Mark van Bommel has been appointed as the new Wolfsburg head coach on a two-year contract.

 

Wolfsburg finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, Glasner's second at the club, to reach the Champions League group stage for the third time in their history, and first occasion since 2015-16.

Van Bommel's only previous managerial job came when he spent 18 months with PSV between 2018 and 2019.

He has also worked in support of Bert van Marwijk, his father-in-law, holding assistant roles with Netherlands, Australia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates at international level.

Van Bommel spent five years of his playing career in the Bundesliga with Bayern, with whom he won two top-flight titles.

Van Bommel told his new club's website: "I'm really looking forward to working for Wolfsburg and I'm excited about my new environment, the people and the task that awaits me.

"The ideas of those responsible are identical to my view and I can identify very well with the path the club has taken.

"Being able to work as a coach in the Bundesliga, in which I have played for so long, is a great honour and challenge for me, which I will tackle together with everyone involved with a lot of joy and great commitment."

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Bayern Munich brushed off the disappointment of a midweek Champions League exit to stretch their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-2 win against Wolfsburg.

Two first-half goals from Jamal Musiala - which came either side of an Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting tap-in - put Hansi Flick's side in control at the Volkswagen Arena.

Despite Wout Weghorst and Maximilian Philipp getting on the scoresheet for the hosts, Bayern were able to see out the win.

It extends their advantage over second-placed RB Leipzig in the title race to seven points, with five rounds of games remaining.

The two sides here traded early chances in an exciting start, with Choupo-Moting stinging the palms of Koen Casteels from distance before Manuel Neuer brilliantly kept out a Ridle Baku effort that was dribbling goalwards.

An open game was always going to suit the visitors more, and they took the lead with just 15 minutes gone as Musiala collected a loose ball in the box and dribbled inside before a powerful effort was deflected home.

If Wolfsburg goalkeeper Casteels was maybe unlucky with that one, he had no excuse for Bayern's second, which came about when he dropped a seemingly harmless David Alaba cross at the feet of Choupo-Moting, who couldn't miss from close range.

It looked like Bayern might rue two misses from Leroy Sane in the aftermath of that goal, particularly as Weghorst finished calmly into the far corner after Wolfsburg pinched possession high up the pitch.

But Musiala quickly restored the two-goal advantage with a brilliant, looping header back across goal from Thomas Muller's right-wing cross to make it 3-1 at half-time.

The 18-year-old almost had a hat-trick shortly after the restart but could not get enough power on an effort that was cleared off the line by Maxence Lacroix.

Wolfsburg made the most of that escape by almost immediately moving within a goal of Bayern, Philipp sidefooting home a delicious cross from the left-hand side.

The hosts would have hoped to use that goal as a springboard to a rewarding comeback, but they were unable to build sustained pressure across the remaining half-hour as the league leaders held on for an important three points.

What does it mean? Bayern in the hotseat

Bayern were bitterly disappointed to see the defence of their Champions League title ended by PSG in midweek but it now looks increasingly likely that they will add a familiar piece of silverware to their collection this season.

The absence of any European distractions will surely only aid the champions in a title race they are already controlling.

Musiala gives Flick regrets

As he reflects on that Champions League exit at the hands of PSG, Bayern boss Flick might wonder whether he should have made more use of Musiala as he looked to make up for the loss of Robert Lewandowski's goal threat.

The teenager only featured in the second leg - and even then as a late substitute - but showed his nose for goal here in scoring twice from three shots to make it three goals in his last two Bundesliga outings.

Casteels blunders

Any Bundesliga team hoping to get one over on Bayern simply cannot afford to give goals away, but that is exactly what Wolfsburg's goalkeeper did here to help the visitors into a two-goal lead.

He was otherwise solid, ending the match with five saves to his name, but his erratic first-half display ultimately proved the difference between the sides.

What's next?

Bayern are back in Bundesliga action on Tuesday when they face Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, will continue their Champions League 2021-22 chase at home to mid-table Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer accepts it is unlikely Virgil van Dijk will return to action before next season and will not put pressure on the defender to be fit in time for Euro 2020.

Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk has been sidelined since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in October's Merseyside derby against Everton.

The 29-year-old returned to individual training last month, but Klopp reiterated last week he does not expect him to play any part at this year's rescheduled European Championship finals.

But De Boer, who was appointed as Ronald Koeman's successor in September, says the final decision will be made by the player himself closer to the tournament.

"Anything he can contribute to Liverpool and possibly us would be a bonus," De Boer said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I'm not counting on it at the moment. But if it were to happen, it would be fantastic for the squad. We're going to see. I'm not putting any pressure on him at all. 

"He has to do it himself and has to trust himself. The choice is with him. When the moment comes and we know how he is doing, you go with him to see what he can do.

"Then I have to make a decision about it. We let him take it easy now and continue his recovery work. Things are going well now. Whether that will be enough, we do not yet know.

"He is on the field. There can be setbacks. And setbacks can mean that he cannot play games for Liverpool. Then I can imagine them saying, 'focus on next season'."

The Netherlands start their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a trip to Turkey on Wednesday, looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run after ending 2020 on a relative high.

De Boer controversially chose to leave in-form Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst out of his squad for the match with Turkey, as well as the qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar.

Weghorst has scored 17 Bundesliga goals this season, placing him behind only Andre Silva, Erling Haaland (both 21 goals) and Robert Lewandowski (25) in the scoring charts.

But De Boer has defended his decision to omit the 28-year-old and instead put his faith in Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong, who has four goals in 25 LaLiga outings in 2020-21.

"I had to choose between Luuk and Wout. At the moment I choose Luuk," he said. "I understand very well that it is a very delicate issue - it is also a very difficult issue. 

"Certainly for Wout, but also certainly for me. Because Wout has done just fantastic, but Luuk has also done very well with the Dutch national team. 

"We are in a very short period, then you consider things and I chose Luuk at that moment.

"I also called Wout and that was terribly difficult. He was certainly not happy, let that be clear. That is also normal, but at least he made it as difficult as possible for me. 

"He knocks terribly hard on the door, let that be clear. There are already a few holes in it. It was by far my most difficult decision, but at the moment I choose other players. Some are a bit more multifunctional, for example."

Timo Werner's unproductive spell at Chelsea may be over after one season.

The Germany international only signed from RB Leipzig ahead of this season.

He has largely underwhelmed with five goals from 27 Premier League appearances.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD LEAVE CHELSEA

Football Insider reports Werner is prepared to quit Chelsea less than 12 months into a bumper five-year contract.

Werner netted 28 Bundesliga goals for RB Leipzig in 2019-20 but that return has drastically fallen since moving to London.

It is said there is a growing expectation that Werner will leave in the next year or two, despite the arrival of countryman Thomas Tuchel, which has led to a slight upturn in form.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has been offered a contract by Barcelona, according to TyC Sports. City have publicly declared they will not make a call on off-contract Aguero's future until the close season.

- AS reports that Real Madrid are willing to listen to offers for French centre-back Raphael Varane this close season. It is claimed he is interested in playing in the Premier League.

- Milan are keen to sign 22-year-old PSV forward Donyell Malen, according to Calciomercato. This is despite the probable renewal of veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

- Bild reports that Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner is ready to quit his post amid a breakdown in his relationship with sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, with Borussia Monchengladbach a potential new home with Marco Rose to depart for Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund have had no contact from Arsenal over a potential move for Julian Brandt.

The Gunners are looking for midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window and reports in Germany suggest Brandt is one option.

Arsenal technical director Edu craves creativity in the centre of the pitch, with Mikel Arteta's side having fashioned just 120 chances in the Premier League this season, more only than Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Burnley and West Brom.

Brandt would appear to provide that spark, having played a key role in a Dortmund side who have forged 162 opportunities in 2020-21 to lead the Bundesliga in this regard.

The Germany midfielder has accounted 18 of those key passes, ranking third for BVB behind Raphael Guerreiro (26) and Jadon Sancho (22). Left-back Kieran Tierney, with 17 chances, is Arsenal's top creator.

If Brandt is to move this month, though, Dortmund are still waiting to hear more - according to Michael Zorc, their sporting director.

"I read that, too," Zorc said of the Arsenal rumours. "I cannot say more about that. Nobody has contacted us. There is nothing on the table yet or even in the fax machine."

Discussing the January window in general, Zorc added: "We don't have any big plans right now.

"However, my years of activity have taught me that, at the beginning of the transfer window, I don't rule out anything."

Speaking on Saturday, Zorc was also asked about the troubles of rivals Schalke, who are bottom of the Bundesliga and winless in 29 matches, just two shy of Tasmania Berlin's all-time top-flight record.

"We have our own problems, in somewhat higher realms than Schalke," the Dortmund chief said.

"Basically, I would like Schalke to stay in the league. The traditional competition in this region is good for us all. We want that for next year as well."

Zorc was appearing alongside interim head coach Edin Terzic prior to Sunday's meeting with Wolfsburg.

Terzic and Dortmund will be without 16-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko but can welcome back Erling Haaland following a hamstring injury.

Haaland has averaged a goal every 65.1 minutes in the Bundesliga this season yet has not played since November and will not be rushed on his return.

"Erling is known for always being hungry," Terzic said. "So, we still have to be careful, slow it down a bit. But he makes a very good impression.

"Every team in the world depends on the player who has the last touch in front of the goal. Erling is extremely important to us - and not just because of his goals.

"He was missing, of course, but we tried to make up for it. Borussia Dortmund is not just Erling Haaland."

Wolfsburg's visit will be Edin Terzic's first home game in charge of Dortmund. Bert van Marwijk, in 2004, was the last BVB coach to lose on their home bow, although that also came against Wolfsburg.

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