Bayern Munich ahead of Real Madrid for Nico Schlotterbeck; Joshua Kimmich wins fan vote; Borussia Dortmund pursuing Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen; Liverpool sees light on Raphinha; and MORE! – News Sport Update

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Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich ahead of Real Madrid for Nico Schlotterbeck; Joshua Kimmich wins fan vote; Borussia Dortmund pursuing Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen; Liverpool sees light on Raphinha; and MORE!
Can Bayern Munich get back on track this weekend?

Madrid behind Bayern in race for Schlotterbeck (The Hard Tackle)
Per a report out of Spain, Bayern Munich is the leader in the clubhouse to land SC Freiburg star Nico Schlotterbeck. Real Madrid is said to be next in line, though Schlotterbeck has made it clear he sees his future in the Bundesliga:

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are reportedly vying for SC Freiburg defender Nico Schlotterbeck, with the Bundesliga champions leading the race to sign him.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are embroiled in a transfer tussle to sign Nico Schlotterbeck in the summer transfer window. The Bundesliga champions are the front-runners to land the 22-year-old SC Freiburg defender.

I am starting to think that if Niklas Süle and Bayern Munich determine that he will be moving on, the Bavarians will not wait long to make SC Freiburg an offer on Schlotterbeck.

At this point, Antonio Rüdiger seems like a lock to re-up with Chelsea FC and Matthias Ginter’s primary attribute is the fact he would be a free transfer. Otherwise, the Gladbach man does not seem to have a ton of support at Bayern Munich — outside of Julian Nagelsmann.

Interestingly, a standoff on Ginter could be Nagelsmann first showdown with sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidizic.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich still eyeing Adam Hlozek?; Falk Flexing on Antonio Rüdiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, and Denis Zakaria; Jamie Lawrence to leave Bayern?; and MORE!

Bayern eyeing Hlozek? (Sport Bild via @iMiaSanMia)
We had already heard that Bayern Munich had interest in Sparta Prague star Adam Hlozek, but that could ramp up if the club is able to reach a deal with Robert Lewandowski on a contract extension.

At just 19-years-old, Hlozek is like not ready to start at a club like Bundesliga, but he could ne a prime candidate for an apprenticeship under the Polish Hitman:

Who is he shooshing in this picture? Me? BFW? Patrick Schick?

€1.8m in the black: Bayern Munich the only 2020/21 European league champ to turn a profit
While other European rivals at the top of their leagues suffered devastating losses, Bayern Munich managed to make a profit during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020/21

According to “The European Champions Report 2022” by KPMG”, Bayern Munich was almost alone among 2020/21 major European league champions to make a profit, amid steep losses across Europe on account of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic (summary here). Bayern managed to net €1.8m against all odds.

The KPMG found the following: “The only exception are German champions FC Bayern München, who managed to achieve a consecutive 29th profitable year. The Bavarian club, who since three decades achieve balance between competitiveness on the pitch and financial sustainability, represent one of the best management models in European sports history.”

Bayern also managed to keep their staff costs-to-operating revenue ratio at 58%, the lowest among the eight clubs assessed in the report.

The net losses suffered elsewhere are staggering: Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid had the highest annual losses: €245.6 and €111.7 respectively. But even these numbers pale in comparison to the “historical record net loss … suffered by FC Barcelona in the same season.” Barca lost an incredible €481.3m.

Bayern’s financial stability was reflected in its retention of the Bundesliga championship: Bayern was the only champion in 2019/20 to do so again in 2020/21, winning its ninth Bundesliga trophy in a row.

The authors speculate that, “Bayern’s successful management might also explain why the club did not feel the need to participate in last year’s European Super League initiative.”

Bayern has been adamant about sustaining its business model with conservative yet significant investments in players and an emphasis on corporate revenue, which has witnessed growth over the pandemic. These policies have set Bayern apart from its domestic rivals, while they have kept the club in contention with its biggest European rivals.

Daily Schmankerl: Antony had a shot with Bayern Munich, but Kingsley Coman’s deal probably kills that; Borussia Dortmund bags Italian gem; Eden Hazard getting more heat over weight issues; and MORE!

Bayern has “loose” contact with Antony in the fall (Sport1)
Before it seemed like a lock that Bayern Munich would extend the contract of Kingsley Coman, the Bavarians had “loose contact” with Ajax winger Antony about a move to the club:

According to SPORT1 information, there had been loose contact with the Amsterdam right winger in autumn. Since then, there have been no concrete discussions because it became clear that Coman can again imagine a longer-term future in Munich.

Now that Coman seems certain to sign a new deal, the stories of Bayern Munich being interested in Antony, FC Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, or Leeds United ace Raphinha should die down

What Kingsley Coman’s contract extension means for Bayern Munich’s squad planning, future formation

The recent news that Bayern Munich and Kingsley Coman are closing in on a contract extension should have a trickle down effect on the club’s squad planning and how Julian Nagelsmann aligns his squad.

Let’s take a brief look at how Coman’s (alleged) new deal will affect those areas:

With Coman, Sane, and Musiala all locked up — and Gnabry reportedly set to ink his own deal shortly — it would seem that wing position will be settled for years to come (if there is actually a wing position needed — more on that in the next section).

SS Lazio v Bayern Muenchen – UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One
Bayern Munich has massive talent on the wings. Photo by Christina Pahnke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images
So, what does that mean for the rumored pursuits of players like Leeds United star Raphinha, Juventus winger Federico Chiesa, or even former Bayern Munich academy product Wooyeong Jeong?

Those moves (dreams?) probably are not happening — there is a A LOT of money tied up in the position at Bayern Munich.

As for the youngsters in the academy, well, this signing could be a signal for many of them to start looking elsewhere:

18-year-old Amindo Sieb was recently denied a chance to move to Hannover 96 in favor of helping Bayern Munich II get back into 3. Liga. If successful, the club wants him to remain with the team to help the squad stay “up.” For an ambitious youngster — who no doubt has a crafty agent — the lip service about the club liking him likely will not hold much weight. Should other clubs start identifying Sieb as a potential first team player and have a first team spot to offer, the youngster will have to think hard about a transfer. Sieb’s current deal expires in 2023.
Nemanja Motika has exploded this season, but at 18 years old, he is nearing the point where he will be ready for first team football (if he is not already). That pathway at his position seems blocked to say the least and for a talent like Motika, waiting around is not always an easy task.
At 16 years old, Arijon Ibrahimovic is not in as pressing a situation as his slightly older teammates, but the youngster is considered a campus gem and on the accelerated track to the first team. Ibrahimovic has the ability to move across a few positions, but he could also be looking at the logjam ahead of him as well.
It seems like Sieb is being counted to stay with Bayern Munich II, while Motika could end up inking a new deal and then leaving on a loan to pursue first-team.

Daily Schmankerl: Rumored Bayern Munich target Nico Schlotterbeck rejects Newcastle United; FC Barcelona chasing Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes; Robert Lewandowski honored; and MORE!

Schlotterbeck slated to leave Freiburg in summer (@Plettigoal)
According to Sky journalist Florian Plettenberg, rumored Bayern Munich target Nico Schlotterbeck has drawn interest from Newcastle United, but the Germany international seems to be balking at the move.

Per Plettenberg, the price tag on Schlotterbeck is rising as any club approaching SC Freiburg will have to pay €20 million to €30 million for the highest rated center-back in Europe:

As noted by Plettenberg, Bayern Munich’s interest could spike or go away altogether depending on what happens with Niklas Süle.

Bayern Munich rejects Armindo Sieb loan offer; bosses think he can break through
Hannover 96 wanted the youngster, but Bayern Munich would not let him go.

By CSmith1919@TheBarrelBlog Jan 10, 2022, 2:00pm CET 1 Comment

According to Sky journalist Florian Plettenberg, Bayern Munich attacker Amindo Sieb had an offer to take a loan to Hannover 96, but the move was rejected by the Bavarians.

Why would the club not give the youngster a chance to play first team football on a consistent basis? Well, campus director Jochen Sauer believes the player will make his mark at Bayern Munich soon enough:

They don’t want to lose him on campus! According to information from Sky, Armindo Sieb could have been loaned to second division Hannover 96 in this winter transfer window. Other inquiries were also in the room. The 18-year-old top talent would have been ready for this step, but Jochen Sauer had something against it.

The campus director vehemently advocated the offensive all-rounder remaining and convinced him. The reason: Sauer trusts the eight-time German U19 international to make a breakthrough in Munich. Julian Nagelsmann also believes in the qualities of Sieb, who moved from Hoffenheim to Munich free of charge in the summer of 2020.

Primarily, it is believed that the bosses on campus are aiming for Bayern Munich II to get back in the third division — where Sieb would be desperately needed.

As far as his long-term prospects on the first team go, things are a little less clear. Should Bayern Munich II fail to make the third division, it is possible Sieb could be loaned out during the summer.

Realistically, not all of the prized youngsters are going to make it with Bayern Munich no matter how highly rated they are. Just this weekend we heard that Gabriel Vidovic and Paul Wanner were considered future first team players. Considering the club’s recent track record, it is hard to imagine that two or even three of the current crop of youth players will eventually break through with the club.

Sure, it is possible, but as players like Niklas Dorsch, Angelo Stiller, Milos Pantovic, and a few others have found out — they surely had the talent and drive to make it…just not into the deep and talented roster of Bayern Munich.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich will need to pay €25 to €30 million for FC Barcelona’s Sergino Dest; Bayern linked to Ousmane Dembele…again; Arsenal, AC Milan, Barca linked to Renato Sanches; and MORE!

Barca put price tag on Dest (Barca Universal)
If Bayern Munich really wants Sergino Dest this summer, it looks like it will have to pay €25 to €30 million:

Bayern Munich are still interested in signing Sergino Dest despite missing out on the former Ajax youngster back in 2020, reports Italian journalist and transfer market specialist Rudy Galetti.

Galetti says the 21-year-old is not in Xavi’s plans and that the club is willing to cash on him in order to register Ferran Torres. For that, though, Barcelona are requesting a fee in the region of around €25-30 million.

Apart from Bayern Munich, Chelsea seem to have registered an interest, although the Blues are only seeing him as a second option. Another team in line is La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid who are actively hunting a right-back following Kieran Trippier’s move to Newcastle United.

Bayern Munich interested in Hoffenheim’s Tom Bischof again?
Could Bayern Munich be looking at 16-year-old prospect Tom Bischof once more?

Last summer, we started to see rumors linking Bayern Munich to Hoffenheim youth midfielder Tom Bischof, who is considered one of the top, young prospects in all of Germany.

On an appearance with Christian Falk on Bild Live, former Bayern Munich technical director indicated that the Bavarians are still looking closely at the 16-year-old phenom.

“His contract at Hoffenheim is running out. Some German clubs are interested. And what we also know is that Julian Nagelsmann has a positive opinion about Tom,” said Reschke (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia). “The FC Bayern squad is never that big. As a talented young player, you can always get game time.”

That last part of the quote could be considered debatable, but there does seem to be enough of a pattern of interest to think that Bayern Munich could take a look at Bischof.

This is what kicker had to say about Bischoff in the summer:

Big clubs like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig are already vying for Tom Bischof. But Hoffenheim is also fighting for its own generation and shows the talent the chances and possibilities to go into the professional field at TSG.

Bavaria’s new head coach Julian Nagelsmann is said to have intervened personally to make Tom Bischof a move from Hoffenheim to Munich. Where Bischof would also meet his ex-coach Danny Galm, who by the way, like Bischof, once emerged from the amateur club TSV Amorbach.

With all of those connections, it seems like Bayern Munich would be a natural choice for the youngster. Hoffenheim, however, would love to be able to convince Bischof to be a part of their next generations of stars

TSG is also fighting for its own product, which is already bound to Hoffenheim with a contract until 2022. Per kicker information, the U-17 player was now involved in the preparation of the Hoffenheim U-19 and should be able to get a taste of the professional training under head coach Sebastian Hoeneß at the beginning of July.

With Corentin Tolisso likely leaving, Marc Roca’s status uncertain, Marcel Sabitzer unable to get comfortable, and prized prospect Torben Rhein rumored to have fallen a bit out of favor, Bayern Munich could absolutely be in line to make a run at Bischof if the club sees him as a part of the future in the central midfield.

Bayern Munich wanted to send Michael Cuisance to Russia
Would CSKA Moscow have ponied up €10 million?

Michael Cuisance left Bayern Munich for Venezia FC earlier in the week, but the Serie A side did not offer up the best financial package for the Frenchman.

Not by a long shot.

Sport Bild’s Christian Falk detailed the story on his Bayern Insider podcast (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia). Falk indicated that CSKA Moscow actually offered Bayern Munich €10 million for Cuisance, but the Frenchman opted to transfer to Italy instead.

That figure, of course, is more than double than the €4.5 million Bayern Munich received from Venezia FC for the volatile Frenchman. This would seem to contradict some of the prior statements from CSKA Moscow chief scout Andrei Movsesian:

“We have a shortlist and there are negotiations. Cuisance? We do not comment on rumors. I read that CSKA allegedly offered 10 million for him,” said Movsesian to Match TV. “But if you ask me, that’s too much for a player who hasn’t played 60 minutes this season.”

In the transfer game, however, there is often not much difference from the truth and falsehoods. While Movsesian might have publicly trued to lower the bidding expectations, CSKA Moscow could have actually had €10 million as its “not to exceed” figure.

Whatever the case, Cuisance is gone and whether or not CSKA Moscow would have actually gone as high as €10 million is something we will never know. Cuisance wanted to go to Italy and off to “The Boot” he went.

Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester City still among contenders for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland
Despite what we might hear from Säbener Straße, rumors persist about Bayern Munich’s interested in Erling Haaland.

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has been most recently linked to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid as both La Liga clubs appear to be dead-set on signing the Norwegian.

Bayern Munich’s name has not been bandied about all that often of late as the club’s front office executives have tried to quiet the noise.

Per David Ornstein of The Athletic, though, the Bavarians, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain are all still very much alive in the race for Haaland. In responding to a reader’s question, Ornstein gave this reply:

My understanding is that City’s first-choice target is Erling Haaland and while the competition for his signature is sure to be fierce, the reigning Premier League champions will push hard to secure the prolific Borussia Dortmund forward.

City are planning to hold meetings with Haaland’s representatives over the weeks and months ahead, yet whether or not the 21-year-old Norwegian opts for a move to the Etihad Stadium is a different matter.

There is a feeling that Real Madrid pose the biggest threat to City, but if the Spaniards manage to acquire Kylian Mbappe, it could dissuade Haaland from following suit. Multiple sources dismiss Barcelona’s ability to mount a serious challenge and although Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are potential destinations, City may be confident of providing a more enticing proposition. Manchester United are thought to retain an interest in Haaland but there are doubts about whether the attraction is mutual.

If City do not land Haaland they will have other options; among them is believed to be Alexander Isak and they are also monitoring the progress of Dusan Vlahovic.

It is not impossible the pursuit of Harry Kane is revived if he becomes available for what City deem a fair price, which is looking improbable and another factor would be Kane’s age, as he turns 29 in July.

Bayern Munich’s focus is reportedly on an extension with Robert Lewandowski, but rumors still persist that the Polish Hitman could seek to leave Bavaria. Should Lewandowski actually leave (as doubtful as that might be), Haaland would surely be Bayern Munich’s first-choice to man the striker position.

Jersey Gate: Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala wore Corentin Tolisso’s name in the second half

A lot of things went wrong on the field for Bayern Munich against Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday, but something weird went wrong in the locker room too. At halftime, Jamal Musiala swapped out his shirt. Now this isn’t weird by itself — especially on a snowy night in Munich — but at a closer look, there was a different name printed on his jersey: Tolisso.

How can this happen? Most-likely as they were pressing names and numbers onto shirts, the 24 of Tolisso must have accidentally gotten mixed up to make 42 instead. The jerseys probably get divvied up and handed out by number. The equipment managers likely just put the 42-shirts at Musiala’s locker and he didn’t even think to look at the name.

Because of the team’s performance and resulting loss, the match itself won’t be very memorable and the mis-named jersey will likely be soon forgotten. However, can you imagine if Musiala would have scored a late-winner or a hat-trick? That jersey would have gone straight to the Bayern museum or been sold for a pretty penny.

What do you think Musiala should do with this unique jersey? Put your idea in the comments!

Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Barcelona holding talks with Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara

With the pandemic financial crunch hitting clubs across Europe, everyone is on the lookout for quality free transfers. According to a report from FussballTransfers, Bayern Munich are one of three teams who have opened talks with Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, who is set to become a free agent this summer. The Frenchman’s camp is also reportedly negotiating with Chelsea and FC Barcelona.

Kamara, who mainly plays in defensive midfield, would be an option to fill the gap left by the departures of Corentin Tolisso and Michael Cuisance. Much like Javi Martinez, he also has the ability to play center-back, which could come into play if Bayern fail to extend Niklas Sule onto a new contract.

However, if the reported interest from Chelsea and Barcelona is real, then it feels unlikely that Bayern will actually end up landing the 22-year-old. Free transfers are only good business as long as you don’t end up overpaying on the salary — something that Juventus painfully learned with the transfers of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. If the player’s salary demands grow too high, expect Bayern to pull out of any potential transfer. In that case, the club might look elsewhere, such as Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria, to fulfill their midfield needs.

Breaking: Alphonso Davies becomes 9th Bayern Munich player to test positive for Covid-19

The hits just keep on coming. Just minutes ago, it was announced that Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies has tested positive for Covid-19. Davies trained with his teammates today, which means the entire squad is at risk of potential infection.

Here is the official announcement from the club:

Davies becomes the 9th player to test positive at Bayern in the last week or so. The club have already requested that Friday’s Bundesliga return game against Gladbach be postponed. The DFL haven’t made a decision on that yet, but Davies is unlikely to be the last +ve case on this Bayern squad.

Per Bild, it could get worse though. If Davies has the Omicron variant, the health authorities could order Bayern’s entire squad into quarantine. This would not only affect the Gladbach game, but the Koln game right after.

Also, looking at this from the outside, it’s baffling how Davies was allowed to train with the team before the results of his Covid test were known. This is a massive oversight and it needs to be corrected immediately.


Update: Bayern Munich youngster Gabriel Vidovic sick, Leon Goretzka absence a “surprise”, Niklas Süle likely battling injury
Not good.

By CSmith1919@TheBarrelBlog Updated Jan 5, 2022, 3:30pm CET

Update: 9:30AM EST
Leon Goretzka’s absence was deemed a “surprise” by Sky’s Florian Plettenberg, who also stated that Goretzka “seemed” to be ready to play on Friday. Plettenberg also said that Süle was tested for COVID-19:

Update: 6:45AM EST
Per Bild, Bayern Munich defender Niklas Süle’s absence is not related to COVID-19, but more likely is due to an injury. Süle missed the Wolfsburg game before the break with a back injury.

Regardless, a lingering back injury is a cause for concern for the big fella, who would seem set to play a major role — if healthy — should Bayern Munich actually square off with Gladbach on Friday.

Imagine you are a talented youngster like Bayern Munich’s Gabriel Vidovic.

You are a good prospect, but you just happen to be at one of the few clubs where the pathway to the first team is blocked by one mega-talent after another.

Now imagine that you are Vidovic — and through some crazy chain of events involving a pandemic and injuries — your pathway to a first team appearance just cleared up and you actually have a chance to prove your mettle as an 18-year-old…only you are hit with a nasty cold and probably cannot suit up for your golden opportunity.

Such is life on Säbener Straße these days.

With Vidovic potentially out of the picture, Bayern Munich does not have any other U-19 or U-23 players readily available. This seems like an oversight in player management as the squad returned to training on Monday.

With Bayern Munich’s players essentially off and traveling abroad for roughly two weeks, it seems like this was always going to be a possibility and the club could have called more youth players in as a precaution.

Regardless, the game on Friday against Borussia Mönchengladbach is now officially in doubt with Niklas Süle and Leon Goretzka missing the session. There was no official word released as to why those two players also missed the practice.

We know that Goretzka is battling an injury and Süle was also banged up before the team dispersed for the break, but have not received a status update on either player yet for today.

Stay tuned…


Breaking COVID-19 news: Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sane, Kathleen Krüger, Dayot Upamecano positive; Josip Stanisic clear

Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sane issue a statement via his Twitter account:

Update: 8:53AM EST
Bayern Munich has officially confirmed that both Leroy Sane and Dayot Upamecano have tested positive:

Leroy Sané and Dayot Upamecano have contracted the coronavirus. Both players are fine, they are in domestic isolation.

Update: 8:45AM EST
The hits keep coming. Per Bild, team manager Kathleen Krüger has joined the list of positive tests:

According to BILD information, team manager Kathleen Krüger (36) also tested positive on Monday.

Not good.

According to Bild, the COVID-19 situation at Bayern Munich is getting worse.

Leroy Sane’s test was inconclusive yesterday, but now Sane has tested positive per the German outlet. In addition, Dayot Upamecano was not seen at practice, which has some wondering if the Frenchman has also tested positive. There has been no official word on his status as of yet. Team manager Kathleen Krüger’s condition is also in question as well due to her inconclusive test yesterday.

Report: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid, PSG have “opened talks” with Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger
Could the Bavarians be ready to strike on the German defender?

In what seemed to pop out of thing air, Leeds United’s Brazilian winger Raphinha was linked with a potential move to Bayern Munich during the January transfer window for of a fee of around €50 million. Bayern’s front office had been adamant that there would more than likely not be any business done during the winter transfer window other than a few outgoing players, but Brazil based outlet TNT Sport Brasil had broken the story that a potential transfer was on the cards for either this winter or the summer.

Raphinha’s current contract with Leeds runs through June 2024, but The Athletic reported over the weekend that Leeds is working on a potential contract extension for their Brazilian winger. However, new information from Sky Sports Germany suggests that the topic of a potential transfer to Bayern is something that’s being seriously considered at the club in the event that Kingsley Coman doesn’t renew his contract and decides to leave. His current contract at Bayern runs through June 2023 and Bayern is making it their top priority during the winter transfer window to determine his future.

Per the new information from Sky, Bayern’s front office is open to going in for Raphinha if they can’t convince Coman to sign a contract extension, but even at that point, a transfer would still be a “long way” off. Much like Niklas Sule, Coman’s contract is under the proverbial microscope at Bayern, but for Coman’s case, there are important details that are likely being considered. He, along with his representatives, had made it pretty clear in the buildup to the last summer transfer window that he would be shopping around for a potential transfer to the Premier League in England. So much to the point that he temporarily hired Pini Zahavi to try to broker a move to a Premier League club, but he was fired after failing to do so before the transfer window closed.

On one hand, Coman has had a solid campaign under Julian Nagelsmann thus far, having scored five goals and provided two assists from a total of seventeen appearances across all competitions. Alongside Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musial, and Thomas Muller, Coman has put together a significant patch of form for most of the second half of the Hinrunde after recovering from a heart issue back in September. With how well he’s performed, there’s certainly signals for Bayern to do everything in their power to keep hold of him, but his previous track record can’t guarantee the front office that he wont try to look elsewhere again this summer. In that respect, closely monitoring Raphinha’s situation at Leeds is certainly something worth doing at this stage.

For Leeds so far this season, Raphinha has been a bright spot in what’s otherwise been a disappointing campaign for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. They currently sit in 16th placed in the table after a run of terrible injury and coronavirus luck. Their problems were typified by their recent, 4-1 loss to Arsenal at Elland Road when they had to start 15-year-old Archie Gray on the bench out of necessity due to so many players having been out injured or ill. Raphinha has found the back of the net eight times and has provided one assist from seventeen appearances this season, all of which coming in the Premier League. He’s had to carry a lot of the attacking weight for Leeds with the long-term absence of striker Patrick Bamford and Leeds will also be without captain Liam Cooper and midfield stalwart Kalvin Phillips for a while.

According to Sky, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain have “opened talks” with Chelsea FC defender Antonio Rüdiger.

Manchester United is also listed in the report as a club that could get involved in the bidding fray as well. Sky says, however, that Rüdiger remains focused on staying with Chelsea:

Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus have opened talks with Antonio Rüdiger’s representatives over a pre-contract agreement this month. Rüdiger’s Chelsea contract is up in the summer. Chelsea want to extend Rüdiger’s contract. Staying at Chelsea has not been ruled out.

Chelsea’s last contract offer in the summer was not considered as it was worth half of what Chelsea’s top earners are on. Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick is a long term admirer of the defender and knows Rüdiger’s brother – and agent – very well.

Rüdiger remains 100 percent focused and committed to Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel continues to count on him. Rüdiger has started 20 Premier League games this season – the most of any Chelsea outfield player.

Bayern Munich’s interest in Rüdiger would seem to be contingent on the club’s ability to re-sign Niklas Süle, whose status is still in question.

Leon Goretzka thinks part of Bayern Munich’s success is derived from its camaraderie

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka sat down with the club magazine, Säbener 51, for an extensive interview. One of the most intriguing parts of the interview was how Goretzka viewed the value of success and why the relationships within the squad were so important.

“We want to continue the most successful period that FC Bayern has ever had. We have already lost one title with the DFB Pokal, which annoys me a lot, but also motivates me,” said Goretzka. “To play for titles at this level, and with your friends and not just with football teammates. You can’t pay for that with any money in the world. I know that you can’t achieve something like that just by saying it, but I wanted to make it clear that I had a plan — and I have achieved my goal.”

The last part of Goretzka’s quote above was in reference to his previous statements about wanting to take on more responsibility. The Germany midfielder has certainly done that on — and off — the pitch.

Report: Michael Cuisance will bring Bayern Munich back €4 million from Venezia
They will not be singing songs of glory about Michael Cuisance in Bavaria any time soon.

Final details are starting to emerge in what looks to be a done deal between Bayern Munich and Venezia for midfielder Michael Cuisance.

While Cuisance was also linked to CSKA Moscow, the French midfielder is reportedly already in Italy, which means things could happen extremely quickly. Bild am Sonntag issued a report stating that Cuisance would not be at Monday’s training on Säbener Straße which @iMiaSanMia posted.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano then chimed in to confirm that Cuisance definitely would not be at training in Germany…because he is already in Italy:

Ousmane Dembele to Bayern Munich? New report suggests just that
According to a new report out of BILD, FC Barcelona is looking to Bayern and Juventus to unload their talented but oft-injured winger, Ousmane Dembélé

Based on a new report in Bild, Bayern Munich might just have themselves a new winger. As broken down in the tweet below from @iMiaSanMia, FC Barcelona has offered embattled winger Ousmane Dembélé to Bayern.

Given Barcelona’s absurdly broken finances and Dembélé’s outrageous wages, it is easy to believe the report of Hasan Salihamidžic and Bayern’s board of directors being far from accepting of this proposed move

Romelu Lukaku admits he only went to Chelsea because Bayern Munich wouldn’t go for him

In a hilariously frank interview with Sky Sports, Chelsea FC striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he never wanted to join the club in the first place. Nope, his actual target after leaving Inter was one of the “top” clubs in his view — either Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, or Bayern Munich. Lukaku only settled for moving to Chelsea because a move to one of those teams wasn’t available.

Don’t believe me? The whole thing is on VIDEO. I don’t have that on hand, but here’s a Fabrizio Romano tweet to confirm:

Breaking: Bayern Munich’s Michael Cuisance will move to Venezia on deal worth €3-€4 million per report

According to Italian journalist Gianluca DiMarzio, Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Cuisance has made the decision to move to Venezia on a permanent transfer.

The move is expected to be worth €3 million to €4 million and would see Cuisance move immediately to the Italian side:

The negotiation is at the final details, the player is already in the city to carry out medical visits. In these hours he had to choose between Venezia and CSKA Moscow, but in the end he opted for Italy. Soon he will be able to start his new challenge.

This move could represent Cuisance’s last chance at proving he has the ability — and mentality — to play at a high level of football. His skill and talent has always been evident, but the Frenchman’s attitude has come into question at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, and at Olympique Marseille, where he spent last season on loan.

The expected financial return from Venezia is expected to be about half of what Bayern Munich originally paid for Gladbach.

Italian media continues to overestimate Bayern Munich’s spending power
€35-40m for Kulusevski? And somehow Bayern are in the mix? Excuse me?

Brace yourself for a laugh — per a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bayern Munich are apparently one of the clubs interested in Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski. And get this, the reported asking price is around €35-€40 million. For Dejan Kulusevski. One of the most aggressively mediocre players in a team that has a massive surplus of them.

Of course, the report is complete nonsense. You didn’t click on here to read that. The thing that makes this rumor stand out is the fact that Bayern were randomly name-dropped at the end of the article, alongside teams like Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur. Yes, this seems like the kind of brain-dead move that Spurs or Arsenal might go for. But why Bayern?

This comes after yesterday’s report that Juventus were willing to sell Matthijs de Ligt for €60-€85m euros (a ridiculous amount for a defender) and Bayern could be one of the planned destinations. Now I don’t know where the Italian media got the idea that Bayern are flush with unlimited cash, but it just doesn’t work like that. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that’s showing no real signs of slowing down, and stadiums will probably remain closed for the foreseeable future.

With millions of euros in gate revenue lost for each home game, there is no way that Bayern will be able to make these kinds of big signings in the near future. Leaving out the fact that these linked players (Kulusevski and De Ligt) are hugely overpriced, Bayern simply do not have the cash to spare. The club is already struggling to extend the contracts of existing stars, with Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Niklas Sule, and plenty of other key players all coming up for renewal.

So here’s the takeaway from all this — at the moment, if you see Bayern linked with any big transfers, it’s probably safe to assume that the report is nonsense.

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn issues a statement on the story stating that the club was under investigation for its labor practices with its youth coaching staff.

“Of course we are fully cooperating with the authorities on this matter. It is in our interest that these processes are completely cleared up,” Kahn said (as captured by Sport1).

The story, which was detailed here by BFW, is murky on details on how this all emerged, but Sport1 summarized what is going on:

According to the WDR report, the investigation is specifically about allegations against “responsible agents of FC Bayern München AG” on suspicion of “withholding and misappropriating wages” as well as “incorrect keeping of hourly records, failure to grant the minimum wage.”

Sport1 also stated that in matters like this, it is often the Board of Directors of a corporation that is named in the initial investigation, which explains why CEO Oliver Kahn, Sports Director Hasan Salihamidzic, Vice CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen and Marketing Director Andreas Jung were listed, along with former executives Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Jörg Wacker.

FC Augsburg is among the other Bundesliga clubs being investigated.

Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard not afraid to disagree with squad’s senior members on the pitch
Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard is rounding into the prime of his career and with that experience, the Frenchman has gained a little bit of clout on the pitch.

On a team with so many veterans and so many outspoken personalities, Pavard insists he is not afraid to voice his opinion — even when it differs from team leaders like Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski.

“If I don’t agree with them, I’ll tell them. That’s part of the top level, and it doesn’t annoy them. It’s for the good of the team,” Pavard said (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia).

When asked if he felt as if his teammates respected him and his opinion, Pavard said he felt like they did.

“You have to ask my teammates (laughs), but I feel that I’m respected. The players are not stupid, they see what I’m doing every day. There are more experienced players than me, but I try to lead by example,” Pavard said.

Bayern Munich’s Oliver Kahn calls for salary limits, lowering astronomical transfer fees

In the future, Kahn would like to see a more level playing field throughout European football from a financial standpoint.

The focal point of Bayern Munich’s general assembly last month was their current contract with Qatar Airways and the fan-led call to not renew said contract, which currently runs until 2023. The majority of Bayern’s club members want to see the contract and relationship terminated on the grounds of serious human rights violations by Qatar that members feel the club is turning the other cheek to.

In a recent interview with Suddeutsche Zeitung (via kicker), club CEO Oliver Kahn said he’s regretful that the general assembly essentially turned into an arguing match between board members and club members over the Qatar issue. “The more time has passed since then, the more it bothers me that the evening has turned into a meeting with a single item on the agenda,” he said. There were a handful of other topics the board members wanted to address, but passions boiled over when Michael Ott’s proposal to have members vote on the Qatar contract was turned down. It turned into to a fiery display of grievances from the club’s members that was eventually cut short by the board members.

Despite affirming that Bayern will fulfill its existing contract with Qatar Airways, Kahn did say “in the meantime we will keep an eye on how things develop” and “decide how to proceed.” Bayern’s front office is open to having more open dialogue regarding the issue, despite club members making the accusation that’s what’s routinely said about the matter when nothing gets ultimately gets done.

Bayern was not immune to the financial losses suffered from the coronavirus pandemic, which puts the Qatar question into a sort of conflated status. It’s clear that the majority of Bayern’s club members want the contract and relationship axed altogether, but the club is unwilling to do so at a time where finances are increasingly tight. From Kahn’s position, he has to look at what’s financially best for the club, but also what’s best for the fans. In that sense, he’s in an incredibly difficult spot along with the rest of Bayern’s board members. “Of course the contract with Qatar Airways is lucrative,” Kahn said, “but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t shed light on it from other aspects as well, and won’t shed light on it,” he continued. To come to viable and feasible solutions, Kahn feels that middle grounds need to be found to collectively progress from the divisiveness on the topic of Qatar. “It cannot be a solution either to ostracize or not to engage in a dialogue,” he reasoned.

With the business model in the Bundesliga and Germany as a whole, the 50+1 rule ensures that club’s members own at least 50% of shares, protecting from major external investment. This doesn’t exist in other major European leagues, which cause leagues like the Premier League in England to trump the amount of revenue generated by Bundesliga clubs and also impacts the transfer market in Europe, causing wages and transfer fees to inflate to astronomical heights. The growth of said investors doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down abroad, but Kahn has hope for the future in the sense that there are investors out there that would like to see salary limits at clubs. “There are very sensible investors who also have an interest in ensuring that salaries do not go wild. That makes their investment easier to plan,” he said.

With each year that passes, the financial gaps between the Bundesliga and, most notably, the Premier League seems to get larger and larger. “A few years ago the British were 10 or 20 million euros ahead of us. Now it is many times that,” Kahn said. To help stop that trend, he wants there to be more stringent “cost control” in the footballing market and he would like to see leagues and clubs instill salary caps to lessen the incentives provided by outside investors. “We want there to be a containment of salaries, and it would also be desirable if the prices on the transfer market fall,” he urged.

BFW Roundtable: Which is better — Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich or Flick’s Bayern Munich?
I asked my BFW colleagues to sit down with me and give me their take on the ‘Nagelsmann vs Flick’ debate. As expected, there was a lot of variation in the

Bayern Munich have had one hell of a Hinrunde. The club is once again the favourite to win the Bundesliga title, and is also a strong contender for the UCL title. Yes, there was that unfortunate loss to Gladbach, but that seems more a blip than a major concern. With a section of the fanbase not convinced by Nagelsmann, there are some who really seem to miss Hansi Flick.

On the other hand, there are many others who are very happy with how Nagelsmann has done thus far, with high expectations for the Rückrunde. This brings us to an interesting question: based on Nagelsmann’s Hinrunde performance thus far, which side would you pick – Nagelsmann’s Bayern or Flick’s Bayern? The BFW staffers present their opinions:

Chuck Smith
This is a loaded question for sure. Hansi Flick’s all-out attacking style did sometimes leave his high-backline vulnerable, but I think those tactics completely unlocked Robert Lewandowski. Another odd factor is Flick was dealing with both Leroy Sane and Niklas Süle in their first full season back from ACL surgery in the last campaign. That essentially had them working at 70% of their respective capacities — can you imagine what those players at full strength would have been capable of under Flick? Flick’s offense was more fearless in some way to me and I do worry that Nagelsmann’s hybrid formation could cause too much congestion at the wrong time, as well.

In the end, I prefer Flick, but have nothing bad to say about Nagelsmann. He is pushing all of the right buttons in his own way tactically and strategically. From a player management standpoint, Nagelsmann just continued the same methods that Flick practices in terms of communication and relationship building. It is rare, but Bayern Munich drew two aces in a row with their coaching selections.

I was always one of Flick’s ardent supporters during his time at Bayern, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable period for all of us, playing such attractive, highly intense death-metal football and winning so many trophies. However, the Flick style of play – the high backline, the intense pressing throughout the game and his lack of tactical flexibility, combined with a reluctance to rotate in key positions (mainly the defense) started getting exploited in his second season.
Nagelsmann seems way more flexible tactically and has focused more on positioning and passing sequences. The press is more organized, and the defense has been much better. Nagelsmann’s defense will move forward when required and drop back to defend resolutely. This was one thing Flick’s defense really lacked, and is one of the major turn-downs for me. It is telling that the team has conceded the joint-least goals in the BuLi and just 3 goals in Europe. The attack has also been better, with the team scoring goals at will.

Another thing Nagelsmann seems to be better at is making tactical adjustments to bring the best out of players. He’s unlocked Sané (the player even spoke about it), unleashed Davies, enabled Roca to slot into the midfield rotation and has conditioned Musiala really well. The rest of the team is functioning as usual. He did this at Leipzig, and he’s doing it at Bayern right now, and we’re all the better for it.

Sure, there may be a few things that might need fine-tuning, but Nagelsball certainly seems a step forward in the right direction, and the stats are there to back it up.

The numbers DO lie! Bayern under Flick was better. I cannot think of a single match where Flick’s team were not better than the opposition. Under Nagelsmann, performances (despite what score lines may suggest) are comparative less dominant and less convincing. We must not forget that Flick’s Bayern were easily the best team in the world in 2020/21 — dominating PSG in the Champions League without the best player in the world, a testament to the strength of Flick’s setup.

Nagelsmann’s Bayern has some glaring stylistic weaknesses:

A lack of structure.
A passive midfield.
A very weak defense especially against counters.
Weak offensive creation at times.
Finally, I would just like to add that Flick’s Bayern played with more flare, and panache. As a fervent supporter of Flick’s suicidal pressing and kamikaze high line — football was more beautiful — but in my opinion, against the bigger teams especially — also more effective.
To me the difference between Flick and Nags is more a matter of taste than effectiveness. It is a lot like music, Flick was full on “heavy metal”, playing one speed — full attack all the time, with no other gears. Nags has a more flexible repertoire, with more nuances and options open to him across the board. You might say he offers something more like ska-punk, a style of play that fluidly switches from one style to another.

I know that Nags’s style is better for my old heart. I remember thinking (many times) how far up the pitch all our players were under Flick and that one mistake could lead to very bad things happening. This was confirmed for me in an article in The Athletic where they broke down the CL final against PSG and showed in the last minute of regular time and in extra time our FB’s were still pressing way up the pitch when we were leading 1-0, leaving our CB’s outnumbered by attackers 3-2. It was a massive, high-risk, break from coaching orthodoxy and it paid off. But one has to wonder how often one can let two CB’s cover three attackers (especially Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria!) and keep outscoring opponents. Flick was like the Air Coryell of soccer. Crazy, but damn it was fun to watch.

Nags is bringing more consistency and more balance to the game. While it remains to be seen if it will deliver the silverware we all crave, it will produce winning football. For instance, using a 3 CB formation against Dortmund in “kick it to Haaland and pray” mode is a logical strategy. And you simply can’t argue with the hard numbers he is producing in goals, goals allowed, and wins.

Flick was like a shooting star, blazing across the southern German sky for a short time and then heading off out of sight. I am hoping Nags will be like the north star. Steady, strong and guiding us home time and again. The king is dead…long live the king!

Teddy Son
Now, I’m not saying that Flick did not have his downs during his time at Bayern. However, those were kept to a bare minimum. Other than that, I felt like Flick was able to get the best out of his players most of the time, which is proven by the historic sextuple. Flick’s biggest strength is that he played his team the way that Bayern played well, a classic 4-2-3-1 characterized by pressing and quick attacks. Nagelsmann’s back three has not really convinced me that it’s an upgrade from Flick’s approach. I’m not saying that a coach trying to make his mark on a team is a bad thing, but is it really worth it when it’s been proven that the team can play better in a different way?

While I do think that Flick going to the national team was the best choice for him, and I sincerely hope that he can give Germany a long overdue redemption, I can’t help but wonder if the same can be said for Bayern and Nagelsmann.

Rune King Thor
Although I continue to remain a huge fan of Flicki-Flacka, I think Nagelsmann has in a span of few months, addressed several key issues that were plaguing the team. He reworked the defense and tightened up the backline. Bayern have conceded just 16 goals, tied for joint lowest in the league. Under him, Leroy Sané has flourished and done well to live up to the expectations of his transfer.

Julian Nagelsmann tweaked the attack to get more from his attackers and consequently, Bayern have scored a whopping 56 goals so far in the season. So rather than a comparison, it would be right to say that Nagelsmann is the correct next step after Hansi Flick. Without Flick’s foundations, JN would have taken much longer to settle in. Nags still has some way to go in terms of getting his signature 3-5-2 formation right which would be a formidable weapon in Bayern’s arsenal.

What do you feel? Is Nagelsmann’s Bayern a step forward, or is it Flick Bayern all the way? Let us know in the comments!

Sergino Dest is reportedly in talks with Bayern Munich over a possible transfer, with Barcelona demanding €25 million in exchange for his services.
According to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Bayern Munich and Sergino Dest have initiated discussions over the prospect of sealing a move in the January transfer window. Barcelona will look to recoup the €25 million they paid to sign him from Ajax last year when they sell him.

Sergino Dest joined Barcelona from Ajax in September 2020 and has since made gradual progress in his career. While there have been many moments wherein the youngster has shown what the fuss is all about, he has also had several instances wherein he has blown hot and cold.

To date, the 21-year-old has made 57 appearances for Barcelona, chipping in with three goals and four assists in the process. However, Dest faces an uncertain future at Camp Nou as he has been unable to convince Xavi of his abilities. As a result, the USMNT international could leave Barcelona as early as January, with Bayern Munich keen on signing him.

Initial reports had claimed that Bayern Munich could launch the offensive for Dest in next summer’s transfer window. However, a January move could make sense, as Bouna Sarr’s future at the club is up in the air, with a move to Serie A possible.

In addition, Benjamin Pavard has recently been linked with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, although the Frenchman will only depart the Allianz Arena in the summer. So, Dest could be a viable long-term solution for Bayern Munich, with his uncertain future at Barcelona helping Die Roten’s cause. And talks are already underway between the two parties.

Recent reports have also suggested that Dest is keen on joining Bayern Munich, handing the Bundesliga champions a major boost in his pursuit. And signing the 21-year-old will not cost a bomb either, with Barcelona demanding around €25 million in exchange for his services.

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