England lock George Kruis insists he is not kissing goodbye to his international career after securing a move to Japan.

The 30-year-old will leave Saracens to join up with Panasonic Wild Knights later this year, he has confirmed.

He may be ineligible for England selection while playing his club rugby overseas, with coach Eddie Jones usually limited to selecting home-based players.

However, Kruis, capped 45 times by his country, told BBC Radio Five Live: "This is not international retirement."

Former Japan national team coach Jones looks likely to keep the England door open for Kruis, whose move is reportedly an initial one-year switch.

It remains to be seen whether any exception could be made, given Kruis is leaving a Saracens side who will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of this season as punishment for salary-cap breaches.

Quoted by i News, Jones said: "I wish George all the best for his move to Japan. We had some discussions about his club rugby and I think this offers him the opportunity for a different rugby and cultural experience which will allow him to continue to grow and develop as a player and as an individual.

"George is a tough, well-respected member of our [England] team and I respect his decision."

Kruis will be joined in the Wild Knights ranks by 32-year-old Wales international Hadleigh Parkes, another new addition.

Speaking of what lies ahead, Kruis told his new team's website: "I am extremely excited and honoured to take on this new challenge and chapter in my career, joining [coach] Robbie Deans and the team at Panasonic Wild Knights at what is a really exciting time for rugby in Japan, following the tremendous World Cup they hosted last year.

"I'm taking on new challenges in my career. I'm really looking forward to what I can do."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "We wish George every success in the future. He will always be considered a central figure in everything that has been accomplished at Saracens."

Bayern Munich were taking on Borussia Dortmund in an all-Bundesliga Champions League final at Wembley after respectively dispatching Barcelona and Real Madrid.

And yet, much of the pre-match attention and soap opera in 2013 concerned a player who would not play, with some dark murmurings even questioning how fully his battle for fitness had been fought.

"The final was my big goal and in the past weeks I have battled hard for it," said Mario Gotze, Dortmund's sparkling 20-year-old forward. "I am unbelievably sorry that I will not be able to help the team in this important match."

The sincerity of that apology was questioned because, on the eve of the semi-final against Madrid, it emerged the jewel in Jurgen Klopp's BVB and German football's great hope would join Bayern after having his €37million release clause triggered.

"We don't know why the people who have leaked this have done so at such a delicate time. We can only speculate but we are all making the same suppositions," Klopp said in a barely-veiled swipe at Bayern.

After hammering Madrid 4-1 in the first leg – Robert Lewandowski scoring all four – Dortmund were hit by Gotze pulling his hamstring during the early stages of the return at the Santiago Bernabeu. It proved to be the last game of his first spell at the club and he looked on as his team-mates lost 2-1 to his colleagues of the near future.

Seven years on, Gotze is back at Dortmund having tasted the highest high football can offer and endured wretched lows. Again, an announcement has been made regarding an exit from Signal Iduna Park and he is unlikely to play against Bayern on Tuesday. Only this time, those twin factors bring shrugs rather than shrieks.

DORTMUND'S GOLDEN CHILD

Gotze was not the first player to cross the Klassiker divide and Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels would soon follow his lead.

But this defection cut deep because 'Super Mario' was one of their own – a youth product who arrived as an eight-year-old and progressed to give Klopp's gegenpressing machine an irresistible x-factor.

He also seemed to revel in tormenting Bayern.

Gotze claimed two assists as Dortmund won 3-1 at the Allianz Arena in 2011, their first away victory in the fixture for 20 years.

That result extinguished any remaining doubt that Klopp's men were on course for the title. The following season, Bayern opened up an early five-point lead, only for Gotze to score the only goal in the corresponding fixture and ignite a successful Bundesliga defence.

Jupp Heynckes' treble-bound stars emphatically reasserted themselves in 2012-13, although Gotze crashed home an equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at the Allianz.

These repeated successes on enemy territory underlined what a crushing blow his loss was for Dortmund. However, for Gotze – a player dubbed the 'German Messi' who was ready to team up with Messi's mentor – it was impossible to see any downside.

 

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

On his return to Signal Iduna Park in November 2013, Gotze came off the bench to a furious barracking with the Klassiker locked at 0-0.

A swipe of his right boot opened the scoring, with all other Bayern players deliriously mobbing the non-celebrating man of the moment. Late strikes from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller closed out a 3-0 victory and Pep Guardiola's side did not look back on a procession to the Bundesliga title.

That goal under such white-hot scrutiny would have been the highlight of any normal season.

But on July 13, 2014 at the Maracana, Gotze coolly chested down Andre Schurrle's cross and diverted a left-footed volley past Sergio Romero to give Germany a 1-0 win over Argentina in the World Cup final.

Messi and others were reduced to tears on the turf and Gotze was the toast of world football, partying with Rhianna in Rio.

His was a career heading for the stars, although a closer examination of life in Munich pointed towards the problems to come.

STRUGGLES UNDER PEP

Gotze's depiction as a Bayern flop is unfair if you look purely at the individual numbers he returned and three successive Bundesliga medals he pocketed.

An injury-ruined final season in Bavaria in 2015-16 preceded a cut-price return to Dortmund and did much to fuel that perception. Ultimately, the boundless promise of his early years means Gotze being merely good felt like failure.

The goal to break Dortmund hearts was one of 10 in 27 Bundesliga appearances in 2013-14, with 20 of those starts. Nine in 32 followed before he was restricted to 11 league starts in his and Guardiola's final season at the Allianz Arena.

"Technically, [Guardiola] was a tremendous asset," Gotze told DAZN in 2018, in an interview where he described Klopp as his "footballing father".

"But he is very focused on the game and doesn't think about players outside of his plan. He didn't have much empathy, and empathy is part of being a world-class coach."

Despite hard work on the part of both men, the marriage of superstar coach and star signing never truly clicked. The prospect of Gotze becoming Bayern's Messi in the false nine role vanished when Lewandowski arrived to provide his more traditional and prolific take on centre-forward duties.

There was another Klassiker goal in a 5-1 thumping of Dortmund in 2015 but, tellingly, Gotze did not start any of the six Champions League semi-final matches that came to define Guardiola's Bayern reign. In each leg of the 2016 aggregate loss to Atletico Madrid, he was an unused substitute.

Dortmund welcomed back their prodigal son with open arms, although the injury problems that dogged him at Bayern would not go away.

 

INJURY, ILLNESS AND FALSE DAWNS

The last of Gotze's 16 appearances in 2016-17 came in January. A month later he was withdrawn from training indefinitely due to a metabolic disorder.

It explained his persistent injuries and struggles with weight gain, making fools of those suspecting foul play at Wembley back in 2013. With the problem identified, there was optimism over rehabilitation and redemption.

Only, when Gotze returned, he did so to a Dortmund team in disarray.

The trauma of the nail bomb attack on their team bus before a Champions League quarter-final showdown with Monaco in 2017 preceded Thomas Tuchel's messy exit as head coach.

Peter Bosz followed as form collapsed midway through 2017-18 and Gotze endured an uneasy relationship with interim boss Peter Stoger.

"We took issue with Mario because he didn't do any of the things he was told to do," the coach said after substituting the forward at half-time as Dortmund crashed out of the Europa League.

Lucien Favre succeeded Stoger and has overseen a rejuvenation that places Dortmund, once more, with a shot at ending Bayern's supremacy heading into Tuesday's Klassiker.

But this is a team fired by the youthful brilliance of Achraf Hakimi, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland. A team that looks like the future Gotze once was. A team he last started for in December and who he will leave on a free transfer at the end of this season.

"Right now, we are playing in 3-4-3 formation. So, I have been talking to Mario Gotze, and unfortunately, this is not the right system for him," Favre said before he duly served as an unused substitute during Saturday's 2-0 win at Wolfsburg.

The explanation does not really stand up to scrutiny when considering Julian Brandt's dazzling playmaking display in the recent 4-0 demolition of Schalke, nominally on the right of a front three but wreaking havoc all over the place through intelligent movement and silky touches.

At his best, Gotze could do likewise to the sturdiest defences. But he is a long way from those heights, or the fearless youngster who dribbled with pace and menace. Joachim Low has bemoaned the passing of that version and of a player he has capped once since 2016.

Therein lies the sadness in Gotze's forlorn exit from Der Klassiker, a fixture he once threatened to dominate. He seemingly had it all and at 27, soon to be without a club, you ruefully wonder how much he has left.

Mike Tyson's first opponent in the heavyweight boxing superstar's attempted comeback could be a UFC Hall of Famer.

Tito Ortiz claims he has been approached to fight the 53-year-old former undisputed world champion and says a clash with Tyson could break pay-per-view records.

Mixed martial arts veteran Ortiz, 45, said he was unexpectedly asked about the prospect of taking on 'Iron Mike'.

He told TMZ: "I was watching Mike Tyson hit pads with one of my old trainers and Tyson was like the old Tyson, fast and speed and powerful and I was like, 'Wow, Tyson's going to make a comeback?'.

"And all of a sudden, two days later, I get a phone call, and someone starts asking me, 'What do you think about fighting Mike Tyson?'.

"I was like, 'Really? This is the opportunity of my life, I'm in.'"

Ortiz appeared to suggest any fight with Tyson would take place in Las Vegas, citing the need to be passed ring-worthy by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

"I'm not sure if it's going to be boxing or MMA yet, I haven't got that far – I think both of us have got to be cleared by the athletic commission, this Vegas thing," Ortiz said.

"But I've been boxing for 20 years, man, and my boxing skills have got better and better.

"They might not be the same level of Tyson, but has Tyson been punched in the face in the last 15 years? No, he hasn't, and I have, and I've been able to subdue everyone I've competed against over the last four years."

Ortiz, sporting a T-shirt bearing the slogan 'Donald Trump Real American Hero', said he had "nothing but respect" for Tyson, who last fought in 2005.

He sees their fight, should it happen, breaking television box office records.

He cited the fight between boxing great Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor in 2017, which was bought by 4.3million people in the United States.

"You know what Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather did, I think we could double that," Ortiz said. "I just think it would be amazing, I think it would be fun. It would be a great opportunity for both of our brands."

At half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool appeared out for the count. 

A team that had twice shut out Chelsea to punch their ticket to Istanbul was hurt time and time again by Milan in the first 45 minutes. 

Paolo Maldini had landed a huge early blow – the defender’s goal after 50 seconds setting a new record as the fastest in the final of the tournament – but it was a one-two from Hernan Crespo that had the Reds in serious trouble. 

The striker – on loan from Chelsea – scored a brace before the break, the second of his double a delightfully delicate finish beyond the advancing Jerzy Dudek to reward a sublime throughball from Kaka. 

Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez spared Liverpool from suffering further punishment by bringing the first half to an end. Saved by the bell, but still 3-0 down to opponents who had kept five clean sheets in six European games since qualifying top of a group that also included Barcelona. 

Yet this was the same Milan who had shipped three against PSV away in the second leg of their semi-final, leaving them to squeeze through on away goals in the end. They had their English rivals in trouble, for sure, yet there was still some fight left in Liverpool yet. 

Rather than using smelling salts to bring them to their senses, Rafael Benitez galvanised his team with a tactical change. Instead of going into survival mode when already so far behind on the scorecard, the Spaniard worked out the best way to get on the attack. 

He still believed. Within 16 minutes of the second half, so too did everyone else.

 

SUBSTITUTION: HAMANN ON, FINNAN OFF 

The first step in dealing with a problem is admitting you have one in the first place. Benitez had gone with a 4-4-1-1 formation from kick-off, springing a surprise by naming Harry Kewell in the XI to work behind lone striker Milan Baros. 

It had not worked. Clearly. With the excellent Kaka afforded time and space to poke and probe, and with Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko willing runners in behind, Liverpool were under-manned in midfield and over-run at the back. 

Benitez responded with a substitution and a switch in shape. Off went the injured Steve Finnan, on came Dietmar Hamann, a surprising absentee from the starting line-up. Having initially been the sacrificial lamb at half-time, Djimi Traore was stopped from getting changed to instead join Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher in a three-man central defence. 

Hamann's introduction was a counter to cope with Kaka. The German would sit next to Xabi Alonso, freeing up Steven Gerrard to affect the game further forward. 

Of course, this could easily have been the footballing equivalent to shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic. Instead, it provided a much-needed platform to produce a six-minute onslaught that suddenly saw Milan the ones teetering on the ropes. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-1 LIVERPOOL (Gerrard, 54) 

Freed from his defensive duties, Gerrard began the recovery by planting one on Milan.

John Arne Riise failed with his first attempt at a cross from Liverpool's left flank, but the second effort picked out his skipper, all alone in a pocket of space inside the penalty area. Socially distanced from any Milan players, Gerrard rose up, flicked his head at the ball and then watched as it drifted beyond Dida and into the far corner of the net.

It was so nearly his last goal for the club – he handed in a transfer request a few months later before deciding against joining up with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – but was also a notable first; no other Liverpool captain had scored in a European Cup/Champions League final previously. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-2 LIVERPOOL (Smicer, 56) 

Vladimir Smicer was called into action earlier than he might have expected. Kewell's time to vindicate the faith shown in him by the boss spanned just 23 minutes, as an injury cut short his involvement. 

So, Smicer was summoned from the bench to play a part in the biggest game of his Liverpool career – it also happened to be the last.

The Czech, who moved to Bordeaux in the off-season, flattered to deceive in his time with the Reds, yet will forever be remembered fondly for his contribution on Turkish soil. Given possession by Hamann's square pass, he opted to let go a low, right-footed shot that hit the target and caught Dida cold, slipping beyond the goalkeeper. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-3 LIVERPOOL (Alonso, 61) 

The leveller that Milan so nearly avoided. The Serie A side were wide open at this point, rocking and rolling, unable to quite comprehend what was happening to them.

Carragher's zipped-in pass to the feet of Baros allowed the striker to reverse the ball back inside with the simple flick of a boot, sending it into the path of the galloping Gerrard. Gennaro Gattuso could not keep up and, in trying to hold on in the hope of escaping without punishment, pulled an arm to give away a penalty. 

Alonso went low to his left with the spot-kick and while Dida guessed correctly to keep it out, the rebound was lifted into the roof of the goal despite a desperate lunge from Alessandro Nesta. At 23 years and 181 days, Alonso became the youngest player to score in a European Cup/Champions League final for the club. 

From done and dusted to all square; Liverpool had climbed off the canvas, come out swinging and produced the mother of all comebacks.

There was more drama to come of course, including a penalty shoot-out, but the Miracle of Istanbul came to pass thanks to 16 unforgettable second-half minutes.

Nothing about the Bundesliga's bio-secure return will ever entirely lose its capacity to jar the senses.

From socially distanced substitutes to masked staff and elbow-knocking celebrations, incongruous distractions from the 90 minutes at hand are never far away.

But the action so far has also demonstrated fleeting moments can briefly melt away the discomfort, when football's beauty floods the senses.

The first such instance came during in the 29th minute of Borussia Dortmund's deserted Revierderby showdown with Schalke. All it took was a nonchalant flick of Julian Brandt's right boot.

Brandt's first-time lay off into the space behind him gave Thorgan Hazard time to spot Erling Haaland sprinting towards the Schalke area. Both players needed just a touch apiece for a picturebook goal.

Haaland and Jadon Sancho are the headline-hogging sensations for Dortmund who, once again, stand a better chance than all the rest when it comes to ending Bayern Munich's Bundesliga hegemony.

A Bundesliga debutant at 17, a full Germany international in the same month he turned 20 and with a century of top-flight appearances to his name at 21, Brandt knows plenty when it comes to being labelled the next big thing.

Still only 24 and as Bayern lie in wait on Tuesday with the title on the line, there are indications Brandt is taking his game to new heights.

SHELLACKING SCHALKE

Following that wonderful contribution to Haaland's opener, Brandt continued to torment Schalke and orchestrated a thumping 4-0 win.

He supplied two assists and his three chances created were more than any other player on the pitch, as were 29 passes attempted in the opposition half and 19 duels contested – showing Brandt's thirst for both aspects of the game.

There were also five tackles – a level best alongside marauding two-goal hero Raphael Guerreiro – and Opta's touchmap showed a player stamping his influence all over the field.

A tearaway teen winger when Leverkusen snatched him from Wolfsburg and launched his top-flight career, Brandt's wide attacking qualities were rated so highly by Germany boss Joachim Low that he infamously made the 2018 World Cup squad at Leroy Sane's expense.

But since Peter Bosz started to use him in-field last season at the BayArena, Brandt has started to display several more irresistible strings to his bow.

"In the end I am the last person to be complaining about [where I play] because it is always down to how you interpret the position," Brandt said last week, having roved nominally from the right of a front three against Schalke. 

"If you have someone like Thomas Delaney, who is strong on the defensive side, next to you, then you can take certain liberties in terms of how far forward you can go. The centre is my favourite."

HERR REUS' HEIR?

"I've seen a lot of games involving Julian," Bosz told the Bundesliga's official website last season. "Back then he was playing on the wing, but I saw him as a midfielder."

The switch proved inspired as, in tandem with the similarly lavishly gifted Kai Havertz, Brandt wrought havoc during the second half of the campaign.

He finished 2018-19 with seven Bundesliga goals and 11 assists – the latter figure only behind Sancho and Bayern's Joshua Kimmich in the overall standings. Dortmund duly came calling for a player who has spent his career inhabiting football's gossip columns.

Brandt was initially deployed out wide once more, in and out of Lucien Favre's starting line-up, before the BVB boss followed Bosz's lead in making a tactical tweak that comes with some heavy symbolism.

When Favre was in charge of Borussia Monchengladbach almost a decade ago, he brought a young Marco Reus in from the flanks to cause maximum damage.

Reus is now the symbol of Dortmund's Yellow Wall of resistance, the club captain and the superstar who would not be tempted when Bayern batted their eyelashes.

Unfortunately, injuries also take up a hefty chunk of Reus' story and his absence from this latest edition of Der Klassiker feels wearyingly inevitable.

It would once have felt almost sacrilegious to suggest as much, but with Brandt in his current mood pulling the strings behind Sancho and Haaland, maybe Reus will not be missed.

"It was on a trip with the national team that he came to me the first time and told me that he absolutely wanted me to come to Dortmund," Brandt told Bundesliga.com, reflecting on how Reus did what he could to lay the groundwork for his move to Signal Iduna Park. "It triggers something in you when a player like Marco says something like that to you."

Perhaps Reus has seen the future and is ready to pass the baton. Regardless, Bayern must keep their sharpest focus on the present and the threat a buoyant Brandt represents this week.

Phil Coles lauded Liverpool's "unbelievable" physicality as Jurgen Klopp's high-octane European champions dominate English football.

Klopp's 'heavy metal' football has transformed Anfield, the charismatic German helping to restore the glory days after last season's Champions League triumph.

Liverpool were also on track to win their first league title since 1990 prior to the coronavirus pandemic – the Reds were 25 points clear atop the Premier League table through 29 matches.

Klopp has overhauled Liverpool's style of football since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015 – his Gegenpressing philosophy restoring the club's position among the world's elite clubs.

Coles is no stranger to Liverpool's inner sanctum, having previously worked as the team's head of physical therapy under former bosses Rodgers, Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson between 2010 and 2012.

So what does the Australian – who now works as executive director of performance at NBA franchise the Boston Celtics – think about Klopp's high-flying Reds?

"Looking from the outside, and I don't have any special data or information on anything they've done, but they do look incredibly good physically," Coles told Stats Perform News.

"The style Klopp plays with the press and counter-attack – it expends a lot of energy. The way the full-backs play is incredible, with the engines they have. Both full-backs getting up and down.

"So, they are clearly a physically gifted side and you would have to credit the approach of the club as a whole to giving that to them.

"Partly that can be in the recruitment of players who will fit in the style that Klopp wants. Partly it's gonna have to do with the coaching and the way he structures his sessions that are going to allow them to achieve what they need.

"And partly it's no doubt due to the performance staff there, who are clearly doing a fantastic job to get those guys at the level they're playing. Not only are they playing unbelievably good football and I think personally, if the season was to stop now, they should be crowned champions because they are clearly the dominant side and certainly deserve it.

"It's not just how good they are playing but the physicality of how they play is unbelievable. The performance staff have clearly done a fantastic job but I think it's a club-wide approach, to achieve the success they've had, everyone has to be contributing – from the players they recruit, to how the coach sets up and runs practice sessions, to how the performance staff contribute.

"All of those things have to be in sync to be at the level that they're at, both physically and functionally for how well they're playing."

Former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper and current Australia international Mitch Langerak recently provided an insight into Klopp's relentless methods during his time at Signal Iduna Park.

Langerak told Stats Perform News: "He's full power… For example, when I first arrived [in 2010], I didn't know what a training camp was because I hadn't been on one with Melbourne Victory. We turned up and my agents were saying 'oh wait for the training camp, wait for the training camp'. I'm like what's with the training camp? I thought we'd just go and do a bit of training. We were doing three sessions a day, then the next day we'd have a double, then the next day we'd have training in the morning, a 'friendly' game at 4pm that afternoon but a friendly game with Dortmund is in front of 30,000 people.

"The next day you'd have a double, a triple. So you're up at 7 in the morning. You'd do lactate testing, so they would know if you're in the fast group of five players or next group. You'd do 5km or 6km in 1km time-trials and you just have to keep your pace. The boys would be blowing, they'd be wrecked. That was at 7am in the morning before breakfast. You'd go back to the hotel, have a quick bite to eat, you'd get showered and changed and then you'd go training. You'd do a proper, proper training session. Go back, have lunch, maybe sleep for an hour and you're back at 4pm for the third session of the day. This is day one of training camp, Day two could be a double, day three is training and then at 4pm a friendly game in a stadium live on TV in front of 30-40,000 people.

"It's actually so nuts but it wasn't like 'oh he needs to have a rest today, he's 32, he's coming back from injury so he needs to have a light one today'. It was none of that, if you train, you train. That was the biggest thing for me. It was just like, obviously after seven days of training you're a bit sore, bit tight maybe we should have an easy session. Nah, you learn to just get on with things and grind it out.

"Some of the training sessions were intense but then when he could see the players getting tired, he was like 'that's it we're finished for today, come back tomorrow and we'll smash it again'. I think that with a lot of young, hungry players it worked really well. He was obviously the alpha, the boss. You can see that within the whole club – he was the one in charge and everyone had so much respect for him."

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 forced the 2019-20 Premier League season to be postponed in March, but officials are eyeing a mid-June restart following a tentative return to training.

Clubs returned to training in small groups last week amid social-distancing measures after the UK government published its phase one guidance on May 13.

The government released phase two of its guidance for athletes and elite sportsmen on Monday as the Premier Leagues eyes a return to action next month following the Bundesliga's resumption earlier in May.

"Stage Two training can be described as the resumption of close-contact [interaction within the two-metre social-distancing boundary] training where pairs, small groups and/or teams will be able to interact in much closer contact [e.g. close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, technical equipment sharing, etc]," the guidance read.

"The progression of training into Stage Two is vital to prepare fully for the return of competitive sporting fixtures in many sports. Close-contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions, so that the sport-specific demands can be placed on the body, mind and senses. Close-contact training develops the sport-specific fitness which is an essential element for player safety and a reduced risk of injury during competition.

"It is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller 'clusters' of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full-team training, without social distancing possible at all times. Under Stage Two conditions, as per Stage One, social distancing will continue to be the expectation at all other times aside from technical training."

UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved. We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff.

"Given the wide ranging input we have received from medical experts, we believe these pragmatic measures should provide further reassurance that a safe, competitive training environment can be delivered, as we work towards a restart of professional sport behind closed doors when it is safe to do so."

Liverpool were 25 points clear atop the Premier League through 29 matches when the season came to a halt.

Melbourne Storm chairman Matt Tripp said the club are keen to be a "test case" for crowds to return to the NRL amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 NRL season will resume on Thursday and Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys is hoping capped crowds can return to the league as soon as July.

As the NRL eyes fans returning to stadiums after the campaign was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, Tripp revealed the Storm are planning for a restricted number of supporters to watch games at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

"We are piecing together a scenario where even if we start with 1,000 people and build to 2,000, 3,000 in every fifth seat, there are plans in place at the moment or plans that we are working through to try and get people to AAMI Park, to create a safe environment for bigger and better things for all codes, not just the NRL," Tripp told RSN's Breakfast Club on Monday.

"We would happily be the test case, it's a wonderful facility to get people in and out of.

"There are measures that we can put in place to ensure the safety of patrons when they're at the game so I can't see why, in line with Peter V'landys' comments on July 1 that we can't get the ball rolling at AAMI."

The Storm were among six teams to have won their opening two games before the NRL was suspended due to coronavirus.

Craig Bellamy's Storm will restart their season against Canberra Raiders behind closed doors in Melbourne on Saturday.

"It would be wonderful if we can get people back to games this year," Tripp added.

Timo Werner could have scored even more goals for RB Leipzig against Mainz, according to head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Werner netted a hat-trick as RB Leipzig climbed back into third in the Bundesliga with a 5-0 win on Sunday.

Linked heavily with a move to Liverpool, Werner became the first Bundesliga player to score two hat-tricks against the same opponent in a single season in 21 years.

But Nagelsmann felt the prolific forward could have netted even more for his side.

"I think we were also ready the last game for games without fans. I think we were well-focused in the last game too," he told a news conference.

"We just didn't have so many chances and didn't score so many goals like today. We started off pretty well and built pressure, I think it's a well-deserved victory.

"We had even more chances to score. I think even Timo Werner could have scored more goals.

"But especially his development after the Freiburg game is very interesting. He kept the ball really well, performed well. He had a good game."

Werner has scored 30 goals in 38 games in all competitions for RB Leipzig this season, including 24 in the Bundesliga.

Andrew Bogut quit NBL franchise the Sydney Kings, but the veteran NBA champion is not retiring from basketball just yet.

Bogut announced his exit from the Kings via social media on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old, who won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, had been planning to retire after playing for Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But those plans were put on hold following the decision to push back the Olympics 12 months due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"I have decided not to sign with the Sydney Kings, or any professional sporting team for that matter for the time being," Bogut wrote in a statement via Twitter.

"With everything going on in the world, the future does not look too clear, most notably in regards to sporting leagues worldwide.

"This is by no means a retirement note, but simply saying any concrete decisions are too hard to be made at this point in time.

"The reason I have decided to do this now is to give the Sydney Kings enough notice to act accordingly with free agency being around the corner."

The number one pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, former Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers centre Bogut returned to Australia with the Kings in 2018.

Bogut was named the NBL's MVP in his first season, while he helped the Kings reach the Grand Final this year, though the Perth Wildcats were crowned champions after the series was cut short due to coronavirus.

"I have enjoyed being home with the family and learning more about my kids than I ever could have previously," Bogut, who returned to the Warriors to play the remainder of the 2018-19 season, said.

"My body is enjoying the break after playing basketball for 19 straight months and I hope to be back out on the basketball court in the near future!

"The plan moving forward? Spending time with my wife and kids, slowly getting back into physical shape, and finally making the most out of time we don't traditionally get at home."

Charles Leclerc played down suggestions he would become Ferrari's number one driver when Carlos Sainz Jr. arrives next year.

Leclerc impressed in his first season with Ferrari last year, finishing fourth in the drivers' championship.

The 22-year-old has extended his contract with the team until 2024, and next year will have a new team-mate when Sainz arrives from McLaren to replace Sebastian Vettel.

Leclerc was full of praise for Sainz, who finished sixth in the drivers' championship last year.

"I do not become number one," he told L'Equipe on Sunday.

"I think Carlos is a great driver and he will show it. It is obvious to everyone already. For me, it will be a great challenge."

Leclerc also paid tribute to Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the year with his future uncertain.

"He taught me a lot of things, that's true," he said. "I'm happy to have had him as a partner because he is a very experienced pilot."

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning earned bragging rights against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in "The Match", but charity was the real winner.

It was an all-star cast for The Match: Champions for Charity – arranged to raise funds for coronavirus relief efforts – as 15-time major champion Woods teamed up with two-time Super Bowl winner Manning.

Woods and Manning secured a 1up victory over Mickelson and six-time Super Bowl champion Brady in Hobe Sound, Florida on Sunday.

Mickelson and Brady made a late surge on the back nine, but Woods and Manning held on at Medalist Golf Club, where social distancing was front and centre.

More importantly, over $20million was raised to help with COVID-19 relief amid the pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

Bad weather delayed the charity contest by 45 minutes but there was plenty of fun and entertainment once the players teed off, with PGA Tour star Justin Thomas and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley headlining the broadcast.

The star quartet exchanged banter, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brady struggled early.

Brady did not look like the NFL's G.O.A.T with a golf club in hand, until holing out for birdie from the fairway at the par-four fifth hole in South Florida.

Team Brady and Mickelson rallied, however, the Woods-Manning pairing were not to be denied.

"It's great, the fact that we all came together and we were able to raise $20million for those that have been so severely affected," said Woods, with the PGA Tour planning to return next month after golf was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis. "This is our arena. This is what we do. We couldn't imagine going out onto the field and doing what they do."

Former NFL quarterback Manning said: "I know Tom and I were kind of comparing notes and feelings to each other. To go behind the ropes in these guys' world and kind of be in the arena with them, it was a really special experience. I was not comfortable the entire time, from the first tee all the way down here."

Mickelson – a five-time major winner – added: "We fought hard. I was a little nervous, a little tight on the front nine. My man kept us in there, and the back nine he really shined. We made a run and came really close."

Italy's minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora said the Serie A season could resume on "June 13 or 20" following the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the Serie A campaign suspended in March due to the pandemic.

A decision on the season is expected on Thursday as Serie A looks to follow in the footsteps of Germany's Bundesliga, which resumed on May 15.

"We are working on two possible dates to begin Serie A games, on June 13 or 20," Spadafora told Rai TG3.

"The protocol arrived for resuming the season and it is very similar to the one that was agreed for training. On Thursday, we'll decide if and when to resume."

Defending champions Juventus were a point clear of Lazio through 26 games when the league was halted.

"This emergency has shown some critical issues in the world of football that we will face in a general reform that will happen before the end of the summer," Spadafora said.

"Among those issues we include allowing women's football players to become professional athletes."

Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi insisted players were happy to return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A decision on the Serie A season is expected on Thursday, with the campaign having been suspended since March due to COVID-19.

While raising numerous issues, Tommasi said the players wanted to play if it is safe to do so.

"If the conditions are met, the players are happy to start again," he told Sky Sport on Sunday.

"Criticising does not mean being against the recovery. Temperatures, travel and more – the critical issues are there and we highlight them.

"But the desire is to play in the best possible way anyway."

The Bundesliga has restarted and LaLiga and the Premier League are bidding to do the same, with Ligue 1 the only one of Europe's top five leagues to be cancelled.

Juventus held a one-point lead over Lazio when the Serie A season was suspended.

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