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.

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.

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- 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.

Leroy Sane's proposed switch to Bayern Munich would give the Bundesliga a welcome boost, according to Germany head coach Joachim Low.

Bayern went public with their interest in the Manchester City winger prior to the season starting.

The Bavarian giants shelved their transfer plans when Sane suffered a serious knee injury in August, but a new report claims the Schalke product has his heart set on joining Bayern.

According to Bild, Sane wants the move to go ahead in January as he steps up his recovery.

Low told the newspaper: "When a player like Sane returns to the Bundesliga, it is very enjoyable for everyone.

"He has many special features, his own style of play. He would be an attraction for the Bundesliga. Sane would keep the Bundesliga attractive."

The 23-year-old returned to the training pitch on Monday, completing an isolated session.

Germany boss Low gave Sane his international debut in November 2015 and took him to the European Championship the following year, but declined to offer advice on whether he should leave the Premier League ahead of Euro 2020.

"It's up to the player and Bayern Munich," he said.

Sane joined City from Schalke in August 2016 for a fee in the region of £37million.

His contract at the Etihad Stadium expires at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Paul Pogba remains on the sideline but not the outer at Manchester United.

The rumoured Real Madrid target reportedly hopes to leave Old Trafford in January after missing out on a move before the season started.

But it seems the Red Devils will resist all interest in their record signing when the transfer window opens.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BLOCK POGBA'S EXIT PATH

Five months after Mino Raiola confirmed his client's desire to depart, United remain resolute in their determination to keep star midfielder Pogba.

The 26-year-old failed to engineer a close-season exit and the Red Devils will again stand in the former Juventus star's way if he asks for a move in January, reports the Daily Mail.

Pogba has not played since September due to an ankle injury and will miss Wednesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against Colchester United because of illness.

LaLiga leaders Barcelona and Serie A champions Juve, where he spent four seasons, have been linked with Pogba since his return to United, while Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is known to admire the World Cup winner.

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- Mikel Arteta is on the verge of taking charge at Arsenal and plans to appoint fellow Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Borrell as his number two in north London, reports the Mirror.

- Though the Gunners are in talks with Arteta, The Athletic claims Arsenal's former captain, Nice boss Patrick Vieira, remains an outside chance to win the job.

- Has Jerome Boateng played his final game for Bayern Munich? Suddeutsche Zeitung suggests the centre-back's agent Fali Ramadani recently met with Hasan Salihamidzic to discuss a January transfer, though the prospect of a mid-season move is complicated by Bayern's injuries at the back. 

- In brighter news for the Bundesliga giants, Bild says Leroy Sane has decided he wants to join Bayern in January. The Manchester City star was heavily linked with a switch from the Premier League to his native Germany prior to suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

- Diego Simeone wants to strengthen Atletico Madrid's defence with the signing of AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli, according to CalcioMercato.

- Chelsea could be left frustrated in their pursuit of Wilfried Zaha. The Daily Mail claims Crystal Palace will not budge on their £80million valuation of the 27-year-old winger.

Xabi Alonso has ruled himself out of the running to be the next Bayern Munich head coach because he does not have enough experience.

The former Spain midfielder, who finished his playing career at Bayern with a spell between 2014 and 2017, is currently in charge of Real Sociedad B.

Despite his affiliation with Bundesliga side Bayern, Alonso believes it is too early in his management career for him to be a contender.

Asked about the Bayern job, he told Marca: "I am where I want to be and right now where I want to be is in San Sebastian with Real Sociedad.

"I am a beginner in this life of being a coach and I have no goals beyond being here.

"I hope I can be a better coach, here at Real Sociedad, make a career every year that I want and I'm at ease.

"Whatever has to happen, will happen. The clubs I've been to sign the best coaches in the world and I'm still starting."

Hansi Flick is currently in charge of Bayern on an interim basis after Niko Kovac left the club in early November amid a slump in results.

Alonso, 38, won LaLiga and the Champions League during five seasons at Real Madrid.

However, he could neither pick a winner in Wednesday's El Clasico between his old club and Barcelona, nor decide who will eventually be crowned LaLiga champions.

"It's a hard-fought race, but it's very open and there isn't a clear favourite," Alonso said.

"There is seldom a favourite when the teams face each other on the pitch and there isn't here either. I see them fairly even, I don't see either squad having anything superior to the other.

"Madrid have improved a lot. They had a difficult time but got through it, and right now they feel very powerful, like they can win anywhere."

Madrid stuck by head coach Zinedine Zidane despite a poor start to the season and the club now find themselves behind leaders Barcelona on goal difference.

Alonso was pleased his old club backed the Frenchman despite external pressure, calling him "a well-chosen coach".

Arsenal and Everton are moving closer to confirming their new bosses.

According to reports, the Premier League clubs have identified their preferred candidates and commenced discussions.

But while supporters appear to be onside, it seems Manchester City have been left upset by recent developments.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL MAKE PROGRESS WITH ARTETA PURSUIT

Arsenal have opened talks with City assistant Mikel Arteta and the Premier League champions are not pleased, according to The Athletic.

Arteta, 37, reportedly met with Arsenal's head of football Raul Sanllehi last week and discussions regarding his potential appointment are said to have advanced following discussions with key officials Vinai Venkatesham and Huss Fahmy.

The Athletic's report suggests that though the Spaniard has kept his employers informed, City have received no official approach from the Gunners – an oversight that has "angered" those at the Etihad Stadium, according to the Mirror.

Arteta spent five seasons with Arsenal as a player and was in the running to succeed Arsene Wenger in 2018, before the job went to Unai Emery.

 

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- Arteta has also been linked with a return to Everton but the Toffees look set to land a vastly more experienced candidate. According to The Telegraph, Carlo Ancelotti is on the verge of becoming their new manager on a deal running through to 2024. Everton, however, have denied issuing any contract offers in the wake of Marco Silva's dismissal.

- "Senior stars" at Tottenham have urged Jose Mourinho to sign Wolves winger Adama Traore, reports Football Insider. Traore scored a goal and ran the Spurs defence ragged in his side's 2-1 defeat at Molineux on Sunday.

- LaLiga title hopefuls Real Madrid are taking a close look at teenage Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, claims L'Equipe. Camavinga has already accrued 20 Ligue 1 starts at the tender age of 17.

- Bayern Munich hope to sign Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos but may be forced to wait until the end of the season, says Sky Sport Italia reporter Gianluca Di Marzio.

- Remaining with Bayern and, even though the Bundesliga champions sit six points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig, club executives are keeping the faith with interim head coach Hansi Flick, reports Bild. That means Thomas Tuchel will not be making a mid-season switch from Paris Saint-Germain.

- Serie A table-toppers Inter admire 20-year-old River Plate midfielder Cristian Ferreira and have discussed the possibility of a transfer with his agent, reports CalcioMercato. 

Diego Maradona wants former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to take charge of "the biggest team in the world" Boca Juniors.

Pochettino has been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich since he was sacked by Premier League side Tottenham last month.

Maradona – head coach of Argentina's Superliga side Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata – nominated Pochettino to return to his homeland and lead Boca, who are looking for a new coach after Gustavo Alfaro stepped down.

After Boca and Argentina great Juan Roman Riquelme returned to the club as vice-president following December's election, Maradona was asked if he would move back to the powerhouse team following two spells.

"I will not go to Boca… because I repeat that I do not agree with those who will manage the club," Maradona told Ole. "The president [Jorge Amor Ameal] was already there and it was a disaster, he surrounded himself with [vice-president Mario Pergolini] who believes that he can handle the club. 

"And Roman... a club is not run within the locker room. It's much harder than stopping the ball, giving a pass or kicking a free-kick.

"Boca have to take a technician to play and feel what Boca is. It's not easy to sit in that chair. The best of all is Maradona [laughs]. 

"But now I will not go, there at some point it happens. But I would like Mauricio Pochettino. You have to call him and convince him to come to lead the biggest team in the world."

Maradona added: " I want to finish in the best way. First I want to save Gymnasia [from relegation], then we'll see."

Boca are second in the Superliga, a point behind leaders Argentinos Juniors, while Gimnasia are 21st in the 24-team division.

Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller think Bayern Munich should be confident of beating Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Bundesliga champions will meet Frank Lampard's side in a repeat of the 2011-12 final, which Chelsea won on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Munich.

Neuer and Muller played in that heart-breaking home defeat for Bayern, who responded in the 2012-13 season by winning the treble, which included a Champions League final triumph over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

With Bayern having recaptured some better form since Hansi Flick took over as interim coach from Niko Kovac, particularly excelling in Europe, Neuer thinks his side can take "a healthy level of confidence" into the tie.

"We're looking forward to London, where we've had some good experiences," the goalkeeper said via Bayern's website. "They're a dangerous team, who we have to take very seriously and approach with concentration.

"Obviously, we want to get through to the next round. I think we can go into the games with a healthy level of confidence. We're happy with the draw: it's against an attractive and good team."

Muller said the 2012 final "has no relevance" to the last-16 tie, adding: "It's clear that you're not going to get any small teams in the Champions League last 16. We're fairly confident. I'm feeling good about the draw.

"Chelsea have players who can hurt us, though. They have individuals in attack whose qualities are well-known.

"But it's about the team performance, not individuals. My good feeling is based on us feeling very happy as a team at the moment. We want to be the favourites and justify that."

Full-back Joshua Kimmich said: "We'll go into the games with confidence. It's still a long way off, so we can't yet say what form the teams will be in, but I believe we'll go into it as favourites and I'm confident we'll progress.

"They're difficult to assess; they're not really on a consistent run at the moment."

Lampard has good memories of facing Bayern, having been part of the 2012 team but also one that beat Bayern in the quarter-finals in 2004-05, scoring twice in the game at Stamford Bridge.

"It's a tough draw, but a good draw," he told Chelsea TV. "We knew that when we get through the group stages, you're generally in with some big teams, and we have certainly drawn one.

"We have history with them, of course, but these will be games in themselves that will be very testing. We will be ready for the challenge.

"We had some games before the Champions League final. In 2005, we had a really good game at the Bridge. I scored two and we put in a really good performance. Obviously, the night in Munich is the defining night of my career.

"I'm sure the fans who will travel there will remember the game well, but it'll be very different and very taxing.

"This level of football, the Champions League knockout phase, the level of focus that you need is absolute, for both games. We want to be at our best going into the games, but the concentration levels and how we approach it will be the deciding factors.

"We should be confident we can beat Bayern Munich, but I understand that they're very strong."

Pep Guardiola will renew rivalries with Real Madrid after Manchester City were drawn to face Los Blancos in a blockbuster Champions League last-16 tie.

With City 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool in the Premier League, success in Europe is likely to be Guardiola's main priority this season.

But their hopes of glory in the continent's premier club competition were not helped by a daunting clash with LaLiga giants Madrid, who have triumphed in four of the past six editions.

Guardiola is no stranger to Madrid having spent four years in charge of their fierce Clasico rivals Barcelona, while he was Bayern Munich coach when they were defeated 5-0 over two legs in the 2013-14 Champions League semi-finals.

Madrid have previous against City in the competition, too, coming out on top in a last-four clash in the 2015-16 campaign.

Holders Liverpool face Atletico Madrid – runners-up in 2013-14 and 2015-16 – in a return to the Wanda Metropolitano, the scene of the Reds' 2-0 win over Tottenham in last season's final as they became European champions for a sixth time.

Jurgen Klopp's side finished top of Group E by a solitary point from Napoli, who have the unenvious task of facing LaLiga champions Barcelona – aiming to get their hands on European football's most coveted prize for the first time since 2014-15.

In a draw brimming with sub-plots, Thomas Tuchel will return to Borussia Dortmund with his Paris Saint-Germain side, while Chelsea and Bayern Munich – the only team to win all six of their group-stage games – face off in what is a rematch of the 2011-2012 final.

Tottenham, aiming to beat their runners-up finish last term, go head-to-head with an RB Leipzig side playing in the knockout stages for the first time.

Juventus will start as favourites in their tie against Lyon, while fellow Serie A side Atalanta – who made the last 16 in their first endeavour into the Champions League – go up against Valencia for a place in the quarter-finals.

The first-leg matches will take place on February 18, 19, 25 and 26, with the return fixtures played on March 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Lille midfield playmaker Renato Sanches claims he almost moved to the club's Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.

The Portugal international joined Lille from Bayern Munich for a club-record €25million in August.

However, the 22-year-old revealed he would have been playing in France sooner had Bayern been prepared to sell him to PSG the previous year.

"It is true that I had a serious offer from PSG," Sanches told Telefoot.

"But my club and my former coach Niko Kovac did not want let me go."

 

Sanches, who signed a four-year contract with Lille, scored his first goal for the club in their 2-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 last Friday.

Manchester United could be set to land the most sought-after striker in Europe.

According to a new report, Erling Haaland has identified the Red Devils as his preferred choice from a long list of suitors containing Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

The teenager met with the two Bundesliga clubs in midweek, but United appear to have moved to the front of the queue.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND SENDS MESSAGE TO SOLSKJAER

Salzburg star Haaland has told compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he wants to move to Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

United have been linked with the 19-year-old for several months and the Norwegian connection could lead him to the Premier League.

However, Haaland's high-profile agent Mino Raiola reportedly wants to keep all options on the table as the January transfer window moves nearer.

The striker's father, Alf-Inge, was said to have visited United's training ground in November, while Haaland held talks with Bundesliga teams Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig this week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter's firm interest in Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa could lead to a transfer tug-of-war with Serie A title rivals Juventus, according to CalcioMercato.

- The Nerazzurri have been linked Alessandro Florenzi, but Atalanta are now in pole position to sign the Italy international if he leaves Roma in January, says Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Rest time might be at a minimum for Kylian Mbappe when the club season winds down. According to Le Parisien, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet will give the Paris Saint-Germain star the chance to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which begin less than two weeks after the Euro 2020 final.

- Chelsea are considering launching a January bid for Leeds United loanee Ben White, claims the Daily Mail. Brighton and Hove Albion, White's parent club, are reportedly willing to accept offers of £25million.

- Mundo Deportivo suggests LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona are monitoring Thiago Alcantara's situation amid rumours the midfielder has become unhappy at Bayern Munich. Thiago swapped Barca for Bayern in 2013.

- West Ham's victory over Southampton will not be enough to save Manuel Pellegrini from the sack, says the Daily Star. Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes are among the possible replacements.

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