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Bayern Munich 3-1 Borussia Dortmund: Initial reactions and observations

Initial reactions and observations
BAYERN MUNICH ARE GERMAN CHAMPIONS! TEN IN A ROW, BABY!
Jamal Musiala scoring the winning goal for Bayern was the icing on the cake for this game. What a moment for the young man.
Dortmund put up a fight in the second half, but in the end it wasn’t enough. They need to rebuild now with the money they get from selling Haaland.
Full time: Bayern win 3-1!

84’ — GOAL! Musiala makes it 3-1! That’s the title!

83’ — Subs: Sabitzer and Sane on for Muller and Coman.

51’ — Goal. Emre Can converts his penalty. Ugh. 2-1 now.

45’ — Second half kicks off!

Halftime observations and analysis
Bayern Munich have been dominating this game pretty much since the 10th minute, Dortmund basically surrendered after Gnabry’s goal. Not a very competitive game so far.
The goal scored by Robert Lewandowski was almost a carbon copy of the one we saw against Villarreal — a winger wins the ball in midfield passing it to Muller, who lays it off to Lewandowski for a finish.
Serge Gnabry has been good this game — wish he would play like this more often.
Lothar Matthäus unhappy with Bayern Munich’s handling of Robert Lewandowski contract situation

Robert Lewandowski’s future still very much hangs in the balance. Bayern Munich still has not put in motion negotiations for a contract extension and there has been a lot of external noise linking him with a move to Barcelona this summer. At this point, with how much time has past for such an important player having his contract expire next summer, the tension is incredibly palpable around the club as the pressure on the front office to get a deal done mounts. Oliver Kahn, Hasan Salihamidzic, and Herbert Hainer remain confident that an agreement will be reached for a contract extension, but leaving it this close to the end of the season has been too close for comfort for the large majority of Bayern fans, Lothar Matthäus included.

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“I would have extended Lewandowski’s contract much earlier. Lewandowski has twice become world footballer, and if you have the chance to tie such a player to you, then you should do everything for it,” Matthäus recently said of Lewandowski’s contract situation at Bayern (Abendzeitung). He has not shied away from making his opinions heard on the matter his sentiment is, without a doubt, one that is shared by anyone who knows just how important of a player the Polish international is for FC Bayern.

Bayern Munich & PSG can win their respective leagues this weekend

Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain might have missed out on the Champions League for another season, but both could celebrate winning their respective leagues this weekend.

Over in Spain, Real Madrid can all but seal La Liga without kicking a ball while it is all still to play for in Italy.

BBC Sport looks at what could happen in Europe’s big four leagues this weekend.

Bayern win to close in on title
Pochettino hints at new PSG deal
How Benzema has become one of the world’s top strikers
Will Bayern win Der Klassiker and Bundesliga at the same time?
The biggest game in Europe this weekend? Look no further than Germany and Der Klassiker.

Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund is a huge fixture on any occasion. But Saturday’s meeting in Munich (17:30 BST) is colossal in terms of the Bundesliga title.

Bayern are on the brink of a 10th straight title after establishing a nine-point lead over nearest rivals Dortmund with four games left.

Dortmund would love nothing better than to delay Bayern’s title celebrations by winning at the Allianz Arena.

Julian Nagelsmann wants new options at right-back, defensive midfielder, and in the attack for Bayern Munich

According to a report from Sport Bild (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann has submitted a summer transfer window request to the club’s front office for three position profiles:

Right-back
Defensive midfielder
Attacker
The right-back request might already be complete as Bayern Munich is rumored to have already reach an accord with Ajax defender Noussair Mazraoui, who will be a free transfer in the summer.

In addition, the Bavarians have been linked to Mazraoui’s teammate Ryan Gravenberch, who likely identifies as more of an 8 than a 6, but has the potential and physical toolset to play a more defensive and physical role. Ajax and Bayern Munich, however, have not been able to sync up on a transfer fee, which leaves the move in jeopardy. RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer has been mentioned as another option, but Die Roten Bullen likely won’t sell the Austrian to Bayern Munich this summer, which means the Rekordmeister would have to wait until the summer of 2023 when Laimer can make a free move.

As for Nagelsmann’s request for an attacker…that is interesting. The respective futures of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry are both at least somewhat in doubt in Bavaria as both players have contracts expiring in 2023 — and both are embroiled in at least somewhat tricky contract negotiations.

Regardless of what happens with those two players, Bayern Munich will still have the following options in the attack (at least as of now): Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Paul Wanner, Gabriel Vidovic, and Malik Tillman.

As for why Nagelsmann wants another attacker, the report states that the manager wants to put pressure on the existing personnel.

Bayern Munich has been loosely linked with players like Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, Ajax’s Antony, Leeds United’s Raphinha, Red Bull Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko, VfB Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic, Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick, and Benfica’s Darwin Nunez among others.

None of the aforementioned players would be easily affordable.

Arminia Bielefeld vs. Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga: Lineups, team news, injuries; and MORE!

For Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann, the big question entering this weekend’s Bundesliga match against Arminia Bielefeld is exactly who he should rest — if anyone.

The Bavarians are coming off of a shocking elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Villarreal and will be looking to get back on the winning track.

What we know — as of now — is that both Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman did not train with the team today and will not travel to the away match. In addition, Niklas Süle and Corentin Tolisso are out and Bouna Sarr will return!

(Hold your applause)

Based on all of that, this is how we think Nagelsmann will set up his boys. We are predicting a veteran-heavy, back four-based formation for Bayern Munich against Arminia Bielefeld:

Arminia Bielefeld vs Bayern Munich: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction

Bayern Munich host Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday afternoon in a meeting between two Bundesliga sides operating in vastly contrasting realms of the table.

The Bavarian behemoths lead the league by nine points going into the final five games of the campaign. Arminia, conversely, start the weekend in the relegation play-off position, above Hertha Berlin by goal difference alone before the capital side’s Saturday meeting with fellow strugglers Augsburg.

Here’s all you need two know about this weekend’s meeting between the pair.

Rumor Mongering: Bayern Munich Enter Race for Liverpool Target

Bayern Munich, fresh off of a shock Champions League quarterfinal exit to Villareal, are set to rebuild in the transfer market, with their recruitment priorities now putting them on a collision course with Liverpool over a shared target.

Rocked by the loss in midweek, and with talk heating up of a summer move away for long-time goal machine, Robert Lewandowski, the German giants are desperate to restock their attack.

The Kicker via…Forbes (?) has revealed that RB Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi has subsequently made his way onto Bayern’s summer transfer wish list following a break out campaign that has seen the striker score 20 goals and provide five assists in all competitions.

While the 20-year-old had once been mooted for a move to Borussia Dortmund, discussions stalled, leading to speculation that Liverpool had managed to insert themselves into the picture. Avid collectors of products off the Red Bull talent production line, Liverpool will have fancied their chances of winning the race for the young German’s signature to join former RB stars Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Takumi Minamino and Ibrahima Konate on Merseyside.

German outlet, Bild has previously reported that Salzburg have slapped a €45m (£38m) fee on their young striker, a bargain price considering the talent and potential at Adeyemi’s disposal.

While both Bayern and Liverpool are certainly not lacking for talent, protracted contract negotiations for their respective talismans in Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah could lend urgency to the battle for Adeyemi.
Dietmar Hamann worried about Robert Lewandowski’s age amid contract talks with Bayern Munich

At this current juncture, it still remains unclear what the future holds for Robert Lewandowski and whether it will be with Bayern Munich, or another club. Reports broke earlier this week suggesting that FC Barcelona was close to agreeing on a deal to sign Bayern’s number 9, but they all proved to be speculative at best. Prior to those rumors circulating, it had come out that Lewandowski was peeved at the fact that Bayern’s front office had not yet initiated discussions to negotiate a contract extension despite their affirmation that they definitely wanted to keep hold of the Polish ace.

Recently speaking to Goal, former Bayern and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann weighed in on Lewandowski’s contract situation in Munich. For him, it all comes down to just how many years Bayern would be willing to extend Lewandowski’s contract by. At 33 years of age, Lewandowski shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, but age is a concern for Hamann.

The player turned pundit is worried that Bayern could potentially be dealing with a waning Lewandowski if they were to go ahead and offer him an extension for more than two years, citing Cristiano Ronaldo’s patchy return to Manchester United as an example of what’s to be concerned about. “There is no reason not to extend with (Manuel) Neuer or (Thomas) Muller. With Lewandowski you have to see whether he wants more than two years. Then of course you have to think about it. At the end of the contract he would be nearly 37. You can see with Ronaldo that it gets more difficult with age,” he explained.

With the bigger picture in play, it hasn’t made Hasan Salihamidzic, Oliver Kahn, or Herbert Hainer’s jobs an easier with the fact that so many players on Bayern’s squad were, or still are, up for a contract extension. Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Coman have all already signed new deals and Neuer and Muller are expected to soon follow suit. For Serge Gnabry and Lewandowski, both situations remain open at this point.

“With Muller and Neuer I say, yes, extend them. But of course they can’t earn more. You have to make sure that the contracts are made even more performance-related,” Hamann rationalized with the financial situation at Bayern. “If you have five to six players who earn 20 million euros, you have to claim that you get to the semi-finals in the Champions League. Of course you can be eliminated, but it’s always about the process,” he added.
Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski to leave for free in 2023?; Bayern scoping Turkish talent; FC Barcelona wants VfB Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa; RB Leipzig tracking Real Madrid youngster; Antony to Juventus?; and MORE!

Could Lewy leave for free in 2023? (@JanAageFjortoft)
The state of contract negotiations between Bayern Munich and star striker Robert Lewandowski is in flux.

FC Barcelona has been lurking around Lewandowski and is probably in communication with Lewandowski’s agent, Pini Zahavi. Rather than a move this summer, however, pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft says that Lewandowski could fulfill his contract and then leave on a free transfer in 2023:

Bayern Munich: Robert Lewandowski will not be sold to Barcelona this summer

With rumors swirling this week that Robert Lewandowski wanted to trade his Bayern Munich shirt in for a Barcelona shirt, that was bound to come up when Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn spoke to Amazon Prime (per SportBild) prior to his club’s UEFA Champions League game against Villarreal on Tuesday.

And, boy, Der Titan was ready for it.

“It’s good that you’re addressing him. Apparently there’s a competition out there: who will come up with the bigger nonsense story about Robert Lewandowski?”

Kahn continued: “First of all, it is very important that we have a contract with Robert Lewandowski that lasts another season. We have always said that we will start the talks and we started them a long time ago. As soon as there is something to report, then we will do it too.”

What’s wrong with Bayern Munich star Leroy Sane? Will he start against Villarreal?

Bayern Munich star Leroy Sane has been spectacular for most of the season, but things have unraveled a bit lately for the Germany international.

A dip in form has coincided with being admonished by manager Julian Nagelsmann during a training session last month (probably an issue) and a somehow public late night at a wine bar (probably not an issue).

Most recently, Sane hit Nagelsmann with a “dead fish” handshake after being subbed out early against FC Augsburg. The manager commented on it to Abendzeitung.

“I noticed that his handshake was different before (Sane was subbed out) — less frustrated,” said Nagelsmann, who said he was not mad at Sane and did not think the episode was worthy of a headline. “(Sane) is an ambitious person, very self-critical, and everyone deals with frustration situations a little differently.”

After the reluctant handshake with Nagelsmann, Sane opted to go back to the locker room immediately rather than sit with his teammates — a move that raised some eyebrows. Again, Nagelsmann dismissed any deep meaning behind Sane’s decision.

“Some can immediately sit on the bench and cheer for the boys. Of course, that’s always the best case. But there are also characters who aren’t so good at it. That’s okay, too. Leroy got pissed off at himself and didn’t want anyone see or be seen more,” Nagelsmann remarked.

More important than any of that, however, is that Sane just has not looked like himself on the pitch — but that could be about to change. The German forward could be looking for a “slump buster” today against Villarreal in an effort to get his season back on track.

But will Sane get that opportunity?

The latest reports indicate that Sane has possibly edged out Serge Gnabry for a spot in today’s starting XI. If so, that could be enough of a boost to help the talented forward to get back on track.

It would not shock many Bayern Munich fans if Sane out his name on the scoresheet later today to officially break out of his funk.

Daily Schmankerl: Is Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski headed to FC Barcelona or is Barca eyeing Joao Felix?; Mesut Özil and Axel Witsel to MLS?; Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku to PSG?; and MORE!

Report: Two stories out of Poland say Lewy has reached deal with Barca (TVP Sport)
By now, you’ve seen the headlines blasted, “Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski agrees to terms with FC Barcelona” and you — rightfully — took everything with a grain of salt.

So, let’s break down how this all went down on Monday. First, there was a report out of Poland breaking the story:

As TVPSPORT.PL learned, Robert Lewandowski is to sign a contract with Barcelona . According to our source, the captain of the Polish national team informed the Bayern Munich authorities about his decision.

In recent weeks, a lot has been said about the future of Robert Lewandowski. The striker’s contract expires on June 30, 2023. Bayern’s authorities are reluctant to start talks on a new contract. The Polish representative is disappointed with this attitude. So far “Lewy” has played 369 matches for the 31-time German champion. He scored … 340 goals in them . He is one of the best footballers in the history of the German tycoon.

As we have established, Lewandowski will not sign a new contract with Bayern. We learned from the close circle of the player that the striker had already communicated with Barcelona. The best striker in the world is to come after a teleconference with the Blaugrana authorities. The information provided to us shows that all the terms of the contract have been agreed.

The Pole informed Oliver Kahn about his decision. Bayern authorities already know that “Lewy” will start a relationship with a new employer. It is supposed to be FC Barcelona.

Then, another Polish journalist ran with it further:

Training Update: Who’s in and who’s out for Bayern Munich against Villarreal — absentees confirmed!

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that Niklas Süle, Corentin Tolisso, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bouna Sarr would all miss the Villarreal match during his press conference earlier today:

Bayern Munich will square off against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday and will be missing a few players. Here is the latest information on where some Bavarians stand ahead of the UCL clash:

Lucas Hernandez: The defender missed Saturday’s match against FC Augsburg with a bruised thigh, but will be ready to go against Villarreal.
Niklas Süle: The Germany international has the flu and is likely going to miss the contest. Hernandez is expected to start next to Dayot Upamecano at center-back, where Süle’s presence will be missed.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting: The back-up striker has kicked COVID-19, but is battling a knee injury.
Bouna Sarr: The defender is suffering from patella issue and will miss the match.
Corentin Tolisso: With a four-week estimate on his recovery time from his latest injury (hamstring), Tolisso may have already suited up for the final time in Munich.
Niklas Süle, Corentin Tolisso, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bouna Sarr did not train with the team today. There could be further updates after Julian Nagelsmann’s press conference later today.

FC Barcelona can’t pay hefty salary to Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, worried about damaging relationship further

ESPN journalist Moisés Llorens dished on FC Barcelona’s rumored interest in Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and confirmed reports that we had previously seen in today’s Daily Schmankerl.

“Barcelona’s offer to Robert Lewandowski would likely be less than what he earns at Bayern. If Lewandowski is looking for money and a last big contract, then Barça is not the right solution for him. If he’s looking for a new challenge and playing in a league he’s been trying to move to for many years, then yes. Barça do not want trouble with Bayern. They are interested in Lewandowski, but would only intensify their efforts if Bayern give him permission to leave,” said Llorens (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

In addition, Llorens says that the relationship between Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona become a bit fractured over the Super League debacle and that the Catalans would rather not risk damaging it further by trying to swipe the Polish star.

“The relationship between Barcelona & Bayern is not at its best – Barça don’t want to make it worse. There was a minor ‘dispute’ between the clubs about the Super League project. Bayern are against the project, while Barça support it. They don’t want more conflict,” said Llorens. “In addition, there’s the wage mass. Barcelona cannot spend more on salaries at the moment. In order to free up a place for Lewandowski’s salary, they would have to sell a few players or simply get rid of their wages.”

In the end, Llorens just does not think a move to FC Barcelona will be doable for Lewandowski, based on the Catalan club’s finances.

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“As of today, I think Lewandowski’s transfer to Barcelona will be very difficult to achieve. It’s not impossible, but still difficult to carry out. That’s how I see,” Llorens remarked.
Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich vs. FC Augsburg; FC Barcelona balking on Robert Lewandowski pursuit?; Pep Guardiola says there is no “better place” than Manchester City; and MORE!

Die Folgen: Bayern’s rugged 1-0 victory over Augsburg (Bavarian Football Works)
Bayern Munich bounced back form its Villarreal loss with a tough 1-0 victory over FC Augsburg using a lineup that was filled with subs. Here are some quick hitters on the match:

I was hoping Bayern Munich was going to be able to avoid looking ahead to Tuesday against Villarreal, but it felt like that is exactly what happened early on.
Niklas Süle getting scratched with a slight fever before the game was a blow as he could have used the field time.
If it has been widely established that Leroy Sane is far less effective as a right-wing, why was he used out there? I’m a big proponent of using inverted wingers, but Sane definitely looks and feels more comfortable on the left side.
The Dayot Upamecano-Tanguy Nianzou partnership had some shaky moments early on, but held it together for the clean sheet. Nianzou makes too many mistakes, though. He needs more seasoning. I still say a loan where he can play freely and consistently would do him well, but it seems like he will be back with the Bayern Munich first team next season.
Serge Gnabry flashed some impressive footwork and vision a few times in the first half, but could not create much offense.
Niklas Dorsch is the exact kind of high energy midfielder that would be a great fit at Bayern Munich these days behind Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. He plays with an immense amount of passion, but that ship has sailed. Arne Maier did a pretty solid job as well for FC Augsburg.
Neither Joshua Kimmich, nor Leon Goretzka were great. Goretzka was, in fact, not good. Kimmich did get better as the game went on, but he does not look like himself. Hopefully, he can get some rest and be ready for Tuesday.
Dorsch really plays with no fear. He just brings energy and tenacity to pitch. He was fantastic on the day. What a performance for the midfielder.
Bayern Munich’s first half offensive effort was extremely choppy again and lacked creativity. It was better in the second half, but only marginally.
Omar Richards wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either.
Benjamin Pavard had a few boneheaded plays in an uneven effort for the Frenchman as well. He has to be better.
Alphonso Davies and Marcel Sabitzer each made an instant impact upon entering the match. They brought some life on to the pitch, as did Kingsley Coman and Jamal Musiala.
There are like six guys on FC Augsburg that would look totally at home working in an artisan, farm-to-table bagel shop in Brooklyn.
The handball on Reece Oxford was very obvious. It wasn’t intentional, but had to be called. Robert Lewandowski, who got no decent service all day, buried the penalty kick. That was an extremely unfortunate play for FC Augsburg, which played an incredibly tough match.
FC Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz was outstanding on the day.
Overall, it was an ugly first half, complimented by a re-energized second half. Bringing in Musiala, Coman, Sabitzer, and Davies helped change things. Both teams battled very hard on the day. FC Augsburg deserved a ton of credit for going toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich. In the end, it was a gutty, hard-fought Bundesliga victory for Die Roten. Though the victory might not make fans feel too much better about the state of the squad, it sure was better than the alternative.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 1, Episode 44 —Unpacking Bayern Munich’s loss to Villarreal; Why Bayern might not have needed both Ajax players; The latest on Serge Gnabry’s future; and MORE!

The week was sort of normal until Wednesday initiated a run of craziness.

Bayern Munich’s loss to Villarreal in the Champions League, followed the transfer craziness involving Robert Lewandowski and the Ajax duo of Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch really threw the latter part of the week for a loop.

We hit on all of that and more, so check out what we have on tap:

Where Bayern Munich went wrong against Villarreal and how things could get better on Tuesday.
The potential acquisitions of Mazraoui and Gravenberch and why I don’t get one of the moves.
Serge Gnabry’s negotiations and who has interest in the Germany international.
The phenom who just won’t commit to Julian Nagelsmann.
A couple of other items just for good measure.

Bayern Munich draw a blank against Villarreal to end historic Champions League scoring run

More than three years had passed since the last time the Bavarians failed to net in the competition

Bayern Munich drew a rare blank against Villarreal to end the club’s incredible run of scoring in the Champions League.

The Bundesliga giants were upset by Unai Emery’s team, who prevailed 1-0 in Wednesday’s quarter-final first leg thanks to Arnaut Danjuma’s early goal.

Perhaps even more impressive than Villarreal’s victory was the clean sheet that accompanied it, against a team that almost always manages to find the target.

BFW Commentary: It can’t get any worse for Bayern Munich…right?

When the final whistle sounded, Bayern Munich walked off the pitch at Estadio de la Cerámica with the weight of a 1-0 Champions League loss on its shoulders.

It might only have been one defeat, but it must have felt like 1,000 after how Villarreal imposed its will on the match. Even the most optimistic Bayern Munich fans could not muster much positivity from the effort. The coaches and players were equally inept and Villarreal played with an intensity and spirit that the Bavarians were unable to match.

Villarreal v Bayern Munich – UEFA Champions League
Bayern Munich was outclassed and outworked against Villarreal. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
In a lot of ways, that was the most disappointing aspect of the match. Villarreal played with a fire inside of it and an urgency that Bayern Munich could not match on any level. Sometimes football is an easy game to assess: Villarreal was better prepared than Bayern Munich and just wanted it more.

That said, the return leg could become quite uncomfortable for the Spaniards.

The Bavarians played about as poorly as they possible could in every aspect of the match from the coaching to the performance on the pitch. It was ugly and extremely difficult to watch, but there is still a return leg and Bayern Munich has the ability to turn this tie on its head.

Nothing will be easy, but there should be more focus, attention to detail, and urgency.

There is that word again — one that has often come up in Bayern Munich’s defeats this season. Too often, the squad has looked complacent on the pitch during its losses and not realizing that its opposition is bringing its best effort. Tactics aside, Villarreal manager Unai Emery had his boys ready for a fight and that is exactly how the Yellow Submarine played.

Barcelona losing race for Noussair Mazraoui to Bayern Munich – report

FC Barcelona could be losing ground in their pursuit of Ajax’s right-back, Noussair Mazraoui.

Bayern Munich have always been the main competitors for the signing, and it seems the Bavarians are making good progress. According to the latest rumors, Bayern’s negotiations with the player are very advanced, although not finalized.

Barcelona are still in the race but things are looking less likely.

Mazraoui himself reportedly had Barcelona as a first choice at first, but Bayern’s sporting project could end up being the winner.

Barcelona’s other target for right-back, César Azpilicueta, is said to be staying with his current club, Chelsea.

This could lead to talks of a transfer out for Sergiño Dest to cool down. Dest has improved after a rocky start under Xavi, and with replacement deals looking less likely, it may be better for both parties if he stays. Rumors of an exit either circled this past winter, but nothing came of it. Speculation that he would leave next summer has slowed down.

Report: Massive* fight breaks out in Bayern Munich training
*It was a snowball fight. No one was hurt (that we know of).

It’s April in Bavaria but apparently there’s enough snow on the ground for carnage to ensue at the Sabener Strasse. Per Bild, a massive snowball fight broke out between substitutes at Bayern Munich training on Sunday, resulting in, well … nothing. It was a snowball fight, what did you expect?

Alphonso Davies, being Canadian and therefore in his natural element, instigated hostilities by throwing the first volley. This brought Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry, Marc Roca, and Omar Richards into the conflict leading to complete and utter chaos. Click on the Bild link to see Davies get pelted in the back of the head with a snowball. Gnabry, Richards, and Sule are said to have “laughed manically”. By the process of elimination, we can assume that Marc Roca is the one who threw the offending projectile.

No reports of who won the fight. As a Canadian, Davies had the clear advantage over his teammates, so if they were savvy they would’ve ganged up on him to take him down early. Or maybe it was a complete battle royale scenario. Who knows? All I can envision is this clip from an episode of Spongebob:

Five observations from Bayern Munich’s dominant (and slightly controversial?) 4-1 win over SC Freiburg
It really was a tale of two halves, with a lackluster first half paving the way for a thoroughly dominant rout in the second. The Bavarian boys really made a statement.

Bayern Munich gave Freiburg a sound thrashing at the Europa-Park Stadion, with the hosts being overwhelmed by a scintillating attacking performance from the Bavarians in the second half. Of course, the 4-1 scoreline could still be in jeopardy following the suspected presence of 12 Bayern players on the pitch at some point late in the second half (yet to be confirmed).

We can only hope that that never happened and that even if it did, it didn’t affect the play by much. Several footballing regulations seem to make a yellow card awarded to the concerned player the norm in such situations. Hopefully, the result stays the same, and there isn’t any change in the outcome of the game.

With all that said, here are some observations from the match:

Energy-saving mode
With most of the players in the squad having just returned from international duty, it seemed like Nagelsmann had them take it easy in the first half, with more emphasis on controlling possession, dictating the tempo, and conserving energy. This resulted in a lopsided possession graph, and Bayern was able to pass the ball around Freiburg’s box for 45 minutes.

However, since that didn’t get die Roten any goals, Nagelsmann probably gave the boys an energizing pep talk at halftime and instructed them to change the tactics a little, because it really showed in the second half. The team pressed more as a whole, starting taking more shots, with the passing looking crisper and the play quicker. Lewandowski was subbed off early, probably as a precaution, as were several other players a few minutes later. The sudden suffocating press and a huge influx in chances generated meant Bayern was bound to score a bunch of goals sooner rather than later.

And that’s exactly what happened.

PSG won’t sell prized defensive prospect to Bayern Munich

Paris Saint-Germain is going to do whatever it can to keep highly-touted defensive prospect El Chadaille Bitshiabu per Foot Mercato.

Bayern Munich was said to have interest in Bitshiabu, but PSG does not appear likely to sell the youngster any time soon:

According to our information, the Parisian club has no intention of letting go its U17 international, seen twice with the pros in the French Cup. Paris has taken out the barbed wire and will not let go its prospect, whatever the price offered and whatever the interested club. This is clear.

Bayern Munich’s rumored shift to being a “selling club” likely means that it will be on the hunt for young players like Bitshiabu moving forward. PSG, which is probably still a bit bitter about losing Tanguy Nianzou to Bayern Munich, seems intent to not make losing defensive prospects to the Bavarians become a pattern.

Bitshiabu currently has a deal with PSG through 2024.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski wants to join FC Barcelona?; Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger too old for Bayern?; Atletico Madrid closing in on Boubacar Kamara; Barca, Liverpool battle for Raphinha; Hulk ref?; and MORE!

Lewy eyeing Barca move? (Forbes)
In a report from Sport that was captured by Forbes, the word is that Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski is ready to make the move to FC Barcelona:

Robert Lewandowski wishes to join FC Barcelona, who have an offer ready for the striker according to reports. The reigning two-time FIFA The Best winner is a free man in June 2023, which perhaps forces his current club Bayern Munich to offload him before next season so as not to lose their second all-time top scorer on a free transfer.

According to Sport, Barca will offer the Poland international a four-year contract until 2026 as they believe that the model professional can still perform at the top level despite already being aged 33.

Barca don’t think that reaching an agreement with the Ballon d’Or hopeful will be a problem either given president Joan Laporta’s strong relationship with the player’s agent Pini Zahivi – who has represented Lewandowski since 2018 when he left the man that took him to German football, Cezary Kucharski, in 2010.

Lewandowski’s contract situation and negotiations are allegedly up in the air at this point, but we do know that there is mutual interest in getting a deal done in Bavaria — and also that Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn has recognized that he needs to take a more hands-on approach in dealing with his star players.

There have, however, been some hard feelings built up on Lewandowski’s end that have left him feeling a bit disrespected. How this all plays out when the two sides finally meet remains to be seen.

Report: Bayern Munich front office, coaching staff clashing on Tanguy Nianzou’s development

According to Sport Bild’s Christian Falk (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic is unhappy with manager Julian Nagelsmann because the coach has not given young defender Tanguy Nianzou much of an opportunity to play this season.

In fairness to Nagelsmann, Nianzou has not been good when called upon. Sloppy positionally and with his challenges, Nianzou has been mistake-prone. Given his age (19) and his vast potential, though, there is no reason for Bayern Munich to write Nianzou off just yet. In fact, it appears that the only way to truly get a feel for what the player can be as a professional is to send him off on a loan assignment to a club where he would be able to play on a regular basis.

Even with the upcoming exit of Niklas Süle, Nianzou is not assured of consistent playing time next season at Bayern Munich. For all parties, it appears that a loan should be the next step for the player’s development.

Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann irked by criticism over tactics
Julian Nagelsmann is getting tired of pundits dragging his players — and tactics — through the mud.

Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann has read and heard enough.

The former RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim manager is getting sick of everyone taking shots at his tactics, formation choice, and players.

“The question has come up for the 1,437th time recently — and it will also come up at the next press conference,” Nagelsmann said (per Abendzeitung).

The normally calm and composed coach seems to be letting the barrage of criticism get to him a bit — and maybe rightfully so. His squad is sitting atop the Bundesliga table and has not lost a game in the Champions League all season.

Recently, Sky pundit Didi Hamann, stated that Bayern was only playing with “only three and a half defensive players” with the back three of Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernández and defensive midfielder Joshua Kimmich, which really seemed to get under Nagelsmann’s skin a bit.

“I’ll discuss it with Didi again because I think it’s a bit unfair to the players when you see how hard-working Serge, King and Leroy are,” Nagelsmann said. “I always try to consult with my players. And they also have the clear idea that the best staff is currently playing in the way we are playing. And I agree with that.”

Nagelsmann, though, did try to lighten up what seemed to be some frustration by taking a jab at Hamann in a playful way.

“Maybe (Hamann) used to see himself as a very offensive eight and didn’t feel like defending,” Nagelsmann said. “Didi also understands what I’m saying. I find it disrespectful towards players like Gnabry or Coman. The whole world of journalists claim that they can’t defend. These are two world-class players, so defending is part of it, as they have shown.”

Bayern Munich’s Sven Ulreich doesn’t want to be left out in the cold…again

Bayern Munich back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has likely heard the rumors linking the Rekordmeister to Arminia Bielefeld starter Stefan Ortega and the veteran might be getting a little antsy about his own future.

According to Sky journalist Florian Plettenberg, Ulreich has not met with Bayern Munich as of yet regarding a new deal, but the 33-year-old wants to know if the club has any plans for him in the future — by the end of this month.

For Ulreich, this makes sense from a career-planning perspective:

By all accounts, Ulreich is a popular, seasoned option to play behind starter Manuel Neuer. Moreover, the relationship between Neuer and his current understudy appears to be rock solid, which is important considering how little Bayern Munich’s back-up goalkeepers actually play.

For players seeking any type of consistent field time, being Neuer’s back-up is not exactly a desirable position. Ulreich, however, is content in the role, which differs from Neuer’s heir apparent Alexander Nübel.

Should Neuer sign a contract extension, Nübel is expected to look for a new club.

Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann wants to help Dayot Upamecano get back on track

Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano turned in a decent effort against Bayer Leverkusen when it comes to statistics. The Frenchman completed 90% of his passes, won both aerial duels, won three of four ground duels, and had three tackles.

The one awful moment was an errant pass that left a bad impression on many watching the match — including Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann.

“I will talk to him and show him solutions. Upa knows he doesn’t have to play a back pass (to Ulreich) there. You’ve to play simple and clear the ball, send it to the third row, even if that’s not a very smart solution at that moment,” Nagelsmann said after the match (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia).

While extremely solid at times, Upamecano has been inconsistent at various points of the season. Signed with the expectation that he was ready for prime time, Upamecano has shown that he has the potential to be a good starter, but also that he might need more seasoning before he is ready to be the lead dog on Bayern Munich’s backline.

The timeline on how quickly needs to ramp up has undoubtedly been expedited given the upcoming exodus of Niklas Süle.

Bayern Munich star Niklas Süle laments failure against Bayer Leverkusen, won’t talk about Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich defender Niklas Süle scored in the 18th minute to give his club an early 1-0 lead over Bayer Leverkusen, but the soon-to-be Borussia Dortmund center-back saw his squad scuffle and eventually settle for a draw.

It was not exactly the result anyone was looking for.

“We played one of our best 30 minutes of the season. After the unfortunate equalizer, we lost focus and lost the ball too easily. We allowed the opponent to get back into the game. That must not happen to us,” Süle said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “We allowed two or three big chances within five minutes. In the second half we had more control. But of course we wanted more today. The 1-1 draw is not enough.”

As for the upcoming move to Borussia Dortmund, Süle is not ready to discuss that just yet and would rather focus on trying to win the two remaining titles that Bayern Munich still fighting for.

“I deliberately haven’t spoken out yet. I’m still a Bayern player. There are still two big titles to play for and I will give everything to make sure Dortmund finish second this season,” Süle said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “I’m nothing but grateful. I’ll give everything for this club until the last day, hopefully with two more titles. I believe in that. I’m grateful for the way people here are coping with my decision.”

Tottenham Hotspur leads Bayern Munich on Djed Spence
It seems like Bayern Munich might have to look elsewhere to fill a role on the right defensive flank.

On Thursday, we saw the rumor break that Bayern Munich was interested in Middlesbrough right-back Djed Spence. According to Goal, however, Tottenham Hotspur if the favorite to land the 21-year-old:

The highly-rated right-back has been catching the eye during a loan spell at Nottingham Forest and is expected to be on the move this summer. Tottenham are favourites to sign Middlesbrough right-back Djed Spence this summer, GOAL has learned, with the Nottingham Forest loanee attracting interest from across Europe.

There has been talk of Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich joining the race for the talented 21-year-old, with a number of teams in Germany said to be monitoring the buccaneering defender’s progress.

Sjed is just one of many names that have been linked to Bayern Munich, so it would not be shocking it the Rekordmeister’s alleged pursuit of the right-back was not much more than kicking the tires on a player who fits the positional profile.

Report: Bayern Munich interested in Noussair Mazraoui, warming to Benjamin Pavard as center-back

Ryan Gravenberch is not the only Ajax player that Bayern Munich has its eyes on.

According to Tz reporters Mano Bonke and Philipp Kessler (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), the Rekordmeister is scoping right-back Noussair Mazraoui as well.

The 24-year-old is deemed to be a “perfect fit” for Julian Nagelsmann’s system — which looks to feature a back-three.

Bayern Munich, however, is not alone in wanting Mazraoui, however. FC Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and AC Milan are also rumored to be interested in the Ajax defender.

Interestingly, Bayern Munich is also starting to think that Benjamin Pavard is looking like a more serious solution to be part of the center-back rotation next season. With Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, and Dayot Upamecano, the club would not have to feel as dire a need to bring in an expensive new center-back — though, Bayern Munich looks like it is still going to work through the available players on the market.

Options to replace Niklas Süle not thrilling Bayern Munich brass

With the news that Chelsea FC’s Andreas Christensen is closing in on a deal with FC Barcelona, the immediate thought for most Bayern Munich fans was…”who’s next?”

That’s a great question — and one that the Bayern Munich brass cannot easily answer because no one has been all that impressive to them.

According to a report from Sport Bild (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Bayern Munich’s decision makers are not convinced by either Matthias Ginter and Nico Schlotterbeck.

At this point, the favored candidate is Torino’s Gleison Bremer, which is a bit shocking given Bremer’s name only recently began being linked to Bayern Munich.

Sport1’s Kerry Hau and P.J. Berger are reporting that Bremer is ahead of Ginter on Bayern Munich’s wish list and that the club is not “serious” about Ginter. At this stage, Ginter might be more interested in Bayern Munich than the club is in the player.

The primary issue with Bremer in the eyes of Bayern Munich is that the club would have to pay a fee to Torino for the Brazilian.

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As for Christensen, it appears FC Barcelona is willing to meet his request to double his current pay, which is rumored to be €5 million per season.

Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich reacts to hard-fought victory over Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich helped his team secure a 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt

“It was a hard-fought win. I think we did well and should have taken the lead earlier. The way we got the win was also good. The last 10, 15 minutes, the way we pushed each other, that was good. A win like this is also fun,” Kimmich told Sky (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

Kimmich would like to see the squad gain some momentum on this, but knows the road to a title in the Bundesliga is not easy.

“Today the attitude was great, we can build on that,” said Kimmich (as captured by Tz). “We always have a lot of offensive players on the field. But when I see how Sané or Gnabry defend. It’s not just up to the defensive players. Leipzig has stabilized, BVB has strength to chase us in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen also has good quality, young, strong players.”

How will Bayern Munich replace Thomas Müller vs. Eintracht Frankfurt?

Okay, so the week started with some horrible news. Mr. Bayern himself, Thomas Müller, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss out on Saturday’s trip to Eintracht Frankfurt. Judging from the fact that Bayern Munich haven’t won at Frankfurt in the past three years, and are currently on a two game losing streak to Die Adler, the outlook does not look good as of now.

But whatever the outlook is, we got a game to play, and Müller will not be there. There’s no getting around it. So how exactly will Bayern line up in Frankfurt? This shouldn’t be too big a deal, considering it’s just one player missing (apart from the long term absentees), but Thomas Müller is not a player you can simply replace with another. What’s more, coach Julian Nagelsmann has been known to switch up formations a lot nowadays, so this makes it even harder to predict a solid lineup. With that being said, let’s try to make our best guess.

Option A. 4-2-3-1
The 4-2-3-1 that so many fans (myself included) were yearning for made an appearance against Greuther Fürth last Sunday, and it wasn’t pretty. But maybe, just maybe, this time will be different. Let’s see how this could look.

As per a kicker report, Jamal Musiala, who recently recovered from a COVID bout himself, was likely to start against Frankfurt. The logical answer would be to slot Musiala into Müller’s usual spot at the 10, right behind Robert Lewandowski. Flank him with two out of Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, and Kingsley Coman, put Marcel Sabitzer and Joshua Kimmich behind them, and presto! After all, Hansi Flick utilized Musiala as a 10 when Müller was out back then, and it worked fine. Remember the Lazio game in the Champions League?

But this is Nagelsmann we’re talking about. His 4-2-3-1 is quite different from Flick’s, alternating between a 3-4-2-1 at times. This begs the question: can Musiala play that delicate role of attacking midfielder/auxiliary striker that Müller does so well? Hard to say. If not, Nagelsmann could opt to start all three wingers at once, allowing either Gnabry or Coman to play a slightly more advanced role than usual, and playing Sané in a more central, playmaking role. Of course, this is assuming that Coman is fit to play; he wasn’t in the squad against Fürth due to muscular problems.

Outlook: Ulreich – Pavard, Upamecano, Süle, Hernández – Kimmich, Sabitzer – Gnabry, Musiala, Sané – Lewandowski

OR

Ulreich – Pavard, Upamecano, Süle, Hernández – Kimmich, Sabitzer – Gnabry, Sané, Coman – Lewandowski

Option B. 3-2-4-1 or 3-2-5
Ah, the almost suicidal, no wing-back back three. It’s provided a fair few heart attacks to Bayern fans around the world. Surprisingly enough, though, it’s also provided a few decent results. Considering the fact that the team showed improvement throughout the last few games when the formation was used, it would be foolish to discount it from the realm of possibilities. Plus, this is Nagelsmann. He loves back threes so much, he calls his wife that.

Now, the defense and half the midfield builds themselves. Three out of Bayern’s four available center backs will man the defense, while Kimmich will patrol the midfield. But wait! How does the rest of the team fit in?

Let’s assume that all three wingers will start as per usual (again, provided that Coman is fit). That leaves one spot in the attacking line, and one spot next to Kimmich. Musiala and Sabitzer are the clear candidates to fill those two spots. The question is, who fits in where? The aforementioned kicker report suggested that in light of Corentin Tolisso’s injury, Musiala was the prime candidate to start alongside Kimmich in midfield. That was before Müller’s COVID infection, though. Does this mean Musiala moves up into the attacking line, with Sabitzer taking his spot in midfield? Or vice versa? We’ve rarely seen Sabitzer in a highly advanced role after he arrived at Bayern, so it’s not that likely that Nagelsmann would start him right behind Lewandowski. But we’ve also seen him start as a winger against Fürth, so it could be a possibility. A small one, but still.

Outlook: Ulreich – Pavard, Süle, Hernández – Kimmich, Sabitzer – Gnabry, Musiala, Sané, Coman – Lewandowski

Option C. 3-4-1-2 or 3-5-2
I know, I know, who in their right mind would play twin strikers at Bayern? Well, it actually happened a lot more recently than expected. Let’s go back to the Fürth game again. The second half saw Nagelsmann introduce Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in lieu of Omar Richards, playing the Cameroonian striker alongside Lewandowski. Müller slotted in right behind and between those two, and lo and behold, it resulted in four goals. Choupo was pretty productive in that role, bagging an assist and a goal. Of course, just because it worked against the worst team in the Bundesliga doesn’t guarantee that it’ll work against a much stronger Eintracht, but there’s also no reason it shouldn’t work again, right?

Again, either Musiala or Sabitzer could play that playmaker role behind the two strikers, with the other one partnering Kimmich in midfield. I’m going to assume that Musiala will play in front, just because he’s a more attack-oriented player than Sabitzer.

Outlook: Ulreich – Pavard, Süle, Hernández – Gnabry, Kimmich, Sabitzer, Sané – Musiala – Lewandowski, Choupo-Moting

Omar Richards talks move to Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski, Julian Nagelsmann’s cool demeanor

Omar Richards picked up a start against SpVgg Greuther Fürth during Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win and while the Englishman’s day was cut short by an early substitution to help spark the offense, the seldom-used left-back is soaking in the experience.

Despite not getting a ton of playing time this season, Richards appears very happy to be in Munich.

“I remember the first point of contact was in the big meeting room. I was sitting in there and had been early. All these people I’d seen on TV and played with on Fifa are all walking past high-fiving me. “I was thinking, ‘What is going on? I must be in some dream or something.’ My agent called and told me Bayern Munich are watching me, they’re interested, and I’m thinking, ‘What? This can’t be true.’ I almost put the phone down on him. I literally didn’t believe it until I got on a Zoom call with them,” Richards told The Times (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

Richards knew moving to a club like Bayern Munich would be tough, but he said other players have been very helpful.

“From the first day, he (Joshua Kimmich) was really helpful to me, always checking in on me, like a big brother. He doesn’t have to do that. That’s so elite from him and, as a new person coming in, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” Richards said. “I’m in a team with superstars and some of the best players, and I’m still new to it. But, the thing is, I’m in the right place and I’m only getting better each day, so you never know what can happen.”

Richards is also happy to be playing for a manager like Julian Nagelsmann, who keeps an even keel.

“He comes into training sometimes on his motorbike, I think it’s a Harley-Davidson. He’s always proper cool, always happy and approachable,” Richards remarked. “After a while I realized everything he was making me do had a reason behind it. There’s new ideas all the time, everything is fresh and the training leads the way we play in games.”

Finally, Richards said he learned very quickly that Robert Lewandowski is always “on” and that you cannot ever tale him lightly in training.

“You can’t switch off at any moment when you’re around him. He’s very clinical, he’s good at everything, really. I would play FIFA with Lewandowski and now I’m playing alongside him. It’s really crazy,” Richards said.

Richards has played 448 minutes in 14 appearances across all competitions this season. The 24-year-old has one assist.

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