Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness foresees "a new era" at the club as he hopes Kai Havertz could follow Leroy Sane in joining the Bundesliga leaders.

Bayern are widely expected to sign Manchester City winger Sane in the upcoming transfer window, having seen a previous move for the Germany international hindered by a long-term injury.

The Bavarian giants were seven points clear of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund ahead of Saturday's match against Fortuna Dusseldorf as they close on an eighth straight title.

With that side potentially boosted by Sane's arrival, Hoeness - a member of Bayern's supervisory board after his presidency ended - is excited for the future.

"I believe that we are on the threshold of a relatively great generation," he told BR.

"When I think that we managed to extend with Manuel Neuer, and we have Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Robert Lewandowski and hopefully David Alaba and Thiago Alcantara [also agreeing contracts], and I also hope with Leroy Sane, with [Kingsley] Coman, [Serge] Gnabry, a young, developable team.

"I can imagine, if everything goes well, that a new era is just beginning at Bayern Munich."

Bayer Leverkusen sensation Havertz would appear to belong among such company, with predictable links to Bayern emerging amid a wonderful season in which he has produced 11 goals and five assists in 26 Bundesliga starts.

Hoeness made no secret of his desire to have Havertz join Bayern, yet he acknowledged the potential difficulties of another major signing amid the financial uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We would certainly like to have Kai Havertz," Hoeness added. "But at the moment, it is so that one does not know exactly what the economic future of all football is.

"I would like to see him in Munich from a sporting perspective, but as of today I honestly cannot imagine it, although I would like to see it."

Riyad Mahrez believes Manchester City have everything required to win the Champions League.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc globally, halting many leagues and competitions since March, including the Champions League and Premier League, but Algerian winger Mahrez is relishing a return to action.

City stunned Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in February before the postponement.

The Champions League could resume in August and City star Mahrez is confident Pep Guardiola's side can deliver a maiden European crown.

"I think it is a good time to win the Champions League," Mahrez said. "We have the team, we have the manager, we have everything, so it is a good time. I don't know if we are the best, but we are good enough to win it.

"The Champions League is difficult, everyone wants to win it, so it is going to be a big battle."

The Premier League is set to return on June 17, with 92 matches still to be played following the coronavirus crisis.

Defending champions City were second and 25 points adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool, though they had a game in hand.

Mahrez said: "It was a bit long without football, but we adapted and now we are back, so it is good. With the pandemic going on [training at home and doing online sessions with the group] is something we had to respect and now we have come back to training it is very good.

"Step by step we are getting fitter, so it is good. I am excited. It was good to see my team-mates and the coaches again. It was good to train with everyone and we have had very good weather as well!"

He added: "I think we were good [before the break].

"I wouldn't say we were at our peak, but it was good. We are going to train again and come back because it has stopped for everyone, not just us. It is going to take time to come back and be the way we were before, but it is the same for every team."

Over three months after the ball was last kicked, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

There have been major doubts over whether the 2019-20 season could be finished amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the action is set to resume in less than three weeks - subject to government approval.

Liverpool were cruising their way to becoming champions of England for the first time in 30 years when the campaign was halted and are poised to lift the trophy behind closed doors.

There may be no title race to look forward to, but it is all to play for in the battle to stay up and European qualification is there for the taking.

We look at the season so far and what is to come in a hectic schedule, with all but four teams having nine matches to play.

 

What is the state of play?

leading the defending champions - who have a game in hand - by a mammoth 25 points.

Watford are the only side to have beaten the European champions, who have had the champagne on ice for months and may have to play higher profile matches at neutral venues.

Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are in the relegation zone, with Watford, West Ham and Brighton and Hove Albion also in danger of being consigned to the drop.

Bottom side Norwich are six points adrift of Watford and West Ham, who are only out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Fifth place will be good enough for Champions League qualification if City fail to overturn a ban from the competition and several sides are in the hunt to play in Europe's premier club competition.

Third-placed Leicester City look to be heading for the Champions League, while Chelsea are fourth and three points ahead of Manchester United.

Six points separate seven clubs from United down to Crystal Palace, with Sheffield United the surprise package and one of the stories of the season in seventh place.

 

What have been the big controversies?

A two-year Champions League ban imposed on City by UEFA for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules in February rocked Pep Guardiola's side.

City have appealed against the verdict and June 8-10 is when the case will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with concerns for Guardiola that he could lose key players if they are unsuccessful.

Tottenham's decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino came as a shock in November and the north-London club swiftly appointed Jose Mourinho as his successor.

It came as no surprise when Unai Emery was fired by Arsenal soon after Pochettino's departure, with the Gunners turning to Mikel Arteta to replace his fellow Spaniard.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

United were on a roll before the hiatus, putting together an unbeaten run of 11 games in all competitions to stand well poised for a Champions League berth.

Arsenal had gone eight without defeat in the top flight, winning three in a row prior to the season being suspended, while Burnley had not lost in seven games to move up to 10th.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Liverpool and Tottenham were among the teams who were strongly criticised for using the government furlough scheme for non-playing staff and duly changed their mind.

Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker and Moise Kean were among the players who were caught flouting lockdown regulations.

Spurs and Arsenal players also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons for breaching social distancing rules.

The league was suspended after Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted COVID-19, while three rounds of coronavirus testing at Premier League clubs in the past fortnight have returned 12 positive results.

Liverpool look set to clinch the Premier League title at a neutral venue as part of a request from police.

The 2019-20 top-flight season is set to return on June 17 following a lengthy delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all fixtures to be staged behind closed doors.

Most will take place at the scheduled venues, though local police have asked for six – including the game in which Jurgen Klopp's side could wrap up the league – to be moved.

The Reds sit 25 points clear at the top of the table and require just two more victories to be crowned champions for the first time in 30 years.

The Merseyside derby is among the list revealed by police, as well as Liverpool's trips to reigning champions Manchester City and Newcastle United.

City's clash with Newcastle is also included, plus Manchester United against Sheffield United.

Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts – the national football policing lead – said in a statement: "Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.

"As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing. The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

"The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.

"This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums."

The FA Cup quarter-finals have been provisionally rescheduled for June 27 and June 28, with the final set to be staged on August 1.

Friday's announcement by the Football Association (FA) came a day after it was revealed the Premier League season is due to restart on June 17.

There has been no football in England since the campaign was halted due to the coronavirus crisis in March.

Norwich City are due to face Manchester United, with Sheffield United taking on Arsenal, Manchester City up against Newcastle United and Leicester City meeting Chelsea in the last eight of the FA Cup.

The weekend of July 11-12 is when the semi-finals are provisionally set to take place, with further information on venues and timings to be announced in due course.

FA chief executive officer Mark Bullingham said: "We are pleased to agree the provisional restart date for the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup.

"The competition has been an integral part of the English football calendar for nearly 150 years, and we'd like to thank the Premier League executive and clubs for their support in scheduling the remaining matches during this unprecedented time.

"This has been a difficult period for many people and, while this is a positive step, the restart date is dependent on all safety measures being met. The health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters remains our priority."

Could Spain international Fabian Ruiz be set for a return to his homeland?

Former Real Betis star Fabian, who now plays for Napoli in Serie A, is a reported target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish rivals are trying to lure Fabian back to LaLiga.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, MADRID DO BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to battle each other for the signing of Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spanish midfielder Fabian has been linked with a return to LaLiga throughout the season, having left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Napoli are expecting Barca and Madrid to go head-to-head for Fabian – who is contracted to the Serie A side until 2023.

 

ROUND-UP

- L'Equipe says Inter have made an offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. With Inter star Lautaro Martinez linked to Barca, the Nerazzurri are eyeing alternatives, however, Lacazette is not interested in swapping London for Milan.

- There could be some big changes at Madrid in 2022. AS Diario says Los Blancos want Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to team up with Eden Hazard in a new strike force. The likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Juventus are ready to negotiate a deal for Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, according to Calciomercato. Santos are demanding €30million for the 18-year-old, though Juve are only prepared to pay €15m.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City and Newcastle United have joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for 18-year-old Penarol winger Facundo Pellistri.

Odion Ighalo is prepared to pass on a £75m contract with Shanghai Shenhua to stay at Manchester United, reports the Daily Star. Ighalo's loan deal is set to expire at Old Trafford.

After what will have been a three-month absence, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

The first games following the coronavirus pandemic will see Manchester City take on Arsenal and Aston Villa play Sheffield United, before a full round of fixtures begins on June 19.

Liverpool are a maximum of two wins away from clinching a first title in 30 years, though they could secure the trophy against Everton at Goodison Park on matchday 30 if City lose their first match back against Arsenal.

There is also plenty to play for in the race for European qualification and the battle against the drop.

We look at the outstanding 92 games in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Matchday 28

Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Arsenal

Matchday 30

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal
Everton v Liverpool
Manchester City v Burnley
Newcastle United v Sheffield United
Norwich City v Southampton
Tottenham v Manchester United
Watford v Leicester City
West Ham v Wolves

Matchday 31

Burnley v Watford
Chelsea v Manchester City
Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Norwich City v Everton
Southampton v Arsenal
Tottenham v West Ham
Wolves v Bournemouth

Matchday 32

Arsenal v Norwich City
Aston Villa v Wolves
Bournemouth v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Everton v Leicester City
Manchester City v Liverpool
Sheffield United v Tottenham
Watford v Southampton
West Ham v Chelsea

Matchday 33

Burnley v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Watford
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Manchester United v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v West Ham
Norwich City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton v Manchester City
Tottenham v Everton
Wolves v Arsenal

Matchday 34

Arsenal v Leicester City
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool
Bournemouth v Tottenham
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Everton v Southampton
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Sheffield United v Wolves
Watford v Norwich City
West Ham v Burnley

Matchday 35

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City
Liverpool v Burnley
Manchester United v Southampton
Norwich City v West Ham
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Tottenham v Arsenal
Watford v Newcastle United
Wolves v Everton

Matchday 36

Arsenal v Liverpool
Burnley v Wolves
Chelsea v Norwich City
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Everton v Aston Villa
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v Tottenham
Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v Watford

Matchday 37

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United
Liverpool v Chelsea
Manchester United v West Ham
Norwich City v Burnley
Sheffield United v Everton
Tottenham v Leicester City
Watford v Manchester City
Wolves v Crystal Palace

Matchday 38

Arsenal v Watford
Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester City v Manchester United
Manchester City v Norwich City
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Southampton v Sheffield United
West Ham v Aston Villa

The Premier League season is set to resume on June 17 with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved.

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches is then planned take place from June 19, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

All weekend games are set to kick-off at different times, with midweek matches taking place across Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17.

"But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."

It has been reported the Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the English top flight since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of most sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – confirmed a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

The 2019-20 Premier League campaign has at last been given a date from which to resume.

The competition, suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will return from June 17 and, all being well, be played to its conclusion.

The disruption came with Liverpool just two wins away from a first league title in 30 years, while Manchester United had been improving in pursuit of Champions League qualification.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the most interesting facts relating to England's 'Big Six' and their campaigns so far.


LIVERPOOL

- Jurgen Klopp's side are top of the pile but do not look as defensively solid as they did in the 2018-19 season. Liverpool have conceded 21 times in the league this term, just one goal fewer than in their entire previous 38-game campaign.

- Roberto Firmino finally ended a long wait for an Anfield goal against Atletico Madrid in March. It was his first home Liverpool strike in 20 games in all competitions since netting against Porto in April 2019, 337 days earlier.

- The Reds were just starting to wobble slightly. With the defeat at home to Atletico, Liverpool had lost four of their past six matches in all competitions – as many defeats as in their previous 67 games.


MANCHESTER CITY

- Manchester City have lost seven Premier League games this season, one more than in their previous two campaigns combined.

- Heading into the break, Sergio Aguero had scored 180 Premier League goals for Manchester City. Only Wayne Rooney – 183 for United – has scored more for a single team in the competition's history, with Aguero passing Thierry Henry – 175 for Arsenal – earlier this term.

- Kevin De Bruyne is the first player to register 15 or more assists in three different Premier League seasons. Only Cesc Fabregas had previously done so in more than one campaign.


CHELSEA

- Chelsea have lost five Premier League home games already this season. Only in 1994-95 – seven times – have they been beaten more often at Stamford Bridge.

- The Blues are also winless away from home in the league in 2020, drawing three and losing one of their four matches. They last endured a longer such run in the 2015-16 season, failing to taste victory over seven straight away trips.

- Frank Lampard has been reliant on homegrown talent this season. Only Leicester City (31) and Southampton (24) have more goals from English players than Chelsea's 21 – level with United.


MANCHESTER UNITED

- United are unbeaten in 11 in all competitions, but their points return of 45 is still their lowest through 29 games of a Premier League season.

- Bruno Fernandes inspired their change in fortunes, though, and he has been involved in more Premier League goals (five – two goals, three assists) since his February 1 debut than any other player.

- At 25 years and 86 days old, United have the youngest average starting XI in the Premier League this season.


TOTTENHAM

- No side have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League than Tottenham's four this season. The last time they kept so few in the first 29 matches of a campaign was in 2006-07 (also four).

- Spurs had been missing Harry Kane (131.18 minutes per goal), Son Heung-min (152.31 mins per goal) and January signing Steven Bergwijn (280.5 mins per goal) through injury. Dele Alli has the best minutes per goal ratio – 298 – among the rest of the squad in all competitions this season. Perhaps the break may have done them some good...


ARSENAL

- Arsenal have drawn 13 Premier League games this season – already their highest such tally since 17 in 1993-94.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 17 goals have been worth 16 points to Arsenal this season. Only Sadio Mane's 14 goals have been worth more (18 points) to a single club.

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

Manchester City Women have appointed former Wales international Gareth Taylor as their new head coach.

Taylor, 47, has signed a three-year deal to replace Nick Cushing, who left to join the coaching staff to join affiliate club New York City in February after six years in the role.

New boss Taylor has been in charge of Manchester City's under-18 team for three years, winning two Premier League U18 Cups.

He represented Wales 15 times in a playing career that saw him play for City between 1998 and 2001, earning two promotions at a time when the men's team were in the lower leagues.

City confirmed Taylor will start his new role with immediate effect and that he will be assisted by Alan Mahon, who had been in temporary charge.

"I'm extremely excited about the challenge ahead with a very talented group of players and staff who have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years," Taylor said after Thursday's announcement.

"I'm really honoured to have been appointed to this role and I can’t wait to get started with our preparations for another thrilling and competitive WSL season in 2020-21."

Arjen Robben has described former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as the "master of offensive football" and says the Catalan is the best coach in the world.

Former Netherlands international Robben, who announced his retirement from football last July, spent three seasons playing under Guardiola during his decade with Bayern.

The 36-year-old was brought to Bavaria by Louis van Gaal and also worked with Carlo Ancelotti, Jupp Heynckes and Niko Kovac at the Allianz Arena, as well as Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

But Robben feels that Guardiola is the coach who helped him to improve the most, with the pair sharing the same ideology of how the game should be played.

"I love football and, above all, the offensive football – and Pep is a master at it," he told Socrates magazine.

"He focused on attack and total ball control. Of course, I particularly liked that. We were on the same wavelength.

"He made sure that I became more complete. For me, Pep is the best coach in the world. The three years with him in Munich were extremely instructive."

Robben joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009 and won 20 major honours, including a memorable Champions League triumph in 2013 when scoring a late winner against Borussia Dortmund in the final to secure the treble.

However, he was not sure at the time whether swapping Madrid for Bayern would be a good choice for him.

"Back then, my only wish was to win the Champions League and Bayern was not one of the top clubs in Europe," he said. "But I took the risk and it was worth it.

"It was really not an easy decision for me at the time. But going to Bayern was the best of my career in retrospect."

Former Manchester City full-back Glyn Pardoe has died at the age of 73.

Pardoe was part of the one of the club's most successful eras during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A winger who was eventually converted to a defender, he scored the winning goal in the 1970 EFL Cup final against West Brom at Wembley.

Pardoe was also part of the title-winning squad of 1968 and lifted the 1969 FA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup a year later.

"Everyone at City is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Glyn Pardoe," Premier League champions City said in a social media post.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time."

Pardoe remains City's youngest debutant, having been 15 years and 341 days old when he made his first appearance for the club in April 1962.

He went on to feature 380 times for City, although a serious leg injury in 1970 limited his playing time in the final years of his career and he retired in 1976.

He took up a role in the coaching staff after hanging up his boots, remaining with the club until 1992.

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