much at the end of the season but then we look at [Mason] Greenwood. That's what we call exciting players. This is what you want to see."

Doubts over David de Gea's long-term position also emerged during the season, highlighted by his errors in the FA semi-final loss to Chelsea behind closed doors at Wembley amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think defensively, they made mistakes at the back. Sometimes it looked a bit like the goalkeeper De Gea and the defenders didn't fully understand each other but that happens in a lot of teams. For a long, long time we played structured with a strong defence," Olsen continued. "But suddenly, a part of the season something seems to go a bit – tiredness or playing in front of empty stadiums I don't know but certainly there were some things that could be avoided.

"That happens throughout the season. I think Barcelona are going to look back against Bayern and think it was like they weren't there. For everybody, even though we say thank God they can play and finish the season, but there's so many external things that happen to players with families. Not only around themselves but family abroad. It must be a worrying time, like for all of us, for them too. And then have to go and perform and kind of say, let's forget about that even though I think they're happy they can still play because it takes away mentally some of the other things. It must be the biggest nightmare for all of us, but also to go perform in empty stadiums, it makes no sense. We have to kind of allow them to have made a few mistakes given how the world is at the moment."

United finished 33 points behind bitter rivals and champions Liverpool last term but Olsen feels the Manchester club – who have not won the league since Alex Ferguson's final campaign in 2012-13 – can challenge in 2020-21.

"This season, I thought City were going to win the league again because when you look at Pep [Guardiola]'s record. It shows, there's some games and some part of the season that you don't always perform well. Then you have the added pressure of the Champions League, which is really, really important," Olsen added. "For status but money-wise. There's a lot around the Champions League these days and that's where the bigger clubs want to be. All the excitement of playing against the best in Europe.

"I think Manchester United, certainly with Champions League qualification, can test themselves. I think anyone that goes to Old Trafford, it will be hard to win there. If you can go away now, have a settled team, a structure and play how you want to play, then I think they have as much chance as anyone else to win the Premier League and go far in the Champions League for sure."

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz does not expect Kai Havertz to train with the club again, with the midfielder apparently set to join Chelsea.

The Germany international is reportedly set to sign for the Blues in a deal worth £90million (€100m).

Havertz would become the seventh signing for Chelsea during a transfer window of significant investment, with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Xavier Mbuyamba also having moved to Stamford Bridge.

Bosz appears confident that neither Havertz nor Kevin Volland, who is expected to join Monaco, will be around for much longer.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he said: "Unfortunately, our squad has not yet been determined.

"I don't expect Kevin Volland or Kai Havertz will train with us again. It's possible that other players will also leave.

"We definitely have to bring in players, too. Normally a pre-season takes six weeks, so it's an advantage that I'm not new here.

"It would be great for coaches if the squad were completely ready by the start of training, but that's almost never the case these days. The coronavirus [pandemic] has shifted things a lot. That makes it complicated.

"As a coach, it's my responsibility to deal with it."

Havertz scored 19 goals in all competitions last season as Leverkusen finished fifth in the Bundesliga, reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League and the final of the DFB-Pokal, where they lost to Bayern Munich.

Robert Lewandowski believes he could play until the age of 40 after another outstanding season for Bayern Munich.

The Bayern striker scored 55 goals in 2019-20 to fire the Bundesliga giants to the treble, winning the Champions League for the first time in his career.

Lewandowski shows no sign of stopping and last week said his Bayern contract, which expires in 2023, "will definitely not be the last".

Indeed, at 32, Lewandowski told Kicker he will continue to play for "maybe eight years".

He said: "Ending my career at Bayern is an option, of course, but I still have so many years to go.

"I don't think about the end of my career.

"I don't feel like I'm 32. I feel better than when I was 26. I've worked very specifically in recent years to reach my optimal level."

Despite his sublime campaign, Lewandowski was disappointed to miss out on the European Golden Shoe, scoring 34 times in 31 Bundesliga games as winner Ciro Immobile netted 36 in 37 for Lazio in Serie A.

"I think it's a shame that we have four fewer games in the Bundesliga [34 to the 38 in Italy]," Lewandowski added.

"The competition would be fairer if everyone played the same number of matches. If we had 20 teams in the league, like in Italy, Spain, England or France, it would be more objective."

Joachim Low believes Manuel Neuer's Champions League final performance shows he would have deserved the 2020 Ballon d'Or ahead of Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski.

France Football announced it would not present its annual award for the world's best player this year due to the coronavirus pandemic which halted some domestic competitions in 2019-20, including Ligue 1.

The decision has prompted suggestions Lewandowski has been harshly treated, having appeared the standout candidate to succeed Lionel Messi after his 55 goals fired Bayern to a stunning treble.

The striker, who was named Germany's Footballer of the Year, last week agreed he deserved the global honour.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed earlier in August hope was not lost as FIFA had promised there would be a vote for the world's best player.

But Low, the Germany head coach, claims Bayern captain Neuer should pip Lewandowski to any award.

The goalkeeper was outstanding in the 1-0 Champions League triumph over Paris Saint-Germain, keeping Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at bay.

"Manu was in great shape throughout the 2019-20 season," Low told Kicker. "Manu is in a class of his own. Crazy, unbelievable.

"I have nothing against Robert Lewandowski - he is a top-class goalscorer - but, for me, the world's best footballer this year would be Manuel Neuer.

"What he has just done in this final round in Lisbon... He kept the door closed at the back.

"He had a very large role in winning the Champions League. Manuel was on hand in difficult situations against Lyon and Paris, otherwise it might be 0-1 or 1-1.

"You have the feeling that he is omnipresent."

Robert Lewandowski landed Germany's Footballer of the Year prize on Sunday as reward for his extraordinary season with Bayern Munich.

The award, voted for by leading journalists in conjunction with Kicker magazine, went to Lewandowski by a resounding margin.

He received 276 votes and Bayern completed a 1-2-3 in the awards as Thomas Muller pulled 54 votes to finish second, five votes ahead of Joshua Kimmich.

Bayern conquered all challenges before them in 2019-20, winning a domestic Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double before going on to triumph in the Champions League, beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final.

Lewandowski, 32, scored 55 goals across the season and becomes the first non-German winner of the award since Kevin De Bruyne took the honour in 2015 at the end of the Belgium midfielder's Wolfsburg stay.

The Poland international told Kicker: "I'm very proud of it. All the more because the expectations of me are getting higher and higher and I try to exceed them every year.

"The level is so high that 25 goals per season is considered normal in the Bundesliga. I worked hard for my performance and that of the entire team, which then played superbly, both nationally and internationally."

Thiago Alcantara looks set to leave Bayern Munich and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expects an offer for the midfielder in the coming days.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for Thiago, though Rummenigge said this week that Bayern had received no contact from the Premier League champions.

However, asked about Thiago in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, Rummenigge replied: "It looks like he will leave us.

"It was important for him that he showed that he can play well in the big games. 

"When it comes to that, it's a finish that hurts a bit. I expect an offer for him in the next few days."

Thiago helped Bayern to a treble-winning campaign as they lifted the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League under Hansi Flick.

He may not be the only Spain international to depart the Allianz Arena ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Defender Javi Martinez also appears to have his heart set on pastures new, with Rummenigge confirming Bayern would not prevent him from seeking a move.

"Javi thinks about leaving us. It will be difficult for him now, too," Rummenigge added. 

"His contract is still valid for one year and we have given him to understand that we are not going to put any obstacles in his way."

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa signed Germany defender Robin Koch, landing another eye-catching deal following the arrival of Rodrigo Moreno.

Koch was confirmed as the latest addition to the newly promoted Premier League squad on Saturday as he signed a four-year contract, saying the presence of veteran head coach Bielsa was a telling factor.

Leeds are preparing for their first season in the Premier League since 2003-04, with the former Champions League semi-finalists determined to be well equipped for the step up from the Championship.

After Spain international Rodrigo joined on Friday for a reported £26million (€30m) from LaLiga outfit Valencia, Leeds are said to have beaten rival Premier League clubs to acquire Koch.

No details of the fee were given, although reports have suggested Leeds may have paid up to £20million for the twice-capped 24-year-old centre-back, who made his international debut last year.

Koch told LUTV: "Marcelo Bielsa was one of the main points for me to join Leeds, I've heard from everybody he is one of the best coaches and I'm really looking forward to the first session with the team and the coach.

"Leeds is such a big club and after winning the second league last year, Leeds are back."

He added: "I've played three years in the Bundesliga which is also a big league, but I think the Premier League is the next step for me."

Juventus have completed the signing of Weston McKennie, who arrives on loan from Schalke with an obligation to buy should certain criteria be met.

United States international McKennie, 22, was deemed a surprise target for Juve given he was being linked with more modest-level Premier League clubs.

But the Serie A champions had been in the market for midfield reinforcements following Blaise Matuidi's exit to Inter Miami in MLS.

Juve confirmed they have paid €4.5million for the loan and will be obliged to sign the player permanently for an initial €18.5m – potentially rising by a further €7m – upon the "achievement of certain given sporting objectives by the end of the 2020-21 season".

Even if that clause is not triggered, Juve will still have the option to purchase McKennie for the same price if they please.

Schalke's head of sport, Jochen Schneider, acknowledged that losing a promising young player is not ideal for the club but the situation had been forced upon them by financial problems.

He said: "The agreement we have made with Juventus is the most financially beneficial for Schalke and the most attractive sporting move for Weston.

"Obviously deciding to let go one of our most talented players like Weston is partly down to the financial state the club is in.

"We would like to thank Weston for his outstanding performances and wish him all the best for his time at Juventus."

McKennie joined Schalke in 2016 and went on to make 91 appearances for the club across all competitions after breaking into the first team in 2017-18.

A versatile player capable of playing in defence or midfield, though predominantly the latter, McKennie is Juve's second signing ahead of the 2020-21 season after Arthur arrived from Barcelona.

Robert Lewandowski has no plan to end his career, insisting he has every intention of playing at a high level beyond the expiration of his current contract.

Lewandowski scored a sensational 55 goals in all club competitions in 2019-20, as Bayern Munich swept up a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble.

The Poland star turned 32 in August and is on a contract with Bayern that runs until 2023, but he is adamant he will still be playing at the top of the game after that deal is up.

"First of all, my current contract will definitely not be the last. I intend to play at the highest level after 2023," Lewandowski told Onet and Przeglad Sportowy.

"I do not think about what I will do later. I'm not worried about my health and fitness, but I hope that mentally I'll be still at the right level and you won't get rid of me that quickly. 

"When I'm done playing, there will be many options, but I don't have specific plans. It depends on what my emotions tell me."

Lewandowski reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 but had not tasted success in Europe's elite club competition until he helped Hansi Flick's side beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Lisbon on Sunday.

"I have been working for this success for 20-something years," Lewandowski said.

"We often only see the end result, but as a child I had dreams in which I strongly believed. Now, at 32, one of my greatest dreams has come true. 

"What we will win in the future will be perhaps not so much an 'addition' as 'something extra'."

Lewandowski scored in Bayern's 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals – a result the striker acknowledged even came as a surprise to the Bavarian giants.

"We did not expect such a result," Lewandowski said. 

"Before the game, we knew we would beat Barca. Some even said it would be 5-1, but 8-2 is different. 

"Especially those last minutes were amazing when Barca knew there was nothing they could do, and we scored more goals. Those who came off the bench were hungry to score goals."

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski believes he would deserve the Ballon d'Or if the award had not been cancelled for 2020.

France Football confirmed in July that the prize would not be awarded due to the disruption of the 2019-20 season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewandowski would almost certainly have been one of the favourites for the men's trophy this year, having scored 55 goals in all competitions to propel Bayern to a treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles for the second time.

The 32-year-old insists the Ballon d'Or was never on his mind this term, but he thinks he would have been a worthy winner.

"I didn't think about it at all. I knew we still had the Champions League, then the Bundesliga restarted after the short break," he told Onet and Przeglad Sportowy when asked for his view on the award being cancelled.

"I knew my priorities. My focus was on the Champions League, not on any possible individual awards. The decision to cancel the gala was made in the middle of the year and the Ballon d'Or was to be staged in December. The deadline was too distant to occupy my mind."

When asked which player he would have given the award to, he replied: "Myself. We won everything there was to win. I won the award for top goalscorer in every competition. I think a player who achieves this would win the Ballon d'Or."

Bayern's 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain saw Lewandowski win the Champions League for the first time in his career, something he admitted had been a childhood dream.

The Poland international was particularly emotional during post-match interviews but said the moment that truly touched him was when his wife sent him videos of family members reacting to the result.

"Until now, I was hiding emotions behind a thick shell, but the Champions League is every footballer's dream and I've believed all my life that I could fulfil it," he said.

"I was close many times, but something was missing, something was causing us to be knocked out early. Now that we'd won it, there was a childlike joy, something natural and spontaneous. I had no control over it.

"The most beautiful moment after the game was when I called my wife. She sent me videos of my loved ones crying with happiness. It was something amazing. It's what I will remember the most after many years."

While he has no plans to retire any time soon, one of Lewandowski's remaining objectives is to bring joy to Poland fans on the international stage.

"One of my dreams has now come true and I feel huge satisfaction," he added. "Another one is to make the fans of the national team proud of us. What exactly that means, I can't answer myself. I can't really describe it; I just want the fans to feel happy cheering us on."

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is set to miss the start of pre-season training for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, after being faced with self-isolation orders due to possible exposure to the coronavirus.

The 23-year-old winger was among several prominent Jamaican sports stars in attendance at a birthday part for track and field legend Usain Bolt.  In short clips of the event posted to various social media outlets none of the athletes seemed to be practicing social distancing or donning masks.

Questions were also raised as to whether several of the players in attendance were not in violation of the two-week mandatory quarantine regulation required for those entering the country.  Jamaica has had a recent surge in COVID cases.

On Monday, Bolt tested positive for the coronavirus forcing others at the party to isolate this week.  On Thursday Leverkusen announced that the player was stopped from leaving the island by local authorities, who insisted the player observe the quarantine period.

The club is expected to begin testing players for preseason camp on Friday, with players requiring two negative tests before joining up with the squad.

Bailey will now not return to Germany until before their first competitive match of the season in a German Cup clash against minor league club Eintracht Norderstedt on September 13.


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