Germany playmaker Thomas Muller hopes striker Harry Kane's England goal drought goes on a little while longer.

England renew their rivalry with Germany next Tuesday in a mouth-watering Euro 2020 last-16 tie at Wembley with misfiring Kane set to lead the line for the Three Lions.

Kane started all three of England's Group D matches, but has just a solitary shot on target to show for his efforts.

The 27-year-old came into the tournament on the back of formidable season in the Premier League with Tottenham as he topped the goals (23) and assist (14) charts but has struggled so far.

He has managed five shots in total, three of which were deemed as 'big chances' by Opta. No other England player missed more than one across those three games.

"Great strikers are the best at being patient," Muller told a news conference.

"A striker is always waiting for his chances. He usually has the least contact with the ball, but the biggest picture in the newspaper after the game. 

"I don't know why he hasn't got into the final positions that he normally comes in. For us it wouldn't be a problem at all if the discussion lasts until Wednesday and we don't concede a goal.

"We're in the round of 16. We won against England World Cup 2010. That has nothing to do with Tuesday, but it might make one or the other feel good. We're looking forward to the big game with England."

Muller claimed he will be fit to face England having struggled with a knee injury during the tournament.

He added: "If I had problems I would not have trained today. The injury does not hinder me. I am experienced enough to deal with it. I am convinced that it will not be a problem for Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry has backed Leroy Sane to silence the fans who have jeered his performances for Germany at Euro 2020.

Sane has no goals, assists and just one attempt on goal so far in the tournament.

"With the talent and skill level that Leroy has, he will always prevail," Gnabry said.

"It hasn't been so smooth yet. But if he gets his chance, he has to take it. I don't notice anything in the game. He gave Hungary the run-around, worked defensively. He can build on that. 

"We never need whistles. I can't understand why people whistle."

Serge Gnabry believes he could be the answer to Germany's goalscoring problem at Euro 2020.

The Bayern Munich forward has spent most of his career in wide roles, but coach Joachim Low – who will step down after the tournament – has selected just two strikers in his squad.

That suggests the coach is looking for others to make themselves available for central attacking duties, and the likes of Gnabry and Kai Havertz could be made for the job.

Havertz's Chelsea team-mate Timo Werner and Monaco forward Kevin Volland are the two frontline strikers at Low's disposal.

Germany were thrashed 6-0 by Spain last November in the Nations League, and although they began their World Cup qualifying campaign in March with wins over Iceland and Romania, a subsequent defeat to North Macedonia pointed to shortcomings.

On Wednesday they will tackle Denmark in a friendly in Innsbruck, a penultimate game before Germany launch their Euro 2020 campaign with a June 15 clash against France in Munich.

"I don't know yet whether I'll play on the wing or in the middle," Gnabry said in a pre-game news conference. "I haven't had a concrete conversation with the national coach.

"I'll do my best when I play in the centre and imitate the striker. But we have so much potential on the offensive that it doesn't really matter who is up front."

Gnabry suggested he enjoyed the central role because it inflated his chances of personal glory.

"Because you're closer to the goal, that's the only reason," Gnabry said. "I just love to score goals."

The former Arsenal player warned, however: "I'm not a [Robert] Lewandowski or [Erling] Haaland."

Gnabry scored just 11 goals for Bayern in the season just ended, after a 23-goal campaign in 2019-20, while Werner netted 12 for Chelsea and Volland hit the back of the net 18 times.

Gnabry's goals came at a healthy rate of one every 216.55 minutes, behind Volland (one every 177.11 minutes) but well ahead of Werner (one every 318.83 minutes).

Germany's Champions League finalists are not available for the Denmark game, meaning Low must get by without Havertz, Werner, Antonio Rudiger and Ilkay Gundogan.

Toni Kroos, Jamal Musiala and Leon Goretzka are also expected to be absent, the coach seeing his 26-man squad depleted.

Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels should win their first caps since November 2018, having been frozen out over the last two and a half years as Low attempted to give his team a younger look.

The coach went cap in hand to both recently, beckoning them back into his squad, and the experienced pair accepted the invitation.

Asked about Bayern team-mate Muller, Gnabry said: "He absolutely deserves it. He is incredibly effective and particularly valuable in terms of motivation. It's good to have him here."

Muller was one of only five players from Europe's top five leagues to score at least 15 goals and have at least 15 assists across all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

He scored 15 times and set up 19 goals, with the others in that exclusive club being Tottenham's Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

Hummels also had a stellar season in defence for Dortmund. He is 32 and Muller is 31, and Gnabry sees their experience and leadership qualities as being a major boon for Die Mannschaft.

"It's always good to have leaders on your team," Gnabry said. "If we all pull together, we will be successful."

Robert Lewandowski has returned to full Bayern Munich training after recovering from knee ligament damage.

Bayern's superstar striker has not played since Poland's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Andorra on March 28.

But after nearly a month out, the club confirmed on Wednesday Lewandowski "completed the majority of full training", with coach Hansi Flick optimistic he could feature at Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern also had Serge Gnabry, returning from coronavirus, and Corentin Tolisso, out since February with a thigh injury, back in light training.

The defending Bundesliga champions can clinch another title this weekend and would be delighted to welcome back Lewandowski.

Despite missing several weeks, the 32-year-old still leads all players in Europe's 'top five' leagues in goals (42) and goal involvements (50) in all competitions.

Lewandowski has scored with 28.8 per cent of his shots across 36 matches, although he has also missed 25 Opta-defined 'big chances'. Only Duvan Zapata (29) and Cristiano Ronaldo (27) have squandered more, though this is likely down to the sheer number of chances that come their way.

Of his goals, 35 have come in the Bundesliga, putting Lewandowski just five shy of Gerd Muller's 1971-72 record of 40, albeit now with only four games remaining.

The domestic competition will be Lewandowski's sole focus after Bayern exited the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain on away goals in his absence.

Lewandowski was badly missed as Bayern scored just three goals from 45 shots and eight 'big chances' over the two legs. In the 3-2 home defeat, their 31 attempts were worth 3.8 expected goals, meaning they should have netted roughly twice as many they did.

Not since Galatasaray lost 4-1 to Arsenal in December 2014 despite 32 efforts had a team been beaten while attempting 30 shots or more in a Champions League game that did not go to extra time.

Back-up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored home and away against his former club, however, and had four goals in six games while Lewandowski was out.

Only Gerard Moreno (six), Kylian Mbappe and Memphis Depay (both five) in the 'top five' leagues netted more in all competitions over this period.

Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry will miss the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain after testing positive for coronavirus.

Head coach Hansi Flick confirmed earlier on Tuesday that Gnabry would likely be absent from Wednesday's game at the Allianz Arena after complaining of a sore throat.

Bayern later announced the 25-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19.

The holders were already missing star striker Robert Lewandowski due to a knee injury, leaving them without an attacking duo who have been directly involved in 63 goals in all competitions this season.

PSG, meanwhile, had already confirmed Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi would miss the first leg after returning positive coronavirus tests.

Bayern defeated the Parisians 1-0 in last season's Champions League final, with Kingsley Coman scoring the winner.

Should they avoid defeat in the first leg, Bayern would become only the second team in the competition's history to go 20 consecutive games unbeaten, after Manchester United (25 between 2007 and 2009).

However, they have only won four and lost five of the previous 10 meetings in this tournament with the Ligue 1 champions. Only Real Madrid (10) have beaten Bayern more often in the competition.

Germany head coach Joachim Low bemoaned his side's wastefulness in front of goal during their slender 1-0 World Cup qualifying win against Romania on Sunday.

Serge Gnabry scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute, with the Bayern Munich forward, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner going on to squander opportunities to extend Die Mannschaft's advantage.

That almost came back to haunt Germany in the closing stages as the hosts went close through George Puscas and Nicolae Stanciu. 

Germany – the 2014 world champions – ultimately held on, though, to follow up Thursday's opening Group J win over Iceland with another three points. 

Low was largely pleased with Germany's display, but acknowledged they should have added to Gnabry's early goal.

"Romania were definitely the better team than Iceland in terms of football," he said. "We worked very well against the ball today and won some battles. 

"We could have made the game easier for ourselves if we had made it 2-0. If there's something to complain about, it's the big opportunities.

"The goalkeeper saved very well several times, but we could have been ice cold and more concentrated in front of goal.

"When the opponent has nothing more to lose, they throw everything forward. We had several chances in which we could have finished more cleanly, but we have three points."

Germany made just one substitution before stoppage time – Werner replacing Kai Havertz in the 77th minute – and Low said he stuck with his starting XI for so long as the game was under control. 

"It's important to get used to it," he added. "But I didn't switch because the game was under control for a long time. 

"We were doing well, the midfield did a good job. The opponent had no chances for a long time, so it wasn't absolutely necessary for a long time."

Joshua Kimmich, who struck the crossbar in the first half with a deflected half-volley, agreed with Low's assessment that Germany made life unnecessarily difficult for themselves. 

The Bayern Munich midfielder said: "We could have made it easier for ourselves. We were lucky that Romania didn't equalise in the 90th minute; that would've been karma for us not scoring again.

"We have to score earlier then we will have a quieter evening. I think we largely controlled the game, but still we didn't manage to decide it earlier."

Germany will be looking to make it three wins from three Group J games when they host North Macedonia on Wednesday. 

Germany made it two wins from two in World Cup qualifying as Serge Gnabry's first-half goal sealed a 1-0 win over Romania on Sunday. 

Joachim Low's side opened their Group J campaign with a 3-0 win at home to Iceland on Thursday and they put in another dominant display at the National Arena to swat aside Mirel Radoi's men.  

Die Mannschaft had 18 shots to the hosts' nine, but they were limited to just a solitary goal, the impressive Gnabry securing maximum points with a close-range finish after 16 minutes. 

The result means Germany are top of Group J on six points, ahead of Armenia on goal difference, and three points clear of Romania and North Macedonia.

6 points from 6 #DieMannschaft #ROUGER pic.twitter.com/6bawjdLQGO

— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 28, 2021

Kai Havertz and Valentin Mihaila exchanged chances in the early stages, before Gnabry put Germany ahead.

Havertz surged into the penalty area and slid an inviting ball across goal, which the Bayern Munich forward easily slotted home from eight yards.

Joshua Kimmich then thundered against the crossbar from distance, with Florin Nita keeping out Gnabry's follow-up effort as Germany ultimately failed to add to their advantage.

Nita pawed away a fierce Leon Goretzka drive shortly after the restart, while the Romania goalkeeper got down well to deny Gnabry a superb solo goal before the hour mark. 

Leroy Sane and Timo Werner missed presentable opportunities inside the final half-hour, while George Puscas tested Manuel Neuer late on as Germany secured another three points on what is shaping up to be a smooth progression to Qatar 2022. 

 

Hansi Flick hailed Leon Goretzka's "excellent" three-assist display against Cologne but admitted he was not entirely pleased with Bayern Munich's overall performance in Saturday's 5-1 win.

Bayern put an end to their two-game winless streak in the Bundesliga with a routine victory against their relegation-battling opponents at Allianz Arena to retain a two-point lead on RB Leipzig at the summit.

Goretzka set up goals for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, making it four assists in his last two outings after also teeing up Jamal Musiala's goal in the 4-1 Champions League win at Lazio in midweek. 

The Germany international was singled out for praise by Flick after the win against Cologne, but the Bayern boss acknowledged there is still room for improvement from his side after conceding for the fourth game in a row thanks to Ellyes Skhiri's strike.

"Leon did an excellent job in assisting the goals. That's why he was Man of the Match for me today," Flick said. "We will analyse the game and show it to the team. There were one or two things I didn't like. 

"But we'll go from game to game. That approach worked well last year. What comes out in the end is up to us. If we put in the performances and pick up wins, we can finish top of the league."

Gnabry marked his return from a thigh injury lay-off by scoring twice from his 14 touches of the ball as a second-half substitute, adding to Lewandowski's brace and Choupo-Moting's opener.

Thomas Muller also appeared for the first time since being struck down by coronavirus at the Club World Cup earlier this month and Flick is delighted to have both players fit and available.

"Serge and Thomas were very important to us as substitutes today," he said. "Thomas assisted Lewy [Lewandowski] with his first touch of the game and brought some certainty to our game, which we needed at that point. 

"Serge has scored two goals. Both will be valuable for us in the next games and I'm happy they're back. It's important to be satisfied with the 5-1 scoreline. We deserved the victory even by that margin."

Bayern let Cologne into the game early in the second half before pulling clear with three goals in the final 25 minutes in what was the 100th competitive meeting between the sides.

With his double on Saturday, Gnabry has now scored nine Bundesliga goals against Cologne - more than against any other side in his career - but the attacker agreed with Flick's assessment that Bayern are not quite at 100 per cent.

"When Thomas and I came on, it was a bit tricky for us," he said. "We hadn't been very sharp or dominant. We tried to lift the tempo and immediately made it 3-1. Then it became easier. 

"In the future, we have to make sure we don't have these shaky phases in the game and we come out of the blocks quicker. Of course, opponents will always have a chance, but we have to reduce these spells, then we'll be stronger again."

Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both scored twice in a convincing 5-1 win over Cologne.

After returning to domestic duties following their Club World Cup success in Qatar with a home draw against Arminia Bielefeld, the reigning champions slipped to a 2-1 loss away at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend.

However, a 4-1 thrashing of Lazio in Champions League action in midweek proved the catalyst for a first league triumph at their Allianz Arena home since January 30.

Lewandowski's first goal helped Bayern ease into a 2-0 half-time lead and while Cologne briefly threatened a comeback, the returning Thomas Muller made an immediate impression off the bench, providing the assist that allowed the competition's leading scorer to take his tally for the campaign to 28.

Like Muller, substitute Gnabry had an impact on his comeback, the Germany international tucking away a pair of routine finishes as the hosts eased clear in the closing stages.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had opened the scoring with his first league goal for the club, heading in an inviting cross from Leon Goretzka, who then went on to set up his side's second before the break.

The midfielder waltzed his way beyond Rafael Czichos before laying the ball off as goalkeeper Timo Horn came towards him, allowing the ever-ready Lewandowski to roll it into the net.

Cologne failed to even muster an attempt as the first half proved to be one-way traffic, yet they were gifted a route back into the game when hesitation between centre-back pairing Jerome Boateng and David Alaba allowed Ellyes Skhiri in to produce a delicate lofted finish over the advancing Manuel Neuer.

The goal caused a brief wobble, yet the 64th-minute arrival of Muller - back after overcoming coronavirus - helped steady Bayern, the substitute teeing up Lewandowski to restore the two-goal cushion with a shot on the turn.

Dominick Drexler hit the post from a tight angle after robbing possession from Neuer before Gnabry's four-minute brace, the second of which was set up by the outstanding Goretzka with another delightful delivery into the area, added a touch of gloss to the final scoreline.

 

What does it mean? Bayern remain clear at the summit

Bayern's recent blip had allowed the chasing pack – led by RB Leipzig – to close the gap at the top of the table. Flick's side have already lost more Bundesliga games in 2021 (two) than they did across the entirety of the previous year.

This win is therefore most welcome in what has suddenly become a tighter-than-expected title race, but Flick – who made 44 appearances for Cologne during his playing career - will be concerned at the careless defensive lapse that allowed Skhiri to give the visitors a slither of hope.

Duo back to boost Bayern

While COVID-19 had kept Muller away, Gnabry had not featured since the Club World Cup final due to a thigh issue. The latter only had 13 touches during his goalscoring cameo, but the availability of the pair helps add further strength in depth, even if the fixture congestion eases in March.

Defensive cracks raise concerns

Bayern had conceded 31 goals prior to this game, their highest tally through 22 league games in a campaign since 1991-92. The chance of a clean sheet disappeared when Boateng and Alaba dithered over who was going to attack a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area, in the end neither bothering to take control of the situation.

What's next?

Bayern have a rare week between fixtures, giving them time to prepare for the visit of Borussia Dortmund next Saturday. Cologne, meanwhile, will be hosting Werder Bremen the following day.

Thomas Muller returned to training at Bayern Munich on Thursday after the COVID-19 positive test that caused him to miss the Club World Cup final.

The all-action attacking midfielder was dealt his coronavirus blow just hours before Bayern beat Tigres UANL 1-0 to be crowned club world champions in Qatar on February 11, forcing him to self-isolate.

After two weeks away from the squad, and now clear of the virus, Muller was back at the club's training headquarters to be put through his paces.

Bayern announced on their website: "Muller was able to train at Sabener Strasse again on Thursday for the first time after a period self-isolating at home due to testing positive for COVID-19.

"Following final medical tests in the morning, the 31-year-old completed an individual session on the pitch alongside team training under the guidance of fitness boss Prof Dr Holger Broich."

Muller is enjoying a stellar season and is one of just six players from Europe's 'top five' leagues to have reached double figures both in goals and assists across all competitions.

He has 13 goals and 11 assists so far, and has created 81 chances in all.

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho is the only other player from the Bundesliga to achieve the double to date, after 10 goals and 12 assists.

Lagging some way behind Muller in the Bayern ranks is Serge Gnabry, who has managed only six goals and two assists in 28 appearances, figures that are also significantly down on what team-mates Leroy Sane (G: 8, A: 8) and Kingsley Coman (G: 6, A: 11) have achieved.

Gnabry has had more playing time than his attacking midfield colleagues Sane and Coman, and he began the campaign with a hat-trick against Schalke in Bayern's opener.

The former Arsenal youngster was substituted off in the Club World Cup final because of a torn muscle in his left thigh.

Bayern said on Thursday that Gnabry had undergone intensive rehabilitation in recent days and was able to resume training with Hansi Flick's squad.

That may see him come into contention, perhaps along with Muller, for Saturday's Bundesliga home clash with Cologne.

Serge Gnabry is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a muscle tear in his left thigh, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

Germany international Gnabry was taken off in the 64th minute of Bayern's 1-0 Club World Cup final victory over Tigres UANL on Thursday.

No time frame for the 25-year-old's return was provided by the Bundesliga champions, who are already without Thomas Muller after he tested positive for coronavirus in Qatar.

An official club statement read: "For the time being, Bayern will have to do without Serge Gnabry.

"The attacker suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh in yesterday's Club World Cup final against Tigres. This was the result of an examination by the medical department of Bayern."

After winning the Club World Cup, Bayern return to Bundesliga action at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Monday.

They take on Lazio in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 23 and face Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker on March 6.

Gnabry has scored six goals and supplied two assists in 28 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season.

Robert Lewandowski (106) is the only Bayern player to have had more efforts on goal than Gnabry (63) this season, but his shot conversion rate of 9.5 per cent is one of the worst in the squad.

Among players for the Bavarian giants to have attempted at least 20 shots, Corentin Tolisso (8.3 per cent) is the only player with a worse shot conversion rate than Gnabry.

Serge Gnabry did not suffer a serious injury during Bayern Munich's 2-1 victory over Freiburg, Hansi Flick has confirmed.

Germany international Gnabry sat out last weekend's loss to Borussia Monchengladbach with a shin problem but played 90 minutes in the shock penalty shoot-out loss to Holstein Kiel in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday.

He had to be replaced after 28 minutes at the Allianz Arena on Sunday but Flick is not expecting to be without the winger for a prolonged period.

"The injury is not serious, I have heard from the doctors. The muscle in his back cramped up," said the Bayern boss.

Bayern were leading when Gnabry departed thanks to Robert Lewandowski's 21st goal of the season, a record for the first half of a Bundesliga season, surpassing Gerd Muller's 20 in 1968-69.

Nils Petersen equalised for Freiburg in the 62nd minute, scoring just 28 seconds after coming on as a substitute. His Bundesliga record for goals after being subbed on now stands at 28.

But Leroy Sane, who replaced Gnabry in the first half, set up Thomas Muller - who registered his 125th top-flight assist on Lewandowski's opener - for the winner.

Sane was also on target against Kiel and Flick has been pleased to see him improving after a tough start to life with Bayern following his move from Manchester City.

"I don't like singling out individual players but he did very well and did things the team would like to see from him," said Flick.

"We saw good development. He proved today that he is always good for an assist or a goal."

With RB Leipzig having been held to a 2-2 draw by Wolfsburg on Saturday, reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern opened up a four-point lead at the summit.

Flick said: "I'm not interested in the table at the moment. We have to look at ourselves and be focused on Augsburg and Schalke as we are today.

"It's good to have achieved a four-point lead, that is extremely important. For us, only our results count."

Bayern Munich have been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal on penalties by second-tier side Holstein Kiel following a 2-2 draw after extra time.

The Bavarian giants had reached the last 16 stage in each of the previous 19 seasons and had lifted the cup in the last two of those, but they were stunned by Kiel in Wednesday's clash at Holstein-Stadion.

Leroy Sane had Bayern on the brink of a place in the next round with his sublime free-kick early in the second half after Fin Bartels had earlier cancelled out Serge Gnabry's close-range opener.

But Kiel skipper Hauke Wahl scored in the 95th minute to force extra time and Bayern, who brought on star striker Robert Lewandowski with 74 minutes played, could not find a third goal as the tie went the distance.

The first 10 penalties were successfully put away but substitute Marc Roca was denied by Ioannis Gelios, setting up Bartels to convert and send the home side through 6-5 on spot-kicks, with Darmstadt to come in the last 16.

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