Serge Gnabry will play no part in Germany's Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia on Sunday due to a muscular problem.

Gnabry has been in fine form of late, scoring eight goals in his past 10 matches across all competitions for club and country, while he is also Germany's most prolific player in Euro 2020 qualifying with five strikes.

But he will not add to that on in Tallinn on Sunday, with Germany set to face rock-bottom Estonia in their Group C clash.

Gnabry will not be risked as a precaution, the German Football Federation (DFB) confirmed on Twitter as Germany aim to remain level on points with Netherlands at the top.

The winger will return to Bayern after Sunday's match and aim to be back in contention for their Bundesliga trip to Augsburg on Saturday.

Marco Reus comes into the team in Gnabry's place having been an unused substitute in Wednesday's 2-2 friendly draw against Argentina.

Manuel Neuer replaces Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal, with the Bayern Munich star still Joachim Low's preferred option.

The only other change sees Ilkay Gundogan come in for Robin Koch.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expects Thomas Muller to stay at Bayern Munich beyond January despite his frustration with a lack of playing time.

Attacking midfielder Muller, 30, expressed dissatisfaction with his marginalised role in an interview earlier this month, telling Kicker he was "too ambitious" to settle for a place among the substitutes.

The 2014 World Cup winner started none of the club's final five games leading into the international break.

Reports have suggested Muller will ask for a move when the window reopens but Bayern CEO Rummenigge would be surprised to receive a transfer request.

"I cannot imagine that," Rummenigge told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

"The relationship between Thomas and Bayern is totally intact and he will remain an important part of our club."

Muller has spent his entire professional career at Allianz Arena, winning eight Bundesliga titles.

He made 28 league starts under Niko Kovac last season but the arrival of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona has increased the competition for places in Muller's favoured position behind the striker.

Rummenigge accepted the 100-cap Germany international's decision to speak out about his concerns.

He said: "If Thomas would sit contentedly on the bench, he would be at the wrong club.

"That's the reaction we want, but he still has to deal with the situation seriously. He does that perfectly."

Either through injuries or dips in form, Luis Suarez has started to show signs of regression at Barcelona and they are planning for a future without him.

The Uruguayan striker has been a remarkable player for Barca, but at 32 he is approaching the twilight of his career and the Blaugrana have been considering who they might want to replace him with when the time comes.

Meanwhile, one player recently heavily linked with Barca could be signing a new contract with his current employers.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DRAW UP STRIKERS SHORTLIST

Barca have significantly strengthened several areas of their team in recent transfer windows, with Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo, Frenkie de Jong and Neto bolstering their options.

They are now beginning to turn their attentions to the central striker role, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The publication reports Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is the ideal target, though Barca are said to be hopeful of getting him on a cut-price deal in 2021 after he has entered the final year of his contract, assuming he does not sign an extension in the meantime.

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane is also said to be high up their list, despite their being acknowledgement that his wages would be more of an issue than the transfer fee.

The other two reportedly being considered are Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca missed out on securing the return of Neymar in the most recent transfer window and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG are now planning to offer the Brazilian a new bumper contract.

- The LaLiga champions are also looking at midfield reinforcements with potential. Napoli's Fabian RuizEduardo Camavinga of Rennes and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz are all being considered, though Mundo Deportivo say Real Madrid are also tracking the trio with intent.

Christian Eriksen's future has been a hot topic for the last few months, with the Tottenham midfielder's contract ending next year. Sport1 in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already been in touch with him.

Liverpool are hoping to sign Brighton and Hove Albion-owned centre-back Ben White, 21, according to the Sun. The defender is impressing on loan at Leeds United and the Reds see him as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who is said to be eager for a move to get first-team football.

- Despite languishing 12th in the Premier League after a wretched start to the season, the Daily Mail say Manchester United will not be splashing the cash in the January transfer window.

- But the Daily Express report United have reached a "verbal agreement" with Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, who are said to be demanding £10million for the Croatian forward.

Serge Gnabry is regarded as an automatic starter by Germany coach Joachim Low and he might have attained that status earlier had a serious knee injury not prevented him from featuring at the 2014 World Cup.

Gnabry was considered a prodigious prospect at Arsenal after signing from Stuttgart as a youngster in 2011, breaking into the Gunners' first-team squad the following year at just 17.

He then featured 14 times across all competitions before suffering a bad injury against future employers Bayern Munich in the Champions League in March 2014, ruling him out of first-team action until the 2015-16 season.

An unsuccessful loan spell at West Brom followed in that campaign, but Gnabry got his career back on track after moving to Werder Bremen, earning a switch to Bayern where he has developed into one of Europe's most exciting wingers.

Gnabry's route to the top has been rather more convoluted than many would have expected during his early days at Arsenal and, according to Low, his 2014 injury robbed him of a place in Germany's World Cup-winning squad in Brazil just before his 19th birthday.

"In spring 2014, I made a couple of trips to London," Low told reporters ahead of Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier with Estonia.

"He played well in several matches and really impressed me. I wanted to include Serge in the squad for the 2014 World Cup, but he was unfortunately injured.

"He has been very strong in several matches for us recently. I like the way that he moves and how dangerous he is in front of goal.

"He is fortunate to have the chance to play at the very highest level. We need to encourage that and support him.

"Based on his performances over the past nine months, he needs to be on the pitch for us if he's fit and able to play."

Manuel Neuer dismissed suggestions of a rift between himself and Germany goalkeeping colleague Marc-Andre ter Stegen and also denied claims he is contemplating retirement next year.

Germany coach Joachim Low's selections between the posts have been a major talking point in recent months, with Neuer seemingly still first-choice despite Ter Stegen's form for Barcelona.

Ter Stegen has emerged as one of the world's most consistent and dependable goalkeepers, while Neuer – who is now 33 – has shown signs of regression.

Barca star Ter Stegen was criticised by Neuer last month for "inappropriate" comments about being disappointed at losing his place in the starting XI, while Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness also took aim at the 27-year-old.

But Neuer insists there is no lack of harmony among Die Mannschaft's goalkeepers.

"I hope you have watched us closely, it's a great relationship with us," Neuer told reporters ahead of Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.

"[Ter Stegen] played well against Argentina. We have the right team [of goalkeepers], with Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp as well. There is nothing to report, there was no deep conversation."

Ter Stegen should not expect an easy run at the starting role anytime soon either, as Neuer denied reports he is considering retirement after Euro 2020.

"There's absolutely nothing to announce," he said. "I'm feeling well, I'm feeling fit and I'm performing well. I'm not thinking about ending my career."

Some have tipped Schalke's Alexander Nubel – not Ter Stegen – to eventually take over from Neuer in the Germany goal, and they Bayern man sees that as a possibility.

"He could be," Neuer said when asked if Nubel may be his successor. "He has made good progress. He is a regular goalkeeper for Schalke and played a very good Under-21 European Championship.

"He is currently performing very well. Of course, he needs some experience as well, but the signs for German football are good, even in the goalkeeping department."

Serge Gnabry feels team-mate Thomas Muller deserves to be shown some respect amid reports he could be on his way out of Bayern Munich in January.

The 30-year-old has spent his entire club career at Bayern but has been linked with a move away after being reduced to a peripheral role this season.

Muller has started the German champions' last five matches on the bench and admitted earlier this week he is not happy with the current situation.

Manchester United have been tipped to move for the versatile attacker, but Gnabry claims it is wrong to speculate over his future and cannot envisage life at the Allianz Arena without his compatriot.

"Normally I shouldn't say anything about it," he said at a Germany news conference on Friday. "But when a player has been with one club since his childhood, then a Bayern Munich without Thomas Muller is difficult to imagine. 

"It is easy to relate with every player who does not play and who is angry about that. This is normal. You don't have to make the whole thing bigger than it is. 

"Thomas has got his qualities and has won everything. You have to have respect for him and must not ask stupid questions or spread negative news about him."

Muller, along with Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, has also been overlooked at the international level since March after being told he will no longer be picked by Joachim Low.

Gnabry has more than helped to fill the void by scoring 10 goals in 11 appearances for the senior side, and the former Arsenal winger intends to keep impressing.

"I'm having a great run right now," he said. "It takes a lot of work, the right attitude. You cannot rest. The good environment here helps me a lot. The mood is relaxed-casual.

"I want to do my best in every game. You have to prove yourself again and again. 

"If I were to play three games, surely someone else would get my playing time. That's why I'm trying to focus on maintaining my performance."

France boss Didier Deschamps has insisted Lucas Hernandez is "ready" to play a part in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland, despite concerns from Bayern Munich over his fitness.

Hernandez has missed Bayern's last two matches with a knee injury but is part of France's squad for their games against Iceland and Turkey.

The Bundesliga champions tried to block France calling up the versatile defender for selection, believing he would be better off resting the issue.

Club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt said earlier this week Hernandez will not be able to play any part in Reykjavík, but Deschamps suggested otherwise on the eve of the game with Iceland.

"He is ready. He feels good and has good feelings," Deschamps said at his pre-match news conference. 

"We have done it gradually. He is sufficiently liberated from the injury he had. He is available. But to play 90 minutes, he must start and I can't be certain yet. But yes, he is available."

Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Hugo Lloris are all ruled out of the double-header with Iceland and Turkey, however, with the influential trio sidelined.

Deschamps admitted it is far from ideal being without key players but has called on others to step up. 

"It is detrimental as a whole because they are very important players in the group," he said. "Also, in terms of leadership - Hugo is captain and Paul is an expressive leader. 

"But there are others who are there and used to have this role like [Olivier] Giroud, [Raphael] Varane, [Blaise] Matuidi and [Steve] Mandanda.

"But it's clear that I prefer to have everyone available. I totally trust the players who are here."

Joachim Low's decision not to select Mats Hummels for Germany must be accepted, according to former Borussia Dortmund player and coach Jorg Heinrich.

Hummels was suddenly dropped from the national team in March, along with his then Bayern Munich team-mates Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng.

The centre-back subsequently rejoined Dortmund from Bayern and has been in fine form in the early weeks of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.

Low, though, has continued to leave Hummels out of his squad despite defensive injuries affecting his latest selection, with Freiburg's Robin Koch called up for the first time.

"Jogi Low has his strategy with dealing with this topic," Champions League winner Heinrich told Omnisport. "When Hummels played in Munich it was not a big topic for us.

"Now he's playing very well for BVB and everybody would be happy to see him in the DFB shirt, but in the end it's a decision of Joachim Low and we have to respect that."

Low has turned to youth in a bid to inspire a turnaround in Germany's fortunes after flopping at Russia 2018, where their World Cup defence ended in the group stages.

"Joachim Low is very courageous to work with such a lot of young, talented players," former Germany international Heinrich added.

"It's not an easy situation after the great success we had in 2014 to build a new team.

"He's doing very well. We have very, very talented players in Germany that have to play at a high level to improve. We're looking in a very positive way."

Tottenham's 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday condemned Spurs to a second successive loss with 10 goals conceded this week, piling the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino. 

Spurs were demolished 7-2 in their own stadium by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, prompting further questions of Pochettino, who continues to be linked with a departure. 

Pochettino urged his team to produce a response at Brighton, telling his players to "man up" and put things right. 

But a Brighton side inspired by 19-year-old Aaron Connolly piled on the misery at the end of a crushing week for Spurs, with Pochettino appearing increasingly defeated and deflated. 

With the manager seemingly running out of ideas, we chart the highs and lows of his time at Spurs. 

LOW – The only way is up 

Tottenham's standing compared to the other big clubs at the start of Pochettino's tenure was laid bare in the first month of the new boss' debut campaign. Liverpool were the visitors, with Spurs hoping for the chance to make something of a statement, but Brendan Rodgers' men blew them away with ease by winning 3-0. It was Spurs' first loss under Pochettino and they went on to miss out on Champions League qualification by six points that term. 


LOW – Stamford Bridge implosion hands Leicester the title 

There was no denying Spurs' vast improvement between Pochettino's first few months and 2016 as they looked to challenge for a maiden Premier League title. However, their form at the end of the season saw them come up short, squandering a 2-0 lead at Chelsea in an ill-tempered encounter to come away with a 2-2 draw, therefore securing a famous success for Leicester City. Pochettino's men finished third, 10 points off the top. 


HIGH – Bidding farewell to White Hart Lane in style 

Having seemingly established themselves as top-four regulars, Spurs looked to further consolidate their new-found status by moving to an extravagant new stadium. In their final outing at the more modest White Hart Lane in May 2017, Spurs downed Manchester United 2-1. A glamourous new era seemed to be on the horizon, with Pochettino steering the Spurs ship expertly. 


HIGH – Spurs hit 13 goals in two games 

Spurs then finished that season in remarkable fashion, crushing Leicester City 6-1 and then going one better against relegated Hull City, winning 7-1 despite both games being away from home. Harry Kane was the star on both occasions, netting four at the King Power Stadium and a treble the following week. Those victories wrapped up a second-place finish in the Premier League. 


HIGH – Manchester United crushed at Old Trafford 

In August 2018, Pochettino was among the favourites to replace an under-fire Jose Mourinho at United and he helped inflict more misery on the Red Devils and make his pitch for the job with an emphatic 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Kane and a Lucas Moura double did the damage, making it the hosts' worst start to a league season since 1992-93. 


HIGH – VAR-ty time as Llorente steers Spurs past City 

Spurs' Champions League hopes appeared to be vanishing against Manchester City in April this year when, after winning 1-0 at home, they found themselves trailing 4-2 in the 59th minute despite earlier leading 2-1 on the night. Fernando Llorente then got what proved the vital goal – the ball striking him and going in, the goal standing even after a VAR check for an apparent handball. Raheem Sterling had no such luck, however, as his stoppage-time goal was disallowed by VAR for offside against Sergio Aguero. Pochettino's men survived a bonkers encounter to reach the last four. 


HIGH – Incredible turnaround secures first Champions League final 

Somehow Spurs managed another lucky escape in the semi-finals as well. A 1-0 defeat at home to Ajax in the first leg had them looking doomed, even more so when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate in the first half of the return fixture in Amsterdam. But a remarkable Lucas Moura hat-trick in the second half sealed a vital 3-2 win in stoppage time and left Ajax devastated. Spurs were heading to Madrid. 


LOW – An underwhelming Champions League final 

Their first Champions League final – it was an historic occasion regardless of the result. Yet, there was an air of frustration at how they approached what proved a tepid contest, with fans bemoaning an apparent lack of attacking intent as a half-fit Harry Kane struggled to make an impact. Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Pochettino's men an uphill struggle and Divock Origi wrapped things up late on. 


LOW – Battered by Bayern, swept aside at Brighton 

The worst week of Pochettino's reign? If the 7-2 demolition by Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League wasn't bad enough on its own, the embarrassment was exacerbated by the fact an Arsenal academy product – Serge Gnabry – scored four and he certainly milked the occasion. It was the first time Spurs had ever conceded seven at home in a major competition. Despite the pressure increasing on Pochettino, no response was forthcoming on Saturday as Brighton cruised past them 3-0 at the Amex Stadium. 

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski revelled in scoring his 200th competitive goal for the Bundesliga champions.

Lewandowski celebrated a milestone as Bayern opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade in Munich on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old striker, who moved onto 199 competitive goals for Bayern in their draw at Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig last week, poked home the team's second goal with 10 minutes remaining against Red Star.

"We always had the game under control and played well, we upped the pace and created a lot of chances," Lewandowski said as he reflected on the Group B clash.

"But we didn't score enough goals. We always tried to get forward. Sometimes we might have made wrong decisions, but these are little things. In the end it was only three goals, but it could have been five or six.

"You need games like today to help with a good analysis, to see what you can do better. After the second goal, it got easier. I'm glad I scored again."

Lewandowski – the highest-scoring foreigner for Bayern – is fourth on the club's all-time list, behind Rainer Ohlhauser (215), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (218) and Gerd Muller (564).

The Poland international has flourished since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, winning five successive Bundesliga titles.

Lewandowski – who has also won two DFB-Pokal trophies and three DFL-Supercups – has topped the Bundesliga scoring charts for the past two seasons and four of the past six.

Robert Lewandowski's 199th goal for Bayern Munich was not enough to claim the points as RB Leipzig fought back through Emil Forsberg's penalty to draw 1-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

In their first meeting with Leipzig since a 3-0 DFB-Pokal final win in May, Lewandowski edged closer to a double century of Bayern goals to put Niko Kovac's side ahead.

But, after Bayern had a penalty overturned by VAR, Forsberg levelled matters from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time.

A rejuvenated Leipzig found Manuel Neuer in top form after the restart, though Bayern would have snatched it had Peter Gulacsi not managed to tip Kingsley Coman's deflected effort onto the woodwork as Leipzig held firm to move back into top spot after being briefly replaced by Borussia Dortmund.

Leipzig's support was in full voice before kick-off, but the home fans were silenced within three minutes when Lewandowski raced onto Thomas Muller's pass and coolly slotted beyond Gulacsi.

Lukas Klostermann wasted a chance to provide a swift response when he blasted over, while Lewandowski passed up two presentable opportunities.

Lewandowski looked set to have the chance to score his 200th Bayern goal when the visitors were awarded a penalty for a foul on Lucas Hernandez, but the referee changed his decision after a VAR check.

Bayern's frustrations were compounded in first-half stoppage time, Hernandez bringing down Yussuf Poulsen and Forsberg stepping up to tuck home from 12 yards.

Bayern would have restored their lead if not for a last-ditch block from Ibrahima Konate, before Neuer brilliantly denied Marcel Sabitzer on the hour.

Gulacsi made an outstanding save of his own soon after, denying Corentin Tolisso, with Timo Werner drilling wide at the other end.

Leipzig's goalkeeper had the final say, though, preventing Coman's strike looping in before he appeared to get a hand to Niklas Sule's last-gasp header to ensure a deserved share of the spoils.

 

What does it mean? Bayern face genuine challengers again

Bayern just edged out Borussia Dortmund last term, while Leipzig came in third. There is now an undoubted top three in the Bundesliga and based on this display, Leipzig are more than capable of testing Bayern this season.

Whether that will translate into a title challenge remains to be seen, but with both Leipzig and Dortmund improving their squads, Bayern should not have a clear path to an eighth successive league crown.

Nagelsmann's tactical tweak pays off

Julian Nagelsmann has enjoyed a fine start to his tenure in charge of Leipzig, though his decision to start with a back three backfired in the first half.

The former Hoffenheim coach made a change to a back four at half-time in a switch that worked well in helping to push Bayern back and give Leipzig's creative players more space to operate.

Rare Thiago error leaves Bayern exposed

Making his 200th Bayern appearance, Thiago Alcantara gave away a simple pass in the build-up to Leipzig's penalty, causing panic in the visitors' defence before Hernandez clumsily bundled into Poulsen.

What's next?

Bayern host Red Star Belgrade in their first Champions League outing of the season on Wednesday, a day after RB Leipzig face Benfica in the same competition. 

When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez admitted the LaLiga giants have chased Robert Lewandowski and Paul Pogba.

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski has been linked to Madrid previously, while they have also targeted Manchester United star Pogba.

Speaking on Wednesday, Perez said Madrid had chased Lewandowski and were experiencing similar in their pursuit of Pogba.

"There are players who do not sell," he said, via Spanish media.

"For Lewandowski, we have gone for several years for him and nothing because he has no clause and they don't sell him.

"There is no way and that has happened to us with Pogba. When certain players are sold, we can go for them."

Another player Madrid have been linked to is 20-year-old Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Perez was coy when asked about the France international, who is widely regarded as the best young talent in the world.

"Of course we like a Frenchman that they say out there and we'll go for him," he said. "But they don't sell him."

Manuel Neuer will call time on his career as soon as he feels Germany and Bayern Munich no longer need him.

Neuer, 33, has been first-choice Germany goalkeeper for the best part of a decade, while he has been of similar importance to Bayern since joining them in 2011.

But the Schalke academy product has endured injury problems more frequently in the past three seasons, missing almost the entirety of 2017-18 with a broken foot.

Neuer was also absent for a chunk of last term with thumb and calf issues, though he remains the go-to man between the posts for club and country, starting all but one of Germany's 11 post-World Cup matches and Bayern's three games of the new Bundesliga campaign.

Once that regularity disappears, however, Neuer expects to retire because he will find it a challenge to remain motivated.

"When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it is difficult to get up and motivate [yourself] each day," Neuer told Welt am Sonntag. "When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on.

"I have the feeling that I am very much needed here in the national team and that everyone is happy that I'm here. It's clear that I have to show it in my performance.

"[My durability] is a result of my love for this sport. It excites me a lot when I'm on the pitch training or playing. It's a great fulfilment for me. I'm 33 years old, but when I'm on the pitch I always feel that I can improve on my goalkeeping.

"I'm still as annoyed with things that don't work out as they did nine or 10 years ago and I'm still happy about things that work out.

"These are signs that mean something to me. Namely, how ambitious I am still. [I want to] play as long as my body can do it, I'm having fun and I'm needed.

"At a young age you don't have to do so much to keep fit. It's changing. I've already noticed that, so I pay close attention to what I do and how I approach things."

Page 1 of 6
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.