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Man Utd and Dortmund? Birmingham boss tells Jude Bellingham to ignore interest

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Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham has been backed by head coach Pep Clotet to stay focused.

Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet urged teenage sensation Jude Bellingham to ignore interest from Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham is enjoying a brilliant debut season as a professional with Birmingham – the 16-year-old linked to Premier League giants United and Bundesliga powerhouse Dortmund.

The teenager reportedly toured United’s training ground on Monday, having been tipped to join fellow Englishman Jadon Sancho at Dortmund next season.

However, Spanish boss Clotet told Bellingham to stay focused on his task at hand with Championship outfit Birmingham.

“I always thought he is very mature and very focused – but he has to be,” Clotet told reporters.

“Because he cannot be thinking about other things than Birmingham City – and I am sure he is only thinking about Birmingham City.

“That’s the feeling I get from him, when I speak to him and work with him.”

Bellingham – who became Birmingham’s youngest ever player in 2019 – has scored four goals in 32 Championship appearances this season.

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Bundesliga

Bayern, BVB, Leipzig and Leverkusen pledge €20million

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The Bundesliga’s four Champions League clubs have created a coronavirus support fund to aid other German teams struggling financially.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have vowed to make €20million available to support Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga clubs struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The German football season is on hold at least until April 30 due to the spread of COVID-19, which has infected almost 40,000 people in Germany – the third most-affected European nation.

Suspension of the campaign is set to have major consequences on the finances of many clubs, with the situation forcing some to implement salary cuts or similar measures.

Players of Bundesliga side Union Berlin are waiving their salaries to aid the wider business, but a new approach from Germany’s four Champions League sides should help alleviate the strain on many teams in the top two divisions.

A statement released on Thursday by the German Football League (DFL) confirmed the €20m support fund will be created by the four clubs initially foregoing “their share of the undistributed national media revenue of the DFL in the coming season”.

 

That figure, which stands at €12.5m, will be supplemented by contributions from the clubs’ own resources.

“This campaign underlines that solidarity in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga is not lip service. The DFL Presidium is very grateful to the four Champions League participants in terms of the community of all clubs,” DFL spokesman Christian Seifert said.

Bayern CEO Karl Heinz Rummenigge added: “Together with the three other Champions League participants, we want to send a signal of solidarity to all clubs in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga with this initiative.

“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders. With this, we also want to show that football is standing together right now.”

The DFL will decide on matters relating to the distribution of the €20m.

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Bundesliga

Reports: Chelsea want Bayern’s Neuer, Man City boss Pep obsessed with Bonucci

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Germany star Manuel Neuer is reportedly attracting interest from Chelsea.

There could be a number of goalkeeping changes around Europe.

With Kepa Arrizabalaga’s future uncertain at Chelsea, Manuel Neuer is reportedly an option for Frank Lampard’s side.

Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen has also been linked with a move away from Camp Nou.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGET NEUER

Chelsea are interested in signing Bayern Munich captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, according to Sport Bild.

Lampard’s Chelsea are reportedly looking to move on from Kepa – the world’s most expensive goalkeeper after leaving Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

Neuer is on Chelsea’s radar, with the Germany star yet to agree a new deal at Bayern, who have been linked to fellow German and Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen.

ROUND-UP

– Leonardo Bonucci to Manchester City? Calciomercato claims Pep Guardiola is “obsessed” with Bonucci and wants to bring the Juventus defender to the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season. Juve, however, are unwilling to sell the Italy international.

– The Mirror claims Barcelona are tracking Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman became Tottenham’s club-record signing ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, but he has struggled in London amid criticism from head coach Jose Mourinho. Spurs have been linked to RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer.

– Bayern star David Alaba is likely to leave the Bundesliga champions at the end of the season, reports Sky Sport Germany. It comes as reports link the Austria international to Barca and Real Madrid. Meanwhile, The Sun claims City are set to be offered Alaba and cash for Leroy Sane.

– Inter are considering a move to sign Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen as a free agent at season’s end, says Calciomercato. The Nerazzurri are also unwilling to keep Alexis Sanchez, who is on loan from Manchester United.

– Mauro Icardi has turned down a transfer to LaLiga in order to push for a move to Juventus, according to Elgoldigital. Icardi is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter.

– Calciomercato says United and Tottenham have made offers for Inter centre-back Diego Godin. The reports adds United are looking to sign both Godin and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

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Bundesliga

Manuel Neuer turns 34: Bayern star’s brilliant career in numbers

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On Manuel Neuer’s 34th birthday, we look at the outstanding numbers from his career so far.

Manuel Neuer turned 34 on Friday, but the Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper is still going strong.

Captain for both club and country, Neuer has helped Bayern to seven straight Bundesliga titles, plus a Champions League triumph, and also won the World Cup six years ago.

Despite intense pressure from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the former Schalke star remains Germany’s number one.

And Neuer is adamant he will maintain a starting role at Bayern next season after the arrival of Alexander Nubel, even if the veteran was linked to Chelsea this week.

To mark his birthday, we take a look at the key numbers – with the help of Opta – from a career that shows no signs of slowing.

576 – Neuer has made more senior club appearances – for Schalke and Bayern – in all competitions than any other Bundesliga player since 2006-07.

92 – The keeper is closing on a century of Germany caps since his June 2009 debut. He has been captain since September 2016.

5 – Just four other goalkeepers in Bundesliga history – Richard Golz, Gerhard Heinze, Eike Immel, Ulrich Stein – have made at least 150 appearances for two different clubs. Neuer played 156 times for Schalke, before turning out for Bayern on 241 occasions.

188 – Oliver Kahn (196) is the only goalkeeper to have kept more Bundesliga clean sheets than Neuer.

0 – No keeper can better Neuer’s tally of 188 clean sheets in Europe’s top five leagues since 2006-07. Former Bayern team-mate Pepe Reina is second on that list with 171.

47 – Of Bundesliga goalkeepers to have played at least four games, Neuer (47 per cent) has the best clean sheet rate. He has kept a clean sheet in 52 per cent of his league games for Bayern.

0.78 – Neuer concedes the fewest goals per game of any keeper with at least five appearances in Bundesliga history. Again, that statistic improves further to just 0.65 goals per game when playing for Bayern.

20 – The World Cup winner holds the record for the most clean sheets in a Bundesliga season, achieved in both 2014-15 and 2015-16. He surpassed Kahn’s 2001-02 benchmark of 19.

107 – Since his Champions League debut in 2007-08, Neuer is the only goalkeeper to tally over a century of appearances in the competition.

42 – Neuer has also kept the most Champions League clean sheets in this time.

35 – Earlier this season, Neuer surpassed Kahn (33) for Champions League clean sheets for Bayern. He is one shy of Kahn’s record DFB-Pokal tally of 33 clean sheets.

76 – Since detailed data collection began in 2004-05, Neuer has the best passing accuracy percentage of all goalkeepers with at least 20 Bundesliga appearances.

1 – Neuer has played only once on his birthday, keeping a clean sheet as Schalke beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 away from home in 2010.

0 – Despite his regular forays outside the penalty area, Neuer has never been sent off.

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