Benjamin Pavard

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Niklas Sule tears ACL, will miss rest of season and likely Euros

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Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule suffered an ACL tear that will cause him to miss the rest of the club season as well as Euro 2020, the club announced.

“Apparently, the season is over for him, he can forget about the Euros,” said Bayern club president Uli Hoeness.

Sule has become a critical player for both club and country over the past year. He had been on the pitch for every minute of Bayern’s league campaign until his injury in the 12th minute of the 2-2 draw with Augsburg, and Germany manager Joachim Low had tabbed Sule as a long-term solution at center-back after publicly moving on from Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the hopes of overhauling the national team squad.

Sule represents a massive loss for Germany, having started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the past 11 matches for the national side. He has been the lone constant in the national team defense while his center-back partnership is a rotating door of players such as Emre Can, Robin Koch, Mattias Ginter, Jonathan Tah, and Antonio Rudiger. It is unclear whether Low would re-consider his stance on Hummels and/or Boateng with his defensive situation thrown into disarray.

At the club level, Bayern has options to replace Sule but almost all of them represent a downgrade. Benjamin Pavard, who played full-back for the French national team during their 2018 World Cup run, has transitioned to center-back and seen significant playing time already this season. Lucas Hernandez is also a relative newcomer to the center-back role like Pavard, while Boateng could potentially find his way back into the starting lineup having made just four appearances so far this season.

Bayern Munich announce Benjamin Pavard signing

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich has signed France defender Benjamin Pavard from Bundesliga rival Stuttgart for next season.

The Bavarian team says the 22-year-old Pavard, who played six games at right back to help France win the World Cup, will join on July 1.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ] 

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic says Pavard has singed “a five-year contract. He’s a young player and a world champion. We’re very glad and proud to have gained such a player for FC Bayern.”

Pavard helped Stuttgart to Bundesliga promotion in 2017 after joining from Lille the year before. He has played 69 league games, though he is currently out with a thigh injury.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Rudiger apologizes to Pavard for neck stomp

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German defender Antonio Rudiger has taken to social media to apologize to French defender Benjamin Pavard for stomping on his neck in the early stages of their 0-0 draw in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday. Rudiger was bombing down the left flank in just the third minute of the match, when Pavard slid in to successfully dispossess his opponent. After doing so, the two became tangled, and Rudiger’s boot landed straight on Pavard’s neck while he was prone on the ground.

The incident drew massive attention after Pavard came off the pitch with nasty cleat marks slashed across his neck. The Frenchman remained in the game for the rest of the match, while Rudiger mystifyingly came out of the incident without earning a yellow card.

[ MORE: USMNT on track to hire new coach soon ]

After the replay was shown, fans and analysts questioned whether the stamp was intentional, as Rudiger appeared relatively well-balanced throughout the play and quite uninhibited by the tackle, although it happened at such high speed and is certainly impossible to discern true intention. The German professed his innocence amid the apology.

Pavard came off the field and sported brutal slash marks clean across the right side of his neck, but was able to continue the match.

It’s unlikely that his immediate future with his club Stuttgart could be in jeopardy from the injury. France does not have another match scheduled this international break, while the German club doesn’t play next until September 16.

Pavard stunner wins Best Goal of 2018 World Cup

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Benjamin Pavard’s summer of dreams continues to get better.

The 22-year-old defender learned Wednesday that his stunning half-volley strike for France against Argentina had been named the best goal of the 2018 World Cup. The goal was selected by fans voting online on FIFA’s website.

[READ: Emery wants Ozil to feel at home at Arsenal]

We’d describe the goal for you again, but we think the video below speaks for himself.

“The ball bounced up as it came to me. I didn’t even think about it. I just tried to get over it and keep it down,” Pavard told FIFA’s website. “I was trying to hit it in the direction it came from, which is what the strikers always tell me. I didn’t think it over, and when it went in I just felt so happy.”

It was Pavard’s first goal for Les Bleus. Combined with his World Cup medal, it’s a goal he’ll never forget.

Video: Mbappe, Pavard restore France lead

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And just like that, France is back in front.

Les Bleus have scored three goals in 12 minutes to pull ahead against Argentina, 3-2, behind goals from Benjamin Pavard and Kylian Mbappe.

Pavard netted one of the goals of the tournament, with a slicing volley from the right side of the box into the top-left corner.

Meanwhile, Mbappe weaved his way through the Argentine backline following a failed clearance from the South Americans.