Arsenal urged to get Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka; Marcel Sabitzer returns to Manchester United training; Lionel Messi’s future at FC Barcelona or Al Hilal?; PSG eyeing Zinedine Zidane?; Chelsea, United want BVB star; and MORE!

Daily Schmankerl: Arsenal urged to get Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka; Marcel Sabitzer returns to Manchester United training; Lionel Messi’s future at FC Barcelona or Al Hilal?; PSG eyeing Zinedine Zidane?; Chelsea, United want BVB star; and MORE!

Gunners urged to get Goretzka (The Boot Room)
Noted pundit — and Arsenal FC legend — Ian Wright is calling for the club to make a run at Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka:

Speaking on the Wrighty’s House Podcast, Ian Wright has been discussing the idea of top players now wanting to sign for Arsenal and Leon Goretzka.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is one of the world’s premier players in his position, and while he’s a star for Bayern Munich right now, Wright believes that the 28-year-old could be tempted into a move to the Emirates as the project being built in north London is very intriguing. Wright ways he would love Goretzka to join the Gunners, and he and his co-host suggested him as a potential signing. Wright urged his former club to get Goretzka.

“In respects of that, with the Champions League and the fact that you know you’re going to earn good money on the deal, there’s enough to entice a top player to come,” Wright said.

“Goretzka,” Wright’s co-host suggested. “Oh my god, Goretzka, go and get him. You can’t tell that that player wouldn’t look at what Arsenal are doing and not fancy that. You can’t tell me that, no way, they would all be intrigued. If it comes to a point where money is a problem then it’s not the right person for the dressing room. You have to make sure that the player Arsenal want to attract is experienced and of the same mind,” Wright said.

There is zero indication that either Goretzka or Bayern Munich is looking for a move, but Konrad Laimer will be joining Bayern Munich next summer and Julian Nagelsmann figures to run a back three system that will only feature two central midfielders. The pecking order would figure to be Joshua Kimmich then Goretzka then Laimer, with Ryan Gravenberch watching from the fourth spot. It is widely assumed that Bayern Munich will sell Marcel Sabitzer during the summer as well. Sabizter is currently on loan with Manchester United (see below for an update on his status).

Whether or not Bayern Munich’s depth chart actually plays out that way remains to be seen, but this was a very weird suggestion from Wright nonetheless. It does not seem like Bayern Munich would even entertain a sale of Goretzka at this point.

Bayern Munich 5-3 Augsburg: Initial reactions and observations

Initial reactions and observations
Such a sloppy game by Bayern Munich. It’s obviously a sign of the hangover from the PSG game, but when you go 4-1 up you shouldn’t let the opponent score another two times. That being said, imagine Mbappe and Messi watching this and wondering what happened.
Joao Cancelo had an excellent outing. This will pour more fuel on the fire and give Nagelsmann more selection headaches going forward.
Did the EPL not have an offside rule or something? Sadio Mane is offside literally every other attack.
If you want more coverage of the match, check out our Postgame Show on Spotify or below!

Bayern Munich vs Augsburg: Lineups, team news, chances for Cancelo, Gnabry, Tel, and more!

Having dispatched Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League during midweek, a triumphant but tired Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action against one of the few teams to have a positive record against them this season. In FC Augsburg, Julian Nagelsmann faces a test of his squad’s depth and his ability to utilize it. How will he fare?

Team news
No serious injuries to report, but the coach informed the media that certain players were tired from their midweek exertions. These included Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Matthijs de Ligt, and Kingsley Coman. We can assume they’ll all be given a rest. Meanwhile Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is out with a back problem. With all these players needing a breather, Julian Nagelsmann will likely field a radically different starting XI from what we’ve become used to in these last few games.

Mathys Tel might finally get a Bundesliga start at the top of the lineup. It’s a huge opportunity for the youngster, who has already scored five goals this season (four in the league). Jamal Musiala, who is also fit, will likely slot into Thomas Muller’s position at the center of attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are long overdue for starts, and they’ll probably be on the wings.

In midfield, no one can keep out Joshua Kimmich, but he’ll be likely paired with Ryan Gravenberch instead of Leon Goretzka this time. The Dutchman needs to show he’s ready for these moments, and a defensive opponent like Augsburg will be a good opportunity to show off his flair and dynamism in midfield. Hopefully he’s grateful for the chance.

The back line will certainly change, though it’s not clear by how much. Will Alphonso Davies be rested? He certainly deserves to be, but his stamina is also top tier so he may not need it. Nagelsmann did not single him out in the press conference either way.

Right now, we’ll assume that Benjamin Pavard will come in for Matthijs de Ligt, and the backline will consist of Davies, Upamecano, Pavard, and finally Joao Cancelo. The Portugeuse right-back has been guaranteed a start by the coach, and his pinpoint crosses may be crucial to breaking down a stout Augsburg defense in the absence of Choupo-Moting and Muller.

Yann Sommer, as usual, is expected in goal. Here’s what the lineup could look like:

Matthijs de Ligt has impressed his Bayern Munich teammates

Matthijs de Ligt has so far lived up to his billing as Bayern Munich’s most expensive transfer for the season, shelling out around 70 million for the ex-Juventus defender. De Ligt has since then established himself as the Bavarians’ starting center back alongside Dayot Upamecano. Recent performances suggest that everyone at the club is liking him more and more.

Kerry Hau from Sport1 (via @iMiaSanMia) reported that De Ligt’s mentality, will to win, and defensive leadership has endeared him to the people at the club. Not only that, he also regularly communicates with his fellow defenders in German instead of his native Dutch.

The former Ajax man is also in contention to join the team council alongside Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, and others. Considering that De Ligt was Ajax’s captain in the Dutch Eredivisie and the Champions League (aged 18 and 19, respectively), taking charge is something that the Dutchman is used to.

‘He’s not training as we envisaged’ – Bayern Munich chief explains why Joao Cancelo hasn’t been starting

Joao Cancelo lost his place in the Bayern Munich side due to his performances in training and in matches.

That is the assessment of Bayern Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, who commented on Cancelo’s omission from the starting line-up in their Champions League last-16 second leg win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller compares Leo Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, says that Messi can’t carry PSG on his own

Cancelo started his first four games for Bayern since moving on loan from Manchester City, but has played just 18 minutes across the last three games and has started on the bench for four games in succession. He came off the bench against PSG to set up the tie’s third goal, but was brought back down to earth after the game when Salihamidzic spoke to the media.

ALSO READ: Pep Guardiola will see how far ‘soft’ Man City have come this season vs Crystal Palace

Julian Nagelsmann had praised Cancelo’s replacement, Josip Stanisic, calling the Croatian ‘exceptional’ and a key part of their game plan that successfully kept Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe quiet.

And Salihamidzic echoed his manager’s comments when he said: “He was outstanding. I’m very enthused about him as he’s a young player from our academy.”

Speaking to the media after eliminating PSG from the Champions League, Bayern Munich captain and Man of the Match winner Thomas Muller was asked about his excellent record against Leo Messi at the top level of football. Comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo, the 33-year-old was respectful of the Argentinian mega-star’s achievements but realistic about the challenges he faces at a club like Paris Saint-Germain.

His quotes to kicker journalist Georg Holzner were captured by the ever-reliable @iMiaSanMia, reproduced below:

“Messi’s individual performance at the World Cup was amazing,” continued Muller. “He carried the whole squad. It’s not so easy to play at a team like PSG. It’s difficult to get a really good team balance.”

It was not an easy game for the Argentinian as he struggled to break down Bayern Munich on the flank and got easily separated from Kylian Mbappe. Julian Nagelsmann and his team did a great job of keeping Messi isolated and prevented the PSG midfield from supplying him with any kind of service. Meanwhile, when Messi got the ball, Muller himself was often in the way of passes meant for a PSG teammate.

Overall, this is another black mark in Messi’s personal record against Thomas Muller, a player so stylistically different from him that the two may as well play another sport. Football is a funny game, where two personalities that would otherwise never intersect somehow find themselves constantly pitted against each other in a competitive environment.

Now watch as Ronaldo fan pages take that quote out of context and re-post it for the next 1,000 years. Thank you for keeping Messi stans on their toes, Thomas.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich, Arsenal to battle for Juventus star Dusan Valahovic?; Matthijs de Ligt, Alphonso Davies earn more accolades; Manchester City setting up Josko Gvardiol move; Bayern not shopping Ryan Gravenberch; & MORE!

This is, well, something.

According to this report, Bayern Munich is planning to use Marcel Sabitzer as bait to lure Juventus into a (play dramatic music)…SWAP DEAL for striker Dusan Vlahovic, who also happens to be a target for Arsenal FC.

Ah…the swap deal. One of the favorite types of rumors we see here at the Daily Schmankerl. Let’s dig into the details:

Bayern are looking at a potential deal for Juventus striker Vlahovic, who has been linked with a move to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. Italian news outlet CMW have claimed that Bayern plan to offer Marcel Sabitzer to Juventus in a deal to bring Vlahovic to the Allianz Arena.

Midfielder Sabitzer joined Manchester United on loan from Bayern in the January transfer window. Sabitzer is scheduled to return to the Bavarian giants at the end of the season. Now, Bayern’s reported plan regarding Vlahovic will come as a blow for Arsenal. The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Serbia international striker.

There are a couple of reasons why this makes sense on certain levels:

Bayern is still looking for its No. 9 of the future.
Juventus has interest in Sabitzer.
Vlahovic could come at a reduced rate because of Juventus’ major financial mess.
However, it remains to be seen exactly what type of fee the Serie A power would be seeking for Vlahovic. Bayern Munich is still very cost-conscious and seems to be planning for a bigger 2024 summer transfer window splurge than 2023’s.

That said — as the club proved last summer with Matthijs de Ligt — if the right player becomes available, Bayern Munich will dip into its bank account to get a deal done.

Daily Schmankerl: Despite reports, don’t expect Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane or Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic in a Bayern Munich kit; Chelsea planning massive sell off — where will Mason Mount end up?; Matthijs de Ligt lauded; and MORE!

With the signing of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting last week, Bayern Munich seems to have settled on its striker for next season. With Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane considered to be unattainable, it would have been normal to think that the Bavarians might also look at Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic.

Not so fast my friend.

Despite still having some interest in Vlahovic, a move looks very doubtful — even if the report below states otherwise:

Juventus wants to keep Dusan Vlahovic with them beyond this season, but the striker is a target for Bayern Munich. The Germans have not replaced Robert Lewandowski since the Pole left the club and see the Serbian as one of the options.

Vlahovic could be a very good fit for Bayern Munich, but unless Juventus puts him on the discount rack, it seems like another club could be more willing to buck up for him during the summer transfer window.

In related news, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžic thoroughly denied that the club has interested in Kane:

This bothers Juve, who will prefer to keep their goal-scorer with them for the future and they would be happy about the latest development.

A report on Tuttojuve reveals the striker is not the first-choice target of the German club. It claims Bayern has Harry Kane as their first choice and will try their best to add the Englishman to their squad. However, if they cannot sign the Tottenham man, they will look to buy Vlahovic from Juve.

Julian Nagelsmann explains why Bayern Munich benched João Cancelo

Two players were notably on the bench in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, which served also as the German Rekordmeister’s final tune-up game before concluding their Champions League knockout tie against Paris Saint-Germain. Both Benjamin Pavard and João Cancelo were excluded from Julian Nagelsmann’s starting XI.

Pavard has a one-game suspension to serve in the Champions League, so this was an opportunity for Josip Stanišic to get match practice in his place. However, the young Croatian defender’s inclusion over Manchester City loanee Cancelo could be an intriguing preview of how the Bavarians will welcome Paris on March 8.

“He’s handling the situation well,” Nagelsmann said after the game on Cancelo’s benching (via @iMiaSanMia). “I don’t have any impression that he’s breaking off. Stanišic is a bit more defensive and João has never played right center-back in a back 3.”

So: was that a back three? And will Bayern persist in such a setup for a second time against PSG? Some have scored Bayern’s lineup against Stuttgart as a 4-2-3-1, and though the formation numbers don’t really matter, Bayern do show distinctions when they roll out a true back four — as they have before, with Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as full-backs.

In this case, how the manager himself views the tactics is most revealing. With Stanišic as a wide center-back who occasionally ventures forward, it was Kingsley Coman who won the wing-back spot over Cancelo. It mirrors the crucial half-time substitution Nagelsmann made in the first leg against PSG, when Cancelo came off in order for Coman to provide more width in forward positions from the right. That tactical adjustment led to the game’s only goal, and Bayern’s slim 1-0 advantage heading into the second leg.

Nagelsmann’s top-choice XI for Paris is taking shape, then: with Alphonso Davies and Coman as wing-backs, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Müller as tens, and a three-man backline. It looks like Stanišic will get his chance to replicate his outstanding international performance from last year against Kylian Mbappé.

As for Cancelo, he’ll have to patiently wait his turn.

Looks like Nagelsmann has learned what makes Bayern Munich tick.

After Bayern Munich managed to see out a nervy 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, Julian Nagelsmann was asked a key question: will Thomas Muller start against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League? In case you’re wondering why this is such a big deal, the coach’s decision to bench Muller in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie in Paris was met with a fair amount of criticism.

While Bayern came away from that game with a goal and a win, many observers and analysts noted that the team seemed stunted in attack, and could’ve done more with in the 1st half where Paris played without Kylian Mbappe. Nagelsmann’s explanation for leaving Muller out of the lineup was met with some skepticism.

Then, against Gladbach, Muller started but was subbed off early after Dayot Upamecano received a red card. This prompted several more questions about the 33-year-old’s place in the team and how the coach actually sees him. As always, when Thomas Muller gets benched, Bayern Munich fans start to panic a little.

Now, two games later and on the back of several great performances, it looks like the Raumdeuter is finally going to be a permanent fixture on Julian Nagelsmann’s teams. Here’s what he said after the game:

This is big news because Muller has been on fire for Bayern Munich in 2023 so far. He has 2 goals and 5 assists in just 458 minutes, which comes out to 1.38 goal contributions per 90 minutes. That’s a stellar ratio and is the kind of quality you need in the Champions League.

Let’s hope the rest of the coach’s lineup is equally promising.

Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich: Halftime observations and analysis

Halftime observations and analysis
Bayern Munich have found the going tough in this game, mainly thanks to Stuttgart’s defensive discipline and pressing. There has been very little time and space for the forwards in the box.
Leon Goretzka is not doing the same amount of defensive work he did vs Union Berlin.
Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies’ linkup play on the left flank has been sublime.
The strikers have lacked service today.
Matthijs de Ligt is responsible for +2 in goal difference today. Goal line clearance and goal from him. Effective at both ends.

Bayern Munich faces defensive puzzle against Stuttgart, PSG

ayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann must solve a defensive riddle ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match against VfB Stuttgart and next week’s Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

His best defender currently, in-form Benjamin Pavard, is suspended for the Round of 16 match against the French side next week after his red card in the first leg in Paris where Bayern won 1-0.

His replacement next week would likely be fellow France international Dayot Upamecano, back from his one-match league suspension last week.

Nagelsmann said he could end up using Upamecano on Saturday against Stuttgart despite Pavard’s current form in order to give him match practice ahead of Wednesday.

“This is a decision we will take tomorrow,” Nagelsmann told a news conference on Friday when asked about who would play against Stuttgart.

“Obviously Benji is in outstanding form and we want to and have to win the league game against Stuttgart. Looking at it isolated he has to play… but there is the issue of his suspension for Wednesday.”

The Bavarians’ rocky start to the year has seen their lead in the Bundesliga evaporate and they are currently only ahead on goal difference from second-placed Borussia Dortmund, which also has 46 points.

“Benji would understand it if he would not play (on Saturday) based on the rhythm necessary (also for Wednesday) but on the other hand it’s primarily about winning a Bundesliga game,” said the coach.

Bayern goes into Wednesday’s Champions League clash with its 1-0 advantage but while PSG striker Kylian Mbappe only played a substitute role due to a minor injury, he will start in the return leg.

“For Wednesday we need a different solution (than Pavard) that could and will go by the name of Upamecano. His speed and power would help against Mbappe,” Nagelsmann said.

“Apart from Alphonso (Davies) he is the one player who can keep up with that speed. Maybe not the entire time but he is a very fast player. It is an interesting consideration… and we will need to decide.”

Report: Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry in danger at Bayern Munich

According to a report from BILD, as captured by @iMiaSanMia, Bayern Munich players Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane have uncertain futures at the club. Bayern are said to be monitoring their progress “very closely”, despite the duo being regular starters under coach Julian Nagelsmann. Per the report, because the two are near the top of the list of Bayern Munich’s top earners, the club expects top performances from them.

Should neither Sane or Gnabry live up to those expectations, it would represent a big fall from grace for the duo. Bayern worked very hard to bring both to the club in the first place; in particular, they spent some €50m to bring Sane from Manchester City and were originally willing to break the bank for him, potentially up to 100m. The two had become the successors to legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, also inheriting their number 10 and 7 shirts. Clearly, Bayern have placed enormous faith in the duo.

Serge Gnabry received a contract extension just last summer, which tied the former Arsenal player to the club until 2026. Sane’s contract, meanwhile, still runs until 2025. With just two years left on Sane’s contract, if the club is not fully convinced by the former Manchester City man, he could be leaving Bayern. BILD says that if neither player can show consistent performances, a sale would “no longer [be] completely unthinkable if a club would offer a big fee.”

Daily Schmankerl: Juventus to compete with Manchester United for Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer; Real Madrid planning massive haul of Jude Bellingham and Josko Gvardiol; Bayern, Leeds United competing for youngster; BVB has Bayern mentality; and MORE!

Juventus could be looking to make a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer.

Sabitzer, of course, is on loan at Manchester United where it seems like both the player and club are looking to extend the relationship:

Juventus ‘will come calling’ for on-loan Manchester United midfielder Marcel Sabitzer next summer. Serie A giants Juventus ‘will come calling’ for on-loan Manchester United star Marcel Sabitzer in the upcoming transfer window, according to Calciomercato (h/t Manchester Evening News).

A bidding war for Sabitzer would not be the worst thing in the world.

Update: Choupo-Moting doubles his Bayern Munich salary with latest contract extension

According to an exclusive report by Florian Plettenberg, who is so reliable he may as well be a direct club source, Bayern Munich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have agreed a contract extension that will keep the striker at the club until 2024. There is no option for an additional year beyond that, but the deal comes with a significant pay rise for the player.

Here’s the announcement tweet from Plettenberg’s Twitter:

Originally signed as a backup on a free transfer from PSG, Choupo-Moting has stepped up and shown actual world class credentials this season. In the absence of Robert Lewandowski, the Cameroonian international has made the #9 spot his own, resisting any competition from Sadio Mane, Thomas Muller, or the young Mathys Tel. His scoring record this season has been nothing short of exceptional, and he seems to fit the coach’s plans and is well-liked in the dressing room.

Signing Choupo-Moting to an extension essentially puts to bed any discussions of a pursuit for Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, who has long been linked with Bayern. The same goes for other options like Dusan Vlahovic, Victor Osimhen, or other recognized strikers. While Choupo isn’t a young striker, he’s effective in his role and the club seems satisfied with him. Also, this gives Mathys Tel some scope to slowly grow into the future striker position at Bayern, instead of having his role supplanted by a new signing from abroad.

Overall, few will be upset with this announcement. It’s good business by Bayern and we’re happy to have Choupo here.

What Cristiano Ronaldo told Sadio Mané about Bayern Munich

In the days following Sadio Mané’s move to Bayern Munich, the former Liverpool star was vacationing in Mallorca when he ran into…Cristiano Ronaldo.

What are the chances?

Speaking to Sport Bild journalists Christian Falk and Tobi Altschäffl (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), Mané detailed exactly what the two spoke about (at least regarding Bayern Munich anyway).

“I met Cristiano Ronaldo in Mallorca before this season after my move was completed. He congratulated me and told me: ‘A great club! This is a great step for you’,” Mané said. “That says everything about the Bundesliga and underlines what I’ve already said: I think you underestimate the Bundesliga here. The recent performances in the Champions League prove that.”

Interestingly, Bayern Munich was linked to the former Real Madrid mega-star at just about the same time that the duo had their conversation. While Ronaldo is not exactly his former self these days, Mané will be looking to prove that he has fully bounced back from his injury in the coming games.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer eyeing future with Manchester United, but is Declan Rice doing the same?; Which Real Madrid star rejected Bayern?; Juventus shedding midfielders; and MORE!

Sabitzer wants to stay at United (Fabrizio Romano via The People’s Person)
According to Fabrizio Romano, Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer is enthralled with his time at Manchester United so far and could be planning on making the move permanent:

Marcel Sabitzer is reportedly happy to stay at Manchester United beyond his loan spell. According to Fabrizio Romano, the Austrian midfielder is in love with the club. He has a great relationship with the manager Erik ten Hag, and could look to extend his stay at Old Trafford.

Sabitzer’s fine performances in England so far should not be surprising. The Austrian was as a solid of a player as Bayern Munich had during the Hinrunde.

It is a shame that Sabitzer’s tenure at Bayern Munich got off to such a rocky start, as fans did not get a true glimpse of just how good he is until this season. It would have been interesting to see what he could have done in a 4-3-3 at Bayern Munich if Julian Nagelsmann had ever given him the chance to work with both Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.

Either way, it appears that the 28-year-old will be moving on in one way or another from Bayern Munich during the summer transfer window.

Revealed: The personal message Cristiano Ronaldo sent Sadio Mane after his transfer to Bayern Munich from Liverpool

Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo congratulated him on his move to the Bundesliga giants from Liverpool.

Mane left Liverpool in summer 2022
Completed move to Bayern Munich
Ronaldo congratulated him on transfer
WHAT HAPPENED? Mane ended his six-year stay at Liverpool to move to Bayern last summer in a deal worth €41 million (£35m/$43m). The Senegal international says he met former Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo after sealing his transfer to Germany, and was told by the Portugal international that he had made a great career move.

WHAT THEY SAID: “I met Cristiano Ronaldo in Mallorca before this season after my move was completed. He congratulated me and told me: ‘A great club. This is a great step for you,’” he told SportBild. “That says everything about the Bundesliga and underlines what I’ve already said: I think you underestimate the Bundesliga here. The recent performances in the Champions League prove that.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mane began life in Bayern strongly, scoring six times and contributing three assists before suffering a serious a leg injury in November that forced him to undergo surgery and miss World Cup 2022. The Senegal international made his long-awaited comeback from injury as a substitute in Bayern’s 3-0 win over Union Berlin last time out.

Sadio Mane, Joao Cancelo and a Bayern Munich squad built to win it all

Who needs a best XI when you have such a good squad? With the arrival of Joao Cancelo and the return of Sadio Mane, Bayern Munich look well set for the business end of the 2022/23 season. casts an eye over the multiple options available to Julian Nagelsmann as Bayern target league, cup and UEFA Champions League glory.

It’s not so long ago that Bayern and Nagelsmann were experiencing a troubling period. Many other clubs would welcome a “problem” spell that saw them still top of the league and extending an unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 11 matches. For a team like Bayern, however, three successive draws to start the year was a cause for concern.

The previous year had ended badly for the record German champions too, with the news that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – their captain and a 10-time Bundesliga winner – would miss the rest of the season with a broken leg.

Bayern, though, quickly addressed personnel issues and have seen results improve. Those three consecutive draws have been followed by five wins from six matches in all competitions – with the defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach largely down to an eighth-minute red card for Dayot Upamecano.

Nagelsmann now has a confident team and – crucially – a squad that looks capable of flourishing during a frantic end to the season.


Losing a netminder as experienced and influential as Neuer would be a blow to any club. Bayern reacted quickly, however, by bringing in a top-quality replacement.

Yann Sommer had already shown his talent against the 10-in-a-row champions earlier in the campaign, making a Bundesliga-record 19 saves in Gladbach’s 1-1 draw in Munich last August.

Report: Bayern Munich officially out on Gladbach’s Marcus Thuram

According to Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk, Bayern Munich is going to take a pass on Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker Marcus Thuram, who was linked to the Bavarian club several times in recent months.

Falk’s report was captured by @iMiaSanMia and revealed that even though Thuram will be available for free, Bayern Munich will move on from a potential pursuit of the Frenchman:

Bayern decided not to get involved in the race for Marcus Thuram, despite the striker being available on a free transfer this summer.

Bayern Munich: Sadio Mane focussing on small steps to get full fitness

The news is not overly surprising. Bayern Munich has mostly been rumored to have interest in Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane or a contract extension with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, but there has been nothing concrete to report on either front of late.

All of the Kane news is speculative and the latest on Choupo-Moting indicated that he wants to stay at Bayern Munich, but has targeted numbers for years and money. It remains to be seen if the two sides can get aligned.

It was a very productive weekend for Bayern Munich. They got back to winning ways in the Bundesliga after losing to Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. Die Roten delivered a near-perfect performance against Union Berlin on Sunday to earn all three points.

First-half goals from Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, and Kingsley Coman were enough for Bayern to defeat Union Berlin. It was a very impressive performance considering Die Roten’s inconsistency in the Bundesliga. Moreover, Union Berlin has been one of the success stories of the Bundesliga this season as they sit third, three points behind Die Roten.

Along with a convincing performance and result, Die Roten also had positive news on the injury front this weekend. Kingsley Coman returned to the starting lineup after missing the game against Gladbach due to a minor knock. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane also made his first appearance in three months after recovering from a serious injury.

Mane injured his tibia during a 6-1 win against Werder Bremen at the start of November. Unfortunately, he missed the World Cup for Senegal and underwent surgery to repair the damage at the end of November. While talking to the media on Sunday (via TZ), Mane insisted that he is likely to manage the workload in the next few games to achieve complete fitness.

“It’s important to take the whole thing step by step. I played 30 minutes today, maybe next game I can play 45 minutes or an hour.”

Bayern and Julian Nagelsmann have several options in the attack, so easing Mane into the team makes a lot of sense. The Senegalese forward has a big role to play in the next couple of months, so Die Roten needs to avoid a relapse in the process of him getting completely fit.

Sadio Mane enjoyed a very good start to his debut season at Bayern, scoring goals across several competitions. The Senegalese forward suffered dip in performances, but still managed to contribute with 11 goals across all competitions. His versatility in the final third gives great tactical flexibility to Julian Nagelsmann.

In an ideal scenario, Sadio Mane comes on early in the second half against Stuttgart. He can eventually play an hour or so in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain. The French club will visit Allianz Arena on March 8. Mane’s knack for scoring goals in big games will be very useful against PSG.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Union Berlin: Birthday joy for Musiala as champions crush Bundesliga pretenders

Jamal Musiala celebrated turning 20 with his 11th goal of the Bundesliga season as Bayern Munich returned to top spot by crushing title rivals Union Berlin 3-0 in wintry Bavaria.

A dusting of snow covered the Allianz Arena pitch at kick-off, and more fell during the game, but there was nothing flaky about the hosts.

Goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Kingsley Coman and Musiala meant they led 3-0 at half-time against a team who began the game on the same points total as Bayern.

The outcome meant Bayern nudged ahead again in the title race, going above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference, with surprise interlopers Union now trailing the top two by three points.

The plot thickens on the future for Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nübel

After taking himself out of the running for return to Bayern Munich this winter, Alexander Nübel now might have forced his exit out of AS Monaco unintentionally.

After a series of iffy performances, AS Monaco has reportedly decided to move on from the German goalkeeper per L’Equipe (as captured by Get French Football News):

L’Équipe are reporting that, whilst Alexander Nübel (26) continues to be publicly defended by AS Monaco, the Principality club are looking to replace the on-loan Bayern Munich goalkeeper next season.

Monaco’s insistence on retaining Nübel next season has seemingly wilted in light of a series of unconvincing appearances in big games, notably during the club’s Europa League exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. The club continues to publically defend Nübel, but according to L’Équipe, Monaco are already looking in the market for potential replacements.

What all of this means for Nübel’s future remains to be seen. At Bayern Munich next season, the club could be looking at a goalkeeper stable featuring Manuel Neuer, Yann Sommer, Sven Ulreich, and now — maybe — Nübel.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Union Berlin: Initial reactions and observations

Initial reactions and observations
It wasn’t an easy game but it was definitely a simple one as Bayern Munich didn’t need anything special to beat this Union Berlin team. A fine cross from Kingsley Coman and two moments of Thomas Muller magic were all it took. Despite the snow slowing them down and a dogged resistance from Urs Fischer’s men, Bayern Munich showed their quality by dominating the game from start to finish.
Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka had another excellent outing in midfield together. Kimmich really shines as a proper #6 playing in front of a back four.
If only Alphonso Davies could finish … imagine the potential.
Union Berlin injured maybe half their team during this game. It might become a turning point for their season.

Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin: Lineups, team news, injuries, Thomas Muller returns, and more!

It’s not quite Der Klassiker, but Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the season so far. Having lost to Gladbach last weekend, the Bavarians come into the game level on points with the east Berliners and also Borussia Dortmund, which means a loss could put the team as low as third place by the end of the matchday.

Already under pressure due to mediocre results 2023, Julian Nagelsmann needs a win on Sunday to shore up Bayern’s place atop the Bundesliga and keep BVB at bay.

Team news
Sadio Mane and Noussair Mazraoui have both returned to team training, but it’s still too early for them to participate in a game. Dayot Upamecano, meanwhile, is suspended due to the red card he got vs Gladbach. Choupo-Moting also had a slight neck problem, but he and Kingsley Coman should both be available for the game, albeit doubtful.

So, what kind of lineup will we see? Well, after much criticism over the week, Julian Nagelsmann announced that Thomas Muller would definitely be in the starting XI vs Union Berlin. Based on how the coach operates, we can assume that Muller will play as the striker vs Union, with Jamal Musiala behind him at attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry are the likely winger candidates, with Kingsley Coman and Sadio Mane as the first options off the bench.

In midfield, a double pivot of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich seems like the most likely outcome, based on the personnel available. Ryan Gravenberch probably isn’t ready to play against a team like Union Berlin just year, and Goretzka and Kimmich have been in good form since the former returned to the lineup vs PSG.

The defense is the main source of questions. Given that Union will likely play defensively, Julian Nagelsmann may go for an overly offensive back four setup with Joao Cancelo and Alphonso Davies as wing-backs. Benjamin Pavard and Matthijs de Ligt could simply reprise their roles as center-backs in such a setup, with Yann Sommer in goal.

After leaving Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski’s dream move turns to a nightmare as FC Barcelona crash out of the Europa League

When Robert Lewandowski moved from Bayern Munich to FC Barcelona last summer, he said he was doing it for a new challenge. Well maybe he got a little more than he bargained for. As of writing, Barca have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Manchester United on a 4-3 aggregate scoreline. In his eight years at Bayern, Lewy never once dropped out of the Champions League before the Round of 16.

Barca started the game well, controlling possession and eventually scoring off an (admittedly soft) penalty, converted by Lewandowski. That would be the extent of Lewandowski’s contribution on the night as the Polish hitman found Man United’s defense far too much to overcome. He was not helped by the poor quality of Barca’s midfield — with Pedri and Gavi both out, there was no one to provide him service. A guy like Thomas Muller doesn’t just play at any old club.

With this latest setback, maybe Lewandowski will be rethinking his decision to leave Bayern Munich. Leon Goretzka’s words last October, when Barca were about to drop out of the CL after failing to beat Inter Milan, will be ringing in his ears right now. “Lewy was very spoiled at Bayern,” said the midfielder. “Always progressing to at least the Round of 16.”

Now he may realize the value he’s lost by switching to the wrong club at this stage of his career. Instead of playing at the highest level against the likes of Mbappe, Messi, and Neymar, he’s being knocked out of Europe’s second-tier competition by the likes of Rashford and Fred. It’s a massive downgrade.

Oh well, at least he got his “dream move” I guess. Good job, Lewy.

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