New Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has made winning the Champions League his "top priority" in Bavaria.

Sane's long-awaited move from Manchester City to Bayern in his native Germany was confirmed on Friday.

The 24-year-old has signed a five-year contract following a transfer for which, Stats Perform News understands, Bayern have paid an initial €49million (£44.5m), potentially rising to €60m (£54.5m).

Sane was a Bayern target last year before injury ruled him out for much of the 2019-20 campaign, but he is delighted to have finalised the deal, quickly revealing some lofty ambitions.

"FC Bayern is a great club with big goals and these goals suit me as well," Sane said. "I'm looking forward to the new challenge and can't wait to train with the team.

"I know Hansi Flick from the under-21 national team, we had a very good relationship there.

"I want to win as many trophies as possible with FC Bayern, and the Champions League is the top priority."

Sane will not be available for Bayern in this season's Champions League, however, with the Bundesliga champions considered among the favourites ahead of August's eight-team finals.

Meanwhile, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic thanked City for "trusting and constructive negotiations", and the Premier League club wished Sane well.

Manager Pep Guardiola, formerly of Bayern, said: "We wish Leroy all the best in this new chapter of his career.

"Leroy has been part of one of the most special periods in this club's history and he leaves with the best wishes of everyone here at Manchester City."

City director of football Txiki Begiristain added: "From arriving as a fledgling young talent four years ago, we are proud of the contribution Leroy has made since joining Manchester City.

"He leaves with many friends and fond memories of his time at the Etihad."

Sane scored 39 goals in 135 appearances for City in all competitions, helping Guardiola's side to win the Premier League and EFL Cup in 2017-18 followed by a domestic treble the following season.

He addressed the City fans on his Twitter page, writing: "Thanks so much for the great time and all the support over the past four years.

"It has been a really intense and successful time which I surely won't forget."

The unique competition between the Champions League last eight in August is likely to produce a surprise winner, according to Abel Xavier.

Former Portugal international Xavier is thrilled the country's capital city of Lisbon will host one-off matches from the quarter-final stage onwards as the competition ends with a mini-tournament.

Atalanta and RB Leipzig are among the teams already to have secured their place in the last eight, along with Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Lyon and Napoli are hoping to upset Juventus and Barcelona respectively when the last-16 stage is concluded, while Bayern Munich and Manchester City – who lead their own ties – are rated as favourites to win the competition.

But Xavier feels the unique format and environment could benefit the sides who are not used to playing in the final stages.

"Yes, I think from my analysis of what I've seen with surprising results that have been happening in the [domestic] leagues, there is an extra buzz with the top teams because of the fans," Xavier said to Stats Perform News.

"There is a moment where fans give a buzz to the top teams. I think there is going to be a surprise in this last stage. 

"There are teams who are in the group and they can surprise because the teams are more exposed. 

"The teams who aren't used to being in this stage, they are more strong mentally because they play more freely, they play more open and the gap [in quality] will reduce, making games more competitive.

"For that reason, I honestly believe that it is going to be difficult and there will be a surprise in the end."

Xavier hopes the Champions League conclusion will be a fitting reward for those who have worked hardest during the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Liverpool defender added: "It's a completely different environment because of the pandemic situation and everybody readjusts. There is sporting reasons and also economic reasons.

"When you're looking at the leagues and what options they have to play and finish the leagues, there are a few countries that have decided to not continue playing, repeating the health issues.

"They for me are the priority - before football comes health. Of course, everyone must be protected and safe. 

"Portugal is one of the countries that has managed the [COVID-19] crisis very well. I think when you look at the impact, now things are becoming better, I think it's a safe place [to play football]. 

"For that reason, I believe that the opportunity to receive the eight best teams and play this kind of format in Lisbon is also a way to appreciate and say thanks for all those who made these events possible. 

"We are talking about people who work in health, hospitals because we are talking about health matters. If you are not safe you cannot have football either. 

"For that reason, I think Portugal, if things keep going the same way [with COVID-19], the teams will come here and it's going to be a great competition in a positive way.

"It's also going to attract a very positive image in Portugal because when you look back, Portugal was able to organise the big events in the best way possible. 

"For that reason, I think the final stages will be possible and I hope we can have a percentage of the public in the stadium, that would also be an upgrade if things [with COVID-19] stay like this with safety."

Jurgen Klopp says he would never compare himself with Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish and Bill Shankly, despite winning the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool ended their three-decade wait for top-flight silverware last week, a little over a year on from being crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time.

Klopp is only the third manager in the club's history to win both trophies in their various guises, alongside Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, with Dalglish and Shankly unable to achieve the feat.

However, ex-Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp - who also won the Club World Cup in December - insists he is not interested in comparisons with two of the club's all-time greats.

"I'm rather surprised to be honest," Klopp told Sky Sports. "The reasons why Kenny [didn't win] I know, but with Bill I don't know exactly why he couldn't win it.

"But it is not important. I would never compare myself with them. Nobody should do that actually. It was different times, building a club and carrying a club.

"It's a big achievement, I know that. I know how we did it, pretty much because of all the hard work people put in at Melwood and the passion that people showed for this club.

"It's never easy, it was not easy this time but it makes it much more valuable, worthy and emotional."

Like Klopp, Jordan Henderson has also written his name in Anfield folklore by joining Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson and Graeme Souness in captaining Liverpool to both major honours.

Henderson succeeded Steven Gerrard as skipper in 2015 and has proved his critics wrong with his performances over the past couple of seasons, much to Klopp's delight.

"I couldn't be more happy for him to be honest," the German said.

"If we speak about people carrying expectation around with them, Hendo could and should probably write a book about it and how he deals with that because it was massive when I came in here.

"I felt it pretty early, that it is really difficult to do his job. How people saw him as a player... thank God we all knew what kind of player he really is and together we could make that obvious.

"Now he is probably in the best place ever, in a good shape of course. Not only at the moment but this is of course the big one.

"I can't wait for him to be sitting in a TV studio two or three years after his career has finished, talking about Trent Alexander-Arnold and the other guys and telling them what is right and wrong!

"That will be good fun for sure."

Premier League champions Liverpool will emerge at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday to a guard of honour from previous title-holders Manchester City.

It will be the latest episode in the captivating rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

We run the rule over two men whose tactical approaches and high levels of achievement have – and it does not feel too grandiose to suggest this – changed football in the 21st century, as well as one another.

THE BUNDESLIGA YEARS

Guardiola's arrival to take the reins of a treble-winning Bayern for 2013-14 came shortly after their rivalry with Klopp's Dortmund reached its peak.

Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner saw Bayern down BVB 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley – a game played out against a backdrop of Dortmund's star playmaker Mario Gotze agreeing terms to move to Bavaria.

In hindsight, Klopp's gegenpressing machine – winners of back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12 – were coming off the top of their curve, having finished 25 points behind a relentless Bayern domestically that season.

The decline continued over the next two seasons. Dortmund were remarkably in relegation trouble halfway through 2014-15, before a post-Christmas recovery preceded Klopp's emotional farewell.

Nevertheless, there was still time for telling blows to be landed. Guardiola's first competitive game in charge saw Bayern beaten 4-2 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at a delirious Signal Iduna Park.

Stung by that loss, Guardiola sprung a notable surprise in the first league encounter between the sides that November, where he broke Dortmund's rabid press by playing Javi Martinez as an attacking midfielder and repeatedly targeting the rangy Spain international with long balls.

The high priest of tiki-taka (a label Guardiola famously loathes) had presided over "more long balls than in the last three years combined" from a Bayern team, according to Klopp, who bristled after Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added to Gotze's inevitable second-half opener in a 3-0 win.

A depleted Munich were similarly reactive when they won the DFB-Pokal final 2-0 in extra-time, even if flooding midfield numbers was a more recognisably Guardiola tactic.

Diverting from his dizzying 4-3-3 of swirling triangles has remained something the Catalan tactician has frequently done across his meetings with Klopp, and not always with the success he enjoyed in Germany.

HOLLOW VICTORIES AND THE PHONEY WAR

Klopp ended his homeland head-to-head against Guardiola with three victories, making it back-to-back Supercup triumphs in 2014, having claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga result at Allianz Arena earlier that year – the authority of which was dimmed by the fact Bayern had already cantered to the title.

Guardiola had four victories to his name, with one draw ultimately falling in Dortmund's favour as Bayern failed with all four of their penalty attempts in a 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-final shoot-out.

However, Klopp was denied a glorious farewell as his team lost in the final to Wolfsburg and the fact Robert Lewandowski had followed Gotze to Munich by this point underlined a deck stacked against him.

Liverpool came calling for Klopp in October 2015 and he helmed helter-skelter runs to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals. Manchester City and Sevilla prevailed respectively.

That was Manuel Pellegrini's final honour as City boss as he made way for Guardiola, who collected a third successive Bundesliga title in 2015-16. Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund finished closer in terms of position and points (second, 10 behind) than Klopp's version had managed when in direct competition.

With the stage presumably set for renewed hostilities between Guardiola and incoming Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the similarly newly installed Antonio Conte did not read the script as Chelsea romped to 2016-17 Premier League glory.

Klopp got the better of his head-to-heads with City as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sealed a 1-0 New Year's Eve win at Anfield before Sergio Aguero rescued a point for the hosts in the return game.

Guardiola laid it on thick after that 1-1 draw, declaring it to be "one of the most special days of my life".

"He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than the Germans," Klopp chuckled in response.

TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

Liverpool beat City three times in 2017-18, when most other teams could barely lay a glove on Guardiola's record-breaking side.

But the game where City prevailed, an unusual 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium where Liverpool subsided meekly after Sadio Mane's red card for clattering Ederson with a high boot, arguably had the biggest influence on the campaign.

When that game was 11 v 11, Guardiola's back three was horribly exposed. Aguero's opener arrived against the run of play, with an unusually wasteful Mohamed Salah having tormented Nicolas Otamendi.

City never used 3-5-2 in the league again that season, reverting to a swashbuckling 4-3-3 that churned out 19 consecutive wins and made the second half of the schedule a virtual procession.

Liverpool halted their designs on invincibility however, claiming a raucous 4-3 Anfield win in January. Klopp hailed "pressing from another planet" by his front three as Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah were all on target in a euphoric nine-minute spell after half-time.

Guardiola had again seen a swift avalanche of goals bring the roof in during a big match and his tweak to a 4-4-2 diamond, eyeing avenues around those Liverpool pressing lanes, backfired in that season's Champions League quarter-final.

A 3-0 first-leg loss at Anfield, with all the goals arriving during the first half, left City with a mountain to climb and a death-or-glory approach in the return fixture – deploying a formation probably best described as 3-CHARGE!!! – eventually ran out of steam in a 2-1 loss.

But it was Liverpool who came up short in the Kiev final on Loris Karius' nightmare outing against Real Madrid, while City sauntered to a 100-point haul as dominant Premier League champions. Sitting 25 points back in fourth, the Reds had a considerable gap to bridge.

CHASING PERFECTION

Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

Both teams reconvened on Merseyside undefeated in October 2018 and remained that way as the free-flowing nature of recent meetings gave way to a cagey 0-0 draw.

Reprising the theme of those early Klassiker meetings, Guardiola took his foot off the throttle as City played at a controlled tempo – an approach that would have ended the club's Anfield hoodoo but for Riyad Mahrez's ballooned late penalty.

Fire and brimstone returned the following January, though, with a wobbling City recovering their poise and avoiding a 10-point deficit at the top. Aguero and Leroy Sane were on target either side of Firmino in a bravura display, where Aymeric Laporte took on the unfamiliar role of left-back to stifle Salah.

That was Liverpool's only loss of the season as they finished on 97 points, agonisingly one shy of City. However, their subsequent Champions League final win over Tottenham improbably propelled them further along.

Just as Guardiola has tempered some of his more cavalier tendencies when faced with Klopp, the challenge of an unrelenting City also forced the Liverpool boss into subtle and decisive tweaks.

In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

Paris Saint-Germain will face Le Havre in a friendly this month as they prepare for two cup finals and the resumption of the Champions League.

The Ligue 1 champions, who were declared winners of the French top flight on a points-per-game basis after the season was abandoned in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, have not played since their March 11 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

They are set to face Saint-Etienne in the final of the Coupe de France on July 24 before meeting Lyon in the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final a week later.

Attention will then turn to the Champions League, with the quarter-finals set to take place from August 12-15 as the final three rounds of the tournament are completed in Lisbon.

PSG are back in training and will face Le Havre at the Ligue 2 side's Stade Oceane home in front of a maximum of 5,000 fans on July 3.

Their hopes of completing a quadruple were hit by the departures of Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani, who have departed the club after rejecting short-term extensions.

 

Another week, another Lionel Messi milestone.

The Barcelona forward has scored his 700th career goal just a little over two years since reaching 600 for club and country.

It's another remarkable feat for a footballer who continues to break new ground after turning 33.

Here, we look at the details behind the incredible numbers to see when, where and how he tends to find the net, who likes to set him up, and who is sick of the sight of him...

 

FOR BARCELONA:

- Messi has scored 630 goals in 724 appearances for Barca in all competitions - that's 0.87 per game on average. 

- His first goal came on May 1, 2005 against Albacete in LaLiga. Since then, he has reached 441 goals in 480 matches in Spain's top flight, at least 130 more than any other player in history.

- He has scored 114 goals in the Champions League, 53 in the Copa del Rey, 14 in the Supercopa de Espana, three in the UEFA Super Cup, and five in the Club World Cup.

 

FOR ARGENTINA:

- Messi has scored 70 senior international goals. His first came on March 1, 2006 in a friendly against Croatia, and his most recent was in a friendly last November against Uruguay.

- He has scored 34 goals in international friendlies, 21 in World Cup qualifiers, nine at the Copa America, and six at the World Cup.

 

PER YEAR:

- In each of the past 11 calendar years, Messi has scored at least 40 goals for club and country. In nine of the last 10, he has reached at least 50.

- His best record in a single year came in 2012, when he scored 91, breaking the previous record of 85 held by Germany great Gerd Muller. He already has 12 in 2020, despite the COVID-19 disruption.

 

HIS FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Messi has scored 37 goals in 39 games against Sevilla in all competitions. Next up are Atletico Madrid (32 in 41 games).

- He has managed 26 in 43 games against Real Madrid, making him the all-time top goalscorer in Clasico history.

- Messi has faced 40 different LaLiga teams and scored at least once against 37 of them. Last November, he became the first player to score against 34 different Champions League opponents, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul on 33.

 

HIS LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Only three LaLiga teams have ever avoided conceding a goal to Messi: Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz.

- Xerez are the only team Messi has faced more than once without scoring. He has played against them twice.

 

WHEN AND HOW HE SCORES:

- Messi has scored 43.32 per cent of his goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half or last 15 minutes of the second.

- He has scored 142 times from set-pieces: 90 penalties and 52 free-kicks.

- Only 24 of his career goals are headers. The most recent was back in March 2017 against Sporting Gijon. 

- Messi has scored 83.1 per cent of his goals (582) with his left foot, and 82.8 per cent (580) from inside the box.

- He has scored 36 LaLiga hat-tricks, which is a record. He has scored three or more times in 54 different matches, the most being five against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012.

- His tally of 50 for the 2011-12 LaLiga season is a record.

 

WHO SETS HIM UP:

- Luis Suarez has assisted more Messi goals than any other player: 47 in six seasons with Barcelona. Messi has returned the favour 36 times. (CHECK WHO SETS UP ATHLETIC GOAL)

- The other players with the most assists for Messi are Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25), Neymar (22) and Jordi Alba (20).

- Messi has 247 assists for Barca. Since his first goal for the club, he has been involved in 879 of their 2,183 goals in all competitions, or 40.2 per cent.

Bruno Fernandes insists Manchester United can secure a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

The Portuguese was in scintillating form on Tuesday, scoring twice as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran out 3-0 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

The result moves United two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who play their game in hand against West Ham on Wednesday.

Fernandes – who has now scored five goals in his first eight Premier League games for the club since his January move from Sporting CP – is unfazed by a potential five-point gap with just six games to play and remains confident they can secure Champions League football for next season.

"We are fighting for a place in the Champions League and we know we can achieve this," he told Sky Sports.

"The most important thing is the three points but we played well and the result was good. We didn't concede again, which is important.

"We knew that we needed to push forwards and to try and score from minute one. I was lucky with the first goal and the second goal was amazing, an amazing pass from Mason [Greenwood]."

Paul Pogba teed up Fernandes for his first goal but the 25-year-old did not want to single out the French World Cup winner for specific praise.

"I don't want to talk too much about me and Paul Pogba," he added.

"We are happy to play together but I am happy to play with everyone. We can combine together, we have qualities, but we know that we have team-mates who can do well."

Lionel Messi's cheeky, chipped penalty against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday took him to 700 career goals for club and country.

The Barcelona and Argentina star has been the scourge of defenders in Spain and across the globe since making his debut professional debut at 17 and his career has now yielded another incredible landmark.

In the process, the forward has collected 34 club trophies and a record six Ballons d'Or, but international honours have eluded him since he won gold at the 2008 Olympics.

To celebrate Messi's latest century, we take a look at 10 of his very best and most important goals.

 

Albacete (H): May 1, 2005

Even at 17, Messi had the confidence of a veteran. Having already had one goal wrongly ruled out for offside - an audacious chip from the edge of the box - Messi's confidence was far from knocked and just a minute later he latched onto Ronaldinho's pass before lobbing the ball over Albacete stopper Raul Valbuena from 16 yards. Some way to open your account for a club.

 

Getafe (H): April 18, 2007

In the 12 years since he first got on the scoresheet, only one of Messi's strikes was ever going to top this list: his Diego Maradona-esque solo goal against Getafe. Messi picked up the ball in his own half and danced around two players before turning on the pace, beating two more defenders and going around the goalkeeper, capping it with a right-footed finish.

Real Zaragoza (A): March 21, 2010

Described by some as 'a defining goal' in his career, Messi's strike against Real Zaragoza seemed to take him from very good into another class entirely. Messi displayed all he had to offer in this goal, which began when he won the ball from a tackle on halfway. From there, he shrugged off one challenge, raced towards the box and turned a defender inside out before drilling the ball into the far corner - leaving Pep Guardiola speechless.

 

Real Madrid (A): April 27, 2011

This was the height of one of the fiercest Clasico rivalries in decades, as Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid waged war on Guardiola's Barca. They met four times in three competitions in less than a month, including in the Champions League semi-finals, when Messi faced pretty brutal treatment as Madrid tried to shackle him. He scored twice in a 2-0 first-leg win at the Santiago Bernabeu but it is the first goal people remember: the tension of the match, the bitterness of the rivalry, the ducking, weaving slalom through the defence and the composed finish past Casillas, all from the most nonchalant Sergio Busquets assist you will ever see.

 

Iran (N): June 21, 2014

Prior to the 2014 World Cup, Messi had only scored one goal in eight appearances. Seemingly determined to step up for Argentina, he netted in his side's opening match before going on to score one of the goals of the tournament in the second against Iran. With the score at 0-0 heading into stoppage time, Messi took control of the ball and bent a powerful strike past the despairing arms of Alireza Haghighi to break Iranian hearts.

Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015

Having already opened the scoring three minutes earlier to give Barca a 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, Messi doubled his tally with a sumptuous effort. Ivan Rakitic's pass sent Messi on his way, before the little maestro's trickery put Jerome Boateng on his backside and allowed the Argentine to casually lift the ball over the onrushing Manuel Neuer.

 

Athletic Bilbao (N): May 30, 2015

The second part of a treble-winning season for Barca came in the form of the Copa Del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. With 20 minutes gone and the score deadlocked, Messi set off on a marauding run down the right wing and soon found himself trapped amongst three defenders. Naturally, Messi was able to float past the trio as if they weren't there, before cutting into the box and beating Iago Herrerin at his near post.

Real Madrid (A): April 23, 2017

El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title, and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto's swashbuckling run in the 92nd minute gave Jordi Alba the chance to square it to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.

 

Ecuador (A): October 11, 2017

Romario Ibarra's first-minute goal in the last match of CONMEBOL qualification left football fans across the globe staring at the prospect of the unthinkable – a World Cup without Messi. Enter the man himself, who dragged Argentina out of a bumbling stupor to single-handedly tear Ecuador apart with a sensational hat-trick. The shift of pace and stunning, dipping finish into the top corner to claim the matchball was the best of the bunch and a grateful bench spilled on to the field to mob their hero.

 

Real Betis (A): March 17, 2019

Messi has never won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year, although he has twice come second, most recently for this effort against Real Betis in a 4-1 win last season. He sent the ball left to Ivan Rakitic and hurried to the edge of the box for the return ball, then - having shaped for a powerful strike towards the near post - chipped a sublime effort into the far corner beyond the despairing Pau Lopez. The goal completed his hat-trick and earned an ovation from the home fans but was not enough to beat Debrecen's Daniel Zsori to the Puskas prize.

Thiago Silva, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sergio Rico will all stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season.

French football was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Ligue 1 subsequently concluded early at the end of April. Final table positions were decided on a points-per-game basis and thus secured PSG the title.

But a decision on the two cup competitions, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, was delayed in the hope of potentially playing two finals at a later date.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed earlier this month that the two matches will take place on July 24 and 31, respectively, while UEFA also announced the remaining rounds of the Champions League are to take place in Lisbon the following month.

PSG have now ensured Silva, Choupo-Moting and Rico will be available for all three competitions.

The Parisians had already announced club captain Silva, 35, will be leaving at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, but his extension means he could depart having potentially lifted three more trophies.

Choupo-Moting is also set to leave the club on a free transfer, while Rico had been due to return to parent club Sevilla at the end of June.

PSG will face Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de France, before contesting the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final with Lyon.

They are also into the quarter-finals of the Champions League having eliminated Borussia Dortmund prior to the season's hiatus.

Bayern Munich could be set to match their 2012-13 treble this season, according to former club president Uli Hoeness.

Hansi Flick's side rounded off their Bundesliga campaign with a 4-0 win at Wolfsburg at the weekend, leaving them with a final 13-point margin over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table. 

This season was Bayern's eighth consecutive success in Germany's top flight – a run that began under Jupp Heynckes in 2012-13, when the club swept the board by also picking up the DFB-Pokal and Champions League. 

They face Bayer Leverkusen in this season's Pokal final on Saturday, while a 3-0 advantage over Chelsea leaves them handily placed for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. 

"If our team can preserve this form, we have a good chance of winning everything," Hoeness told Blickpunkt Sport. 

"I hope that the team can keep the rhythm. 

"It is something very special to score 100 goals in a Bundesliga season. It is a sensational achievement." 

Hoeness balked at the suggestion Bayern's dominance was an unhealthy state of affairs for German football and called on their rivals to do more.

"The others have to put in even more effort," he added.

"You can't expect Bayern to work only half a day to make the Bundesliga more exciting."

Julian Nagelsmann has urged his RB Leipzig players to seize their "big chance" to win the Champions League.   Die Roten Bullen confirmed their place in next year's Champions League and a third-place finish in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win at Augsburg thanks to two goals from outgoing striker Timo Werner.   It was Germany international Werner's final appearance for the club before he joins Chelsea in a reported €53million (£47.5m) deal, yet the campaign is not over for Leipzig, who are still in this season's Champions League.   The competition will resume in August and Leipzig are already assured of a spot in the last eight.   And the fact that the quarter-finals and semi-finals are both one-legged affairs at a neutral venue in Lisbon has given Nagelsmann encouragement that, even without Werner, his team can conquer Europe.   "Of course it's a huge challenge for us, but also for the other teams that are still in the Champions League," he told a news conference.   "I do not want to complain because we are very happy that we can participate there. I think we have a big chance because it will not be that easy again to win this tournament, with three games.

"It's demanding but I want us to go there with the following thoughts - we need only three victories to win the most valuable trophy in club football."

Werner left Leipzig as their all-time top scorer having broken the record when he took his tally to 95 for the club with his brace on Saturday.

Only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scored more than Werner's 28 goals in the Bundesliga this term and he will now look to transform that form to Chelsea, with the backing of the club and coach he is leaving.

Asked about any goodbye message the team delivered to Werner, Nagelsmann added: "Our sporting director Markus Krosche said some words in front of the team. 

"I also said goodbye to him before and told him some things, but they stay private.

"It's easy to say that he leaves a huge gap when you look at his numbers, but also as a human because he has the heart in the right place.

"He has a lot of friends here in Leipzig and felt very comfortable. I wish him all the best in London and hope that he'll have similar numbers in four years as well."

Werner was delighted to sign off by grabbing the club record and admitted he will depart Leipzig with fond memories.

"Firstly, it makes me really happy that we won our last game of the season," he said.

"We qualified for the Champions League and ended the season on a high.

"The fact that I am the record goalscorer for Leipzig makes me really proud. I will miss the club and the city."

Bayer Leverkusen were denied a place in next season's Champions League after Borussia Monchengladbach defeated Hertha Berlin.

Gladbach earned a 2-1 home victory over Hertha on Saturday to ensure they will be back in Europe's elite club competition for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.

They were denied a place in the top four on the final day of last season when they lost at home to Borussia Dortmund while Leverkusen beat Hertha.

But Gladbach ensured there would be no repeat and this time they were celebrating after defeating the side from Berlin.

Jonas Hofmann's seventh-minute opener settled any nerves for the hosts.

He was set up by Breel Embolo and roles were reversed when Hofmann created Gladbach's crucial second with 12 minutes remaining, which was scored by the Switzerland striker.

Vedad Ibisevic got one back for Hertha but Gladbach were not to be denied.

It meant disappointment for Leverkusen even though they did what was required of them to stand a chance of qualifying, defeating Mainz 1-0 at home courtesy of Kevin Volland's second-minute goal.

Last week's defeat at Hertha ultimately proved costly for Leverkusen, with Gladbach surging up to fourth with three straight wins to wrap up the season.

Leverkusen will hope to bounce back in the DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich on July 4, while they are also still in the Europa League.

RB Leipzig, meanwhile, were all but mathematically certain of a Champions League spot going into the final day of the campaign.

They sealed a third-place finish with a battling 2-1 win at Augsburg, with Timo Werner scoring a double on his final appearance for the club.

Leipzig would have ended up fourth had Werner not scored the winner 10 minutes from time.

Champions Bayern ultimately finished 13 points clear of Dortmund at the top. 

Dortmund were three ahead of Leipzig, who finished on 66 points, while Gladbach and Leverkusen ended up with 65 and 63 respectively.

Hoffenheim's win over Dortmund on the last day saw them move above Wolfsburg, who lost against Bayern, to finish sixth and ensure automatic entry to the Europa League group stage.

Seventh-placed Wolfsburg will now have to go through the qualifying rounds.

Kevin De Bruyne has urged his Manchester City team-mates to make 2019-20 a season to remember from the rubble of their failed title defence.

A stunning free-kick from the Belgium midfielder could not avert a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea – a result that ended saw Liverpool crowned Premier League champions and ended City's two-year stint as top dogs in England.

Attention now turns to an FA Cup quarter-final at Newcastle United on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola's side looking to add to the EFL Cup they collected thanks to a 2-1 triumph over Aston Villa in March.

Then there is the small matter of a tilt at an elusive Champions League success, after Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne gave City a 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 encounter.

Their focus in Europe's elite competition might be further sharpened if the club's appeal against a two-year ban from UEFA tournaments is not overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month.

"I think we have still got big chances in the FA Cup and Champions League," De Bruyne said.

"Imagine if we come out after winning these cups, it will be an unbelievable season. We have got a lot to play for and look forward to it."

Thursday's game with Chelsea amounted to City's season in microcosm, as a moment of De Bruyne brilliance nestled frustratingly alongside missed chances and costly defensive errors.

As such, the 28-year-old has no qualms in crediting Jurgen Klopp's side for a richly deserved triumph.

"We didn’t play badly, but at the end of the day, too many mistakes cost us," he said.

"We knew it was impossible [to catch Liverpool after lockdown]. You are always disappointed when you don't win, but I think we are honest enough to say Liverpool were better this year.

"I think we worked really hard, we played really well but we weren't good enough and that's no problem for us to admit.

"If everything goes to plan for us then I think we still have 13 or 14 games, so we still have a lot to play for and a lot of objectives."

Individual awards at the end of the season might be considered an objective for De Bruyne, given his frequently stellar showings and the likelihood of a split Liverpool vote.

His strike at Chelsea took him on to double figures for goals and assists in the Premier League campaign.

Nevertheless, after missing out to Mohamed Salah for the PFA and Football Writers' Association prizes in 2017-18, De Bruyne takes a typically phlegmatic view.

"It is not me who decides that," he added. "Two years ago I was second and we won the title 20 points ahead, so I don’t know how people decide.

"I think I have a chance. It is not me who decides and I think I can make my own analysis of how this season has gone.

"Whatever you get in the end is nice, but we will see."

City welcomed Phil Foden, John Stones and Claudio Bravo back to training ahead of the trip to Newcastle.

Foden picked up a knock during his two-goal showing against Burnley earlier this week, while centre-back Stones (ankle) and back-up goalkeeper Bravo (hamstring) have not featured since City resumed their season.

Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo is adamant the futures of star players such as Ruben Neves and Adama Traore are not tied to the club qualifying for the Champions League.

Nuno's side sit sixth in the Premier League after 31 matches and certainly appear to be in with a good chance of securing Europa League football, though a top-four finish is not beyond them yet either.

However, five points separate them from Chelsea in fourth, and even if Manchester City's Champions League ban is upheld, Manchester United are in pole position to take the final qualification spot for Europe's elite competition – though they are only ahead of Wolves on goal difference.

Wolves could still qualify for the Champions League through the Europa League. Nuno's men drew 1-1 with Olympiacos in the away leg of their last-16 tie, which is to be completed in August before the last eight is contested in Germany, the final to be held at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne.

Neves, Traore and Raul Jimenez have all been key components for Wolves over the past two seasons, but there is a sense they could be outgrowing the club as other teams reportedly weigh up potential moves.

Nuno insists Wolves do not need to qualify for the Champions League to keep their squad intact, however.

"I don't think that's the reason they are here," Nuno said when asked if Champions League qualification is vital for certain players.

"The reason is they enjoy working together, so we don't have to achieve anything to retain them. At no point am I thinking about it.

"We don't think about that [the top four]. There's no race for anything, the race is to compete, improve and make good games. This is the challenge for every team in this moment.

"I'm very proud of the work we have been doing. We have begun to build something, we did the right things and we are still in a building process.

"We have achieved important and remarkable things but still have a long way to go, there is still a lot of room to improve.

"When we started we didn't know what was in front of us but we know we had a fantastic club to take care of and try to become as huge as it was in its past history."

Thomas Tuchel believes Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League prospects are "different but not impossible" after learning he will not be able to call upon Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani.

PSG's all-time leading scorer Cavani and Belgium right-back Meunier rejected short-term contracts to stay on for the final stages of Europe's premier competition in August, with the Ligue 1 giants having reached the quarter-finals courtesy of victory over Tuchel's old employers Borussia Dortmund.

France's top-flight was curtailed in April, with PSG declared 2019-20 champions, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That in turn complicated matters for Tuchel's out-of-contract players, with an eye towards the Champions League and the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France – the latter two showpieces which are yet to be given rescheduled dates.

Captain Thiago Silva, along with Layvin Kurzawa, is reportedly set to stay on for the short term, but the veteran Brazil centre-back will not be offered a deal beyond this season.

"All the players are important to create a group and a mentality and to lose these three [Cavani, Silva and Meunier] decreases the group," Tuchel told a news conference.

"We have always played with these players and therefore we lose quality with their departures, that's for sure.

"After that it will not be impossible and I am convinced that we will be very strong. We have to prepare this team for the two finals with a very good mentality.

"We played an extraordinary Champions League with everyone. It is different but not impossible."

PSG were not only depleted in terms of senior professionals on their return to training this week.

Despite making 13 first-team appearances this season, 18-year-old defender Tanguy Kouassi has rejected an extended contract and is understood to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich.

Midfielder Adil Aouchiche will also seek pastures new, although Kouassi's exit is the one preying on Tuchel's mind.

"For Adil I can understand because it is difficult to fight for a place in midfield at a club like this," he said.

"But for Tanguy, I'm sorry because it's been a pleasure to work with him. It's different because it's no secret, I wanted to keep him with us.

"He played against Dortmund, the most important game of the season with the most tension and stake. He played at 17 when he had no contract.

"There was confidence, he would have had minutes, he could have been a key player. I can't understand and I'm sad, but that's how it is. It is difficult to understand this situation for him."

Julian Draxler could also be heading for the exit door, with Hertha Berlin reported to be his next destination, although Tuchel would be keen to keep the Germany international.

"He is with us and for the moment," Tuchel added. "I only see the two finals and the Champions League. For me he is a very important player, I like working with him, he is ready.

"I count on him in the next four or five weeks for the finals and afterwards for the Champions League.

"After that is not my choice, we have to talk and make a decision together. I really like this player, I'm very happy that he is here."

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