Kingsley Coman

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EURO 2020 qualifying: Portugal edges Serbia, France batters Albania

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With four goals each, France and Portugal were in no need of favors as they comfortable cruised by their opponents in Saturday’s EURO 2020 qualifying action.

[ MORE: EURO qualifying wrap ]


Serbia 2-4 Portugal

The Serbians were no match for the Portuguese.

Portugal, trailing an unbeaten Ukraine in Group B by eight points, were more than ready to cut the deficit on Saturday night in Belgrade. And despite taking 42 minutes to get the engine going, the goals, eventually, poured in.

William Carvalho broke deadlock minutes before halftime, tapping in the ball into the back of net following a lack of chemistry between Serbia’s goalkeeper and defense inside the six-yard box.

Gonçalo Guedes added one of his own to put the visitors up two goals early into the second half. More than twenty minutes later, with Serbia back into the game through a Nikola Milenković goal, Cristiano Ronaldo, as always, made sure to make his presence known.

Goals galore followed shortly, with Aleksandar Mitrovic and Bernando Silva scoring within two minutes.

Portugal, with a lot of ground to make up, now sets its sights on Lithuania, while Serbia travels to Luxembourg.

France 4-1 Albania

Is this the year that Kingsley Coman separates himself from everyone else in the elite category? So far, it’s looking like it and France – like Bayern Munich – are gladly benefiting from it.

With a brace from the winger, France cruised past Albania in Paris.

The 23-year-old scored first in the eight minute, following a sublime back from Raphaël Varane. In the 68th minute, with France up by two, Coman recorded his second of the night.

 

Albania spoiled Hugo Lloris‘ clean sheet following a converted penalty from Sokol Cikalleshiu.

Despite an unbeaten record through five matches, the pressure on France remains intact with Turkey and Iceland, who only trail by goal differentials, as they take on Andorra next. Albania, on the side, host Iceland.

Elsewhere

Kosovo 2-1 Czech Republic
Lithuania 0-3 Ukraine
England 4-0 Bulgaria
Iceland 3-0 Moldova
Scotland 1-2 Russia
Slovenia 2-0 Poland
Turkey 1-0 Andorra

Coman leads Bayern to German Cup opening win over Cottbus (video)

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BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich began its German Cup defense on Monday with a 3-1 win at former Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus, which was relegated from Germany’s third division last season.

It was a battling performance from the youthful home side, rewarded with Berkan Taz’s consolation from the penalty spot in injury time.

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Cottbus goalkeeper Lennart Moser was the team’s busiest player, earning the man of the match award. The 19-year-old deflected Robert Lewandowski’s shot onto the crossbar in the 14th minute but couldn’t prevent the Poland striker from breaking the deadlock on a rebound in the 32nd.

“We have to be more precise with the last pass in the final third,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac said.

The visitors had to wait until the 65th for the second goal, a fierce strike from distance from Coman after he cut inside from the left.

Substitute Leon Goretzka sealed the result in the 85th, with the ball taking a slight deflection from Lewandowski before going in.

Kovac took the opportunity to bring on record signing Lucas Hernandez for his Bayern debut in the 89th.

Earlier, 10-man Wolfsburg needed extra time to beat third-division Hallescher FC 5-3. Stuttgart won 1-0 at third-division Hansa Rostock, while Karlsruher SC defeated second-division rival Hannover 2-0.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman fight

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Bayern Munich is back atop the Bundesliga, but it’s not all sunshine and roses at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac confirmed that the Bavarian side had a training ground fist fight on its hands this week.

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The combatants? Golden Boot winner Robert Lewandowski and young playmaker Kingsley Coman.

“The three of us talked about it. The players are sorry and have apologized for their behaviour,” said Kovac. “There will be no financial penalties and the matter has been resolved.”

Lewandowski has 35 goals and 13 assists in 39 matches across all competitions, while Coman missed September, October, and November and has six goals and two assists in 22.

The Polish striker was also massive in Bayern’s 5-0 demolition of Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker last weekend. Bayern leads the table by a point with six matches to play.

Bayern suddenly walking wounded prior to Liverpool match

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With Liverpool set to host Bayern Munich on Tuesday in midweek Champions League action, the German giants are suddenly looking at a number of forced changes when they take on the Reds.

The latest injury came in the dying minutes of Bayern’s 3-2 win over Augsburg in Bundesliga play on Friday, as brace-man Kingsley Coman was forced off after Bayern had used all its substitutes. Coman had to be helped off the pitch, and the fear is that he could miss significant time.

The 22-year-old French international is electric when at full strength, but has been troubled by injuries during his time at Allianz Arena. He was plagued by knee problems in his first seasons there, and his left ankle is now the main culprit. Coman saw his season come to an early close right about this time a year ago thanks to ligament trouble in his left ankle, forcing him to miss the rest of the season and the first three months of this season before returning in early December. Now, it seems the troubles are cropping up again in the same spot.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac said after the match that, “It does not look good,” adding, “we’ll have to investigate it tomorrow to find out more.” Should Coman be forced out for any length of time, he would add to the growing list of important players missing for Bayern on Tuesday.

Thomas Muller is suspended after earning a straight red card for a high boot in the final group stage match against Ajax, a damaging loss that saw Muller handed a two-match suspension to keep him out of both legs against Liverpool. Arjen Robben is also out, having been out since early December – oddly enough the same match that saw Coman return – thanks to thigh trouble. While Robben is close to a comeback, he is not fit and has been ruled out of the first leg. Finally, midfielder Corentin Tolisso has been out with an ACL tear since the second league match of the season, and while that’s been in the cards for months, it bears repeating once the depth starts to wear away.

Manuel Neuer has also just returned from a thumb injury, and while he made it through the Augsburg match unscathed and will be ready to suit up against Liverpool, the whole of the Bayern defense looked shaky at times on the counter. Augsburg picked its spots perfectly, scoring 15 seconds into the match and then again before the half-hour mark. The hosts completed an outstanding nine of 10 individual take-ons in the match, finding openings on the break. The Bayern back line was solid in the air, which should give them something to savor from the league victory.

That win was the team’s ninth victory in its last 10 Bundesliga matches, a blistering run that followed a very poor first three months to the campaign.

Without Muller, Coman, and Robben on Tuesday, James Rodriguez and Franck Ribery could see time, as could former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry who has been a contributing squad player of late while he navigates his own thigh and groin problems.

Coman double, Alaba winner save Bayern in comeback win

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Kingsley Coman scored a first-half brace, twice pulling Bayern back from a one-goal deficit, and David Alaba bagged the winner soon after the break as Bayern Munich stumbled its way to all three points at Augsburg Arena.

Bayern dominated the ball, holding 75% of the game’s possession, but struggled to beat Augsburg on the dribble, with just 10 of 24 attempted take-ons completed. Meanwhile, Augsburg was ruthlessly clinical on the run, and it all began just 15 seconds into the match as right from the opening kickoff the hosts burst down the left and worked the ball into the box resulting in a Leon Goretzka own-goal.

It only took 17 minutes for Coman to pull Bayern level for the first time as Josh Kimmich’s cross went over the head of Robert Lewandowski but fell right at the feet of Coman who touched past a sprawled Gregor Kobel in net. It was apparent that Kobel was put off by the trajectory of the cross, pausing for a moment thinking that Lewandowski might get a head to it and unable to recover after it instead reached the far post.

Still, Augsburg defended well and picked its spots, pulling back in front just six minutes later as a cross from the left by Michael Gregoritsch pinged around to Ji Dong-Won who, despite an awkward angle, cut and curled the ball beautifully into the top-left corner for the lead again.

Bayern would not be deterred as Coman would ease Niko Kovac’s halftime talk by bringing Bayern back level again just before the break. In the third minute of stoppage time, Coman received the ball on the doorstep around to the left and slotted home through the legs of Kobel who will want that effort back.

The visitors began to whir in the second half, creating six chances putting four shots on target. Alaba was the man to grab the all-important touch from a tight angle, powering it through traffic into the back of the net for the lead on 53 minutes. With the hosts trailing for the first time, they were unable to create much up front, bagging just one shot on target from that point on.

Unfortunately for Bayern, Coman was forced off late in the match after Bayern had already used its three substitutions, and Niko Kovac after the match said his injury is “not looking good.” Coman has battled injuries for years at Bayern, missing significant time between last season and the start of this season with an ankle ligament tear, and sidelined the year before that with knee problems.

Bayern’s come-from-behind win moved them to within two points of leaders Borussia Dortmund with the weekend slate of games looming. Dortmund visits last-placed Nurnburg on Monday with a chance to restore the five-point lead it held coming into the weekend.