Timo Werner scored a double as Germany became the first team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup thanks to a 4-0 win over North Macedonia in Monday's Group J clash.

Hansi Flick's side – who have now won all five games under their new head coach – seized the early initiative at the Tose Proeski Arena, with Timo Werner denied by the woodwork as the visitors registered 15 first-half shots.

However, Kai Havertz broke the deadlock after 50 minutes before Werner added a quickfire double to put the game out of the hosts' reach.

Jamal Musiala then added a late fourth and, with Armenia dropping points against Romania, Germany claimed an unassailable eight-point lead at the summit to quality for Qatar 2022.

Havertz teed up both Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller in the opening stages but neither could beat Stole Dimitrievski with headers, before Darko Velkovski nodded wide at the other end.

Serge Gnabry then poked narrowly wide and Werner, who was earlier denied from point-blank range by Dimitrievski, struck the left-hand post as Germany failed to make their 76.5 per cent first-half possession pay.

Flick's team, however, opened the scoring after the interval as Muller raced onto Gnabry's throughball before squaring for Havertz to tap into an empty net.

Werner was unfortunate to not double the lead after a ricochet off the North Macedonia goalkeeper 10 minutes later, but the Chelsea forward made amends.

Muller collected his second assist as he slotted through for Werner, who rifled an unstoppable right-footed volley into the bottom-right corner before curling into the same corner three minutes later following Florian Wirtz's offload.

Gnabry should have added a fourth but he could only volley over from Muller's chipped pass, though Musiala latched onto fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi's ball to roll into the bottom-right corner and seal the victory.

Germany's midfield partnership of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich is "one of the best duos in the world", according to Hansi Flick.

The Bayern Munich pair have started together in each of their country's last three matches and are likely to anchor the midfield in the World Cup Qualifying Group J clash against North Macedonia on Monday.

Goretzka and Kimmich have also partnered each other in all seven of Bayern's Bundesliga outings this season, helping Julian Nagelsmann's side to the top of the table in the process.

Ahead of Germany's trip to North Macedonia, where victory could see Die Mannschaft secure their place in Qatar with two matches to spare, Flick lauded Kimmich and Goretzka, who also formed a key part of his dominant Bayern team.

"Everyone knows they get along well off the pitch," he told a news conference. "They complement each other and are top professionals. 

"We need them to dictate our game. They harmonise well in midfield and we're glad we have them. 

"It's one of the best midfield duos in the world."

Manuel Neuer could return in goal for Germany, having missed Friday’s win over Romania with an adductor injury. Flick also revealed that defender Antonio Rudiger is a doubt after missing training on Sunday.

Meanwhile, winger Serge Gnabry has defended team-mate Timo Werner, who received criticism after a subdued performance against Romania.

Although involved in an early penalty incident, the Chelsea striker was substituted in the 67th minute having amassed just 24 touches and 19 passes – the lowest tallies recorded by any of Germany's starting outfield players – while also seeing both of his shots go off target.

Nevertheless, Gnabry was full of praise Werner's work rate and determination, insisting the former RB Leipzig star was simply unfortunate.

"We know there are periods when a striker doesn't always score," Gnabry said. "Then, there's criticism, but we stand behind Timo. 

"He did a good job in the last game; he missed a little bit of luck, but he's giving everything, and that's the most important thing.

"Timo is not [Robert] Lewandowski and not a classical striker, but he also has his qualities; he's quick and can also score goals."

Timo Werner can be "very satisfied" with his development at Chelsea, says Germany head coach Hansi Flick.

The 25-year-old joined Chelsea for a reported €50million (£45m) from RB Leipzig contract ahead of the 2020-21 season.

He endured a difficult debut campaign in English football, though the versatile attacker's 12 goals was the joint-most of any Chelsea player alongside Tammy Abraham.

After initially losing his place in the side this term following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, Werner has been a starter in Chelsea's last three domestic matches.

With two goals and an assist from eight appearances overall, Flick is pleased with Werner's form in a Chelsea shirt.

"Everyone has to take responsibility and show their own initiative," he said in a news conference ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Romania.

"As for the development of Timo at Chelsea: He can be very satisfied. 

"But of course Chelsea have a team that is not so easy to play for. Kai [Havertz] also experiences that. The team is top-notch and is of great quality. 

"That's why a professional's career means that you have to go through valleys like this."


Werner is part of Germany's squad as Flick's side look to tighten their grip on top spot in World Cup qualification Group J.

Germany won their first three qualifiers under new boss Flick last month, scoring 12 goals without conceding in victories over Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland.

That made Flick only the second Germany head coach to win three out of three without conceding to begin his tenure after predecessor Joachim Low. 

Focus now turns to the visit of Romania, who have also not conceded in their last three matches.

"Romania are a team that wants to play football," Flick said. "They have played the last three games without letting a goal in. 

"We have to be very intense and put our opponents under pressure.

"All our players are fit and healthy and we are happy. We have a couple of players for each position, so we are spoiled for choice. We have enormous quality in this squad.

"The atmosphere is good, with the young players fitting in well, and we have trained superbly."

Flick also confirmed at Thursday's pre-match news conference that Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Sule will start in defence against Romania.

What does the future hold for Erling Haaland?

The Borussia Dortmund forward is wanted across Europe.

However, Haaland could remain in Germany…

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR DORTMUND STAY?

Erling Haaland is a player in demand but he is not certain to leave Borussia Dortmund, according to Sport Bild.

Haaland has been tipped to depart Dortmund at the end of the season amid links with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

But Norwegian pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft suggests Haaland could remain at the Bundesliga outfit for longer than many expect.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sports Italian claims Fiorentina chairman Rocco Commisso is concerned whether star forward Dusan Vlahovic intends to sign a new contract with Viola. Contracted until 2023, the Serbia international has been in talks regarding a new deal as the likes of City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Inter reportedly circle.

- United are still backing under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Tuttomercatoweb reports Atletico have joined the race to sign Chelsea's Timo Werner, who has found himself behind Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge. Bayern and Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing Werner.

Madrid have been offered the chance to sign RB Leipzig Christopher Nkunku in 2022, says Mundo Deportivo.

Thomas Tuchel claimed he has "zero understanding" of some refereeing decisions in the Premier League after Chelsea defeated Southampton 3-1 on Saturday.

The reigning European champions took the lead through Trevoh Chalobah's second top-flight strike at Stamford Bridge with just his second shot.

James Ward-Prowse then became the fourth player to score and be sent off in the Premier League for Ralph Hasenhuttl's men, who were downed by late goals from Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell.

However, it could have been a much different game if Werner's first-half strike had not been ruled out for Cesar Azpilicueta's apparent foul on Kyle Walker-Peters, and Tuchel vented his frustrations after the match.

"Everybody tells me we will go back to English football, not whistle soft touches," Tuchel said to Sky Sports on Werner's disallowed goal.

"We are here in London, it's raining, it's an intensive match and it's not even after the situation [that the goal is scored].

"There's a chance and a second chance, there’s a shot and a cross and then we score from the second cross – how is this the decisive action for the goal?

"In this situation, I have absolutely zero understanding of how you can take the goal away."

Chelsea have scored the most first-half goals in the top flight this term (seven), though they had to rely on two late strikes to seal the three points.

Despite the frustrations surrounding VAR and officiating, Tuchel was pleased for Werner, who shone alongside Romelu Lukaku up top.

"In the end he [Werner] was he was where he needs to be," Tuchel said at his post-match news conference.

"When you have a ball from Ross [Barkley], the cross from Azpi [Azpilicueta], you need to be there as a striker."

Chelsea scored twice in the final 10 minutes to down 10-man Southampton 2-1 and move top of the Premier League on Saturday.

Trevoh Chalobah headed in the opening goal after just nine minutes at Stamford Bridge before Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both had first-half finishes disallowed.

James Ward-Prowse levelled things up from the penalty spot just after the hour-mark but his day ended abruptly as he was dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Jorginho with 13 minutes left to play.

Werner proved the late hero as he sneaked in at the back post to turn home Cesar Azpilicueta's low cross and Ben Chilwell added a late third to move the hosts two points clear at the summit.

Werner drilled the first chance of the contest into Alex McCarthy's legs but the goalkeeper was powerless to stop the opener five minutes later.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek latched onto Chilwell's corner to flick towards the back post where the unmarked Chalobah produced a simple diving header to score his second goal at home with just his second shot.

Ward-Prowse almost responded immediately for the visitors, but his half-volley angled narrowly wide before Theo Walcott inexplicably headed wide from point-blank range.

Lukaku then saw his left-footed strike ruled out for offside before Werner's headed goal was overturned for Cesar Azpilicueta's foul on Kyle Walker-Peters in the build-up.

Valentino Livramento came back to haunt his old side after the interval as he induced a foul from Chilwell to win a penalty, which Ward-Prowse duly tucked into the bottom-left corner.

Werner seemed a certainty to restore the hosts' lead but McCarthy raced out to produce an excellent stop before Ward-Prowse was sent off – after the consultation of VAR – for a reckless tackle on Jorginho.

Chelsea eventually made their numerical advantage count as Azpilicueta found space on the right to drill across for Werner to tap-in from close range.

Chilwell then added gloss to the result after Lukaku and Azpilicueta had hit the woodwork to volley home despite the best efforts of McCarthy.

Paris Saint-Germain continue to plan for Kylian Mbappe's potential departure. 

The Ligue 1 giants have been linked with several possible replacements. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest rumoured target.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE LEWANDOWSKI AS MBAPPE REPLACEMENT

With seemingly everyone expecting Kylian Mbappe to depart Paris Saint-Germain after the season, the club have been linked with several potential attacking options. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest, with Le10Sport reporting the Bayern Munich and Poland striker could make a lucrative move to PSG. 

The 33-year-old is under contract with Bayern through 2023, though, and could end up agreeing to a new deal to remain in the Bundesliga. 

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are set to take another run at Manchester United's Edinson Cavani during the January transfer window, says El Nacional. 

Andrea Pirlo and River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo are candidates to replace Ronald Koeman if he is sacked by Barcelona in the coming days, the Express reports. 

PSG are eyeing midfield help, with Inter's Nicolo Barella a possibility, according to Calciomercato, along with N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Franck Kessie.

Liverpool are interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, according to Calciomercato. 

Timo Werner could look to leave Chelsea if he does not receive more playing time the rest of the season, says the Telegraph.

It was almost as though Thomas Tuchel was trolling Pep Guardiola, picking three defensive midfielders and two strikers. 

Guardiola had paid a high price for leaving his water carriers out of May's Champions League final battle between these teams. On Friday, he pointedly stressed he would not complain about his squad, yet also acknowledged City lacked a lethal finisher in the mould of a Romelu Lukaku. 

But this was a day when Guardiola resoundingly won the tactical battle, inflicting a first defeat of the season on Tuchel's Chelsea, ending City's sequence of three successive defeats to the men in royal blue. 

Chelsea had last enjoyed a longer run of wins against City when they strung eight together from December 2005 to March 2009, the balance of power in English football being very different in that period. 

Now City are champions of the Premier League and have been so five times in the last 10 seasons, and, A-list striker or no A-list striker, they might just pull it off again. 

Tuchel put an inordinate level of trust in the Lukaku and Timo Werner frontline combination working, as they began a game together for the first time. That smacked of cavalier coaching, an uncalled-for tactical shift in the biggest match of Chelsea's season so far, disrupting the system that last week delivered a ruthless 3-0 win at Tottenham. 

By sacrificing a midfield berth, Chelsea could not compete with City in that area, and duly the supply to Lukaku and Werner was hopelessly inadequate. 

And how did the Lukaku-Werner combination work out across the 90 minutes? Werner played one pass that found his new £97.5million team-mate, and Lukaku did not find the German with the ball at all. 

The midfields were silk and sandpaper, City with all the finesse and Chelsea the industry, but whereas City had a little snap too, with Rodri selected in the anchor role, Chelsea were woefully short of invention, utterly reliant on their full-backs pushing forward. They wanted to strong-arm their way to victory, and instead their limitations were laid bare. 

"Champions of Europe, we know what we are", sang the Chelsea fans at kick-off, followed by "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that". 

Their songs soon fell flat. 

Guardiola left Rodri and Fernandinho out of his Champions League team, when at least one of them had played in 59 of City's 60 games up to that point of the 2020-21 season, and Chelsea got the better of a team lacking its usual steel. 

It was a decision that felt over-thought, Guardiola outwitting himself in his eagerness to surprise Chelsea. But Rodri was back here, helping to shield a defence that might have expected a busier afternoon. 

Of course N'Golo Kante started for Chelsea, after his starring role against City in that European showpiece, but did Chelsea really need both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic alongside him, leaving Kai Havertz, goal hero of the May final in Porto, and Hakim Ziyech on the bench? No ship requires three active anchors, and their inclusion suggested Tuchel had gone overboard. 

Chelsea had just 33.3 per cent of first-half possession, and that figure was bolstered by them seeing more of the ball in the final 10 minutes, having been under 30 per cent until then. 

City had six shots to Chelsea's one by the break, and the visitors were winning 56.3 per cent of the duels, Rodri finding his man with 41 of 42 passes by the break, also winning possession seven times, more than anyone. 

Come full-time, City led 15-5 on shots, 4-0 on shots on target, Rodri had completed 74 of his 78 passes (94.9 per cent) and finished with a team-high 10 possession wins. His presence was colossal, allowing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to rampage. 

Guardiola said City would "do it as a group" as they aim to come up with the goals a world-class striker might score. He missed out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, but in Gabriel Jesus he has a Brazil international who might just fancy showing his boss he can be a 20-goal hitman again. 

Chelsea were undone in the 53rd minute when Joao Cancelo's shot after a short-corner move only ran as far as Jesus, who turned sharply and fired, with the help of a deflection of Jorginho, into the bottom left corner. 

That was the first shot to hit the target in the match, Opta said, and there was almost a second City goal moments later when Grealish sidestepped Cesar Azpilicueta on the left and curled towards the far post, with Edouard Mendy's fingertips pushing the ball wide for a corner. 

Thiago Silva cleared off the line from Jesus, then Mendy denied Grealish late on as City pushed for the second goal they surely deserved. 

Chelsea had just 39.62 per cent of possession in the Champions League final but dominated the chances there, with an expected goals (xG) total of 1.45 to City's 0.45 reflecting their greater threat in the final third. 

Here, it was City with 1.45 xG against Chelsea's paltry 0.2, Guardiola getting one over the team who have given him plenty of anguish over the years, inflicting eight defeats, more than any other against a Pep side. 

Guardiola's players celebrated with their fans, who included Oasis' Noel Gallagher, tossing shirts into the crowd, knowing this time they and their coach had implemented a master plan. 

Thomas Tuchel has partnered Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku in the Chelsea attack from the start for the first time for the visit of Manchester City, who have a number of stars back fit.

Chelsea head into Saturday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge top of the table, three points ahead of champions City.

The Blues have beaten City in all three meetings since Tuchel took charge – including the Champions League final – and are looking to become the first side to defeat Pep Guardiola in four consecutive matches.

But Tuchel has mixed things up for this game, shifting from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 formation, including N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in central midfield after the trio excelled in the second half of last week's 3-0 win at Tottenham.

Most notably, that switch has created space for Werner in the front line next to record signing Lukaku.

Werner assisted Antonio Rudiger's strike at Spurs and then scored in the midweek EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa, as he aims to build on a disappointing 2020-21 campaign in which his 12 goals hugely underperformed his 21.1 expected goals.

The Germany forward and Lukaku have only previously played 61 minutes together so far in all competitions, although Chelsea have netted two goals and conceded none in that time.

Thiago Silva – outstanding at Tottenham – only made Tuchel's bench, but Edouard Mendy was passed fit to start in goal, facing an attack-minded City line-up.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden each came in for their first league starts of the season, yet it was Gabriel Jesus – playing from the right in the early stages of the campaign – who looked set to lead the line.

Guardiola had named a different midfield for all three prior meetings with Tuchel's Chelsea in 2021 but has reverted back to Rodri, who started the league defeat.

In a familiar 4-3-3, Aymeric Laporte was also cleared to line up alongside Ruben Dias.

Timo Werner said it was good to be back on the scoresheet after finding the back of the net for the first time this season in Chelsea's EFL Cup third-round triumph over Aston Villa.

Chelsea overcame Villa 4-3 on penalties at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with Reece James netting the decisive spot-kick following a 1-1 draw.

Werner – now in the shadow of star recruit Romelu Lukaku – opened the scoring in the 54th minute – only his fifth goal of 2021, though Villa's Cameron Archer equalised 10 minutes later midweek.

After scoring his first Chelsea goal since May's Champions League fixture against Real Madrid, Germany international Werner revelled in the performance.

"I feel good [hearing people sing my name]. It is good to be back on the scoresheet of course," Werner told Chelsea's Fifth Stand App.

"We needed to keep winning and get into the next round of the EFL Cup and we are happy with the game.

"A goal opens the game, the first half, both teams were passive and struggled with all their changes. I think when we scored in the second half we were under a lot of pressure and lost control, went to 1-1 and after that we showed a good reaction. We wanted to win in 90 minutes and were lucky to win on penalties."

Werner was not involved in the shoot-out and he explained his absence.

"First of all, I had pain in my calf and couldn't go out," Werner said. "When you have fit players on the pitch, it is better they shoot than I do today."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel – whose side will face Southampton in the fourth round – added: "We brought him into a situation where he can score, this is what we want, and then it's on him to score.

"That's why he is here. It's the best feeling for a striker to score."

Timo Werner is "in a good way" ahead of Chelsea's EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa after taking "a big step forward" at Tottenham, Thomas Tuchel says.

Germany international Werner endured a difficult first season in England, although head coach Tuchel only arrived halfway through the campaign.

The former RB Leipzig forward was a regular, playing in 52 matches and making 44 starts across all competitions, as Chelsea won the Champions League.

But Werner's form in front of goal was repeatedly called into question as he hit the net just 12 times from 118 shots worth a combined 21.1 expected goals.

Converting just 10.2 per cent of his chances and scoring once every 319 minutes, this profligacy led to the Blues splashing out a club-record fee on Romelu Lukaku.

The arrival of Lukaku has restricted Werner to only two starts this term, although he did get his first assist of the season in Sunday's 3-0 win at Tottenham having come off the bench to partner the Belgium striker.

The wait for a first goal in 2021-22 goes on, but Werner is set to get an opportunity against Villa in the third round of the EFL Cup and has Tuchel's backing.

"He can play with Romelu, that is sure," Tuchel told a news conference. "He did very well in Tottenham, the last 25 minutes, 30 minutes of the match, that gave us a clear impression of how dangerous these two can also be together.

"There was some disappointment to brush off his shoulders from the Euros during the summer and from the first games.

"I think he was not happy with the performances in the beginning, and we were not absolutely happy, because we know that he can be much more dangerous and much more of an attacking threat than he was.

"But the stuff that you don't see... I see him in the last training sessions more relaxed, more fluid in his movements, with more confidence, and that's why we put him on earlier against Tottenham.

"We saw his development. There are clear signs he is in a good way, and I hope he can show and prove it tomorrow."

Werner had only one attempt of his own against Spurs, which Hugo Lloris saved, although he should have had another, played in by Lukaku but taking too long to shoot and allowing Emerson Royal to recover.

Lukaku wore a pained expression as the chance went begging, but Tuchel again took the positives from that incident.

"It shows also how Romelu is. It shows that he knows how a striker feels that lacks goals," he said.

"For me, the most important was that Timo was in better positions. We had him again in dangerous positions around Romelu, and he was not too far out on the pitch, he was actually in and around the box.

"He had his chances in the box, and later he had the assist, which was well done also within the box.

"This is more important, and more important is how he trains, not only in pure quality of training but also in the attitude. At the moment, he moves more free in his movements and his decision-making is with more confidence.

"Sometimes it needs time, and sometimes you don't have one particular reason why things look a bit more easy. Timo is in this moment, and hopefully he also can push himself now and keep this momentum going.

"Everybody is happy if he can show his skills in front of goal and can be dangerous, because this is what we want and this is why he's here: to be dangerous, to score goals, of course, and also to assist, to create more open spaces with aggressive runs.

"This was a big step forward in the last game against Tottenham."

Tuchel also suggested Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez could feature at home to Villa, as he gives "important minutes" to players who need them, but Edouard Mendy remains out.

Could Jurgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski be set to work together again?

The pair enjoyed a successful partnership at Borussia Dortmund.

Now, Klopp is reportedly trying to lure the Bayern Munich forward to Liverpool.

 

TOP STORY – KLOPP WANTS LEWANDOWSKI REUNION

Liverpool are targeting Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to Fichajes.

Lewandowski worked with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund before joining Bundesliga rivals Bayern in 2014.

There has been talk Lewandowski could be ready for a new challenge amid links to Real Madrid and Manchester City, though Klopp is reportedly determined to reunite with the Poland international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild claims Dortmund have identified Chelsea forward Timo Werner as a possible option to replace Erling Haaland. Club are queueing up to sign Haaland, with City, Manchester United, Bayern, Liverpool, Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested. Should Haaland leave Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit reportedly see former RB Leipzig star Werner as a potential successor.

- Fabrizio Romano says Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is nearing a contract extension at San Siro. He has reportedly turned down offers from Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern, Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham are interested in Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, reports Calciomercato.

Chelsea are looking to sign Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to new contracts, according to Romano.

Bernd Leno's future at Emirates Stadium is up in the air.

Aaron Ramsdale's arrival, on a deal that could reach a reported £30million, put Leno's first-choice position in jeopardy.

The 29-year-old German joined Arsenal in 2018 and has been number one since.

TOP STORY - ARSENAL CONSIDERS LENO SALE

Arsenal are contemplating selling German goalkeeper Leno next year following Ramsdale's arrival, claims the Daily Mail.

Ramsdale was selected ahead of Leno in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday after the German had an indifferent start to the season

The report claims there is little chance Arsenal will sell Leno in January but that the Gunners signed Ramsdale believing he may usurp the German by the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- As Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid circle, Paul Pogba is leaning towards extending his stay with Manchester United claims The Athletic. The report cites Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at United on Pogba's thinking.

- West Ham United have placed a £100 million price tag on in-demand Declan Rice with  Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all jostling for his signature according to Football.London.

- French midfielder Thomas Lemar is expendable following Antoine Griezmann's arrival and could be sold by Spanish champions Atletico Madrid claims Todo Fichajes. Atletico wants to raise transfer funds to bolster their squad.

- Football Insider claims that Bayern Munich are already working on signing Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner next year, with a January move not ruled out.

- Chelsea will open talks with England international midfielder Mason Mount on a new long-term deal according to 90min.

- Arsenal target Houssem Aouar will not leave Olympique Lyon mid-season reports Todo Fichajes.

Paul Pogba will be in demand when his contract expires after this season.

While several big clubs are in the mix, one has reportedly taken the lead.

The Santiago Bernabeu could be Pogba's next home.

 

TOP STORY - REAL MADRID WANT POGBA

Real Madrid are confident they can land Paul Pogba on a free transfer after this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. 

The interest apparently is mutual, as the report says Pogba would favour a move to Los Blancos over interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus

The deal might not be so easy to close if Manchester United decide to sell Pogba during the January window, but he remains a top target for Madrid either way.

 

ROUND-UP

- After failing to find a landing spot in Europe following his departure from Arsenal, veteran centre-back David Luiz will join Flamengo through the end of 2022, according to reports by Fabrizio Romano and Goal Brazil. 

- Alexandre Lacazette appears on the way out at Arsenal after the Gunners made a significant effort to sign Tammy Abraham during the transfer window, Romano reports. 

- Chelsea and Bayern Munich could pursue a swap deal that sends Timo Werner back to Germany and brings Leroy Sane back to the Premier League, according to Todo Fichajes.

- Everton will make another attempt to prise Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal during the January window, ESPN reports.

- Ajax defender Jurrien Timber is drawing interest from Chelsea and Tottenham, according to 90min. 

Hansi Flick knows Germany must play with more confidence in front of goal after a wasteful performance in what was still a comfortable victory over Liechtenstein.

Germany won 2-0 in Flick's first game as coach on Thursday but would have expected a greater cushion given their dominance.

Flick's team had 30 attempts in total and controlled 85.3 per cent of the possession, though only Timo Werner and Leroy Sane found a way through.

On Sunday, Group J leaders Armenia visit Stuttgart for Flick's first home game since he took over as Germany coach.

"We created three or four good chances at the start; however, we were lacking confidence in front of goal. We need to get that back," Flick said in a pre-match news conference on Saturday, reflecting on the trip to Liechtenstein.

"We coaches are of course not blind either, we are not there to talk things through nicely. In terms of the goalscoring against Liechtenstein, we cannot be satisfied with a result of 2-0.

"At the beginning of a path that you take as a coach with a team, other things are decisive. That was important to me.

"We've got some important games coming up, so it was good to get used to one another. As a result, the starting XI won't change much. Our main aim was nine points from these three matches, and it still is."

With Flick promising few changes, it should mean another start for Werner, who came through the ranks at Stuttgart before moving to RB Leipzig and then Chelsea.

"Sometimes you win a game like that one against Liechtenstein 8-0 because the first few chances go in," said Werner, who is relishing the opportunity to play in his home city.

"On other occasions, however, you only win 2-0. The time will come again where we score two goals from a half-chance.

"Us Swabians are known for being a bit critical, but we love our football. We need to show tomorrow that we're all good players. If we do that, the Stuttgart locals will go home happy."

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