Betting Special: Louis van Gaal favourite to replace Moyes

A 2-0 defeat to Everton appears to have been the final straw for the Old Trafford hierarchy and Paddy Power make the Netherlands boss favourite to replace Moyes

David Moyes’ appointment at Manchester United raised plenty of questions about the former Everton boss and his ability to live up to the expectations that accompany such a prestigious job.

In truth, Moyes hasn’t really looked as if he belonged in the Old Trafford dugout and Goal understands the Premier League defeat to Everton is to be the final straw for the 50-year-old Scot.

Leading the market to replace him is Louis van Gaal at 3/1 (4.00), the man who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Tottenham in recent weeks. But punters clearly believe that the man who will lead the Netherlands in Brazil this summer will be a highly-sought after appointment.

The 62-year-old’s contract with the Dutch FA will expire after the World Cup, and he has been open about his desire to manage in the Premier League, so it’s of little surprise to see him as the market favourite.

There are a number of candidates with strong links to the club in the other front running positions to replace Moyes, with former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz being backed into 9/2 (5.50) with Paddy Power, having been as big as 66/1 (67.0) just a few days ago.

Ryan Giggs has also been backed in recent weeks and now resides at 4/1 (5.0), although given the number of high profile, experienced candidates that could be available it seems unlikely that the Old Trafford hierarchy would risk appointing someone without any managerial experience on a long-term basis.

It could be more likely that Giggs would take over in an interim capacity for the final few games of the season, but the bookmakers could require the United midfielder to be appointed on a longer term basis in order to settle the market so punters should use caution with this selection.

That same logic could apply to the fact that Paddy Power make Sir Alex Ferguson a 6/1 (7.0) chance to be the next Manchester United manager.

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola is made a 16/1 (17.0) chance, although even at that price such a switch seems increasingly unlikely given how well the Bavarian club are doing under the former Barcelona man and how much work appears to be required at Old Trafford.

Jurgen Klopp is a 7/1 (8.0) bet according to the Irish bookmakers and although perhaps more plausible than Guardiola, the fact remains that United could struggle to lure a manager of his ilk who is currently employed at a stable, successful club, especially after defeat to Everton meant that United could no longer qualify for the Champions League.

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Ronaldo completes Real Madrid training session – but Bale sits out

The Portugal star and Sergio Ramos were fit enough to practice as normal with the rest of the squad, but the €100 million man is suffering with an illness

Cristiano Ronaldo was fit enough to complete a full training session on Monday for Real Madrid as they prepare for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Bayern Munich.

The 29-year-old has been battling to shake off a hamstring problem sustained in the quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund and was initially a doubt for Wednesday’s meeting at Santiago Bernabeu.

However, the attacker was able to train on Sunday before the club confirmed he completed a full routine session on Monday morning, meaning he will likely be fit to feature for Carlo Ancelotti’s side against the reigning European champions.

Sergio Ramos, who has also been struggling with a minor injury, also completed the session, but Gareth Bale was forced to sit out due to illness.

Wednesday’s encounter in the Spanish capital is set to kick off at 20:45CET.

Mourinho, Guardiola, Ancelotti – who is the most successful coach of the Champions League era?

Three of the tournament’s best-ever bosses have the chance to win their third trophy this season and eclipse the record of the great Sir Alex Ferguson

Three of the greatest Champions League coaches of all time go head-to-head this week as the semi-finals get underway.

Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho have all twice won Europe’s greatest prize and will lead Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively into the last four first legs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

All three bosses have the chance to become the best the tournament has seen in its 22-year history, with a third triumph enough for them to surpass the record of the Champions League’s most successful coach – Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United icon reached the final on four occasions, winning two of those in 1999 and 2008, while his record of seven semi-finals has only this season been bettered by Mourinho. His tally of quarter-final appearances (12) remains unsurpassed.

NAME WINS
FINALS SEMI-FINALS QUARTER-FINALS
Sir Alex Ferguson 2 4 6 12
Carlo Ancelotti 2 3 5 8
Ottmar Hitzfeld 2 3 4 6
Jupp Heynckes 2 3 3 3
Jose Mourinho 2 2 8 8
Pep Guardiola 2 2 5 5
Vicente del Bosque 2 2 4 4
Marcello Lippi 1 4 5 5
Louis van Gaal 1 3 5 6
Fabio Capello 1 3 3 5

In the above table, Goal has ranked the top coaches from the Champions League era (beginning in 1992-93) in an Olympics-style system. Bosses are assessed initially based on the number of tournament wins, followed by final appearances, then semi-final outings, and lastly quarter-final spots.

Ferguson remains the Champions League’s most successful head coach, but with Guardiola, Mourinho and Ancelotti all on the cusp of a third title, one of the trio could move to the top of the table by the end of this season.

Guardiola twice won the prize with Barcelona, in 2009 and 2011, Ancelotti did the same with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 – losing a final in between in 2005 – while Mourinho emerged victorious with Porto in 2004 and Inter in 2010.

The top 10 consists of three Italians, two Spaniards, two Germans, a Scot, Dutchman and Portuguese. Rafa Benitez just misses out on a place on the list with one trophy and two finals. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also fails to make the cut with just one unsuccessful final appearance and two semi final outings during his career.

Only Liverpool icon Bob Paisely has lifted Europe’s top prize three times, but that was before the Champions League era.

Mourinho already holds the record as the first head coach to reach the last four with four different clubs (Porto, Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea) but will he be the first man to clinch his third Champions League crown?

Bundesliga Team of the Week: Reus stars again

The BVB attacker makes the cut in Goal’s best XI from matchday 31 but not a single Bayern Munich player is included

Bayern Munich’s poor run of Bundesliga form continued as they stumbled to a 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig after a shoddy performance, while Borussia Dortmund continued their winning streak by beating Mainz 4-2. But only one player from the division’s top two sides features on Goal‘s Team of the Week.

Raphael Wolf takes the plaudits in goal after leading Werder Bremen to a vital 3-1 win over Hoffenheim which all but secures their status in the top flight for yet another season.

Augsburg recorded a 0-0 draw against fellow midtable outfit Hertha Berlin, with Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, putting in a star performance at the back. He is joined in defence by Naldo, a rock at the back for Wolfsburg and Emir Spahic netted two for Bayer Leverkusen against Nurnberg.

Hoffenheim may have lost, but Roberto Firmino was inspiration in midfield. Leon Andreasen kicked the weekend’s action off with an early goal for Hannover in Thursday’s thrilling win at Eintracht Frankfurt, Julian Schuster helped secure three vital points for Freiburg, Philipp Bargfrede was on target for Bremen and Marco Reus helped Dortmund to yet another win, capping a fine performance with a converted penalty.

Admir Mehmedi got two in Freiburg’s 4-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach and Ivica Olic scored for Wolfsburg against Hamburg, who look increasingly doomed to a bottom-three finish.

Guardiola thinks differently – Kroos

The Germany international says the flexibility in the side this season is helping his style of play, while David Alaba feels more confident under the Spaniard

Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos has hailed the impact of Pep Guardiola on the side this season, claiming the Spaniard “thinks differently” to all other coaches.

The former Barcelona boss led Bayern to a successful defence of their Bundesliga title in record time in 2013-14, and has guided them to a place in the DFB-Pokal final as well as the last four of the Champions League.

Kroos believes Guardiola’s flexible tactics and demands over regaining possession are well suited to his style of play.

“He has different ideas from other coaches,” he told Uefa.com. “We have flexible players and I enjoy that because it fits in with my own way of playing. When we lose the ball we’re told to retrieve it in the following three to five seconds. That’s the case for every player – you have to run the extra yards.”

Left-back David Alaba also praised Guardiola for instilling more belief into his performances on the pitch.

“I have gained even more confidence on the ball. I do whatever the coach demands of me. I am involved in more attacking situations down the wing and through the middle,” the Austrian defender added.

Bayern take on Real Madrid in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.