In this talk we discuss solution of the well-known problem of Erdős and Sauer from 1975 which asks for the maximum number of edges an $n$-vertex graph can have without containing a $k$-regular subgraph, for some fixed integer $k\geq 3$. We prove that any $n$-vertex graph with average degree at least $C_k\log\log n$ contains a $k$-regular subgraph. This matches the lower bound of Pyber, Rödl and Szemerédi and substantially
improves an old result of Pyber, who showed that average degree at least $C_k\log n$ is enough.
Our method can also be used to settle asymptotically a problem raised by Erdős and Simonovits in 1970 on almost regular subgraphs of sparse graphs and to make progress on the well-known question of Thomassen from 1983 on finding subgraphs with large girth and large average degree.
Joint work with Oliver Janzer