Timo Werner

Tottenham Hotspur
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Leipzig dismisses disheveled Spurs from Champions League

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Marcel Sabitzer scored twice as RB Leipzig didn’t give Tottenham Hotspur’s comeback bid a chance in a 3-0 win at RB Arena in Germany on Tuesday.

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Emil Forsberg added an 87th-minute goal to complete the scoring and leave the tie 4-0 on aggregate.

Leipzig advances to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal for the first time, while Spurs’ campaign to return to the final dies with a whimper.

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Three things we learned

1. Spurs go in 11 different directions: Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the amount of times Spurs players went for glory over the smart play or chose the wrong run was almost overwhelming. Whether it be an extra touch for four with a dribble or a 25-yard shot with little hope of troubling the keeper, Spurs were both frustrated for space or tempted to think there was more of it. Almost every forward move with a modicum of promise featured these sorts of mistakes.

2. Clinical Leipzig put it to bed early: An early goal from Spurs would’ve put this tie on its ear, and Julian Nagelsmann men knew that. Leipzig came out of the gates with purpose and intensity, turning Spurs’ midfield and defense inside out. It didn’t help that Hugo Lloris was not at his best.

3. Adams makes long-awaited Champions League debut: A season-long battle with injuries meant Tyler Adams’ 55th-minute entrance for Nordi Mukiele was his first-ever UCL appearance. Adams played a role in the third goal, and finished his shift with 32 touches and a tackle. He was 3-for-3 on duels and 2-for-2 on dribble attempts.

Man of the Match: Well, it’s Sabitzer or bust, isn’t it?


Leipzig’s first goal was well-earned, as Spurs were all over the place by the time Sabitzer opened the scoring with a fine finish of a Timo Werner pass.

Werner thought he had it 2-0 off an Angelino assist, but the linesman’s flag was up. Sabitzer provided that goal from the same provider in the 21st.

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A goofy bounding ball forced Hugo Lloris to get horizontal and slap a ball free of the cage before halftime. Spurs finished the first half with a single shot on target.

There was a very scary injury to Nordi Mukiele in the the 54th minute after he was struck in the face by a loose ball. He was stretchered off the pitch.

Lucas Moura blazed around the left flank to cut back for Dele Alli in the 74th, but Peter Gulacsi was in the right spot to catch the ball.

Adams saw his shot blocked but Forsberg blasted in the rebound to finish the scoring in Germany.

Werner to Liverpool? Leipzig star keen on Premier League transfer

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Timo Werner ripped Tottenham apart in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and the RB Leipzig striker was immediately asked about a possible Premier League transfer amid reported interest from Liverpool.

It’s safe to say that Werner is keen on a move to the reigning European and World champs as multiple reports have linked the German national team forward with a summer move to Liverpool.

After he scored the winner in Leipzig’s 1-0 win at Spurs, Werner told Norwegian TV channel Viasport Football that he is flattered to be linked with Liverpool.

“I know that Liverpool is the best team at the moment in the world,” Werner said. “When you’re linked with that team it makes me very proud. It’s a pleasure but I know that Liverpool have a lot of good players and I have to improve myself, to learn much more things to get on this level to play there.”

If that isn’t a good old fashioned ‘come and get me plea’ then I don’t know what is.

Werner, 23, has long been linked with a move to Bayern Munich but that deal doesn’t seem likely and the predatory forward was also said to be interesting Chelsea in January. Werner did sign a new four-year contract at Leipzig last summer but it reportedly lowered his release clause to $35 million and that will certainly interest his countryman Jurgen Klopp. Werner has Leipzig in third place in the Bundesliga and with one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with his 26 goals in 32 games in all competitions pivotal to the success of Julian Nagelsmann’s upstarts.

Werner has scored 86 goals in 145 appearances for Leipzig in all competitions and his pace and energy combined with clinical finishing is very Jamie Vardy esque. Werner also has 11 goals in 29 appearances for Germany and it seems like he has been around for a long, long time because, well, he has. He became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 200 games and his incredible consistency is clear for all to see.

Would he fit in at Liverpool? He could well slot into the Roberto Firmino role in linking everything together but he would obviously have to spend a bit of time on the bench if he was to move to Anfield this summer. A better move for him would probably be Chelsea as he would play right away and they badly need a clinical striker to finish off all of the chances their talented midfielders create. If Liverpool sign him then one of Firmino, Salah and Mane would have to make way and that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon .

Werner will be a wanted man this summer and it seems clear he wants to move to the Premier League.

Live, UCL last 16: Spurs v. RB Leipzig, Atalanta v. Valencia

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One Premier League has already found life in the Champions League knockout stage tougher than anticipated. Now, another takes the field hoping to fare better.

Spurs take the field looking to earn a hard-fought result against Bundesliga title contenders RB Leipzig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at 3:00 p.m. ET. Jose Mourinho has spent much of the week reminding everyone how many obstacles the Spurs squad has faced after the news that Heung-Min Son could potentially miss the rest of the season with a broken arm, joining Harry Kane on the injured list.

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Mourinho’s men have won three Premier League matches in a row, in good form coming into this match. They take on an RB Leipzig squad that sits just a point back of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race but has won just once in its last four league games, a 3-0 victory over Werder Bremen last time out. Striker Timo Werner, who is rumored to be of interest to Liverpool, has not scored since January 18, a five-match drought across all competitions. Leipzig is also struggling with missing players as Dayot Upamecano is suspended and both Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban are injured, so Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu is selected.

Meanwhile, Atalanta makes its Champions League knockout stage debut as the Italian side “hosts” Spanish club Valencia. The Serie A side was not allowed to play in its home Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia as it does not pass UEFA regulations, so they are playing all Champions League home games at the San Siro.

Chelsea loanee Mario Pasalic starts for Atalanta in midfield with rumors of a permanent move this summer to help fund the Hakim Ziyech deal. Since December 22, the Italian side has won five while losing just one in Serie A play, including a 2-1 win over Roma last time out that saw Pasalic score the winner.

Valencia counters with Uruguayan striker Maxi Gomez up front supported by Ferran Torres and Goncalo Guedes. The Spaniards are without Ezequiel Garay, Francis Coquelin, and Gabriel Paulista all through injury. Still, they managed a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid last time out in La Liga play on a 59th minute equalizer by Geoffrey Kondogbia’s first goal of the season.


Wednesday Champions League action

Tottenham Hotspur v. RB Leipzig
Atalanta v. Valencia

LINEUPS

Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Lucas Moura.

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele, Klostermann, Halstenberg, Angelino, Laimer, Ampadu, Sabitzer, Nkunku, Schick, Werner.

Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti, Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens, Pasalic, Ilicic, Gomez.

Valencia: Domenech; Wass, Diakhaby, Mangala, Gaya, Kondogbia, Parejo, Soler, Torres, Goncalo Guedes, Gomez.

Transfer rumor roundup: Werner prefers Liverpool, Bentaleb to Newcastle

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Names both familiar and unfamiliar continue to be linked with moves to the Premier League as the January transfer window heats up.

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Earlier we posted about Edinson Cavani and Mbwana Samatta, but a younger prolific scorer is having a run through the rumor mill on Monday.

Bild reports that RB Leipzig free scorer Timo Werner’s preferred destination is a club in the Premier League managed by a famous German.

No, it’s not Daniel Farke‘s Norwich City, rather Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool (you gleaned that already, didn’t you?).

Klopp is a reportedly a long-time Werner admirer, and the 23-year-old’s $67 million release clause is not prohibitive for the Reds.

The move would seemingly have to wait until summer given Leipzig’s status as a Bundesliga table leader and Liverpool’s comfort with Roberto Firmino as its number one.

The 28-year-old Firmino has been  greatfor Liverpool, firing in 75 goals and 56 assists since 2015, but Werner is a beast. He’s bagged 86 goals and 37 assists since arriving from Stuttgart in 2016, including 20 goals and six assists this Bundesliga season through 18 matches.

There’s obviously no guarantee he’d reach Firmino’s levels, but watching him play makes it difficult to believe he wouldn’t.


Inter Milan has lodged a formal bid for Christian Eriksen, offering approximately $14 million for the wantaway Dane.

Spurs want $8 million more than that, but Inter is hoping that some performance-based incentives would be enough to get the job done.

The 27-year-old can negotiate with anyone since his contract runs out this summer, and he’ll be bringing a resume with 95 international caps and a combined 101 goals and 154 assists between Tottenham and Ajax.


Newcastle United is still chasing Valentino Lazaro of Inter Milan, but reports claim they’ve quickly moved on a target for the center of the park.

Nabil Bentaleb is reportedly on Tyneside for a medical, the ex-Spurs man finding a more attacking role at Schalke before being frozen out by new boss David Wagner.

Bentaleb, still just 25, has 19 goals and nine assists in 97 matches for Schalke after getting just one and six in 66 appearances for Spurs.

The 35-times capped Algerian, like Lazaro, would be a loan deal with an option to buy.


Finally, the BBC says Wolves are looking to strengthen its wings with $26 million Olympiacos man Daniel Podence.

The 24-year-old has five goals and five assists in 27 appearances for the Greeks, scoring against Spurs and Krasnodar in Champions League play.

The same report has Wolves looking to the future with 19-year-old Ecuadorian striker Leonardo Campana.

Lampard calls for Chelsea to finish chances: ‘We know where we need to strengthen’

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Chelsea’s dramatic last-gasp loss to Newcastle United was, in a way, a blessing in disguise for Frank Lampard and company.

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The Blues conceded their first first loss since Boxing Day, dropping crucial points in the league’s top-four race. With plenty of chances to score at hand, the visit to St. James’ Park is one of sheer frustration.

But at the same time, the London side learned an invaluable lesson: Chelsea are in dire need of a new striker before the January transfer window comes to a close. Chelsea registered 19 shots (4 on target) on Saturday but squandered most, while Newcastle’s netminder Martin Dúbravka did his job and saved a few.

“We know we have problems at the top of the pitch in terms of we don’t get enough goals,” Lampard said following his team’s 1-0 loss, via the BBC.
“If you don’t score you are always liable for a sucker punch and they got it.”

“If we are looking for people to bring in to the areas to win games when you are controlling it, it is scoring goals.”

From RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner to Lyon’s Moussa Dembele, Chelsea has been linked to a striker all winter long. With Olivier Giroud a signature away from sealing a move to Inter Milan, a replacement is necessary.

Sure, Tammy Abraham‘s return to Stamford Bridge is an outright success – 13 goals and two assists in 22 league appearances – but rotation is visibly needed. Michy Batshuayi replaced Abraham, but failed to show any promising signs. The 26-year-old has scored just once in 13 matches this season.

“We can’t work anymore in training on finishing,” the 41-year-old manager added. “You need to have that killer instinct in front of goal. We need to score more goals from front-line areas if we are going to get to where we want to be.”

Lampard gave no indicator that his side are on the brink of landing a new goalscorer up top. With the transfer window open for just 13 days, however, Chelsea are going to have to get intentional on their search.

“It’s quite clear from what I am saying now that we know where we need to strengthen but we shall see.”