Hansi Flick will continue as Bayern Munich head coach for the remainder of the season and could get the job on a long-term basis, the Bundesliga champions announced on Sunday.

Placed in charge following Niko Kovac's exit in November, Flick has overseen eight wins from 10 games in all competitions and is now seen as a "viable option" for the job permanently.

He will have the rest of the club's Bundesliga and Champions League campaigns to audition for the position after impressing chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

Bayern, who parted ways with Kovac after a poor start to their title defence, are four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig heading into the mid-season break following Saturday's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.

Rummenigge said: “We at Bayern are very satisfied with Hansi Flick's work. Under him as head coach, the on-field development has been outstanding, both in terms of the quality of our play and the results achieved.

"We set a new record in the 29-year history of the Champions League with six wins in six matches in the group stage, and in the Bundesliga we have returned to touching distance of the top of the table.

"I am convinced that Bayern will continue next year where we left off in the last few games, namely playing attractive and successful football."

Hansi Flick will continue as Bayern Munich head coach for the remainder of the season and could get the job on a long-term basis, the Bundesliga champions announced on Sunday.

Reported Tottenham target Alexander Nubel has told Schalke he will not renew his contract, which is due to expire at the end of the season.

Schalke had been locked in negotiations to keep the club captain at the Veltins-Arena amid rumours Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is keen to bring the 23-year-old to the Premier League.

Nubel, who has been dubbed in some quarters as the new Manuel Neuer, made the switch to Schalke from Paderborn in 2015 but has told the club he is to seek pastures new.

Schalke sports director Jochen Schneider told the club's official website: "Following all the discussions that we have had with Alexander Nubel and his agent in recent months, we aren't surprised by his decision and of course respect it.

"However, we don't need to understand his decision. In recent months, we have clearly shown through words and actions how much of a central role he could have played with us in the future: a role that entails leading a very young team, which has already won over many admirers in the first half of the season, as goalkeeper and as captain. 

"I'm convinced that Alex will give everything for the club until the end of the season. From summer 2020, we will continue on our path without him."

Nubel, who has also been touted as a potential successor to Neuer at Bayern Munich, is serving a four-match ban for an ugly kung fu-style challenge on Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Mijat Gacinovic on December 15.

Schalke are fifth in the Bundesliga at the mid-season break but only seven points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig in a congested table.

Could Chelsea gazump their Premier League rivals in the race for Jadon Sancho?

According to reports, the Blues are working on a club-record deal for the Borussia Dortmund winger.

Frank Lampard was among Sancho's idols growing up and the Chelsea boss has been open about his desire to bring in a replacement for Eden Hazard.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR STAMFORD BRIDGE?

Chelsea could celebrate the end of their transfer ban by splashing out £120million to secure Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho, according to The Sun.

The huge price tag attached to one of Europe's brightest prospects has reportedly quashed Liverpool's interest and Manchester United are also said to be at risk of missing out on a long-term target.

The Sun claims Chelsea head coach Lampard believes Sancho, 19, can be the man to fill the attacking void left by Hazard's close-season departure to Real Madrid.

Sancho has scored nine Bundesliga goals this season and hit eight in seven games across all competitions prior to Dortmund's 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim on Friday.

 

ROUND-UP

- LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Premier League champions Manchester City are monitoring Marquinhos' contract impasse at Paris Saint-Germain, writes Le 10 Sport. The Ligue 1 leaders are reportedly unwilling to meet the Brazilian's financial demands as they seek to extend his deal beyond 2022.

- There is a "big question mark" hanging over Paco Alcacer's future at Dortmund as the striker struggles to carve out a regular Bundesliga starting spot, reports Ruhr Nachrichten.

- Tottenham have opened talks over a January move for Flamengo midfielder Gerson, says 90min. The 22-year-old started for Flamengo in their Club World Cup final loss to Liverpool on Saturday.

- Barcelona included Arturo Vidal in their starting XI against Deportivo Alaves on Sunday and are now seemingly determined to block his expected Camp Nou exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Chilean's agent has met with club executives in a bid to secure a mid-season switch to Serie A, where Inter are rumoured to be his strongest suitors, but €20m will not be enough to do a deal.

- The Nerazzurri's city rivals might have more success in making a midfield acquisition. La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Stefano Pioli's Milan are interested in United outcast Nemanja Matic, who has been linked to Inter.

For the first time since 2010, neither Bayern Munich nor Borussia Dortmund are top of the table at the halfway stage of a Bundesliga season, with RB Leipzig the team to catch after the winter break.

A 3-1 win over Augsburg on Saturday secured the informal 'herbstmeisterschaft' (autumn championship) for Leipzig and they hold a two-point lead at the summit after Borussia Monchengladbach were held to a 0-0 draw at Hertha Berlin.

Defending champions Bayern are four points off the pace in third, with Dortmund and Schalke a further three points back.

Bayer Leverkusen were top midway through the 2009-10 campaign, a season that ended with Bayern as champions. Since that campaign, Bayern have led the way at Christmas in seven seasons, while Dortmund were the front-runners in 2010-11 and 2018-19.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig scored three goals in the final 22 minutes to come from behind and beat Augsburg.

Striker Timo Werner said: "It was looking like one of those games for a long time. We had lots of chances but the ball just didn't want to cross the line.

"But we managed to turn it around. It shows how far we have come as a team."

Discussing Leipzig's position at the top of the table, Werner added: "Our league standing is just a snapshot and it ultimately doesn't count for much. Nevertheless, we're proud to go into the winter break top of the table."

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has suggested interim head coach Hansi Flick is likely to remain in charge for the rest of the 2019-20 season, stating: "There's nothing to be said against it."

Flick has overseen eight wins from 10 games in all competitions, having been placed in charge when Niko Kovac was sacked at the start of November.

After Bayern beat Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday, thanks to late goals from substitute Joshua Zirkzee and Serge Gnabry, Rummenigge outlined his happiness with the club's progress.

"I make no secret of the fact that we are satisfied with the development of the team and the quality of play," Rummenigge told Sky.

"The results are also very good. There's nothing to be said against it.

"Both parties are satisfied. He's doing a good job."

Bayern have scored 32 goals in their 10 matches under Flick and will head into the winter break four points off the top of the Bundesliga table.

Asked about his future, Flick said: "We will find the time to sit down together on Sunday. I'm not in a hurry and we'll see how things go."

Javi Martinez is set to be absent until February after suffering a "bad muscular injury" in Bayern Munich's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Bayern ultimately ended 2019 with a crucial win as late goals from substitute Joshua Zirkzee, who has now come off the bench to score in each of his first two Bundesliga appearances, and Serge Gnabry broke Wolfsburg's resistance at the Allianz Arena.

However, the reigning champions' success was marred by another injury blow, with Martinez forced to limp off clutching his thigh at the end of the first half.

Interim head coach Hansi Flick said: "He will be out for a while. He suffered a bad muscular injury and will be sidelined for six weeks."

Bayern sit four points off the pace at the top of the table and resume their Bundesliga campaign against Hertha Berlin on January 19.

Flick was already facing a shortage of bodies prior to the Wolfsburg game, with Thiago Alcantara suspended and a host of first-team players injured.

Yet Zirkzee again seized a brief opportunity to make an impact, the teenager scoring just two minutes and 28 seconds after he had replaced Philippe Coutinho.

"I'm just proud of the team," said Flick. "We believed in the victory until the very end.

"It makes me proud to see the team coming together and showing that on the pitch."

Joshua Zirkzee made another crucial impact off the bench as Bayern Munich left it late to beat Wolfsburg 2-0 with two goals in the last five minutes of normal time.

The reigning Bundesliga champions, whose injury troubles were deepened by the first-half exit of Javi Martinez on Saturday, looked set to lose further ground at the top of the table as visiting goalkeeper Koen Casteels produced a fine performance at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern appeared to be running out of ideas in the closing stages after creating plenty of chances prior to the interval, but substitute Zirkzee - who scored a key goal on his league debut against Freiburg in midweek -  again provided a dramatic late intervention.

The 18-year-old converted Thomas Muller's cut-back in the 85th minute to break the deadlock, before Serge Gnabry added a second to make his side's victory certain.

Bayern will now head into the winter break four points off the top of the table, having ultimately finished 2019 on a high note.

Bayern Munich are unlikely to sign Manchester City winger Leroy Sane in January, according to sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

The Bundesliga champions were tipped to try to bring Sane to the Allianz Arena in the previous transfer window before a serious knee injury prevented any potential deal.

Bild reported this week that Sane would be keen on moving to Bayern in the January window, even though he is unlikely to be fully fit again until the spring.

Salihamidzic, though, does not think it likely there will be much movement in the market next month.

"It's not good to speak about players from other clubs," he told Sky ahead of Bayern's clash with Wolfsburg on Saturday.

"We will leave all options open for us in the transfer market, but I don't think much will happen."

Speaking this week, interim Bayern boss Hansi Flick said the Sane talk was "not an issue" as he promised to focus on ending 2019 with a positive result.

Bayern went into Saturday's game four points behind Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig and second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.

Everton have completed a major coup in appointing Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

Ancelotti, who previously managed in the Premier League with Chelsea, returns to England after he was sacked by Napoli on December 10, despite guiding the Serie A club to the Champions League knockout stages.

He replaces Marco Silva, who was dismissed on December 5 following a 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, with Duncan Ferguson having been in temporary charge since then.

The Italian – the first coach from his nation to win the Premier League – has had a glittering career, taking charge of 735 top-flight matches in total thanks to spells at Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

As Ancelotti takes over at Goodison, we have used Opta data to take a look at his glittering career in numbers.

 

Parma

33 - Of his 68 league matches at the helm at Parma between 1996 and 1998, Ancelotti won 33 times, suffering 14 defeats.

2 - Parma finished second in Serie A in their first season under Ancelotti, though could only manage a sixth-place finish in the following campaign.


Juventus

61 - Ancelotti took charge of 82 top-flight games in Turin, managing 50 wins – giving him a 61 per cent win ratio. 

0 - Across 23 seasons in management, Ancelotti has never finished outside of the top seven in any domestic league, coming seventh only once, with Juve in 1998-99.


Milan

282 - Ancelotti's longest spell at one club came at Milan, where he spent eight seasons, managing the Rossoneri in 282 league fixtures.

1 - His first league title came in 2003-04, when Milan finished top of Serie with 82 points.

3 - Milan's Serie A success came on the back of glory in the Champions League in 2002-03. Ancelotti has won Europe's biggest prize on three occasions, with only Zinedine Zidane and former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley able to match that total. 


Chelsea

4 - Only four coaches to have managed 30 or more games in the Premier League have a higher win percentage than Ancelotti's 63.2 – Jurgen Klopp, Alex Ferguson, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola.

103 - Chelsea set a Premier League goals record for a single season when they netted 103 times under Ancelotti during 2009-10. It is a record which was only surpassed by Manchester City in 2017-18.

172 - In total, Chelsea scored 172 goals in 76 league fixtures while Ancelotti was in charge at Stamford Bridge.


Paris Saint-Germain

47.4 - Fixing Everton's leaky defence will be a top priority for Ancelotti, who during his time at PSG had a clean sheet percentage of 47.4, with the Ligue 1 giants not conceding in 27 out of 57 matches.

297 - In total during his two seasons at Parc des Princes, PSG had 297 shots on target. That was, however, significantly fewer than Ancelotti's Chelsea (532) or Madrid (583) sides managed.


Real Madrid

1428 - Los Blancos had almost 1500 shots during Ancelotti's time at the club.

867 - However, they were also the most open at the back when compared to Chelsea, PSG, Bayern and Napoli, allowing 867 attempts at their own goal.

1 - Spain is the only country in which Ancelotti has not won a league title. He also won his third Champions League crown with Madrid, in 2014.


Bayern Munich

68.6 - Having taken over from Guardiola, it is no surprise to see that possession was the order of the day for Ancelotti at Bayern, who averaged 68.6 per cent of the ball under his tutelage.

89 - In Ancelotti's only full campaign at Bayern, they scored 89 Bundesliga goals, conceding just 22 in return.


Napoli

29 - From 53 matches in charge of Napoli in Serie A, Ancelotti claimed 29 victories. His record in 2019-20 was a comparatively poor one, however, with four defeats and six draws from 15 games.

735 - After leaving Napoli, Ancelotti has taken charge of 735 top-tier league fixtures, with a win percentage of 60.5.

998 - Napoli had just under 1000 shots at goal during Ancelotti's spell.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is coveted at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His French connection with Zinedine Zidane means there is constant speculation.

However, Pogba is set to remain at United for the time being.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID GIVE UP ON POGBA… FOR NOW

LaLiga giants Real Madrid will not sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba in January, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Pogba – still recovering from injury – continues to be linked with Madrid amid doubts over his United future.

Madrid, however, recognise there is "no chance" of prising the Frenchman from Old Trafford in the New Year.

 

ROUND-UP

- A return to Chelsea for Bournemouth's Nathan Ake looks likely, claims Bleacher Report. Chelsea have a £40million buyback clause for Ake, who left Stamford Bridge permanently in 2017. Manchester City have also been linked to the 24-year-old defender.

- Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo has turned down a move to Milan, reports RMC. The 19-year-old has also been linked to Ligue 1 outfit Monaco and Premier League giants Manchester United.

- Qatari outfit Al Rayyan have re-opened talks with Juventus regarding the transfer of out-of-favour striker Mario Mandzukic, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. United and Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly interested in the veteran Croatian.

Napoli have offered Dries Mertens a two-year contract extension, says Sky Sport Italia. The Belgian, who is out of contract at season's end, has been the subject of reported interest from Dortmund.

- Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to swap Leandro Paredes for Juventus midfielder Emre Can, reports the Daily Mail.

- La Nazione says Fiorentina are looking to bring former Milan striker Patrick Cutrone back to Serie A. The Italian left San Siro for Premier League side Wolves at the start of the season.

- Former Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta is in talks to join Javier Mascherano at Argentine outfit Estudiantes. Iniesta currently plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, however, TNT Sports claims the 35-year-old midfielder could move in 2020.

Lucien Favre vented his frustration after Borussia Dortmund suffered another collapse as their Bundesliga title hopes were dealt a blow.

Andrej Kramaric's 87th-minute goal completed a late comeback for hosts Hoffenheim, who stunned stuttering Dortmund 2-1 on Friday.

Dortmund played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig on Tuesday after squandering a 2-0 first-half lead.

Favre's Dortmund – fourth in the standings and four points off the pace – looked set to bounce back in their final match of 2019 thanks to Mario Gotze's 17th-minute opener.

But Dortmund came unstuck again as Sargis Adamyan equalised in the 79th minute before Hoffenheim star Kramaric struck with three minutes of normal time remaining.

"We dominated the game," Dortmund head coach Favre told reporters. "We were leading 1-0 and had more possession. We played too complicated and lost too many balls. But we had clear scoring chances.

"In the second half we can make it 2-0, 3-0, within five minutes. But we don't make it, we miss big scoring chances. I just saw another situation where we could have crossed and two players from Dortmund were completely free. The goal is empty, but we can't handle it. I have to say, that's stupid.

"You lead 1-0, everyone is a bit tired and everything is possible. When they [Hoffenheim] made the 1:1, it was hard to accept. But we have to get at least one point at the end.

"Unfortunately we didn't manage that and that's a great pity. When I imagine how many points we lost stupidly. That costs us a lot. But congratulations to my colleague [Alfred Schreuder]."

Dortmund star Julian Brandt added: "We couldn't manage to score the second goal. We lacked determination, conviction and concentration. It was an ugly result."

 

Robert Lewandowski will have groin surgery straight after Bayern Munich face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The striker will be available to play at the Allianz Arena in the champions' final match of the first half of the league season.

Interim head coach Hansi Flick says Lewandowski will then have an operation with a view to being fully recovered when they play Hertha Berlin on January 19.

"Robert will undergo groin surgery straight after Saturday's game," Flick told reporters on Friday. "We don't want to waste any time. We'll have to see how the recovery process goes.

"In the situation we're in, we're glad to have him available. The downtime should be 10 to 14 days."

Lewandowski has already scored 30 goals in a remarkable first half of the season, with 19 of those coming in the opening 16 matches of the Bundesliga.

Flick is relieved to have the Poland international to call on given Bayern are likely only to have 11 senior players fit for Wolfsburg's visit.

With long-term absentee Nikas Sule not likely to return until April and both Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman sidelined, the loss of Thiago Alcantara to suspension for this weekend is a blow to Bayern's thin squad.

Flick does at least hope to have David Alaba available, despite the defender having been hurt in the win at Freiburg.

"We have 11 healthy first-team players, plus five youngsters," he said.

"David got a knock on the ankle in Freiburg. He was training individually today [Friday], but he should be on board for tomorrow."

Bayern go into the Wolfsburg game in third place in the table, four points behind the top two of RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Jose Mourinho looks set to play the waiting game at Tottenham despite the looming threat of key player departures.

According to reports, Mourinho will not be spooked into a January spending spree even as Spurs consider selling out-of-contract stars to Premier League rivals.

The head coach does, however, have two England Under-19 internationals in his sights.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TREATING TRANSFERS WITH CAUTION

Tottenham will make transfer funds available in January but Mourinho is set to put his squad overhaul on hold, according to the Daily Mail.

Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen can all walk out on the club at the end of the season and chairman Daniel Levy has said he is prepared to make deals with other Premier League teams.

The state of flux has reportedly motivated Mourinho to leave his rebuilding efforts until the campaign is complete, although the former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss remains open to sensible short-term spending.

Spurs are said to have scouted Norwich City right-back Max Aarons and West Brom's Nathan Ferguson as they look for a challenger to Serge Aurier.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool should announce the capture of Salzburg winger Takumi Minamino before the weekend, writes the the Independent.

- Mikel Arteta appears set to take charge of Arsenal and Manchester City, where he has worked as an assistant since 2016, are "furious" with the Gunners' lack of communication, according to The Guardian.

- Managerial movements are happening elsewhere in the Premier League. The Mirror claims ex-Milan and Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal worth £11.5million per season with Everton.

- Europe's top clubs are monitoring Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos amid a breakdown in negotiations over a contract extension with the Ligue 1 leaders, says Le 10 Sport.

- Bayern Munich are now considering whether to bring forward their planned close-season bid for Leroy Sane after the City winger expressed a desire to join the Bundesliga giants in January, reports Bild.

- Fenerbahce have expressed interest in rumoured Napoli and Schalke target Ricardo Rodriguez, claims CalcioMercato. The Switzerland left-back has started four times for Milan in Serie A this season.

Hansi Flick said rumours Bayern Munich are again interested in signing Manchester City winger Leroy Sane are "not an issue for now".

Bundesliga champions Bayern were heavily linked with a move for the Germany international before a serious knee injury sustained in August put the buffers on a potential deal.

Reports in Germany suggest Bayern are once again interested in signing Sane and could push for a deal as soon as January.

But Bayern interim head coach, speaking after Wednesday's 3-1 win at Freiburg, kept his counsel.

"That is a player who is under contract with Manchester City and that is why it is not an issue for me at the moment," Flick told reporters.

"I have to concentrate on the game on Saturday against Wolfsburg and there I have my players who were there today and maybe one or the other will be added. So my attention is 100 percent on these players."

Bayern looked certain to drop points again at Freiburg with Robert Lewandowski's opener cancelled out by Vincenzo Grifo and the hosts missed a host of chances to move in front.

But teenager Joshua Zirkzee – on his first Bundesliga appearance – and Serge Gnabry scored in injury time to leave Bayern four points off top spot.

Flick was delighted for Zirkee, of who he said: "I simply thought that when another winger came on he could score, he is a striker and he shoots well.

"He's been with [the first team] for three weeks and the development has been noteworthy."

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