Cologne bring in Markus Gisdol as part of reshuffle

Markus Gisdol has been confirmed as the new head coach of lowly Cologne, while Horst Heldt takes over as sporting director

Bundesliga strugglers Cologne have announced Markus Gisdol as their new head coach, while Horst Heldt has been appointed sporting director.

Gisdol has signed a contract that runs until June 2021 and replaces the recently sacked Achim Beierlorzer, who returned to work on Monday with German top-flight rivals Mainz.

Beierlorzer lost his final four games at the helm to leave Cologne 17th and at risk of relegation from the top tier.

Gisdol will be joined by a new sporting director in Heldt, who has also penned a one-and-a-half-year deal, in the hope major changes can lead to an upturn in fortunes.

 

Former Hoffenheim and Hamburg boss Gisdol told the club’s official website: “Cologne is a top club in German football.

“The current situation is not easy, but I know these challenges and I am totally convinced that we can overcome these. I want to help the team as quickly as possible, to come back to their undoubted potential.”

Cologne return to action after the international break with a trip to second-place RB Leipzig at the weekend.

 

Achim Beierlorzer takes Mainz job nine days after Cologne sacking

Achim Beierlorzer

Sacked by Cologne earlier this month, Achim Beierlorzer has now been appointed by Mainz as their new head coach.

Achim Beierlorzer has been named the new Mainz head coach just nine days after being sacked by Bundesliga rivals Cologne.

The 51-year-old has signed a contract until the end of the 2021-22 season, having been dismissed by Cologne in the wake of a four-game losing run that started with a 3-1 loss to Mainz last month.

Beierlorzer takes over from Sandro Schwarz, who departed after a 3-2 home defeat to Union Berlin that left Mainz in 16th place in the table.

“It’s funny how football can work out; a week ago I was still at Cologne and now I’m head coach here at Mainz,” Beierlorzer told his new club’s website. “Things can happen quickly in this business, especially when you come to an agreement so easily.

“Mainz is a special club with a great history, which I really respect. It’s a team with a very clear football philosophy and it’s one I totally agree with – we want to play a fast game with lots of running and we want to play with a lot of passion. That’s how we want to entertain our fans.

“I am looking forward to getting to know my team and the rest of the club and I am excited to become a part of the Mainz family.”

Beierlorzer’s first match in charge will be away to Hoffenheim – the team he faced in his final game with Cologne – on Sunday.

Gladbach star Denis Zakaria won’t leave in January amid United & Inter links – agent

Defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria, 22, has no plans to leave Borussia Monchengladbach before the end of the season.

Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria will not be leaving the Bundesliga leaders in January, according to his agent.

Zakaria has been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, as well as Serie A side Inter and German champions Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

But the 22-year-old defensive midfielder has no plans to leave Gladbach before the end of the season.

“Denis will not leave Borussia in the winter, a change is 100 per cent excluded,” Mathieu Beda told Sport BILD.

“Denis is in very good shape in Gladbach and has been playing really well for weeks, but he still has more potential and he wants to show that in Gladbach now instead of dealing with a change.”

Switzerland international Zakaria swapped Young Boys for Monchengladbach in 2017.

Zakaria has scored two goals in 11 matches as Gladbach top the Bundesliga table by four points during the international break.

Reports: Liverpool rule out signing Kylian Mbappe, will focus on Manchester United target instead

Reports: Liverpool rule out signing Kylian Mbappe, will focus on Manchester United target instead

The latest word around the rumour mill is that Premier League giants Liverpool have ruled out the signing of Paris Saint Germain (PSG) ace Kylian Mbappe – as they have decided to focus on Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho instead. Sancho is also a target for Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United.

It is Express that reports that Liverpool boss Klopp is keen to battle with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Sancho’s signing. The Dortmund star has netted four goals and provided eight assists so far in the ongoing 2019-20 season.

The news that the Reds are targeting the 19-year-old, comes as a major blow to both Manchester United and Real Madrid, who are also known to be keen on acquiring his signature.

The Red Devils’ lack of Champions League action could discourage Sancho from playing for them, also making Jurgen Klopp and co an automatic choice as a result.

And Real Madrid simply cannot compete financially with Liverpool, claims Express’ reports.

Earlier, on Saturday, it was also claimed that Dortmund have named an asking price of £120million (€140million) for the player.

He joined the German side from Manchester City in 2017, for a reported transfer fee of just €7.84million. Since then, he has made 71 appearances for the Bundesliga giants, scoring 18 goals and providing 31 assists.

Xabi Alonso: I left Real Madrid because of Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola was behind Xabi Alonso’s decision to leave Real Madrid for Bayern Munich in 2014, the former Spain international has said.

Xabi Alonso has revealed he left Real Madrid for Bayern Munich because he was “curious” to find out Pep Guardiola’s coaching secrets.

The 37-year-old swapped clubs in 2014 after five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he won six major trophies.

Alonso left Madrid three months after helping them to Champions League glory and went on to spend three years with Bayern before announcing his playing retirement.

Explaining his reasons for wanting to leave the Spanish giants, Alonso told The Athletic: “I was so curious to find out [Guardiola’s] secrets.

“He has a relentless natural enthusiasm. Football seasons are long but right until the very end, Pep never seemed to be tired.

“He was alert, always ready. For the players, maybe this gave us an extra few metres in our legs when it mattered most.”

Alonso, who took over as Real Sociedad B head coach in June, also praised the work of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

The former Spain international, who played against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side during his time at Madrid and Bayern, said: “I didn’t enjoy playing against them because they made it so intense, you’d almost break.

“It was like he wanted you to be in a cage. He wanted to trap you. There was an organised pressure. I was under pressure all the time.

“I enjoyed the mood around those games because they were so important but the challenge of beating Dortmund was immense.”

Bayern Munich president targets top head coach amid links to ‘great’ Guardiola

Former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola

Following his induction as Bayern Munich president, Herbert Hainer gave a warm endorsement of Pep Guardiola’s managerial abilities.

Bayern Munich’s new president has praised Pep Guardiola and vowed the club will target the best possible candidate for the vacant head coach position.

Herbert Hainer formally succeeded Uli Hoeness as president at Friday’s AGM, assuming the role amid the search for a full-time replacement for Niko Kovac.

Hansi Flick will continue in a caretaker capacity for at least the rest of 2019 while the Bundesliga champions weigh up their options.

Guardiola – along with Erik ten Hag and Thomas Tuchel – is one of three men being considered, according to Sport Bild, and Hainer has great respect for the Catalan, whose contract with Manchester City runs until 2021.

“The board of directors will try to get the best coach for Bayern Munich,” Hainer said, as quoted by Sport1.

“When I say the best, it means, on one hand, a coach who we want to have and, on the other, one who is available.

“Pep Guardiola is a great coach but he has a contract with Manchester City.

“For now I would say, let’s wait until the board comes to us. Then we will deal with the options. But in principle, we want to have the best coach at Bayern Munich.”

 

Guardiola spent three seasons in charge of Bayern before leaving for Premier League side City in 2016.

The Bavarians won three Bundesliga titles and lifted the DFB-Pokal twice during his time at the helm.

Reports say Manchester United devise Erling Haaland plan ahead of double swoop

Salzburg striker Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho are in Manchester United’s sights as January approaches.

Manchester United have hatched a plan that could help bring Erling Haaland to Old Trafford.

The Premier League side are reportedly contemplating a compromise that will curry favour with Salzburg, the young star’s present employers.

Considered the favourites in that chase, United also appear set to jump the queue for another of Europe’s most admired teenage talents.

TOP STORY – UNITED WILLING TO WAIT FOR HAALAND

Manchester United are prepared to consider loaning Erling Haaland straight back to Salzburg if a deal can be struck in January, such is their determination to land the sought-after striker.

According to ESPN, United could allow Haaland to stay in Austria until the end of the season in an attempt to defuse a potential bidding war.

Spanish newspaper AS suggest the Red Devils are “pushing the hardest” for the 19-year-old, who has been valued at €100million – a figure that might price even Real Madrid out of the market.

ROUND-UP

– United are unlikely to stop at Haaland when the transfer window reopens. The club are weighing up whether to bring forward a planned end-of-season approach for Jadon Sancho in order to capitalise on uncertainty over the winger’s Borussia Dortmund future, reports The Guardian.

– Juventus are becoming concerned about the increasing level of interest from Spain and England in highly rated Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions could be forced to make a move sooner rather than later as his suitors gain in number and his price tag rises above €40m.

– That sum, Calciomercato claims, is the minimum Juve will demand for out-of-favour defenders Daniele Rugani and Merih Demiral. Both players have been linked to Arsenal.

– Boca Juniors are eyeing another showpiece signing. Argentina-based football journalist Martin Castilla told CNN Deportes the South American giants are keen on luring Luis Suarez away from Barcelona. San Lorenzo vice-president Marcelo Tinelli expressed interest in the 32-year-old earlier in the week.

– Returning to Serie A and it looks like Wojciech Szczesny will be staying in Turin. Sky Sport Italia reporter Gianluca Di Marzio says the Polish goalkeeper has agreed a contract extension with Juve through to 2024.

Herbert Hainer confirmed as new Bayern Munich president

Uli Hoeness’ presidency at Bayern Munich is officially at an end, with Herbert Hainer confirmed as his successor.

Herbert Hainer has been confirmed as the new president of Bayern Munich.

The former Adidas CEO was nominated by Uli Hoeness as his successor in August when the former Bayern star announced he would be stepping down.

Hoeness was given a standing ovation at Bayern’s annual general meeting on Friday, the final day of his presidency at the Allianz Arena.

The 67-year-old, who will continue in his role with the club’s supervisory board until November 2023, has been associated with Bayern for 49 years.

Hoeness was a prominent player until injury forced him to retire at the age of 27, after which he took over as the club’s general manager.

His presidency has brought about 21 major trophies, including the treble of 2012-13 and seven Bundesliga titles in a row.

He resigned in 2014 after being sentenced to three and a half years in prison for tax evasion but was re-elected unopposed in November 2016, nine months after his release.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge backed Hainer to be a worthy new president, and praised his own future successor as chief executive, Oliver Kahn, who is due to assume that role in 2022.

Speaking at the AGM, Rummenigge said: “I am sure that with these great personalities at the top, there is no need to worry about the future of Bayern.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Hansi Flick to remain interim Bayern Munich coach for rest of 2019

Bayern Munich will remain under the stewardship of Hansi Flick for the rest of 2019 and possibly beyond

Hansi Flick will remain interim Bayern Munich coach for at least the rest of 2019, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge announced on Friday.

Bayern placed Flick in charge after Niko Kovac left the post in the wake of a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt – their heaviest Bundesliga loss since April 2009 – on November 2.

The former Germany assistant coach led Bayern to a 2-0 Champions League victory over Olympiacos in his first match at the helm and followed it up with a 4-0 Klassiker crushing of Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

The performances earned Flick the confidence of Rummenigge, outgoing president Uli Hoeness and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“Uli, Hasan and I publicly announced after the Dortmund match Hansi would be our coach until further notice,” Rummenigge said at Bayern’s annual general meeting.

“[On Thursday] we decided that he will be coach at least until Christmas and possibly beyond. We trust Hansi Flick.”

 

A host of candidates were linked with the position after Kovac departed.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag ruled himself out of immediate contention, while former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick reportedly turned down an approach from the Bavarian giants.

Pep Guardiola, Massimiliano Allegri and Jose Mourinho have all been touted as potential long-term targets, as was Arsene Wenger until being appointed FIFA’s chief of global football development this week.

Reports: Manchester United asking price for Jadon Sancho revealed

Reports: Manchester United asking price for Jadon Sancho revealed

According to reports, Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund have named an asking price of £120million (€140million) for Jadon Sancho, amidst interest from Manchester United.

It is Mirror that claims that Dortmund have demanded the £120million transfer fee for the England international, as they are ready to part ways with him next summer.

Sancho joined the German side from Manchester City in 2017, for a reported transfer fee of just €7.84million. Since then, he has made 71 appearances for the Bundesliga giants, scoring 18 goals and providing 31 assists.

This season alone, he has recorded four goals and eights assists till date, from just 16 appearances.

Earlier, on Thursday, it was reported that the 19-year-old was getting ready to leave his current employers at the end of the ongoing 2019-20 season.

He was fined £86,000 and was also dropped for Dortmund’s recent Bundesliga fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach after returning late from international duty, during October

Sancho was also forced to report for extra training alone, and last week, manager Lucien Favre scolded him publicly after he was substituted just 36 minutes into their clash against Bayern Munich – which they lost 4-0.

Meanwhile, as reports of his exit from Germany are gaining pace, Manchester United have emerged the leaders in the transfer race to sign him next summer.

Liverpool, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) are also interested in the winger, as per various sources.

Reports: Mauricio Pochettino ‘furious’ with Tottenham Hotspur for failure to sign Barcelona star

Reports: Mauricio Pochettino 'furious' with Tottenham Hotspur for failure to sign Barcelona star

According to reports, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is “furious” with the club’s board, including Chairman Daniel Levy, for failing to sign Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho during the summer.

Express claims that Pochettinho wanted to bring the Brazilian back to the Premier League, nearly 20 months after he left Liverpool to join Barcelona.

But Daniel Levy and co were apparently not so keen as Pochettino – and eventually, Bundesliga defending champions Bayern Munich signed him on a season-long loan. And what’s even worse for the North Londoners, is the fact that Coutinho also played the full match as Bayern sunk them by a scoreline of 7-2 in the Champions League.

According to The Sun, the board’s failure to pursue a deal for the versatile attacker has not gone down well with Pochettino.

The Argentine manager, who is a target for both Real Madrid and Manchester United ahead of the upcoming 2020-21 season, strongly believed that the Barcelona ace would solve a lot of his current side’s attacking woes.

Later during the transfer window, Spurs also failed to complete the signing of Paulo Dybala from Juventus.

However, they were still able to land Giovani Lo Celso on loan from Real Betis – and they are likely to sign him on a permanent deal next summer.

Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are playing at Robert Lewandowski’s level – Timo Werner

Robert Lewandowski is playing “in the category of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo”, says Bundesliga rival Timo Werner.

Timo Werner acknowledges he has little hope of outscoring Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga this season, as the Bayern Munich forward’s form can only be matched by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

RB Leipzig striker Werner has scored an impressive 11 league goals so far in 2019-20, yet he lags behind the remarkable Lewandowski.

The Bayern and Poland superstar has struck 16 times in the Bundesliga and leads the way among players in Europe’s top leagues this season, with 23 goals in 18 games in all competitions – including in each top-flight and Champions League match.

Indeed, Werner believes only all-time greats Messi and Ronaldo can reach the extraordinary standards set by Lewandowski.

“It’s hard [to be top-scorer],” Werner told a news conference on Thursday.

“When you score two goals against Hertha Berlin and then watch the game evening game, having scored four or three goals less than Robert Lewandowski this season, and he scores twice against Borussia Dortmund…

“Against whom is he not going to score? That’s very hard.

 

“How he is playing at the moment, maybe only one or two players on the planet are on this level. That’s the category of Messi and Ronaldo.”

Werner was speaking alongside Germany team-mate Joshua Kimmich on international duty.

The duo each came through the Stuttgart academy before moving on to Leipzig, but Werner claimed he was not discussing a next move with Bayern’s Kimmich, despite repeated talk of him switching to the Allianz Arena.

“We don’t really talk about it at all,” he said. “It was also a coincidence that I came to Leipzig when he was there. I don’t imitate everything that Joshua Kimmich does.

“If he goes to Real Madrid, I’m not going to Real Madrid also. Leipzig was the perfect step for me as well as for him.

“He took the step to Bayern Munich relatively early, which was also a good step. Now I’m still a player at Leipzig. That was the right step for me.

“I don’t know what the future will bring. But I won’t imitate Joshua and go wherever he is.”

RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban out until 2020

RB Leipzig will finish the first half of the Bundesliga season without captain Willi Orban, who has undergone knee surgery.

RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban has been ruled out until 2020 due to a knee injury, the Bundesliga club have confirmed.

The 27-year-old has undergone an arthroscopy to correct a problem and will be sidelined until after the mid-season break.

Orban is set to miss the league matches with Cologne, Paderborn, Hoffenheim, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg.

He will also be unavailable for the Champions League games against Benfica and Lyon, with Leipzig top of Group G on nine points from four matches.

The Hungary defender has made 14 appearances in all competitions for Julian Nagelsmann’s side this season, scoring once.

Leipzig, who are four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach in the table, begin the second half of the Bundesliga campaign at home to Union Berlin on January 18.

Jann-Fiete Arp injured again two days after returning to Bayern Munich training

Bayern Munich winger Jann-Fiete Arp

Jann-Fiete Arp must wear a cast after damaging his left arm on his return to Bayern Munich training following wrist surgery.

Bayern Munich youngster Jann-Fiete Arp has been diagnosed with another injury just two days after returning to full training with the Bundesliga champions.

The 19-year-old, who joined from Hamburg in July, was welcomed back to a team session at Sabener Strasse on Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on a broken left wrist in September.

However, the forward is now expected to be sidelined for a time after damaging his left forearm.

Bayern confirmed on Thursday that scans showed Arp had suffered “minor damage to the radial bone in his left forearm during training”, adding that he will need to wear a cast.

The Germany youth international has yet to make a competitive senior appearance for Bayern, although he was an unused substitute for the 1-1 league draw with RB Leipzig in September and the DFL-Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund in August.