Embattled Bayern hunt Thiago replacement

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first_imgMunich, Nov 6 (AFP) Bayern Munich are struggling to fill the creative hole left by Thiago Alcantara’s injury as they host AEK in the Champions League on Wednesday trying to secure a last 16 berth with trouble brewing for head coach Niko Kovac. Bayern can reach the knockout stages if they beat the Greek champions AEK at Munich’s Allianz Arena and Benfica lose at Ajax in the other Group E match. However, Bayern have been struggling for creativity since Thiago tore ankle ligaments ten days ago and Joshua Kimmich, usually a right-back, has struggled to replace him in the central midfield role. Kimmich lost 14 of his 16 challenges for the ball and several passes went astray in Saturday’s lethargic 1-1 draw against Freiburg, which left Bayern third in the league table, four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. Kovac has other central midfield options to replace Thiago against AEK in James Rodriguez, Renato Sanches or Leon Goretzka. However, bigger problems are brewing off the pitch with pundits warning Kovac is in danger of losing his dressing room. “The coach is measured by results and not everyone is behind Niko Kovac,” ex-Bayern and Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaeus told Sky. “That is dangerous.” German magazine Kicker on Monday claim senior players Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are all unhappy with Kovac’s coachings style. The main problem seems to be rotating Bayern’s star-studded squad, leaving Mueller and Hummels discontented with their amount of playing time. Robben was left fuming after being taken off in Saturday’s draw against Freiburg, the eighth time he has been taken off in 13 matches this season.advertisement Bayern’s attack is failing to fire and Kovac seems to be at a loss for words how to fix the problem. “We lack the power to punch forward. We can’t break through at the moment as defences are closing us down,” he lamented. “Things also seem difficult in the middle. “It’s clear to me that from a playing perspective, this is not what we expected. “Everything is now being questioned (by the media) – which I can understand.” League defeats to Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach have seen Bayern take just 20 points from the first 10 league games — their worst haul since the 2010/11 season, when Dortmund won the title. Kovac is clearly not the only senior figure feeling the heat. “Don’t ask me such stupid questions,” fumed director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic, who then stormed off when reporters asked if Kovac’s job will be safe if Bayern lose at Dortmund on Saturday. A win over AEK, with the bonus of a place in the last 16 would ease the pressure on Kovac before heading to Dortmund for Saturday’s showdown. (AFP) AHlast_img read more

Talking Horses: Native River and Clan Des Obeaux set for Newbury clash

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first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Topics “At Kempton he jumped out to the left. That’s twice he has been there, and he hasn’t been at ease,” said Tizzard. “He stayed on well at Kempton – that’s all we can take out of the race. I think he is almost unbeaten at Newbury, so this was always going to be our prep race. I think the King George winner is going there as well. But this is our prep race for the Gold Cup. “I think the course at Newbury will suit him better. He is a strong stayer and he has very good form round Newbury. We will see what the entries are like. If they have the forecast rain and it’s good to soft, he’ll be there.” Nicholls, of course, trained Denman – winner of the 2008 edition of this Grade Two event, and it has carried his name since 2012. Nicholls’ most recent success came a year later with Silviniaco Conti. Coneygree, winner of the Gold Cup in 2015, has been entered by Mark and Sara Bradstock. He picked up another minor injury when unseating in the King George. Leopardstown’s loss on Sunday could potentially be Newbury’s gain, with two who were supposed to run in the Irish Gold Cup but pulled out because of the ground now in the mix. Tony Martin’s Gold Cup third Anibale Fly and Gordon Elliott’s Noble Endeavor could make the journey over. Nicky Henderson has entered Beware The Bear, following his good win last time out, and Gold Present. Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Ballyhill, Tom Lacey’s Thomas Patrick and Harry Fry’s The Last Samuri complete the 10. Press AssociationMonday’s best bets, by Greg WoodThe worst of the wintry weather seems to have eased for the moment at least, and while Monday’s scheduled card at Carlisle was abandoned on Sunday morning, rain has washed away the snow at Taunton and a seven-race card will go ahead as planned after a 7.30am GMT inspection. It was “never in doubt”, according to the track’s Twitter feed at any rate.Three of the seven races currently have an odds-on favourite but there are some competitive contests elsewhere on the card including a handicap hurdle as the getting-out race which will set off “bad each-way” alerts across the betting industry if the current 16 runners all go to post. Silver Quay (4.45) might look a little short at around 9-4 given the numbers but there is not much depth to the contest and he was a convincing winner of a similar race over course and distance last time out. Having Bryony Frost on your side aboard her father Jimmy’s runner is also a big plus.Touch Kick (4.15) is another course winner, albeit over hurdles, and won his seasonal debut at Hereford in November off a mark just 2lb lower than here. He could find a little more improvement for this step up to three miles.A £19,000 conditions event is the feature event on the all-weather card at Wolverhampton and Oh This Is Us (5.55) could be up to giving away 3lb to his field. Richard Hannon’s runner has not been to the track since a sub-par run in Italy in October but he won after a similar break last February and Ryan Moore’s booking looks significant.Prerogative (6.25) and Hanakotoba (7.55) should both go well on the same card while Billyoakes (3.30) could be overpriced for the sprint handicap at Chelmsford. Pinterest Twitter Taunton1.45 Southfield Stone 2.15 Third Wind 2.45 Demon Fou 3.15 Midnight Chill 3.45 Presidente Line 4.15 Touch Kick 4.45 Silver Quay (nb) Chelmsford City2.00 Don’t Do It 2.30 Little Miss Kodi 3.00 Gold Club 3.30 Billyoakes 4.00 Foxy Boy 4.30 GantierWolverhampton 4.55 Dark Confidant 5.25 Secondo 5.55 Oh This Is Us  (nap) 6.25 Prerogative 6.55 Anif 7.25 Aigiarne  7.55 Hanakotoba 8.25 Marhaban Reuse this content Support The Guardian Apple’s Jade and Buveur D’Air set to top bill in Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Thank you for your feedback. Gold Cup hero Native River and King George winner Clan Des Obeaux are among 10 entries for Saturday’s Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury.Colin Tizzard’s Native River is looking for a third successive win in the race but has plenty of ground to make up on Paul Nicholls’ Clan Des Obeaux, who finished over 13 lengths in front of him when bursting on to the big-race scene at Kempton on Boxing Day. Horse racing Hide Show Share on Facebook Quick guide Greg Wood’s tips for Monday Since you’re here… Share on Messenger Share via Email Horse racing tips Facebook Read more features Talking Horses Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Taunton races. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Share on WhatsApp Was this helpful?last_img read more

4 days agoWATCH: Liverpool ace Oxlade-Chamberlain clashes with angry Man Utd fans

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first_imgWATCH: Liverpool ace Oxlade-Chamberlain clashes with angry Man Utd fansby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool ace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain clashed Manchester United fans after full-time at Old Trafford.The midfielder was clearly told to “F*** off” while talking to one fan, while another rejected his offer of a fist bump.It’s not clear why the 26-year-old went to the home fans after the end of the 1-1 draw.Some viewers on social media claimed that Ox had been getting some stick from that section of the crowd while warming up.Oxlade-Chamberlain involved in row with Man Utd fans as smiling star told to ‘f*** off’ and has fist bump rejected It is not clear why the smiling Ox went over to the fans. The incident took place after the 1-1 draw between Man Utd and Liverpool at Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/x6b86Lx20t— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) October 20, 2019 About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more