Uli Hoeness is to step down as Bayern Munich president but will stay on the club's board, the Bundesliga champions have confirmed.

Weeks of speculation have surrounded the future of the 67-year-old and it was confirmed on Thursday that he will not stand for re-election in November.

Herbert Hainer was nominated by Hoeness to take over and this decision has been unanimously backed by Bayern's advisory board.

Hoeness will remain in the post until the club's next annual general meeting, which is set for November 15.

Bayern confirmed in a statement that Hoeness "will continue as a member of the Supervisory Board for the duration of his appointment through November 2023".

Hoeness, who was a forward in his playing days, won a trio of Bundesliga titles and three European Cups with Bayern before taking up a backroom role after retirement.

In 2014, he served a jail term for tax evasion, but he was re-elected as Bayern's president after his release from prison three years ago.

Bayern Munich's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have welcomed the club's Champions League draw.

The Bundesliga champions are in Group B with last term's beaten finalists Tottenham, as well as Greek giants Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade.

Bayern were knocked out by Liverpool at the round of 16 stage last term, falling 3-1 at home after a goalless draw at Anfield.

But Bayern's executives are in bullish mood that they will put in a better performance under coach Niko Kovac this time out.

"We can definitely live with that group," said Salihamidzic on Bayern's official Twitter account. 

"Our expectation is to qualify for the knockout stages as group winners, but we would be well-advised not to underestimate any team.

"Especially in Piraeus and in Belgrade we will not only come up against highly-motivated opposition, but also a very passionate home crowd."

Chief executive Rummenigge was also satisfied with Bayern's draw.

"I think we can be pleased with our group," he said. "It is important to be highly motivated and fully concentrated from the start and to treat each opponent with respect."

Former Bundesliga star Son Heung-min is pleased to be heading back to Munich to take on Bayern.

"Bayern will be special because they are one of the biggest teams in Europe," the Tottenham forward told his club's official Twitter account.

"You're always excited to play in this competition against these teams. We need to remember and learn from what we did last year." 

Istanbul will host the final on May 30 with the group stage getting under way in mid-September.

Robert Lewandowski has signed a new four-year contract, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

Lewandowski, who has scored five goals in two Bundesliga games this term, has committed his future to the club through to 2023.

The 31-year-old could therefore spend the rest of his career at the Allianz Arena, having established his place as one of the world's top strikers since joining from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

Lewandowski's new contract is a two-year extension and the striker is thrilled to have secured new terms.

"Bayern has become my sporting home," he told the club's official website. "Besides, my family and I are happily settled in Munich.

"I'm convinced we'll achieve a lot in the next few years. Bayern are one of the three biggest clubs in the world, and we have an outstanding team. I'm proud to be part of this club."

Lewandowski's future was not always certain the Poland international has previously intimated he would consider leaving the club.

Real Madrid were linked with a move for the player, who has previously questioned the lack of back-up for his position in the Bayern squad.

However, it emerged this week a new deal for Lewandowski was close and executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is relieved the contract has been sorted.

"For me, Robert is the world's best centre-forward, and he's been a mainstay of our team for years," Rummenigge said. "So, we're extremely pleased he'll continue to play for Bayern for a long time.

"We're certain that together with Robert we'll achieve our ambitious goals in the upcoming season and in the years to come."

Lewandowski scored his 200th Bundesliga goal in April, reaching the milestone in a Klassiker victory over old club Dortmund as Bayern took a crucial step closer towards another title.

He won the league in all of his first five seasons at Bayern and has been compared to veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, both of whom left at the end of their contracts, by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

"Robert has developed into a leading personality at the club and is on course to become as important a player for Bayern and its fans as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were," Salihamidzic said. "I hope he can maintain his outstanding strike rate in the years to come."

Lewandowski has hit 207 Bundesliga goals for Dortmund and Bayern and is already the most prolific non-German scorer in the league's history.

He is fifth overall in the all-time rankings, having scored at least 20 league goals in seven of his past eight seasons in Germany.

Gerd Muller is Bayern's all-time top scorer on 508 but Lewandowski is only 20 behind second-place Rummenigge, having scored 197 goals in 246 competitive matches for the club.

Robert Lewandowski talked up the quality of new team-mate Philippe Coutinho and insisted Bayern Munich still have a better squad than Bundesliga title rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern finished two points ahead of Dortmund in 2018-19 to retain their top-flight crown and have added six new players during the transfer window, which closes on Monday.

Coutinho arrived last week on a season-long loan from Barcelona and made his debut as a substitute in Saturday's 3-0 win over Schalke at the Veltins Arena, where Ivan Perisic also made his first appearance for Bayern.

Lewandowski, who scored a hat-trick to take his tally to five goals in two league outings this term, has been particularly impressed by the addition of Coutinho.

"His last pass is insane, he can be the key in important games, especially in the Champions League," he told Sport Bild.

"We become more unpredictable through him, that makes us more dangerous.

"He can play as the number ten, outside left, if necessary also on the right. We can play with different systems. We have more options now."

Bayern drew 2-2 in their opening game with Hertha Berlin and sit two points behind Dortmund, who have brought in the likes of Nico Schulz, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and ex-Bayern defender Mats Hummels.

Lewandowski previously expressed his dismay at his side's lack of transfer activity, but he is content with the recent signings and is confident the reigning champions boast more quality than BVB.

"Dortmund has done a lot, they have a big squad," he said. "But it's not about quantity, it's about quality. And that's for sure - we have the players with the higher quality."

Germany international Kai Havertz was a transfer target for Bayern Munich this year, confirmed Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller.

Havertz enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for Bayer Leverkusen in 2018-19, scoring 17 Bundesliga goals and helping them qualify for the Champions League.

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge previously hinted the champions were keen on Havertz, who has one goal in two Bundesliga games this term.

Voller indicated Leverkusen were unwilling to entertain offers for the 20-year-old but confirmed there was contact with Rummenigge over the in-demand player.

"It is no secret that there were a few phone calls and great interest," Voller told Sky Germany.

"I then spoke directly and completely friendly with Rummenigge. [He] totally understood that we do not [want to sell].

"Bayern were not the only club that asked us about Kai Havertz.

"Let me put it this way: I'm always happy when I see an artist like Kai Havertz playing, preferably with us.

"If that's not the case one day, there's always [TV channels] Sky and DAZN. There you can follow all the top European leagues."

Bayern have also been rebuffed in planned moves for Premier League wingers Leroy Sane and Callum Hudson-Odoi this year.

They brought in Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic on loan deals from Barcelona and Inter respectively to address the loss of veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

Barcelona are preparing their latest bid for Neymar – and this one includes Ousmane Dembele.

With the transfer window closing on September 2, the Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending amid reports the star forward wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca are still trying to find a way to get the Brazil international back to Camp Nou and their latest offer is set to see Dembele move the other way.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO OFFER DEMBELE TO PSG IN NEYMAR BID

Barcelona will offer Dembele to PSG as they try to sign Neymar, according to Le Parisien.

The LaLiga champions are still trying to work out a way to buy Neymar and are set to offer €170million after an initial loan deal with either an option or obligation to buy, the report says.

Barca are also prepared to offer €40m and Dembele as they try to land Neymar.

Meanwhile, Le Monde reports PSG's owners are unwilling to sell Neymar two years after his €222m move from Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- It remains to be seen if Ivan Rakitic will stay at Barcelona. The Croatia midfielder's name was put on the table during a recent meeting between Barca and Juventus, according to Sport.

- After starting for Real Madrid against Real Valladolid, James Rodriguez wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to AS. The playmaker has been linked to Napoli and Atletico Madrid during the transfer window.

- Staying at Real Madrid, Cadena SER report the LaLiga giants will not make it easy for Keylor Navas to leave the club. The goalkeeper has been linked with a move away, but Madrid will only sell the Costa Rica international for the right price and provided they can find a replacement.

- Robert Lewandowski appears set to extend his stay at Bayern Munich. The striker will sign a new deal that runs until 2023 with the Bundesliga champions, according to Sport Bild.

- Tottenham are growing confident Toby Alderweireld will sign a contract extension, according to The Sun. The defender's current deal is up at the end of the season but he could be set to stay at Spurs.

- Gianluigi Donnarumma continues to be linked to PSG. The AC Milan goalkeeper is still a target for the Ligue 1 giants, le10sport report.

Neymar's future with Paris Saint-Germain remains up in the air.

The Brazil star has been linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid as he eyes an exit from the French capital.

If he does leave, PSG have drawn up contingency plans, with one particular Premier League player attracting interest.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PLOTTING BIG ZAHA MOVE

Paris Saint-Germain are lining up a £100million (€109m) move for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha as a replacement for Neymar, according to The Mirror.

Neymar wants to return to LaLiga, with former club Barcelona and Real Madrid reportedly vying for his signature before the transfer window shuts on September 2.

If Neymar does get his wish, former Manchester United forward Zaha has emerged as a potential signing, with PSG reportedly sending a team to London to try to strike a deal.

The Ivory Coast international was linked to Arsenal and Everton before the Premier League's transfer window closed.

 

ROUND-UP

Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, 24, has been lined up as a potential replacement for Manchester United's David de Gea, according to The Sun. De Gea, whose last-gasp howler led to United's shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, is out of contract in 2020 and is yet to sign an extension.

- Also at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are targeting Leicester City playmaker James Maddison. Having already prised Harry Maguire from the Foxes in a world-record deal for a defender, the Red Devils are reportedly ready to return for another Englishman.

- An agreement between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea over a new contract has been reached, reports Football London. Hudson-Odoi had previously been linked to Bayern Munich.

- According to The Express, Inter and Alexis Sanchez will discover whether a season-long loan deal will go through on Monday. Manchester United are willing to sanction Sanchez's exit.

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic remains a coveted player for Inter, according to FCInternews, who say a transfer is complex but not impossible. The Serbia star is valued at €100m by Lazio, who could receive the likes of Matteo Politano and Joao Mario in return.

- Sport says Espanyol are keen on signing Real Madrid newcomer Rodrygo Goes on loan as a replacement for Borja Iglesias following his move to Real Betis. The 18-year-old Rodrygo only arrived from Santos in a €45m deal during the off-season.

Robert Lewandowski talks over a contract extension at Bayern Munich are "95 per cent" done.

Poland striker Lewandowski played a starring role as Bayern rolled Schalke aside with minimal fuss in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick in the 3-0 win.

There was further reason for fan celebrations after the match as Lewandowski – who is contracted until 2021 – confirmed he is close to securing a reported two-year extension.

When it was put to him the deal was 99 per cent concluded, Lewandowski told Sky: "Not yet, maybe 95 per cent."

Lewandowski hit 22 goals last term to finish as the Bundesliga's top scorer and he is confident he will have another stellar campaign in 2019-20.

"I can always play better and I have the potential improve each season," he added. "I can do something special on my own every season, but I try to help the team. No matter who I play against, I always try to score goals."

His coach Niko Kovac was similarly upbeat about Lewandowski, saluting the 31-year-old's impact on German football.

"[His performance was] sensationally good, that's what he's there for," the Croatian said. "That's what he can do.

"He has already proved in the last five, six, seven years – I don't know how long he has been in Germany – that he's the best striker in the Bundesliga.

"Not only in the last game, but also today. His efficiency and accuracy are unique. We are glad that we have him and I hope that he will continue like this in the next weeks and months."

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to take his goal tally to five in two games as he fired Bayern Munich to their first Bundesliga victory of the season in a 3-0 defeat of Schalke.

After finishing with his lowest goal return for four years in 2018-19, plundering 22 league goals, the Poland international has started the new campaign in electric form and Schalke failed to contain him.

Any hopes Schalke boss David Wagner had of taking points from his first home game in charge were cast into doubt when Lewandowski converted a first-half penalty.

The 31-year-old saved his best for the second half, when he curled a spectacular free-kick into the top corner and then added a third to wrap up a comfortable victory.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac took the opportunity to hand a debut to loanee forward Philippe Coutinho in the last 35 minutes, and after a frustrating start to the season the champions are starting to look more like themselves.

Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, heavily linked with a move to Bayern during the close season, made a good reaction save to keep a powerful Lewandowski header out after 15 minutes.

When Schalke's loanee full-back Jonjoe Kenny made a clumsy sliding challenge on Kingsley Coman four minutes later the referee had no option but to award a penalty that Lewandowski calmly stroked into net.

The second half was just four minutes old when Corentin Tolisso won a free-kick 25 yards from goal, prompting Lewandowski to unleash a scintillating strike that swerved away from Nubel and into the top-left corner.

With 15 minutes left, Coman burst down the right and crossed to the edge of the box where Lewandowski had time to take a touch before rattling a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net to add gloss to the result.

 

What does it mean? Normal service resumed

After defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup and a draw with Hertha Berlin in their season opener, Bayern put paid to suggestions that they are on the wane with a calm, confident victory.

Lewandowski like a fine wine

Bayern's dependence on Lewandowski for firepower is often viewed as a weakness in their squad, but when he is in this kind of form that argument falls flat.

Toffee unstuck

Everton loanee Kenny enjoyed a clean sheet on his Schalke debut in a goalless draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, but his sloppy challenge on Coman ended any chance of another.

What's next?

Struggling Mainz travel to Munich for a clash with the champions on Saturday, while Schalke entertain Hertha.

Barcelona have a plan to land Neymar and the star forward's demands now appear to be known.

The Neymar saga is not yet over and it remains to be seen if the Brazil international will leave Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window closes on September 2.

But Barcelona have a new plan to bring Neymar – who they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago – back to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA HAVE NEYMAR PLAN AS STAR DEMANDS €35M PER SEASON

Barcelona have worked out a new formula to convince PSG to sell Neymar to them, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

The LaLiga champions will offer cash and a player to the Ligue 1 giants this year and PSG can choose between either another player or more money in 2020, the report says.

Meanwhile, Neymar, 27, wants €35m net per season and a five-year deal, according to Spanish television show Jugones.

ROUND-UP

- Alexis Sanchez's possible move from Manchester United to Inter is developing slowly. The Serie A giants are confident of signing the attacker in the next few days amid talks about the division of Sanchez's wage, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

- With Renato Sanches having left for Lille, Bayern Munich may be looking for a replacement. The Bundesliga champions remain interested in Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca, according to AS. However, Bayern want to pay €18m while the LaLiga side are hoping for Roca's release clause – €40m.

- Valencia are eyeing a move for Radamel Falcao after the Monaco striker ended talks with Galatasaray, reports AS. The Colombia international was heavily linked with a move to the Turkish giants, but Valencia may be looking for cover for Rodrigo, who could leave for Atletico Madrid.

- Also in Turkey, Rafinha is close to leaving Barcelona for Fenerbahce, according to O Jogo. Rafinha had been linked with a move to Valencia, but the 26-year-old could now be heading to Fenerbahce.

- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has had few chances since joining PSG in 2018, but the forward has no plans to leave, according to L'Equipe. Lecce had been linked with a move for the Cameroon international.

Renato Sanches has completed a reported €25million move to Lille days after bemoaning Bayern Munich's apparent refusal to sell him.

Portugal international Sanches looked one of world football's most exciting talents when he starred on the big stage at Euro 2016, earning a lucrative transfer from Benfica to Bayern.

But the 22-year-old failed to impress in Germany, also enduring with an unsuccessful loan in the Premier League with Swansea City, and appeared set to depart in this transfer window.

Sanches suggested he was happy to stay during the close season but repeated his desire for more minutes and then aired frustrations when he came off the bench for five minutes in the Bundesliga opener against Hertha Berlin.

The midfielder said Bayern twice prevented him from leaving, yet he has now been allowed to move on, signing for Lille on a five-year contract after arriving in France on Friday.

"Renato Sanches asked us to transfer because he wanted to join a club where he would like more games," said Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"Unfortunately, we could not guarantee him this at Bayern. Match practice is also important to him because he wants to claim his place in the Portuguese national team for Euro 2020.

"I would like to thank Renato for his achievements and wish him all the best for his future on behalf of Bayern."

Lille finished second in Ligue 1 last season, qualifying for the Champions League, but lost star man Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal.

"My wish was to join Lille so I'm really happy to be here," Sanches told Lille's official website. "I was very well received and I hope everything will be fine for me.

"I have been in contact with [sporting director] Luis Campos for a long time already. His words and the project they carry with [president] Gerard Lopez convinced me, as did the confidence they show in me.

"I talked a lot with Jose Fonte, I always got on well with him. I do not know all my other team-mates well, but I cannot wait to meet them all. Go LOSC!"

Franck Ribery is to take on a new challenge in Serie A at the age of 36, having agreed a deal to join Fiorentina.

The winger has signed for La Viola on a free transfer after leaving Bayern Munich at the end of last season.

Ribery enjoyed 12 hugely successful years in Munich but is excited by the prospect of playing for "a big team" in "a beautiful city", while others of a similar age elect to wind down their careers on less high-profile shores.

The former Marseille man says he spoke with ex-team-mate Luca Toni before accepting Fiorentina's offer - a wise decision, given Toni is one of only four people to have represented both clubs as player or head coach.

Below, we look at how the others got on...

Stefan Effenberg
Bayern: 1990-92
Fiorentina:1992-94
Bayern (again): 1998-02

Although best known for his success at the heart of the midfield of Bayern - where he won three Bundesligas and the 2001 Champions League among nine trophies in total - Effenberg did spend two years in Tuscany.

Joining at the age of 24 after Lothar Matthaus had returned to Bayern to take his place, Effenberg endured a miserable first season as Fiorentina were relegated from Serie A. He helped them bounce straight back to the top flight as Serie B champions, though, before returning to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach.

 

Mario Gomez
Bayern: 2009-13
Fiorentina: 2013-16

Gomez won the treble in 2012-13 in his final season with Bayern before heading to Florence, having scored 113 goals in 174 appearances in all competitions and lifted seven trophies.

The striker's time in Italy was unlucky, though, with knee ligament damage restricting him to only 21 starts in Serie A before he was loaned to Besiktas for the 2015-16 campaign. He helped them win the Turkish Super Lig.

 

Franck Ribery
Bayern: 2007-19
Fiorentina: 2019-?

Winning 23 trophies in 12 seasons is remarkable by anyone's standards, and it highlights just how important Ribery has been to Bayern's restoration as the pre-eminent force in German football over the past decade.

The treble of 2012-13 was his crowning achievement and should, arguably, have seen him win the Ballon d'Or. Since then, injuries have begun to take their toll, and it is unclear just how effective the Frenchman will prove to be in Italy.
 

Luca Toni
Fiorentina: 2005-07
Bayern: 2007-10
Fiorentina (again): 2012-13

Toni won the World Cup with Italy midway through an impressive first spell with Fiorentina, prompting Bayern to spend a reported €11.6million to take the striker to Germany.

Three domestic trophies in his first season were followed by a more fallow spell, however, while an Achilles injury and disagreements with coach Louis van Gaal led to his departure in 2010. A return to Fiorentina would come three years later, where he enjoyed a single productive season before heading for Hellas Verona.

 

Giovanni Trapattoni
Bayern: 1994-95
Bayern (again): 1996-98
Fiorentina: 1998-00

For a man who turned out for just two clubs as a player, Trapattoni has certainly enjoyed a nomadic coaching career.

He was twice Bayern boss, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Ligapokal in his second spell, before he returned to Italy with Fiorentina. Those two years in Florence ended trophyless, but they were enough to land him the job with the national team.

Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

- One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

- Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

- Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

- Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

- Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

Renato Sanches' public criticism of Bayern Munich for apparently not letting him leave the club has been met with bafflement by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

The 22-year-old joined Bayern to much fanfare in 2016 after impressing with Benfica and Portugal, establishing himself as one of the world's most promising teenagers.

But things have not gone to plan for Sanches in the Bundesliga, struggling before and since an unsuccessful loan spell at Swansea City in 2017-18.

Niko Kovac's appointment at Bayern last year appeared to provide Sanches with hope of kickstarting his career in Germany, but again his impact was underwhelming.

After a five-minute cameo in Friday's 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin, Sanches complained about his playing time and questioned why the club had twice refused to let him leave, much to Salihamidzic's confusion.

"Renato has played three times since the start the season," Salihamidzic told reporters during the presentation of new signing Mickael Cuisance, midfield challenger to Sanches' place in the squad.

"Against Borussia Dortmund he was subbed on, in the DFB-Pokal he started and this weekend, although it was only for five minutes, he was also subbed on.

"Therefore, I didn't really understand why he had to make these remarks. We will see [if he stays], I already explained on Monday that we'll keep all our options open until September 2 [when the transfer window closes].

"Other than that, I don't want to say much more about it."

Cuisance, 20, will be hoping to not fall short of expectations at Bayern like Sanches, with Salihamidzic revealing the club to be long-time admirers of the France youth international talent, who joins from Borussia Monchengladbach for a reported €12million.

"We always tried to get him to Bayern," Salihamidzic said of Cuisance. "He is a player who can play all positions in midfield.

"He is a very creative player with a very good left foot. He is very creative and feels comfortable in a small spaces. Even under pressure, he has no problems and has great technique.

"He has a very good idea of the game, which has been seen in the French youth teams. He also showed this in his first year in Monchengladbach, so he is very interesting for our team.

"We expect him to develop further here and I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun with him."

Jurgen Klopp revealed Liverpool could not afford to bring Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield as he backed the attacker to shine at Bayern Munich.

Coutinho's move to the Bundesliga champions was confirmed on Monday, the Brazil international joining on a season-long loan from Barcelona with Bayern holding an option to buy for €120million.

The 27-year-old had also been linked with a return to Liverpool, where he starred for five seasons before joining Barca.

Klopp said the European champions could not spend the money required to sign Coutinho, with Bayern paying an €8.5m loan fee and the star's wages.

"It sounds a bit strange, but we could not afford it," he said at the Sport Bild awards on Monday.

"We have already spent the money that we got for him."

Klopp backed Coutinho to shine for Bayern after struggling to have an impact at Barcelona.

"He's a great player, a great boy," the former Borussia Dortmund coach said.

"We were reluctant to sell him, but Barcelona forced us with money, so to speak.

"He is a player who can change games for the positive. It's not that nice for Dortmund, but it's a great transfer for Bayern and the Bundesliga."

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