Mario Gotze has joined Dutch giants PSV following his release by Borussia Dortmund.

The former Bayern Munich player, capped 63 times by Germany, has signed a two-year contract with the Eindhoven club.

Gotze, who was Germany's 2014 World Cup final match-winner, is now 28 and has struggled for consistent form and fitness in recent years.

That has been partly due to a debilitating metabolic condition; however, Gotze made 21 appearances for Dortmund in the 2019-20 season and said he had "a lot of offers" before agreeing to move to the Netherlands.

Attacking midfielder Gotze said of his switch: "I kept on training and got myself fit for the new adventure. I am looking forward to joining my new team-mates for full training and preparing myself for the upcoming fixtures."

PSV are confident they have signed a player capable of making a big contribution.

PSV director of football John de Jong described his arrival as a "godsend", adding on the club's official website: "We are delighted he has signed a contract with PSV. We are very proud."

The German Football Association (DFB) has cancelled plans to allow 9,200 supporters to attend Germany's friendly with Turkey on Wednesday.

Following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Germany, Bundesliga teams have been gradually welcoming fans back to matches since the start of the 2020-21 season, albeit at reduced capacity.

Approximately 6,000 fans saw Hoffenheim beat defending champions Bayern Munich 4-1 at the end of September, with the German Football League (DFL) previously ruling that stadiums could fill 20 per cent of their capacity as long as social distancing protocols were adhered to.

UEFA made a similar decision last week, permitting stadiums to be up to 30 per cent full – subject to local permission – and Germany were set to allow up to 9,200 people in to watch the clash with Turkey in Cologne.

But due to a rise in the local coronavirus infection rate, they have been forced into a rethink.

A DFB statement read: "The local health department in Cologne, in agreement with the local authorities, has informed the German Football Association (DFB) that the international against Turkey tomorrow (Wednesday, 20:45 CEST) cannot take place with 9,200 fans as planned.

"This is due to the fact that the seven-day local infection rate in Cologne has exceeded the 35 limit (per 100,000 people). Only 300 fans will now be able to attend the game in the RheinEnergieStadion."

The DFB confirmed it planned to give the majority of the 300 available tickets to key workers.

 

Joachim Low has welcomed two new names to his Germany squad for the upcoming international break, where eight players - including Bayern Munich's treble-winners - will sit out the friendly against Turkey.

Germany face Turkey on October 7, before a Nations League double-header with Ukraine and Switzerland.

Borussia Dortmund's Mahmoud Dahoud and Borussia Monchengladbach's Jonas Hofmann - both former under-21 internationals - could each make their senior debuts.

They appear likely to get their opportunities, alongside Hofmann's uncapped club colleague Florian Neuhaus, in the first match against Turkey due to the absence of a number of high-profile stars.

Announcing the squad on Friday, the DFB said Bayern's Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, plus Lukas Klostermann, Marcel Halstenberg and Toni Kroos, would only play the Nations League fixtures.

Such limitations contribute to a large 29-man group, which includes new Chelsea signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.

Leroy Sane, Thilo Kehrer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are all out due to injury, while Ilkay Gundogan has not featured for Manchester City since contracting coronavirus last month and is also not involved here.

Germany are third in their Nations League group, having drawn their opening two matches against Spain and Switzerland.


Germany squad in full:

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Robin Gosens (Atalanta), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Robin Koch (Leeds United), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Nico Schulz (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Stark (Hertha Berlin), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen); Nadiem Amiri (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Suat Serdar (Schalke); Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Luca Waldschmidt (Benfica), Timo Werner (Chelsea).

Real Madrid have confirmed Toni Kroos suffered a muscle injury in the 3-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis on Saturday. 

The Germany international had to be substituted in first-half stoppage time in Seville, Luka Modric coming on to replace his fellow midfielder. 

Following tests on Monday, Madrid announced Kroos has an issue in the gluteal region, though did not reveal how long the 30-year-old will be sidelined. 

“Following tests carried out today on our player, Toni Kroos, by the Real Madrid medical services, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to the left gluteus medius," a statement from the club read.  

"His recovery will continue to be assessed." 

Zinedine Zidane's squad are next in action on Wednesday, hosting Real Valladolid, while the reigning champions travel to Levante at the weekend. 

Kroos could also be a doubt for a trio of upcoming international fixtures. Germany play Turkey in a friendly on October 7, followed by Nations League games against Ukraine and Switzerland during the break. 

 

The future of Jamaica international Leon Bailey, at German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, continues to be shrouded in doubt, as he faces a late start to the season and constant speculation.

The Bundesliga club will kick off its new campaign away to Eintracht Norderstedt in the DFB Pokal on Sunday.  Bailey will, however, miss the fixture after being required to undergo mandatory quarantine in Jamaica after possible exposure to the coronavirus.

On Friday, the club’s head coach Peter Bosz confirmed the player was yet to rejoin the group and that his reintroduction to the team would be on a stage by stage basis.

 “The quarantine is over; Leon was tested today. We expect it to be negative, then he can fly, but we have to wait for the result. When will he be available again? I first have to see what shape he's in when he's here and can be at 100 percent,” the club’s head coach told Bild.

In all likelihood, the team’s Bundesliga start, on September 20, in Wolfsburg is also likely to come too early for Bailey.  In fact, it remains to be seen whether he will ever represent Leverkusen again. His name is constantly mentioned on the transfer market, and Bayer has confirmed they would let him go if the offer was right.  He has recently been linked to English Premier League (EPL) club Leeds United.

 

Joachim Low felt some of his Germany side not being in rhythm of competition played a factor in their 1-1 Nations League draw against Switzerland.

Germany are still waiting for a first Nations League win after they followed a 1-1 draw with Spain on Thursday with the same result in Basle on Sunday.

Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany a 14th-minute lead but they spurned several chances to add to their advantage and were eventually punished by Silvan Widmer's second-half equaliser.

Germany are two points adrift of Spain in Group A4 and head coach Low felt a team missing several members of Bayern Munich's treble-winning side did not deserve any more than a point.

"As against Spain, we failed to score the second goal, which would have given us security," he told ZDF.

"Twice in a row we've led 1-0, and twice we're not bringing home anything. We had some good chances, but we let Switzerland come back in the second half. 

"We lost too many balls, and the draw makes sense. Some players were not in the rhythm of the competition, some players were absent.

"The Swiss had nothing to lose in the second half, they gave everything."

Midfielder Toni Kroos echoed his coach's sentiments, adding: "When there are six points to take and we only take two, yes, it's disappointing. 

"Unfortunately, it was a bit the same scenario as against Spain. We have to work to find more solutions when the opponent is playing very high.

"We need players who want the ball, even when we are under pressure."

Germany are still waiting for their first Nations League win after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland on Sunday.

The 2014 World Cup winners were relegated from League A in the inaugural 2018-19 Nations League but a change in format to the competition saved them from demotion.

Die Mannschaft's winless run was extended to five games with a draw against Spain on Thursday and they were again frustrated in Basle.

Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour but an inability to convert chances came back to hurt Joachim Low's men as Silvan Widmer's well-taken goal secured a share of the spoils for Switzerland.

Germany dominated possession early on and were rewarded in the 14th minute when Gundogan rounded off a well-worked move by meeting Matthias Ginter's pull back with a composed low finish from the edge of the area.

Switzerland responded well to going behind and could have been level had Haris Seferovic made proper contact with Djibril Sow's cross.

Julian Draxler spurned a chance to double Germany's lead when he shot straight at Yann Sommer following good work down the left from Timo Werner, who then volleyed over the bar as Switzerland continued to look vulnerable at the back.

The hosts remained an attacking threat, however, Seferovic clipping the outside of the post before Granit Xhaka forced Arsenal team-mate Bernd Leno to turn his long-range drive over the crossbar.

Draxler saw an effort deflected wide seven minutes after the break and Germany's failure to double their advantage was punished when Breel Embolo cut in from the left and laid off for Widmer to find the bottom-left corner with a first-time finish.

Switzerland looked the more likely to find a decisive goal in the closing stages, with Germany's ability to keep them at bay likely cold comfort to Low as their winless run in this competition goes on.

 

Kai Havertz's move from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea is bad for the Bundesliga, according to Germany boss Joachim Low.

Germany allowed Havertz to leave their training camp in Stuttgart on Friday to complete a switch to Chelsea, where he signed a five-year contract.

The Blues also raided the Bundesliga for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, with Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr having also arrived at Stamford Bridge as reinforcements for the 2020-21 season.

Low was disappointed to see Havertz leave the Bundesliga but hopes playing abroad can help him have a bigger impact with the national team.

"I see it as a negative when such great talents like Kai are no longer in the Bundesliga," Low told a news conference on Saturday.

"But I also see the positives. Abroad, the players develop their personalities.

"I think the time is right for Kai, and the same goes for Werner. If they take the next step that will of course help us too."

Havertz was an unused substitute in Germany's 1-1 draw with Spain in the Nations League on Thursday, with Low not playing him due to his Chelsea transfer not being completed at that point.

"Kai was torn. Kai would have been good for us in the second half against Spain, but I also knew his situation," said Low.

"He would have liked to have played for the national team, but in such situations, when a transfer is imminent, you have to be careful."

Germany will be without Havertz when they face Switzerland on Sunday but Low expects to have every other player available, having confirmed Leroy Sane did not suffer a muscle injury against Spain.

"Bernd Leno will be in goal. For everyone else, I'll wait for training," said Low.

"I told Leroy we weren't taking any risks. He did not suffer any muscular injuries, but it was not to be expected that he would last the 90 minutes.

"Switzerland's development has been very good since 2014, including as individuals. They are now one of the big players. I see parallels between Switzerland and Spain in terms of the style of play."

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara appeared to distance himself from reports of a switch to Liverpool ahead of Spain's Nations League match against Ukraine.

Thiago starred as Bayern completed a treble with a 1-0 Champions League triumph over Paris Saint-Germain last month, but has been persistently linked with a move to the Premier League winners.

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge even said he expected the 29-year-old to depart, but Thiago said he viewed the club as his "home" after Thursday's 1-1 draw against Germany in Stuttgart.

Speaking at a news conference alongside national team boss Luis Enrique on Saturday, the ex-Barcelona man appeared to tire of a familiar line of enquiry.

"I have never said that I am leaving Bayern," he said. "Every year you [journalists] put me at a different club.

"For me, my future is tomorrow's game and there is nothing more to say.

"I neither care nor am I interested [in the speculation]. What interests me is tomorrow."

Talk over Thiago's future is likely to regain top billing in the gossip columns after Lionel Messi announced, somewhat reluctantly, that he will be staying at Barcelona.

Thiago still retains affection for his boyhood club, who Bayern thumped 8-2 in the quarter-finals of the Champions League to spark weeks of tempestuous fallout at Camp Nou.

"Any decision that is beneficial for the club you support is wonderful for that team, in this case Barcelona," he said.

"We have seen what he has said. I have nothing to evaluate. We have to respect it. I am at another club, so that neither goes nor comes to me [to comment]."

Kai Havertz left the Germany camp in Stuttgart on Friday to complete his expected move to Chelsea, the German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed.

Bayer Leverkusen forward Havertz will reportedly undergo a medical at Chelsea ahead of signing for what is expected to be an initial club-record fee of £72million (€80m), surpassing the outlay on Kepa Arrizabalaga.

It has been reported the deal could reach £90m (€100m) with add-ons.

Havertz's arrival would take Chelsea's spending on reinforcements for the 2020-21 season to over £200m, with Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell having been secured ahead of the free transfers of Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva.

The director of Germany's national teams and academy Oliver Bierhoff said: "The future belongs to Kai – at club level and in the national team.

"Of course we would have preferred if he could have fully concentrated on the national team at the start of the new international season, but we are aware of the importance for Bayer Leverkusen and Kai and want to deal with it responsibly.

"At the same time, it is an honour and recognition for German football when young German players are in demand at top international clubs.

"The experience these players collect abroad – both in sporting and personal terms – can benefit the national team.

"We were in contact with [Leverkusen managing director] Rudi Voller in order to find a good solution."

Kai Havertz left the Germany camp in Stuttgart on Friday to complete his expected move to Chelsea, the German Football Association (DFB) has confirmed.

Thomas Muller shone for Bayern Munich last season but Germany boss Joachim Low is not planning to recall him.

Low announced Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels would not be selected again after Germany failed to get out of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup.

However, the Bayern attacking midfielder rediscovered his best form under Hansi Flick last season, accumulating a record-breaking 20 assists as the Bavarian giants stormed to an eighth straight Bundesliga title.

Bayern went on to clinch a treble by winning the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, with Muller playing a starring role in the 8-2 humiliation of Barcelona in the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition.

However, Low does not intend to bring the 30-year-old back into the international fold any time soon.

"Thomas Muller is a great player, no question about it, but I trust the boys," Low said following a 1-1 draw against Spain on Thursday.

"I just believe that the future belongs to the young players and they simply need time and space to develop.

"We have coped with the upheaval quite well, so I'll stick to my opinion."

However, with the coronavirus pandemic meaning the 2020-21 season is set to suffer from heavy fixture congestion ahead of the delayed Euro 2020, Low refused to completely rule out the idea of a return for Muller.

"I don't think [the schedule is] okay. The amount of games has an impact on health, fitness and quality. It simply isn't bearable for many years," said Low.

"That's why I'm extremely sensitive. If you don't act wisely and pay attention, we will have big problems in March, April, May. I try to prevent that.

He added: "I'm not a clairvoyant who looks into the future and knows what will happen in March, April. Next year there might be a few injuries and then you can change your mind. But at the moment I don't see that."

Germany forward Timo Werner was left annoyed following his team's last-gasp 1-1 draw against Spain in the Nations League.

Werner had Germany on track for victory in Stuttgart on Thursday, but Jose Gaya snatched a 95th-minute equaliser for Spain in Group 4 of League A.

Chelsea star Werner, who is preparing for his first season at Stamford Bridge after arriving from RB Leipzig, crowned a wonderful team move in the 51st minute.

However, Spain debutant Ferran Torres got to the right byline and Gaya smuggled home a finish from Rodrigo Moreno's header down at the death.

"It's annoying because we put so much into the match, we worked so hard," Werner said post-match.

"After the goal we allowed ourselves to get pegged back a little too much."

The result left Germany still searching for their first Nations League victory after drawing two and losing two in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2018-19.

Germany head coach Joachim Low added: "I am satisfied with what I saw. Our boys gave it their all right to the end.

"It was an intense and hard-fought match – both teams put a lot into the match.

"For me, it was important not to let Spain play and in my opinion we had the better chances. In the second half it was tough to keep the pressure up."

Atalanta star Robin Gosens also made his debut for Germany, setting up Werner's goal, and he told UEFA.com: "It was a very special night, my first cap. Playing in a back three as I am used to from Atalanta makes it easier for me.

"My part is covering the entire left flank and I am pleased with the way we played as a team and the part I played."

Germany forward Timo Werner was left annoyed following his team's last-gasp 1-1 draw against Spain in the Nations League.

Werner had Germany on track for victory in Stuttgart on Thursday, but Jose Gaya snatched a 95th-minute equaliser for Spain in Group 4 of League A.

Chelsea star Werner, who is preparing for his first season at Stamford Bridge after arriving from RB Leipzig, crowned a wonderful team move in the 51st minute.

However, Spain debutant Ferran Torres got to the right byline and Gaya smuggled home a finish from Rodrigo Moreno's header down at the death.

"It's annoying because we put so much into the match, we worked so hard," Werner said post-match.

"After the goal we allowed ourselves to get pegged back a little too much."

The result left Germany still searching for their first Nations League victory after drawing two and losing two in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2018-19.

Germany head coach Joachim Low added: "I am satisfied with what I saw. Our boys gave it their all right to the end.

"It was an intense and hard-fought match – both teams put a lot into the match.

"For me, it was important not to let Spain play and in my opinion we had the better chances. In the second half it was tough to keep the pressure up."

Atalanta star Robin Gosens also made his debut for Germany, setting up Werner's goal, and he told UEFA.com: "It was a very special night, my first cap. Playing in a back three as I am used to from Atalanta makes it easier for me.

"My part is covering the entire left flank and I am pleased with the way we played as a team and the part I played."

Luis Enrique demanded plaudits for David de Gea after the Spain goalkeeper's brilliant display during Thursday's 1-1 Nations League draw against Germany in Stuttgart.

Jose Gaya pounced deep into stoppage time to snatch a point at the Mercedes-Benz Arena after an excellent Timo Werner goal gave the hosts a 51st-minute lead.

But Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea was arguably the key to Luis Enrique's men taking a share of the spoils.

De Gea made sharp first-half saves to thwart Thilo Kehrer, Julian Draxler and Leroy Sane, while he also denied Niklas Sule at close quarters as the game moved towards its conclusion.

A string of errors for United saw the 29-year-old end the 2019-20 season at a low ebb, but Luis Enrique believes De Gea and Spain understudy Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has endured a tough time at Chelsea, have been unfairly singled out for criticism.

"He [De Gea] has played a lot of games like this in England," the Spain boss told reporters afterwards.

"We monitor him exhaustively, but he and Kepa are in the news if they make a mistake. They're used to it.

"With the game he's played we should be saying what a great goalkeeper we have.

"I'll encourage them to not fall apart and it's a position that I demand a lot from.

"But because the press give them such a hard time, I treat them more affectionately.

"They both know that their mistakes are more noticeable than those of other players, but they're used to it."

Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati became the second youngest full international in Spain's history when he came on at half-time.

Mikel Merino and Oscar Rodriguez also won their first caps from the bench, while Ferran Torres completed the whole game on his debut and the Manchester City winger's cross led to Gaya's equaliser.

"Ansu had a resounding debut," Luis Enrique added.

"There are players taking their first steps with the team and they worked well.

"They're going to play a lot more minutes. It's nice to see that people really want it."

Wolves winger Adama Traore is in line to become Luis Enrique's next debutant after he was cleared to play in Sunday's game against Ukraine, having passed medical tests following a positive test for coronavirus.

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