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Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

Mourinho remains focused on Europa League despite UCL aspirations

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It hasn’t been the masterful Jose Mourinho we’re used to in 2016/17, but the Manchester United boss could still very well guide his team to the UEFA Champions League next season.

[ MORE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal bonus reportedly leaked ]

The Red Devils will take on Spanish side Celta Vigo in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semifinal on Thursday, and a win would put the Premier League giants one step closer to the UCL this fall.

The Portuguese manager has had a difficult time in his first season at Old Trafford, largely due to the side’s constant injury battles, but Mourinho says the task is “simple” on Thursday.

“The situation is simple,” Mourinho said. “Seventeen matches in seven weeks with 16 players is impossible. It’s not a gamble, it was a simple decision, a decision based on common sense and a consequence of our situation. We are giving everything we can, the players, myself, everyone. We are giving everything so when you give everything, no problem.”

United continues to play without several key players including top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, which has forced Mourinho to select from a small group of squad members during the season half of the season.

As one of the four remaining sides in this season’s Europa League, United is in a superb position of at very least reaching the competition’s finale. The Red Devils currently hold a 1-0 lead over Celta as the two sides head to England for the return leg.

While winning the UEL would guarantee United a spot in the UCL next season, Mourinho and Co. could also book a place in Europe’s top club competition in 2017/18 by finishing in the top four in England.

Man United sits fifth in the PL standings as things stand, trailing fourth place Manchester City by four points with each team having three games remaining on the docket and Arsenal tight on their heels.

“If we don’t qualify for Champions League, it’s because we’re not good enough to play in it,” Mourinho said. “I try to look at it in a pragmatic way. Obviously it’s the competition you want to be [in]. But I think in this moment we just have to focus on where we are and nobody has more motivation than I have to try to win tomorrow.”

Hoffenheim reaches Champions League qualifiers for 1st time

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BERLIN (AP) The youngest coach in the Bundesliga, 29-year-old Julian Nagelsmann, has steered Hoffenheim to a place in the Champions League qualifiers in the club’s best ever season.

Hoffenheim could even secure its first appearance in the Champions League group stage if it holds on to third place – where it now stands after Benjamin Huebner scored in the last minute to snatch a 1-0 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. It has three more matches to play this season.

Huebner’s late goal, a powerful header to Sebastian Rudy’s corner, moved the side one point above Borussia Dortmund, which was held to a scoreless draw at home by Cologne on Saturday.

The goal was scored by the son of Frankfurt sporting director Bruno Huebner.

“A lucky win,” acknowledged Hoffenheim backer Dietmar Hopp, the software billionaire whose finances helped his hometown club progress from minor leagues to the Bundesliga.

A co-founder of the SAP software giant, Hopp became the first private owner of a Bundesliga side when he took a majority stake in Hoffenheim in 2015. By then he had already spent an estimated 350 million euros on the team.

However, Hoffenheim’s best appointment to date appears to be that of Nagelsmann, who took over in February 2016 after Huub Stevens stepped down for health reasons.

Then 28, Nagelsmann hadn’t even earned his coaching credentials from the German football federation (DFB). But he saved the side from relegation and Hoffenheim is enjoying its best ever season this year.

The win over Frankfurt extended its unbeaten run at home to 16 games and ensured it beat its previous best-mark of 55 points from the 2008-09 season.

As a player, Nagelsmann lined up for Bavarian sides Augsburg and 1860 Munich before turning his attention to coaching. He spent almost a decade coaching the youth sides of 1860 Munich and then Hoffenheim, for which he was also assistant coach in 2012-13.

Earlier this year, Nagelsmann was named the German football federation’s coach of the year for 2016.

Dortmund hosts Hoffenheim next weekend for a game that is likely to decide which side goes into the qualifiers and which secures automatic qualification for the Champions League.

AUGSBURG 4, HAMBURGER SV 0

Hamburger SV slipped closer to its first ever relegation in a humiliating defeat at fellow struggler Augsburg.

Hamburg, the last founding member of the league to have played every season since its formation in 1963, was left in the relegation playoff place with three games remaining.

“We’re all affected by the performance we showed today,” Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol said. “We were hoping for something different. But we’ve got over other setbacks before and have to deliver the best in the next game.”

Hamburg goalkeeper Tom Mickel and the left post denied Augsburg early on before Halil Altintop fired the home side ahead, midway through the first half.

Altintop scored another before the break, set up by Philipp Max, to give Augsburg some breathing space.

Michael Gregoritsch reacted with a brutal challenge on Dominik Kohr, for which the Hamburg midfielder was fortunate to escape with a yellow card.

Max sealed the result on a counterattack before setting up Raul Bobadilla to complete the scoring late on.

“We could even have scored more goals,” Augsburg coach Manuel Baum said. “But more than three points wouldn’t have been possible.”

Victory lifted Augsburg out of the relegation playoff place and two points above Hamburg, Wolfsburg and Mainz, all level on 33 points. Hamburg, which has conceded a league-worst 59 goals in 31 games, has an inferior goal difference to the other two.

Ingolstadt and Darmstadt occupied the automatic relegation spots. Ingolstadt was four points behind Hamburg, while Darmstadt was all but doomed, nine points behind.

Mbappe scores again to send Monaco through to CL semis

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Monaco took its 3-2 first-leg advantage and stormed into the Champions League semifinals with a 3-1 home second-leg win over Borussia Dortmund.

Kylian Mbappe scored the opener very early on, and Falcao also struck before the 20 minute mark to send Monaco well through.

Just three minutes into the match, Benjamin Mendy burst forwards cutting inside from the left flank, and he rifled a shot on goal. It was straight at Roman Burki, but powerful enough that the German could only parry the shot. The rebound fell straight to two streaking Monaco attackers, and it was Mbappe who struck a shot off Burki’s hands and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The goal makes Mbappe the first player in Champions League history to score in his first four knockout game appearances.

Then, in the 17th minute, Falcao headed in from a wonderful Thomas Lemar delivery, and Monaco was well and truly through.

With Dortmund down big, manager Thomas Tuchel brought on Ousmane Dembele in the 27th minute. Tuchel had come under fire for not starting either Dembele or Christian Pulisic. Nuri Sahin hit the post with a brilliant free-kick in the 14th minute, the best chance Dortmund had in the first half, and they would find a response soon after the halftime break.

Dembele was the creator as Dortmund hit back, finding a tiny window of opportunity on a pull-back to Marco Reus in the 51st minute as the German club made it 2-1. They still needed two more goals, however, to force extra time, and the mountain was too much to climb. Tuchel brought on Pulisic with 18 minutes to go, but he was powerless to change the tide. With 10 minutes to go, Valere Germain scored Monaco’s third to put the game to bed, and sending the aggregate score to 6-3. The goal means Monaco become the first team in Champions League history to score at least three goals in four straight knockout games.