Bayern top going into winter break | Napoli make it 11 straight Serie A wins

Bayern Munich won 2-0 at Schalke to make sure of top spot in the Bundesliga going into the World Cup break as they hunt a record-extending 11th straight league title.

The Bavarians, who fielded a starting line-up consisting entirely of World Cup-bound players, scored once in either half with Serge Gnabry and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, with Germany international Jamal Musiala delivering both assists.

Bayern’s sixth consecutive league win -and 10th across all competitions – lifted them to 34 points, six ahead of second-placed RB Leipzig, 2-1 winners at Werder Bremen. Freiburg and Union Berlin, both on 27, face each other on Sunday.

Bayern had the upper hand from the start but it was not until Musiala, who at 19 is the youngest Bayern player to reach 100 matches, combined well with Germany team-mate Ganbry for the lead in the 38th minute.

“Jamal has played an outstanding first half of the season and will hopefully play even better at the World Cup and the second half of the season,” coach Julian Naglesmann said of his attacking midfielder.

“He listens well and he wants to develop. He just has a lot of talent. He also has improved defensively,” he said.

The teenager, who also has nine league goals, delivered his sixth assist of the season for Cameroon forward Choupo-Moting, who had earlier come close with a glancing header, to tap in seven minutes after the restart and leave Schalke in last place following their eighth loss in the last nine matches.

The 33-year-old forward is himself in fine form going into the World Cup with 11 goals in all competitions, including six in the league.

The Bundesliga goes into a prolonged break following this weekend’s matches due to the start of the World Cup in Qatar next weekend and will resume on January 20.

Serie A leaders Napoli seal 11th successive win

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Napoli’s Eljif Elmas scored their third in the 3-2 home win over Udinese

Napoli almost squandered the chance of setting a club record of 11 consecutive Serie A victories within a season when they let slip a three-goal advantage before securing a 3-2 home win over Udinese.

Victor Osimhen put the league leaders ahead after 15 minutes when he elegantly headed home a cross from Elif Elmas.

Piotr Zielinski doubled the lead in the 31st minute with a shot from the edge of the box after being played in by Hirving Lozano.

The hosts continued to press in the second half and Elmas was set free by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in the 58th minute to add the third.

Udinese reduced the deficit 11 minutes from time when Isaac Success chested the ball to Ilija Nestorovski who fired the ball into the net.

Lazar Samardzic pulled another goal back three minutes later and Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti cut a frustrated figure as his side held firm in the closing stages to secure the victory.

Napoli top Serie A with 41 points, 11 ahead of Lazio who play Juventus on Sunday before the World Cup break. Udinese are in eighth place.

Euro round-up: Mane suffers WC scare | Pique sent off in final game

Sadio Mane suffered an injury scare less than two weeks before the start of the World Cup after being forced off during Bayern Munich’s 6-1 demolition of Werder Bremen.

Mane limped off with a leg injury after just 20 minutes of the game, with only 13 days to go before Senegal’s opening match of the tournament against the Netherlands.

But champions Bayern put that blow behind them to thrash Werder and open up a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen

Bayern’s goalscoring began in the sixth minute when in-form Germany international Jamal Musiala showed outstanding composure to pick up the ball in the box, sidestep an opponent and slot home with his left foot.

The visitors struck against the run of play only four minutes later, with Anthony Jung wrongfooting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a low shot, but Bayern’s pressure was relentless and they went on to score three times in six dizzying minutes to kill off the game.

Gnabry curled in a superb shot in the 22nd minute before fellow Germany international Leon Goretzka added another four minutes later. Gnabry then tapped in his second goal of the evening in the 28th minute from a perfect Leroy Sane assist as Werder were unable to stop Bayern’s runs through the centre.

Gnabry then bagged his hat-trick in the 82nd minute after weaving past four Werder players before France youth international Mathys Tel made it half a dozen goals for Bayern with a solo effort two minutes later.

There was joy for Bayern earlier in the evening when rivals Borussia Dortmund suffered a 2-0 defeat at Wolfsburg, who stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund

The hosts shot out of the blocks, forcing a good save from Gregor Kobel in the third minute before Micky van de Ven nodded in at the far post from a corner three minutes later.

Wolfsburg, who had managed just one point against Dortmund in their last 14 league matches prior to Tuesday, sealed their first win over Dortmund in seven years with a Lukas Nmecha tap-in in stoppage time.

The results leaves Dortmund fourth in the Bundesliga – six points behind leaders Bayern – while Wolfsburg are eighth, one place below Werder Bremen.

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Lukas Nmecha (centre) and Wolfburg team-mates celebrate his late goal

Barca fight back after Pique and Lewandowski reds

Barcelona fought back to win 2-1 at Osasuna despite Robert Lewandowski and Gerard Pique – in his final match before retirement – receiving red cards.

Second-half goals from Pedri and Raphinha rescued Xavi’s side after David Garcia had headed Osasuna into the lead from a corner in the sixth minute.

Lewandowski saw red following a second booking in the 31st minute, after which Pique – who was on the bench – was also dismissed after complaining to the referee at half-time.

Yet Pedri equalised from a rebound right after the break and Raphinha came off the bench to score Barca’s winner five minutes from time with a brilliant dipping header from outside the box that looped into the net.

The result means Barcelona go into the World Cup break top of La Liga, five points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, who host second-bottom Cadiz on Thursday. Osasuna are sixth.

Napoli extend lead after Milan stumble

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Hirving Lozano (second right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring Napoli’s first

Serie A leaders Napoli extended their winning streak to 10 games and their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points when they beat visitors Empoli 2-0 thanks to a goal and an assist from substitute Hirving Lozano.

The sides were locked at 0-0 at half-time despite the hosts dominating the first 45 minutes, while Empoli never came close to any real chances.

Napoli finally broke the deadlock when Lozano converted a penalty in the 70th minute after Razvan Marin tripped Victor Osimhen inside the box.

Empoli’s luck had clearly run out when Sebastiano Luperto was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for tripping Lozano in the 74th minute.

Lozano then crossed for Piotr Zielinski, who found the net with one touch in the 88th minute.

Meanwhile, second-placed AC Milan were held to a 0-0 draw at Cremonese as Stefano Pioli’s men wasted several clear-cut chances.

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Junior Messias and co were unable to help Milan to a win

Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic and Divock Origi all missed opportunities for the champions, while Cremonese could have snatched victory four minutes into stoppage time when Cristian Buonaiuto shot straight at Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Milan lie second in the standings, eight adrift of leaders Napoli, while Empoli are 14th and Cremonese are 18th, two points from safety.

Liverpool face Real Madrid in CL last 16 | Chelsea draw Dortmund

Liverpool will face Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 tie in a repeat of the 2022 final, while Chelsea were drawn against Borussia Dortmund.

Vinicius Junior’s winner saw Real Madrid lift their 14th European title in May’s final, following on from Real’s 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv.

But Liverpool will now get an early opportunity to exact some revenge for that loss as they bid to reach the quarter-finals in this season’s competition. Their first leg will be played at Anfield on Tuesday February 21 before the return leg on Wednesday March 15 at the Bernabeu

Reacting to the draw, former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock told Sky Sports News: “It’s a very difficult tie for Liverpool. Finishing second in their group, they don’t get the opportunity to play at home in the second leg.

“However, Jurgen Klopp’s side will want to avenge the final defeat last year, even though it doesn’t win you the competition. It does give you something to put right, though.”

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Liverpool and Real Madrid met just five months ago in the 2022 Champions League final

Graham Potter’s Chelsea will take on Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic facing their former club. The first leg will be on Wednesday February 15 before the return leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday March 7.

Chelsea’s February & March schedule

  • Chelsea vs Fulham – February 4
  • West Ham vs Chelsea – February 11
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea – February 15
  • Chelsea vs Southampton – February 18
  • Tottenham vs Chelsea – February 25
  • Possible FA Cup fifth round tie – February 28
  • Chelsea vs Leeds – March 4
  • Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund – March 7
  • Leicester City vs Chelsea – March 11
  • Chelsea vs Everton – March 18

Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic said of the draw: “We have a top team waiting for us. In Aubameyang and Pulisic we’re meeting old friends. We’re looking forward to seeing you again and of course, we want to make it through to the next round.”

Tottenham were drawn against AC Milan, and there will be an added incentive for Spurs boss Antonio Conte who previously managed Milan’s fierce city rivals Inter between 2019 and 2021.

Conte will return to the San Siro with Spurs for the first leg on Tuesday February 14 before the return match on Wednesday March 8 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Manchester City face a tie against RB Leipzig as they harbour ambitions of reaching a second Champions League final. Pep Guardiola’s side have lost only one of their last 17 matches against German sides in the Champions League (W14 D2) – although that defeat came away at RB Leipzig in December 2021.

Man City will travel to Germany for the first leg on Wednesday February 22 before playing the second leg at the Etihad on Tuesday March 14.

Manchester City’s February & March schedule

  • Tottenham vs Manchester City – February 4
  • Manchester City vs Aston Villa – February 11
  • Nottingham Forest vs Manchester City – February 18
  • RB Leipzig vs Manchester City – February 22
  • Bournemouth vs Manchester City – February 25
  • Possible FA Cup fifth round tie – February 28
  • Manchester City vs Newcastle – March 4
  • Crystal Palace vs Manchester City – March 11
  • Manchester City vs RB Leipzig – March 14
  • Manchester City vs West Ham – March 18

Elsewhere, in another replay of a recent final, PSG have been drawn against Bayern Munich in another stand-out last-16 tie. Bayern were 1-0 winners in the 2020 final against the Ligue 1 side, winning their sixth European title.

How do the last-16 fixtures affect the Premier League?

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All four Premier League teams still in the Champions League have matches to be rescheduled

The timing of the Champions League last-16 matches does pose an issue for the Premier League amid an already-congested fixture list.

One-and-a-half rounds of fixtures from The Queen’s passing – including Chelsea vs Liverpool and Man City vs Spurs – are yet to be rescheduled.

However, the two above fixtures are unlikely to be played on any of the Champions League last 16 midweeks – four in total – as each of the Premier League teams involved are playing their ties on alternating weeks.

There is also a March international break on the weeks commencing March 20 and 27, narrowing further the dates for the fixtures to be rescheduled.

Champions League last-16 draw in full

  • RB Leipzig vs Man City – First leg on Wednesday February 22; Second leg on Tuesday March 14
  • Club Brugge vs Benfica – First leg on Wednesday February 15; Second leg on Tuesday March 7
  • Liverpool vs Real Madrid – First leg on Tuesday February 21; Second leg on Wednesday March 15
  • AC Milan vs Tottenham – First leg on Tuesday February 14; Second leg on Wednesday March 8
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Napoli – First leg on Tuesday February 21; Second leg on Wednesday March 15
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea – First leg on Wednesday February 15; Second leg on Tuesday March 7
  • Inter Milan vs Porto – First leg on Wednesday February 22; Second leg on Tuesday March 14
  • PSG vs Bayern Munich – First leg on Tuesday February 14; Second leg on Wednesday March 8

‘Last-16 timing good for Liverpool’

Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock on Sky Sports News:

“If the games were to happen now, I think it would be a real challenge for Liverpool.

“But, given the timing of the games in February, I think it is a good moment for Liverpool to try to correct what is going on at the moment and to put themselves in a better position.

Liverpool’s February & March schedule

  • Wolves vs Liverpool – February 4
  • Liverpool vs Everton – February 11
  • Newcastle vs Liverpool – February 18
  • Liverpool vs Real Madrid – February 21
  • Crystal Palace vs Liverpool – February 25
  • Possible FA Cup fifth round tie – February 28
  • Liverpool vs Manchester United – March 4
  • Bournemouth vs Liverpool – March 11
  • Real Madrid vs Liverpool – March 15
  • Liverpool vs Fulham – March 18

“Potentially, they could maybe even try to sign some players in January.

“It’s a great game. You’ve got to beat the best teams and that’s what you’ve got in Real Madrid. They are the defending champions and you want to go to their backyard in the second leg, cause a problem and hopefully win the game.”

‘Spurs shouldn’t fear AC Milan’

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Tottenham should not fear AC Milan, says Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock on Sky Sports News:

“At any point in the competition now you have got to fancy your chances. You have got to believe you are capable of winning games.

Tottenham’s February & March schedule

  • Tottenham vs Manchester City – February 4
  • Leicester City vs Tottenham – February 11
  • AC Milan vs Tottenham Hotspur – February 14
  • Tottenham vs West Ham – February 18
  • Tottenham vs Chelsea – February 25
  • Possible FA Cup fifth round tie – February 28
  • Wolves vs Tottenham – March 4
  • Tottenham vs AC Milan – March 8
  • Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest – March 11
  • Southampton vs Tottenham – March 18

“When you look at all the draws of the English sides I think Liverpool have arguably got the hardest draw, but you look at the rest and they should progress out of those games.

“For Spurs, I don’t look at AC Milan and fear them. I know they are Serie A champions, but I don’t think you’d fear them.

“I’d rather not play Napoli.”

When will the games be played?

The first legs of the last-16 games will be played on the midweeks of February 14-15, and February 21-22 2023.

The second legs will be played across March 7-8 and March 14-15.

Beyond the last 16…

For those sides lucky enough to reach the quarter-finals, it’s a free for all from then on – with no restrictions on who can draw one another.

The draw for the last eight and the semi-finals will be held on March 17, with the quarter-final first legs held on April 11-12 and the second legs on April 18-19.

The first legs of the semi-finals will be held on May 9-10, and the second legs on May 16-17. The Champions League final will then be held in Istanbul on June 10.

Salah, Nunez strike late as Liverpool beat Napoli

Late goals from Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez helped Liverpool to a 2-0 win over Napoli but the Italians still finished top dogs in Champions League Group A.

With a lack of jeopardy on the game neither team really moved out of second gear as the chances of Liverpool overturning a four-goal swing to top the group never threatened to materialise.

However, two Liverpool goals did come late on when Salah prodded home from close range after Nunez’s header had been clawed off the line by goalkeeper Alex Meret before Nunez grabbed himself a goal, awarded by VAR, after tapping home from Virgil van Dijk’s initial header which was saved.

Napoli thought Leo Ostigard had headed them in front on 53 minutes but VAR overturned the goal after a three-minute check that found the centre-back had been ahead of the play.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Konate (7), Van Dijk (7), Tsimikas (7), Fabinho (6), Thiago (7), Milner (7), Jones (7), Salah (7), Firmino (7)

Subs used: Nunez (7), Elliott (7), Ramsey (N/A), Carvalho (N/A), Bajcetic (N/A)

Napoli: Meret (6), Di Lorenzo (7), Ostigard (7), Kim (7), Olivera (7), Ndombélé (7), Lobotka (7), Anguissa (6), Politano (6), Osimhen (7), Kvaratskhelia (7)

Subs used: Lozano (7), Simeone (N/A), Zielinski (N/A), Raspadori (N/A)

Man of the match: Mo Salah

For Liverpool it was a far more positive night at Anfield than Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Leeds in the Premier League.

The last-16 draw, in which Liverpool will be unseeded and could face the likes of Bayern Munich, will be held at 12pm on Monday November 7.

A step in the right direction for Liverpool…

It wasn’t one of Klopp’s epic European nights under the Anfield lights but it was a landmark one as he became the fourth Liverpool manager to reach 400 games in charge of the club, after Tom Watson, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

Team news

  • Jurgen Klopp resisted the urge to play a severely weakened team and made just four changes from the defeat to Leeds. Andy Robertson, Harvey Elliott, Joe Gomez and Darwin Nunez dropped out with Kostas Tsimikas, James Milner, Ibrahim Konate and Curtis Jones handed starts

It’s hard to know which Liverpool will turn up this season after an erratic run of results and it wasn’t clear in this encounter for long periods.

Klopp’s men played with sharpness for short bursts in the first half with Thiago testing the gloves of Meret from range and Curtis Jones – playing as part of the Liverpool front three – heading over following a clever flicked cross from Roberto Firmino.

Napoli are top of the table in Serie A and had won 13 consecutive matches in all competitions before this Anfield trip. They sensed their moment of making it 14 in a row and looked to have taken their chance from a set piece when Ostigard was left free to head home from six yards. However, after a VAR check of three minutes it was deemed that a part of his shoulder was in an offside position to the delight of the majority of Anfield.

The noise was lifted for a short period but with no real desperate urge to win the tie and Tottenham looming on Sunday, a winner for either team looked unlikely. When it came, it was scrappy but Salah didn’t care. Nunez – who replaced Jones with 17 minutes left to play – sent a powerful header towards goal that Meret juggled just about away from his goalline but Salah was quickest to react and just about bundled it over the line, meaning he has scored in his last five Champions League matches.

The scoring wasn’t over as with the last attack Van Dijk’s header from another left-wing corner drew another save out of Meret, who could only fumble the ball towards his goal where the offside-looking Nunez smashed it home. The flag went up but after a second lengthy VAR check it was deemed Nunez was being played on by a Napoli defender. His first goal in the Champions League for Liverpool – the first of many, Klopp will be hoping.

Klopp: Being compact made all the difference

Jurgen Klopp speaking to BT Sport:

“I would have enjoyed the game even without the goals but they are important stuff. We showed a really good reaction.

“Being compact makes all the difference. All of a sudden we have the challenges in the right spaces and we are difficult to play against.

“If you have seen what Napoli can do it was a really good game for us. I saw a lot of courage and bravery. Two set-pieces got us the points and to take 15 (points) in this group is absolutely insane.”

Opta: Reds break Napoli run

  • Napoli have never won away from home against an English team in European competition, with the Italian side failing on 12 occasions to date (D3 L9).
  • Napoli (P18 W15 D2 L1) suffered their first defeat of the season leaving PSG (19) as the only big five European league side to remain unbeaten in all competitions this term.
  • Klopp became the seventh manager to take charge of 100+ UEFA Champions League games, while only Pep Guardiola (61) has more wins from his first 100 games in charge in the competition than Klopp (58).
  • Salah has now scored 43 goals in the UEFA Champions League and is just one goal away from equalling Didier Drogba (44) as the top scoring African player in the competition.

What’s next?


Sunday 6th November 4:00pm


Kick off 4:30pm

Liverpool have three more fixtures ahead of the World Cup. They face Tottenham on Super Sunday this weekend, live on Sky Sports from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. They will then host Derby in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday November 9 before their final Premier League match against Southampton on Saturday November 12; kick-off 3pm.

Napoli also have three Serie A fixtures before the World Cup break, facing Atalanta, Empoli and Udinese over the next 10 days.

Rangers suffer fifth straight CL loss as Napoli cruise to victory

Napoli heaped yet more misery on Rangers’ luckless European campaign on Wednesday night, as Giovanni Simeone’s double and a late Leo Ostigard header secured a convincing 3-0 victory in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti was adamant there was no chance of his side underestimating Rangers pre-match, in spite of a 7-1 defeat by Liverpool in their last Group A outing, but their ruthless performance told a different story.

The Italians, top of Serie A and leaders of Group A, demonstrated exactly why they are dominating on both domestic and European fronts with a display that blew the winless Scots away within 16 first-half minutes.

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Napoli’s Giovanni Simeone celebrates making it 1-0 vs Rangers

Simeone’s quick-fire double had Napoli cruising, before Ostigard powered a header beyond a helpless Allan McGregor from a pinpoint Giacomo Raspadori corner.

With a perfect set of results, ahead of a showdown with Liverpool next week, Napoli have become the first Italian side to win their opening five games of a Champions League campaign since Juventus achieved the same feat in 2004-05. They’ve also set a new club record of 12 consecutive wins in all competitions.

The Gers, contrastingly, have lost all five of their Group A games, conceding 19 in the process. They still have a slim chance of claiming a Europa League spot, at the expense of Ajax, but would need to better the 4-0 scoreline from their reverse fixture with the Dutch when the two sides meet in Glasgow on November 1.

How Napoli outclassed Rangers

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Napoli’s Giovanni Simeone celebrates as he makes it 2-0 vs Rangers

Last season’s Europa League finalists will be out of Europe altogether barring an improbable thrashing of Ajax in their concluding game at Ibrox in six days’ time.

Napoli, unbeaten in 16 games this season, were straight out of the blocks, scoring twice in the opening 16 minutes.

There were just 11 minutes on the clock when Giovanni Di Lorenzo sent the impressive Simeone down the right flank and despite the attention of defender Leon King, he fired emphatically past McGregor and in at the far post.

Four minutes later, Simeone headed home a cross from Mario Rui with defenders King and Ben Davies helpless either side.

The visitors rallied in the second period, restoring some beleaguered pride, before Ostigard rose to power Raspadori’s corner in at the back post, adding the gloss to a routine home win.

Tavernier: ‘Easy’ goals cost us

Captain James Tavernier told BT Sport:

“We are disappointed to lose the game. I felt we can take some positives from that compared to the other games we have played in the group.

“We let two easy goals in in the first half and I felt we had two good, big chances that could have levelled the game.

“We have to take the positives from the game and build on that. They took their chances but that is the level we are playing at and we have to learn from that.”

What’s next?

Rangers are back in Scottish Premiership action on Saturday when they travel to Aberdeen; kick-off 3pm. Their final Champions League group stage fixture on Tuesday November 1 will see them welcome Ajax to Ibrox.

Napoli host Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday before a trip to Liverpool on Tuesday in their final Champions League group-stage fixture.