Lucien Favre

Where to next for Mauricio Pochettino?

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Following official word of Mauricio Pochettino being relieved of his duties as Tottenham Hotspur manager, we’ve already discussed how things got to this point and who is likely to replace Pochettino. Now it’s time to consider where the Argentine will work next.

[ MORE: Pochettino paid the price for Levy’s mistakes ]

The public perception — and perhaps honest truth — is that Pochettino faced nearly impossible odds to win trophies at Tottenham due to the financial limitations placed upon him by chairman Daniel Levy, therefore much of the outside world is likely to see Pochettino as still having loads of untapped potential as a manager.

“With the right resources, he could achieve absolutely anything,” the obvious line of thinking will go. Thus, he will almost certainly have his pick of any number of top jobs, depending on whether or not he would like to take a short break from employment and cash the first of many checks which will ultimately pay him more than $16 million to no longer manage Spurs.

[ MORE: Mourinho to replace Poch? ]

A few jobs which are likely to see the managerial post come available in the coming weeks and months, and appeal to a candidate of Pochettino’s caliber (in no particular order)…

  • Manchester United (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) – Man United have severely underperformed in their first 12 games this season (nine points back of fourth place), leading to plenty of speculation that Solskjaer could be fired if the right replacement came available. United reportedly courted Pochettino after Jose Mourinho departed last season, but he remained loyal to Spurs.
  • Bayern Munich (Hans-Dieter Flick, interim) – Niko Kovac was fired earlier this month and the seven-time defending Bundesliga champs currently sit third, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach. Bayern is a squad mixed with veteran and youthful stars, a balance Pochettino might find attractive when considering both the long- and short-term prospects of his next employer.
  • Real Madrid (Zinedine Zidane) – Like United, the links to Madrid have been around for quite some time. While he’ll undoubtedly have far more to work with budget-wise in the Spanish capital, one thing to consider: if Pochettino found working with Levy a challenge, what might he call working for Florentino Perez?
  • Paris Saint-Germain (Thomas Tuchel) – PSG have to be considered anytime a high-profile manager comes available, because they’re not only willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, but they change managers as frequently as anyone. Tuchel isn’t having the best of times (three losses from their first 13 games), though his side still sit eight points clear of the Ligue 1 pack. The league title is in the bag, but PSG’s owners have Champions League ambitions, and Pochettino is only five months removed from managing in that competition’s final.
  • Borussia Dortmund (Lucien Favre) – Dortmund currently sit sixth, though just two points back of second place. Favre’s side crumbled down the stretch when last season’s title was theirs to be lost. This is a job that’s probably only in play if Pochettino decides to take a brief sabbatical, as Dortmund are unlikely to have an itchy trigger finger.
  • Napoli (Carlo Ancelotti) – Napoli spent wildly (by their standards) this summer. Through 12 games all it’s gotten them is seventh place, and Ancelotti has come under fire of late. Much like Spurs when he took that job, Napoli represents a club with plenty of potential — and romantic dreams — which could very well appeal to Pochettino.

Borussia Dortmund hurting after heavy loss in Munich

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BERLIN (AP) Borussia Dortmund is hurting again after another heavy Bundesliga defeat in Munich.

Dortmund lost 4-0 in the “der Klassiker” against rival Bayern Munich on Saturday, being fortunate not to concede more goals.

Dortmund’s lackluster performance has been criticized following sporting director Michael Zorc’s call for a “men’s soccer” type of performance in the buildup for the game. Instead, Dortmund delivered what Kicker magazine called “scaredy-cat soccer.”

“A lot of our players just weren’t there today,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said. “That’s the biggest disappointment.”

Zorc was even more critical of the performance.

“That wasn’t football at all, to be honest,” he said. “Bayern were on top and better in every respect. Bayern completely took over after 15 minutes and we were second-best at everything. That’s why Bayern also deserved to win by this score.”

It was Dortmund’s fifth consecutive heavy defeat in Munich. It lost 5-0 in April, 6-0 last year, 4-1 in 2017 and 5-1 in 2015. In its last six games in Munich, Dortmund has been outscored 26-3.

“It was beautiful that the talk before the game was of men’s football,” said Bayern forward Thomas Muller, who set up two goals. “As I’m a bit older now, 30, I know that it gives you a bit extra inspiration. The way I see it, that’s why we are German champions seven times in a row. It’s always wonderful when the Dortmunders come to Munich and we play like we did today.”

Bayern appeared to be in crisis after firing coach Niko Kovac following the team’ 5-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt – its heaviest league defeat in over 10 years.

But Kovac’s dismissal seems to have come as a relief to some players, and interim coach Hansi Flick has now overseen two wins from two competitive games, with no goals conceded. Bayern reached the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Olympiakos on Wednesday.

Bayern’s will to win on Saturday contrasted sharply with Dortmund’s, which will be under increased pressure after it appeared to have turned a corner following a series of questionable results.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings ]

Dortmund had strung together three consecutive wins – over league leader Borussia Monchengladbach in the German Cup, previously unbeaten Wolfsburg in the league, and Inter Milan in the Champions League, when the team displayed great morale to come back from two goals down and win 3-2.

But there was none of that in Munich on Saturday, and Favre and his superiors are left wondering how to consistently get the best from the talented but fallible team.

“We expected a lot from this game,” Zorc said. “Then we delivered what is basically a non-performance. I’m disappointed. You can’t even say that it was just a lack of challenges. We were also bad when we had the ball, we gave it away and simply made it too easy for Bayern. That was a huge disappointment.”

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

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

Dortmund under pressure as old problems resurface

Photo credit should read SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP/Getty Images
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BERLIN (AP) Borussia Dortmund is under pressure after dropping more points in its bid to end Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance.

But don’t suggest the team has a mentality problem.

Dortmund captain Marco Reus reacted angrily to the suggestion after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.

[ MORE: Top PL story lines ]

“Are you serious? The 2-2 was a mentality problem?” Reus told a Sky reporter. “We played stupidly, sure, but don’t come to me with your mentality crap. Every week, the same rubbish.”

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre also rejected the notion.

“It has nothing to do with mentality,” the Swiss coach said.

But Dortmund’s league challenge is in danger of faltering due to the same frailties that undermined its hopes last season. The side has already dropped five points from five games and it can ill afford many more slip-ups if it is to claim its first Bundesliga title since 2012.

Dortmund failed to exploit numerous chances to build on leads against Frankfurt and twice allowed the home side to get back in the game. The defense looked shaky without the injured Mats Hummels, who had been forced off injured after 63 minutes.

“We had big opportunities to score more goals,” Favre said. “At times we played very, very well, but at times our last pass and our second-last pass wasn’t so good.”

It was a similar story against Barcelona in the Champions League the previous Tuesday, when Dortmund dominated the second half but failed to convert chances into goals and had to be content with a 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: Can Chelsea take advantage of soft schedule? ]

Favre said the situation reminded him of February, when Dortmund went five games without a win and got knocked out of the German Cup by Werder Bremen. Also, Tottenham won 3-0 against Dortmund, on its way to knocking Favre’s team out of the Champions League. Dortmund frequently dominated without converting chances into goals and was then prone to conceding late in games as nerves took hold.

“You have to keep going after scoring the first goal,” said Favre, whose side failed to register a shot at goal in the last 15 minutes of the first half against Frankfurt, and was hanging on again at the end of the second.

“You can’t dominate a game for 90 minutes. Altogether it was OK, but not good enough,” Favre said.

The draw left second-place Bayern a point ahead of Dortmund after five games. Leader Leipzig is three points ahead of Dortmund.

Dortmund hosts Bremen on Saturday, while Bayern visits bottom side Paderborn and Leipzig hosts Schalke.

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

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

Report: Borussia Dortmund agrees terms with Nice manager

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If Christian Pulisic is still with Borussia Dortmund next season, he may playing under Lucien Favre.

Sky Sports says that BVB has agreed terms with the Nice manager to become its next manager, and all that’s left is to sort out an arrangement with the Ligue 1 club (Favre is still under contract).

[ MORE: JPW on Swans-Saints ]

Favre, 60, managed Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach during an 8-year run of Bundesliga work from 2007-2015.

Pulisic, the 19-year-old American winger, made his debut under Thomas Tuchel, and played for Peter Bosz and Peter Stoger this season. Stoger is out of contract this summer.

Liverpool is said to be a big admirer of Pulisic, and he’s been whispered with any number of high-profile clubs.

Nice falls again with Champions League looming

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Nice is not having the start to this season that they celebrated a year ago.

Last season, Nice suffered its second loss of the campaign on Feburary 4th, with the team placed second in the Ligue 1 table. On Friday, Nice suffered its second loss in two matches to open the new season as they fell 2-1 at home to newly-promoted Troyes, conceding an 85th minute winner to Tunisian youngster Saif-Eddine Khaoui.

[ MORE: Arsenal opens PL season with wild win | Lacazette scores ]

Nice was without Mario Balotelli yet again as the Italian recovers from a hamstring injury, and without him they have not scored a goal from open play through two games this season. Nice was shut out in their opener against St. Etienne, and their goal against Troyes was a 63rd minute penalty scored by Alassane Plea.

Manager Lucien Favre proclaimed after the match “I’m not worried” and said, “It was a match that we could have won. This is not a surprise for me, as I remember what we showed last year. There are many things to put together. That is going to take time.”

New signing Wesley Sneijder was on hand to watch the match, but was not included in the home squad.

With these two losses in tow, Nice will now travel to face a strong Serie A side in Napoli on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League playoff matchup.