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Daily Schmankerl: Matthijs de Ligt close to FC Barcelona deal; Bayern scoping Hakim Ziyech; Thiago’s son takes the pitch; a Champions League prediction; and MORE!

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It’s GAME DAY!!!!!!!!!

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De Ligt expected to find a new home in Spain (Münchner Merkur)

It appears that Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt could be very close to finalizing a decision on his future. Per a report out of Spain that was captured by the Münchner Merkur, the 19-year-old star is likely to head to FC Barcelona for a fee of €70m.

The possible change of de Ligt was again intensively discussed in the evening on the TV show “Club de la Mitjanit.” Among the guests was Oriol Domènech, who works for “Mundo Deportivo” as a journalist.

“Family members of the Ajax player, club executives, and sponsors expect to sign with Barça. De Ligt wants to come to Barcelona and the club will take 70 million in hand to get him,” said Domènech. Sounds almost like Bayern would lose again. Only recently did the Catalans stand out in the recruitment of Frenkie de Jong the record champions.

It has long been rumored that De Ligt and De Jong wanted to move on from Ajax as a package deal and that appears to be coming to fruition.

Bayern eyeing more Ajax talent (Marca)

If it is not De Ligt or Dusan Tadic, apparently it is winger Hakim Ziyech, who has caught Bayern’s attention at Ajax.

Bayern Munich are tracking another Ajax academy player, Dutch-born Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech, who has been performing excellently of late. The German club has already put the feelers out and has contacted Ajax to discuss a deal for the player who is valued at 35 million euros. The 25-year-old, who has two more years left on his current deal, has 18 goals and 25 assists to his name so far this season in 35 matches.

After seeing video, United scouting Thiago’s son (@Bundesliga_EN)

Okay, so maybe the headline isn’t 100% true, but it’s not inconceivable given how Manchester United is seemingly tied to every potential transfer.

Brandt and Stark to Dortmund? (@GERFootDaily)

Per Bild (as captured by @GERFootDaily), Borussia Dortmund has a keen interest in Bayer Leverkusen’s rejuvenated midfielder Julian Brandt and Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark.

Bayern vs. Liverpool: A prediction (Bavarian Football Works)

After a 0-0 draw at Anfield, the setting for an intense, nerve-wracking finale to the Champions League tie between Bayern and Liverpool is set for later today. Despite its recent run of quality form, there are a lot of reasons to pick against Die Roten.

Most importantly, the Bavarians are missing two integral pieces to their scheme in Thomas Muller (red card suspension) and Joshua Kimmich (yellow card accumulation). This is not to say that Niko Kovac does not have capable replacements in James Rodriguez and Rafinha, but what Muller and Kimmich bring to the lineup is extremely difficult to replace.

Sure, James is a world-class player who will bring differing attributes to the Bayern strategy than Muller would bring, but can he help open up the space around Robert Lewandowski, who will be engaging in a heated battle with Liverpool center back Virgil van Dijk? Can Rafinha provide a two-way threat that is just as capable of locking down a wing as pushing up field to create offense from the flank? I wouldn’t bet on either player providing a like-for-like replacement, but I would bet on them being motivated and talented enough to help win this game in a different way than the players they are replacing.

It won’t be easy. In fact, I’d expect most Bayern fans to be hard into the Weissbier before this contest even starts in an effort to preemptively strike against anxiety. There is something going on with this Bayern team, though. Whether it was the widely speculated early exit most expected when the draw against Liverpool was announced, the public dissing of three of its starts by Joachim Low, or the overwhelmingly run of poor play last autumn that led many people to believe that the Bavarians needed a change of coach (already!) and a roster overhaul; Bayern just looks like it has something to prove on its home field.

What’s a better way to display your mettle, heart, and talent than to take down one of the most dangerous teams in the world? I can’t think of many.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2, Liverpool 1