Marcel Sabitzer’s strong showing at Bayern Munich puts Konrad Laimer on the backburner; Did Bayern dodge a bullet on Callum Hudson-Odoi miss?; Filip Kostic to Juventus; Benjamin Šeško thrilled to be headed to the Bundesliga; and MORE! – Sport Media News

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Daily Schmankerl: Marcel Sabitzer’s strong showing at Bayern Munich puts Konrad Laimer on the backburner; Did Bayern dodge a bullet on Callum Hudson-Odoi miss?; Filip Kostic to Juventus; Benjamin Šeško thrilled to be headed to the Bundesliga; and MORE!

Sabitzer staying, Laimer likely not coming (Abendzeitung via @iMiaSanMia)
Marcel Sabitzer’s strong showing to start the season at Bayern Munich has had an effect on the club’s transfer plans:

Marcel Sabitzer will definitely stay at FC Bayern beyond this summer. He has no thoughts of leaving this window. As a result, Konrad Laimer — in whom Nagelsmann is very interested – is set to stay in Leipzig and could join Bayern on a free next year.

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Sabitzer’s recent performances have alleviated any pressure that Bayern Munich might have had to bring in RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer, who actually could be attainable at this stage.

The gap between what Bayern Munich offered and what RB Leipzig wants for Laimer is only €5 million per Sky’s Florian Plettenberg (as captured by @iMiaSanMia):

Leipzig would still sell Konrad Laimer this summer if asking price is met. The difference between Bayern’s offer and RBL’s demands is €5m as of now. Sabitzer’s latest performances have stalled the Laimer deal. The latter is likely to stay in Leipzig at the moment.

Sabitzer’s 2021/22 season was certainly not one to remember and it had to be frustrating for the player himself, Nagelsmann, the Bayern Munich brass, and those supporters who were dumbfounded that he played so poorly.

Whatever caused his issues (lack of confidence, unsettled environment, lack of a consistent starting role), it appears that Sabitzer has worked his way through all of that. For Laimer — and his desire for a transfer this summer — Sabitzer’s resurgence is bad news.
Bavarian Loan Works: Where are the Bayern Munich players out on loan and what are they up to?

Welcome to the first edition of Bavarian Loan Works for the 2022/23 season! At the moment, Bayern Munich has eleven players out on loan throughout Germany, Austria, France, Scotland, and even Canada. Follow along with us as we track their performances out on loan.

Germany: Bundesliga
Center-back Bright Arrey-Mbi (age 19) is the only player on loan in the German Bundesliga.

Bright Arrey-Mbi — 1. FC Köln
Arrey-Mbi has been in Köln since January of this year. In the first match of the new Bundesliga season, he did not make it into the 18-man squad.

France: Ligue 1
Goalkeeper Alexander Nübel (age 25) is the only player on loan in Ligue 1.

Alexander Nübel — AS Monaco
Nübel has been at AS Monaco since January of 2021. He has secured a consistent starting position in his time at Monaco. In the first match of the season, Nübel started again, playing all 90 minutes. He recorded six saves on the way to a 2-1 victory.

Scotland: Scottish Premiership
Forward Malik Tillman (20) is the only player on loan in the Scottish Premiership.

Malik Tillman — Rangers FC
Tillman had a busy summer — switching from Germany to the USMNT and going on loan to Rangers. He has already played in all three competitive fixtures for Rangers so far. In the first league match, he subbed on at halftime and then started and played 75+ minutes in the next two matches. Although he has failed to record a goal or assist so far, he has been rated favorably by other outlets.

Austria: Austrian Bundesliga
There are three players on loan in the Austrian Bundesliga: midfielder Torben Rhein (19), midfielder Daniel Francis (19), and keeper Shaoziyang Liu (18).

Torben Rhein — Austria Lustenau
Rhein left Bayern II on loan this summer, but has yet to get significant minutes in Austria. He made his Austrian Bundesliga debut on the first matchday, but only played one minute. This weekend, he played 26’ against Rapid Wien

Daniel Francis — SK Austria Klagenfurt
Francis just joined Klagenfurt on loan from Bayern II this weekend and therefore hasn’t hadn’t had time to appear.

Shaoziyang Liu — SK Austria Klagenfurt
Liu has been on loan since February of this year. He has not made an appearance yet.

Germany: 2. Bundesliga
There are two players on loan in the second division of the Bundesliga: forward Sarpreet Singh (23) and center-back Jamie Lawrence (19).

Sarpreet Singh — Jahn Regensburg
Singh is entering his second season on loan with Regensburg — who are top of the 2. Bundesliga table and knocked out Bundesliga side Köln in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Unfortunately Singh has not appeared for them yet this season. He appears to have an illness that has kept him out of the squad.

Jamie Lawrence — 1. FC Magdeburg
Lawrence moved to newly promoted Magdeburg earlier this month. He has played in all four competitive matches — three league matches and a 4-0 Pokal loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. Unfortunately, Lawrence received a red card after 56 minutes in this weekend’s match against Holstein Kiel.

Germany: 3. Liga
There are two players on loan to the 3. Liga: forward Marvin Çuni (21) and forward Lenn Jastremski (21).

Marvin Çuni — 1. FC Saarbrücken
After spending a season at Paderborn on loan, Çuni moved to Saarbrücken this summer. In two league matches, Cuni has yet to make the 18-man squad.

Lenn Jastremski — Erzgebirge Aue
Jastremski joined Aue this summer on loan and has featured in all three competitive matches. He made substitute appearances in the league opener and Pokal match, and then started in the league this weekend against Osnabrück — where he assisted his team’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw.

Canada: MLS Next Pro
Right-back Nick Salihamidžic (19) is the only player on loan in MLS Next Pro.

Nick Salihamidžic — Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Brazzo’s son went on loan to Alphonso Davies’ former club this summer. He has appeared in three matches for the Whitecaps developmental side, including two starts and one bench appearance. This weekend, he started and played 68 minutes in a loss to Real Monarchs SLC.
Matthijs de Ligt details which Bayern Munich teammate gave him the most trouble

As a defender, Bayern Munich center-back Matthijs de Ligt has been matched up against some of the most prominent talents in the world, whether he has been at Ajax, Juventus, or with the Dutch national team.

There is one player, however, that gave De Ligt the most headaches. Was it Cristiano Ronaldo during those training sessions at Juventus? Perhaps it was Harry Kane or Robert Lewandowski? What about Lionel Messi?

Nope…none of those mega-stars. Per De Ligt, Bayern Munich teammate Leroy Sané was the biggest headache for him to defend.

“The opponent who caused me the most problems so far was Leroy Sané in our match against the German national team. I had to defend him 1v1 all over the pitch, and he was just everywhere. I told him that when arrived here,” De Ligt told kicker (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

Sané is seeking to fully regain his form and become that kind of problem for other defenders as well. One thing is certain, though, Julian Nagelsmann’s “iron sharpens iron” mentality will truly be on display with this kind of training ground battle going on all season.
How much does Sadio Mane earn? Bayern Munich player salaries revealed

Among the top clubs in Europe, Bayern Munich have long been known for spending frugal amounts in the transfer market while still remaining competitive. While this is true, in a way hides the fact that big clubs maintain their squads by paying top salaries, not by paying big fees all the time. Of course some teams do both and aren’t competitive at all, so it’s not as easy as it sounds.

So Bild have decided to reveal how much every single Bayern Munich player will earn this coming season. It’s slightly ironic that an article about salaries isn’t behind a paywall this time, but that’s mainly because the info is hidden inside Christian Falk’s podcast. Don’t worry though, we’ve got the full list right here.

Here’s how much every single Bayern Munich player gets from the club, with bonuses included:

Sadio Mane: €22m
Manuel Neuer: €21m
Thomas Muller: €20.5m
Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane: €20m
Joshua Kimmich: €19.5m
Serge Gnabry: €19m
Leon Goretzka: €17m
Matthijs de Ligt, Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano: €16m
Marcel Sabitzer, Alphonso Davies: €9m
Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch, Benjamin Pavard: €8m
Jamal Musiala, Tanguy Nianzou, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting: €5m
Mathys Tel, Bouna Sarr: €4m
Paul Wanner and Josip Stanisic: €2m
Gabriel Vidovic: €1m
All figures are gross — i.e. they do not include taxes. Now you may see some weirdness in the salary tiers, which is totally normal. First of all, these are all estimated by Bild, so they may not accurately reflect the exact amounts written in player contracts. Secondly, the numbers include bonuses.

Some players may have a lower guaranteed salary in return for higher bonuses. This would explain why Joshua Kimmich seems to earn less than Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman after his recent contract extension — either that or his agent is an idiot.

Sadio Mane’s massive salary is still lower than what Robert Lewandowski used to earn at the club, and it’s what you’d expect when signing a player Premier League club like Liverpool. It shows that Bayern Munich can still compete with the EPL when it comes to salaries for top stars, but who knows how long that will last? Teams like RB Leipzig or Borussia Dortmund wouldn’t dream of playing their star player so much money.

Matthijs de Ligt does seem to be a top earner for a center-back at the club, but according to Christian Falk, he is earning less than what he did at Juventus. If true, this means that the Dutchman did indeed take a paycut to join Bayern, proving just how badly he wanted this move to happen.

Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala are grossly underpaid considering their impact on the team. These two youngsters will have the leverage to argue for massive raises when their next contracts come up for renewal. Bayern better be prepared to pay the price, because both of them look like true generational talents.

Overall, the wage bill looks like what you’d expect, with no real outliers. Some might find the top tier salaries a bit excessive, but that’s what you have to pay when you want to compete in the Champions League. This club ain’t PSG, but there’s no such thing as winning (consistently) on a budget.

Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich and Brazzo nearing extension; Chelsea’s Timo Werner willing to take a pay cut to leave; Frenkie de Jong to Chelsea?; What is going on with Florian Grillitsch?; Joško Gvardiol getting new deal? and MORE!

FC Barcelona star Robert Lewandowski clears the air on why he left Bayern Munich

A lot of things have been said about former Bayern Munich star and current FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski since his move and the Poland international wanted to clear the air.

“I cannot say bad words about my teammates, or the club — even though there was kind of politics before — but the time, what I did for the club in this eight years for Bayern Munich was amazing,” Lewandowski told ESPN. “I’m growing every single season, and I know that to decide to move somewhere else will be more difficult every year. Even now it was very difficult to decide to go to Barcelona because I know what I did, the comfort zone I had in Bayern Munich already, but for me, I was always open to something new.”

Lewandowski wanted to be clear that it was simply time for him to try something new and that his transfer was not because of the club or his teammates.

“I heard that Barcelona wanted to sign me, and that was a sign that maybe now is the perfect timing to go to Barcelona, go to LaLiga. I know that I can still play for a few years on the top high level and that’s why I decided to go to Barcelona. I’m very happy to be part of this team,” Lewandowski remarked.

According to Bild (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), “Lewandowski gifted everyone a bottle of Noble Champagne Armand de Brignac with his signature and photos from his time at Bayern on the gift box” upon leaving the Bayern Munich facilities for the final time earlier today.
Daily Schmankerl: Germany losing Die Mannschaft moniker; Chelsea and RB Leipzig eyeing Timo Werner-Joško Gvardiol swap?; Thomas Müller’s favorite EPL side; Roy Keane talks Sadio Mané/Darwin Núñez; and MORE!

Bayern Munich’s German contingent will likely be known by a different nickname this winter at the World Cup. That’s right, Die Mannschaft is dead — or at least is dying:

The German Football Association (DFB) will no longer actively promote its men’s national team with the marketing name “Die Mannschaft” in the future. This was unanimously agreed upon at a supervisory board and shareholders’ meeting in Frankfurt.

The decision was based on an analysis of the brand used since 2015, which shows a recent increase in interest in the team and greater satisfaction with its appearances, as well as rising popularity for ‘Die Mannschaft’. However, the attitude towards the continued use of the name in particular wasn’t uniform.

Alexander Wehrle, chairman of the DFB’s supervisory board, provided some insight on the decision.

“We have analyzed the brand name ‘Die Mannschaft’ extensively and discussed it intensively. Opinions differ not only among fans, but also within the DFB. This is a clear sign of the polarization of a name that everyone is supposed to rally behind,” said Wehrle. “Hansi Flick’s team is for everyone, and everyone can call it whatever he or she wants. After all, it’s not so much what the team is called that matters, but what’s in it. And that’s where we agree: We have an inspiring national team with a lot of potential and fascinating characters.”

So, what do you say…are pro “Schaft” or anti “Schaft”?
Report: Benjamin Pavard has decided to stay with Bayern Munich

In recent weeks, question marks had been raised regarding Benjamin Pavard’s future at Bayern Munich. He didn’t make the speculation any less aggressive when he chuckled and said he didn’t know what his future held after Bayern’s friendly loss to Manchester City in Green Bay, Wisconsin last weekend. However, per French outlet L’Equipe, Pavard has decided to stay a Bayern player, much to the delight of teammate and French compatriot Lucas Hernandez, who recently said he would be delighted to have Pavard stay a Bayern player.

When rumors began to surface suggesting Pavard could be potentially open to a move away from the club this summer, with Bayern’s front office also being open to that possibility, it did seem to make sense on paper. With the additions of Noussair Mazraoui and Matthijs de Ligt this summer, Pavard’s minutes are now in more jeopardy as Julian Nagelsmann has added depth at both center-back and right-back with the aforementioned signings. Pavard had said that he does prefer center-back over right-back, but with de Ligt added to the ranks of Dayot Upamecano and Hernandez, there’s now significantly less chance that he’ll be able to get regular minutes as a center back. Not to mention, Pavard also has competition from both Mazraoui and Josip Stanisic at right-back.

In the DFL-Supercup win over RB Leipzig, Pavard started and clocked 78 minutes before being replaced by Mazraoui, scoring Bayern’s third of five goals with a finely taken, left-footed effort in the 45th minute. Whether this was perhaps an indicator of the starting lineup against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday to open up the Bundesliga season remains to be seen, but with the lineup he fielded in Leipzig, it would suggest that there’s more trust in Pavard right now than Mazraoui. The latter still needs time to adjust to life at Bayern and Nagelsmann’s systems.

Pavard’s current contract at Bayern runs through June 2024, but this summer oculd’ve been the most financially lucrative chance the club would’ve had to offload Pavard, seeing that his market value had taken a significant dip from last summer up until now. That could easily change with consistently strong performances this season, but that’s not a given, and a dice roll that Bayern is clearly willing to take.

Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig; Real Madrid, Juventus eyeing Chelsea’s Timo Werner; FC Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong to Bayern on loan?; Cristiano Ronaldo seeking Manchester United exit; No movement on Konrad Laimer; & MORE!

Die Folgen: Bayern’s 5-3 victory over Leipzig in the DFL-Supercup (Bavarian Football Works)
Bayern Munich did not look like a squad just beginning to put things together early on, but did lose some focus during its 5-3 win over RB Leipzig in the DFL-Supercup. Here are some quick hitters on the match:

The starting XI did shock me just a little bit. The inclusion of Jamal Musiala over Leroy Sané was surprising in a good way. With Kingsley Coman and Matthijs de Ligt not fully fit and Noussair Mazraoui not having fully proven himself yet, it was a chance for Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Benjamin Pavard, and Dayot Upamecano to put their respective talents on display:

That said, it was a very choppy beginning to the match for both sides. Bayern Munich seemed to have trouble with players adjusting to being in different areas of the pitch than they might be used to. Spacing and running lanes were also an issue at times.
In the 8th minute Marcel Sabitzer saved Manuel Neuer’s bacon after the captain had a pretty bad gaffe.
Just following that, Dayot Upamecano made a boneheaded play that was luckily not ruled a penalty.
Clearly, it was not exactly a great start for either team as the match, but things would quickly get better for Bayern Munich.
In the 13th minute, Bayern Munich began to put some things together and Musiala capitalized one minute later with a goal. If only someone had been championing for Musiala to start for the better part of two seasons now?
So, yeah, Musiala > Sané and it’s been this way since midway through last season.
Bayern Munich’s formation was extremely variable. It was difficult to see what alignment was in play from possession-to-possession at times.
Benjamin Henrichs is going to be trouble for Die Roten Bullen this season. It doesn’t seem like he makes the best decisions (which has been a problem for him in the past).
Bayern Munich took a 2-0 lead when Thomas Müller, Musiala, and Gnabry strung together one-touch passes and set up Sadio Mané. It was a brilliant sequence for the Bavarians and one that seemed to decimate the hopes of RB Leipzig.
I thought both Sabitzer and Pavard quietly were very solid in the first. The two players have been much maligned, but they were extremely steady. Pavard, however, did make a boneheaded decision of his own later.
Musiala was totally disruptive. His turns when receiving the ball were off-the-charts good and RB Leipzig just couldn’t handle him.
Lucas Hernández had a very strong performance as well.
Musiala’s overall disruptiveness also setup Pavard’s goal, which made it 3-0 before halftime.
André Silva’s second half header nearly put RB Leipzig on the scoreboard. The entry of Silva and Dani Olmo into the match helped turn the tide for Die Roten Bullen.
Marcel Halstenberg’s header in the 59th minute, however, would not miss and RB Leipzig cut Bayern Munich’s lead to 3-1.
Serge Gnabry put home the rebound of a shot from Müller in the 66th minute. Bayern Munich’s attack was relentless, but subbing off Musiala and Müller would prove to be detrimental.
From here, Bayern Munich lost focus and got sloppy. Part of that had to do with Müller being subbed off the squad, subsequently running around like a chicken with its head lopped off.
A risky and reckless challenge from Pavard gave RB Leipzig a penalty and Christopher Nkunku buried it to make it 4-2.
Toward the end, the lack of focus became a big issue. Forwards and midfielders were borderline cherry-picking, defense got a little bit sloppy and Olmo made Bayern Munich pay with a goal to cut the lead to 4-3.
In the throws of extra time, RB Leipzig went for it all, but left itself out of position and Leroy Sané found himself in a 1v1, which he won, and then deposited a shot into the net to clinch the victory.
Overall, it was a fun and exciting match…and hey, it was a win! There is a lot of room for improvement and Julian Nagelsmann is certainly going to have his work cut out for him in terms of deciding who is in and who is out from match-to-match, but this team has a ton of potential.
Daily Schmankerl: Cristiano Ronaldo headed to Sporting Lisbon?; Benjamin Pavard ahead of Noussair Mazraoui at Bayern Munich, but offered to Chelsea, Manchester United?; Benjamin Sesko looks legit; What did AS Roma do to introduce Paulo Dybala?; and MORE!

Pavard ahead of Mazraoui at this stage? Frenchman offered to United, Chelsea (Bayern Insider Podcast via @iMiaSanMia)
According to Sport Bild journalists Christian Falk and Tobi Altschäffl, Benjamin Pavard is open to leaving Bayern Munich, but the club is now reluctant to let him go.

Why? Well, Noussair Mazraoui has not quite won the right-back/right wing-back job just yet and Pavard might actually still be in Bayern Munich’s starting XI at this point:

Benjamin Pavard is open to leaving Bayern and Chelsea is an option for him. However, a move will not happen quickly as Noussair Mazraoui is not undisputed yet, and Pavard is still expected to start on the right side for the time being.

Chelsea FC is rumored to want Pavard, but if the Frenchman is in the starting XI as a right-back or a center-back, Julian Nagelsmann might push to keep the 2018 World Cup winner.

Falk added more context in Bild:

According to BILD information, Bayern professional Benjamin Pavard (26/contract until 2024) is not averse to switching to Premier League club Chelsea this summer. Apparently he’s just waiting for the right offer.

(Pavard) has it more difficult, among other things, due to the commitment of Matthijs de Ligt (22): The already dissatisfied Frenchman should toy with the idea of ??leaving Bayern. Pavard’s advisor is his longtime confidante Joseph Mohan. Pavard and Mohan are friends with Max Bielefeld: he switched from “Sky”, where he previously worked as a moderator, to Zahavi’s agency.

This is how the contact between the Pavard side and Zahavi came about: The agent has no official mandate, but will “friendly support” Pavard in the search for a new club. Through his network, Zahavi could find a club willing to pay the transfer fee – reportedly over €20m – that Bayern demanded. Pavard is considered a sales candidate in the club, even if Nagelsmann praised him: “I hope he stays. He is a fantastic and important player.”

In addition, Sport1’s Kerry Hau provided the following detail (as captured by @iMiaSanMia) — including that Pavard was offered to both Chelsea FC and Manchester United:

Within the club, there’s disagreement and different opinions as to whether selling Benjamin Pavard would make sense. Hasan Salihamidžic is still keeping the option of selling Pavard open, although Julian Nagelsmann insisted that he wants him to stay.

Pavard was offered to Manchester United and Chelsea in the past few days. He’s not an option for United as of now, but Chelsea consider the Frenchman as an interesting option. For the time being, we’re still far away from concrete negotiations. Nagelsmann could continue to use Pavard in the right-back position depending on how Noussair Mazraoui will fare in the coming weeks. Nagelsmann is a fan of the Frenchman’s solidity and reliability.

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Benjamin Pavard could leave Bayern Munich with the help of the club’s biggest nemesis
Wanner as a left-back? (Manuel Bonke via @iMiaSanMia)
If you are like me, you have probably looked at the Bayern Munich roster and wondered how Paul Wanner is going to fit in this season. The über-talented, future star has been moved all around in hopes of giving him an option to get on the pitch.

The 16-year-old has been patient as he as played a bit of central midfield, attacking midfield, and left-wing. Now, though, Wanner could find some field time as the back-up to Alphonso Davies. Depending on what formation Julian Nagelsmann runs, Wanner could be an option at left wing-back or left-back:

The coaching staff figured out an opportunity to give Paul Wanner playing time as backup for Alphonso Davies at left wing-back. The club had considered signing a player for the position – David Raum was discussed but in the end it was decided there was no need.

Tz journalist Mano Bonke added more context on the Tz website:

In practice, Wanner’s first priority is to get playing time on a regular basis. And the coaching team found a way to give the midfielder minutes to play: as a backup for Alphonso Davies (21) on the left. In the friendly against Manchester City, coach Julian Nagelsmann (35) sent his team onto the field in a 3-5-2 formation. Wanner came on in the 70th minute for the Canadian as a so-called joker or rail player — and did well against Pep Guardiola’s English star ensemble.

The greatest advantage of the German-Austrian born in Dornbirn: He is two-footed, so he has no problems hitting crosses with his left foot. In addition, he has an excellent shooting technique, which is why he regularly takes free kicks from the right towards the goal in training.

Wanner is one of the many reasons for fans to be excited about this season, but it is definitely hard to envision him getting any significant playing time based on how loaded the roster is.

Noussair Mazraoui talks his Bayern Munich move, training intensity, and team goals

In a wide-ranging interview for Tz.de, new Bayern Munich right-back Noussair Mazraoui talked everything from his move, to his faith, to training intensity (where have we heard that one before?), and his outlook at the club. We’ll bring you the highlights in a short series this week.

On training: Mazraoui isn’t even the first player this summer to come Bavaria to find a trial by fire in their new training environment. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

“Every preparation is exhausting!” Mazraoui exclaimed. “The German style is different from the one I’m used to. But I will benefit from it during the season…[compared to AFC Ajax] the intensity is higher.”

Granted, this year has also been affected by a clipped preseason due to the December start to the World Cup. That’s contributing to players needing to work their way to match fitness in record time.

But perhaps there was something to Thomas Müller’s famous wisecrack to Robin Gosens after last year’s EURO win over Portugal: “He [played well], but only for 60 minutes. He plays in Italy, after all.”

At Bayern — “one of the best, if not the best club in the world” — the standards are high, and so is the pressing. A physically demanding playing style is encoded in the club’s DNA. It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those with the loftiest ambitions, it will bring out their best — and help them to achieve their goals.

“I want us to win everything that’s possible,” Mazraoui said. “When I look at the quality of our team, we can win any title: the Meisterschaft, the DFB-Pokal, the Super Cup, the Champions League. I think anything is possible with this team. Everyone believes in it, and we must strive for the best.”

That winning everything is not merely possible but expected at Bayern helped make it an easy choice. Mazraoui arrived on a free at the start of the transfer window after his Ajax contract expired, and he had plenty of suitors — Arsenal FC and (surprise) FC Barcelona among them. But the choice was an easy one.
Made easier, of course, by the now well-known closing ability of Bayern’s new recruitment team.

“The people in charge didn’t give me the run-of-the-mill lectures; they were very personal with me,” Mazraoui said.

As for Ryan Gravenberch, who will remain his teammate through this club change, Mazraoui made clear they were each their own men. They discussed the possibilities — Mazraoui was confirmed first, while Bayern pursued Gravenberch in negotiations with Ajax — but little more than that.

“[Also for him], I live in such a way that I make my own decisions,” Mazraoui stressed. “After it was clear to me that I was going to move to FC Bayern, I said to him: I’m waiting for you now. For both of us, it was clear right from the start what we wanted to do.”

Still, it’s surely a little surreal that the Säbener Straße will be his new stomping ground. Mazraoui, still only twenty-four, spent seventeen years of his life at Ajax. It’s very much a fresh start, as he acknowledges, but also maybe an improbable one.

“I was never the greatest talent,” Mazraoui confessed. “I came into the pro ranks as an amateur…without a [professional] contract. You can’t say I didn’t have the potential. But it just hadn’t developed for a long time.”

That potential has certainly revealed itself now. At at FC Bayern, he’ll have one of football’s grandest stages on which to show it.

Lewandowski replacement inbound? Bayern Munich could pay up to €40m for Rennes striker Mathys Tel

It’s been almost a week since Bayern Munich made their most recent bid to Stade Rennais for their striker talent Mathys Tel. In that time, the French side have been mysteriously quiet, refusing to say a word in reply to the offer. The player himself has been left out of Rennes’ preseason campaign, and reports say that his locker has been emptied out. So what is going on?

Well, according to a report by Santi Aouna, Tel’s transfer to Bayern Munich is in its very final stages. The player could cost up to 40m euros including add-ons, making him one of the most expensive 17-year-olds ever. It’s not known how much of that is guaranteed, but the fee could be even higher than what Real Madrid paid to acquire Eduardo Camavinga last summer.

Four observations from Bayern Munich’s 2-6 win vs. D.C. United

It’s obvious to see why Bayern are doing this. The loss of Robert Lewandowski to FC Barcelona means that the club NEED a new striker. Beating DC United 6-2 is all well and good, but preseason games don’t hold a candle to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Even so, the signing of Tel seems like a huge gamble by the Bayern bosses. Per reports, he’s seen as the next Benzema — an absurdly talented French youth striker. However he barely has any top flight experience, and at only seventeen years old, he’ll need a few seasons before he can start contributing consistently for Bayern. For reference, he’s younger than both Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies when they started getting regular minutes at the club, and both those players were already exceptionally young.

Is this move going to work out for Bayern? Or will it be another Renato Sanches scenario? We’ll have to wait and see. Until then, Rennes maintain their mysterious silence, and we have no idea if the deal is even progressing or not.
Bayern Munich managed to put in a really enjoyable shift against D.C. United, scoring six. Thomas Müller’s goal wrapped up the night after Sadio Mané got the party started.

Back 4? Hybrid 3/4? Back 3? Back 2? Who knows?
It doesn’t really matter at this point because, well, it’s a friendly. But, Julian Nagelsmann tried a bit of everything and it does leave a lot of questions for next season. In the first half, it seemed like Noussair Mazraoui was the one in a hybrid role although Alphonso Davies was also pushing forward. The formation seemed to consist of a proper back four in the second half and I liked what I saw of Josip Stanisic.

Amazing opening 16 minutes by Bayern
The first 16 minutes was stunning from Bayern. All the combinations worked delightfully and it was so easy on the eye that it made me almost….dare I say…no I won’t because INNN will tell me I have jinxed things. D.C. United, a team which I believe is in midseason, seemed lost and did not have many answers. Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry seemed to share the responsibilities up front.

Praise for Paul Wanner, Lucas Copado, Josip Stanisic
I cannot believe Wanner is 16! It was an incredible performance from him as he ran rings around players again and again. Copado was impressive too in his half while Stanisic performed solidly in his half too. Stanisic might be pushed down the pecking order because of Bayern’s new purchases but I have always liked him and am interested in seeing where his career goes.

Thoughts on Joshua Zirkzee, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Müller
When Thomas Müller came onto the pitch in the second half, Bayern seemed newly energized and reorganized. The game had slowed down after the first 18 minutes or so but, even in the grueling D.C. heat. Müller’s leading abilities made Bayern seem like a superbly cohesive and fun-to-watch unit. He seemed the furthest player up although Joshua Zirkzee was also in that particular lineup.

Meanwhile, Kingsley Coman continued to deliver consistently as he has done ever since his Champions League winning goal. His consistency after his initial years at Bayern amazes me. He had a great game and created room for many opportunities including Zirkzee.
Sadio Mane cites German hospitality as part of the reason he chose Bayern Munich

Before moving to Liverpool in the summer of 2016, Sadio Mane spent two years with Southampton after joining from RB Salzburg in the summer of 2014. After six, well-decorated years at Liverpool, Mane has joined Bayern Munich in what’s been one of the most exciting transfers for not only Bayern, but the Bundesliga as a whole in recent years.

It had become clear that he wanted to leave Liverpool and he had made it clear to the club that that was the case. He parted ways with Jurgen Klopp’s side in the most professional and respectful manner possible, and for him, Bayern was always he preferred destination due to his pre-existing love of Munich.

Having spent a good portion of his career in Salzburg, Munich is a short journey away from the Austrian city that borders Germany and Mane recently revealed that he frequented Munich during his tenure at RB Salzburg. He recently told FCBayernTV that he used to “come to Munich frequently” and said that “the people are very respectful and nice.” He added that the way he’s been welcomed thus far since arriving in Munich after his transfer was completed has been “extra motivation” for him and his teammates have already been impressed with what they’ve seen from him at Sabener Strasse since he began full team training from last Friday (Sport Bible).

Mane leaves behind a massive legacy in Liverpool, having scored 120 goals for the club across a total of 269 appearances across all competitions, having won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. He’d won every trophy available to him at Liverpool bar the Community Shield, which is essentially the English equivalent of the DFL-Supercup.

With no indictment on Liverpool and Merseyside, Mane and Munich is a match made in heaven. It’s no surprise that he spoke highly of the German hospitality in Munich being one of things he loved most about the city. For such a humble player that routinely does work with charitable institutions back home in Senegal and donates money to build schools and mosques in his home city of Bambaly, he’ll fit in very well in Munich and at Bayern.
Bayern Munich star Leon Goretzka happy to see Ryan Gravenberch on the squad

When Bayern Munich inked former Ajax star Ryan Gravenberch to a contract, some wondered if the deal was some kind of indicator that the club was unsure about Leon Goretzka’s durability over the course of a long season.

Others, however, thought that Bayern Munich was eyeing up a long-term replacement for Goretzka. Whatever the case, the Germany international is not all that worried about it.

We already know that the midfielder does not mind the competition for his starting position, but now we understand that the 27-year-old just wants to be surrounded by the best possible team.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming (Gravenberch) to our team. We have a very tight schedule this season. In order to be able to compete for all trophies, we need a big and top class squad,” Goretzka told Sport Bild via @iMiaSanMia.

Goretzka, who dealt with a series of nagging injuries last season, is extremely vital to Bayern Munich. What he brings to the pitch physically as a box-to-box midfielder is hard to replicate — and his synergy with teammate Joshua Kimmich might even be harder to replace.

By all accounts, Gravenberch will be groomed to be able to step in for Goretzka when necessary. Just how much Julian Nagelsmann will need to use the 20-year-old, however, remains to be seen.

Bayern Munich striker Joshua Zirkzee has had a rollercoaster of a ride as of late. Zirkzee announced himself in the 2019/20 season when he scored in the 92nd minute to give Bayern the lead in the 3-1 win against Freiburg; he repeated the trick against Wolfsburg the next game. He also scored in the 6-0 win against Hoffenheim and helped Bayern move an inch closer to the league title by scoring in the 2-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

People started to think that the Dutchman could be Robert Lewandowski’s understudy, but things went downhill from there.

A disastrous loan spell with Parma in Serie A was followed by a moment that Bayern fans won’t forget in a hurry. In the preseason game against Ajax in 2021/22, Zirkzee rounded the goalkeeper and had the goal on front of him begging for the ball to be put in (phrasing). Zirkzee, who should’ve buried his chance, instead slowed to a walk and let the ball roll to give Ajax defender Perr Schuurs enough time to clear it off the line. That, coupled with some issues about Zirkzee’s playing style, meant that he wasn’t doing himself any good. So, he decided to take his talents to Belgium by signing for RSC Anderlecht on loan to save his career. Zirkzee thrived under the tutelage of now-Burnley manager Vincent Kompany, scoring in double digits and assisting as many goals.

Zirkzee has now returned from Belgium and he wants to impress Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann. Fitness problems were evident in the 21-year-old’s performance in the Monday training session, and if he wants to show his clout to Nagelsmann, he’ll have to push himself to emulate his Anderlecht form at Bayern.

Weekend Warm-up: Bayern Munich should finish the job and ink Matthijs de Ligt; What to do about Konrad Laimer?; Assessing Stranger Things; Throwing it back to Ben Lee; and MORE!

What a massive week of transfer news for Bayern Munich.

Robert Lewandowski had found out that “there’s no easy way” of Bavaria, while the front office has rekindled it once torrid love affair with Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt.

Way back when I started at BFW, De Ligt was one of the very first stories I covered. It was just some initial interest from Bayern Munich with the player and I watched that story evolve from De Ligt looking like he would ink a deal with Bayern Munich to his star exploding and drawing the interest of every big club in Europe.

While he was linked to Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and others, De Ligt ultimately chose a huge offer from Juventus. It can be argued (by some) that the move was a bit of a mistake. While he has still progressed and improved, Juventus has not been the most stable club and might not have made for the best learning environment.

With multiple coaching changes, the arrival and subsequent exit of Cristiano Ronaldo, and a pretty steady flow of upheaval, De Ligt probably was not set up to really make the best use of his time in Italy — but he still made strides in his game.

Now, though, the defender seems ready to leave the club and Bayern Munich is at the forefront of the pursuit. This time, the Bavarians should do what it takes to get the deal done and have a foundational piece at center-back to help lead the club into its next generation.

So, what do you say…should Bayern Munich buck up and get this deal done? Tell us what statement most aptly fits your attitude toward a deal.

Report: Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt suspends talks with Chelsea as Bayern Munich prepare a bid

This report comes from Bild, so take it with a grain of salt. However, if true, it means that Bayern Munich are serious about signing Matthijs de Ligt this summer. Per the report, the player’s agents have broken off all talks with Chelsea FC as they wait to see if Bayern and Juventus can reach an agreement.

Contrary to reports in Italy, Bild claim that Bayern Munich have yet to submit any bid for the Dutch defender. Hasan Salihamidzic flew to Turin yesterday to meet with Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini and discuss the subject of a transfer. The meeting lasted for around three hours and reportedly convinced the Juve bosses that de Ligt only wants a move to Bayern.

Finally, the report says that Juventus may be willing to settle for a fee of around 75m euros, and Bayern are still preparing an initial bid. This is contrary to reports from yesterday which claimed that Bayern had already bid €75m plus bonuses. German media had already cast doubts on the reliability of that report to begin with.

With the player already seemingly secure, Brazzo and the Bayern bosses now need to work on convincing Juventus to sell. What number will they finally agree on? We’ll have to wait and see.

Interested in some more transfer gossip? Why not check out our podcast? In our latest episode, we tackled the Cristiano Ronaldo to Bayern rumors, and also discussed whether a switch to a 4-3-3 makes sense for the club. Listen to it below or at this link.

If you like what you hear, please vote for us on the World Soccer Talk — Best Club Podcast award. It only takes a few seconds to vote and we’d really appreciate it! If you’re a Bayern fan, don’t let the scousers win!
Update: Bayern Munich will not sign Cristiano Ronaldo even if Lewandowski leaves

Update: July 6th, 3:30PM EST — Bayern Munich will not sign Cristiano Ronaldo even if Robert Lewandowski leaves
For those thinking that this is a negotiation tactic, Florian Plettenberg has confirmed that talks took place between Jorge Mendes and Bayern, but CR7 will not be moving to Munich. Lewandowski’s impending departure to Barcelona has no bearing on this.

Cristiano Ronaldo has never been in this position before. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is desperate to leave Manchester United this summer, but all his preferred destination clubs don’t want him. His agent Jorge Mendes has been offering him to the likes of Bayern Munich and Chelsea, but the interest has been lukewarm at best.

According to reports, the Portuguese superstar wants to go to a club that can compete for the Champions League, and Bayern fit the bill. Thanks to the work of his agent, the Bavarians have been mentioned as his preferred destination for several weeks now. Jorge Mendes is “pushing hard” for his client’s move to Germany, according to Fabrizio Romano. However, the interest doesn’t seem mutual.

With Robert Lewandowski angling for a move to FC Barcelona this summer, it has been speculated that the Bavarians could pick up CR7 and give him a leading role in the team. However, that speculation remains confined to media circles — there has been no concrete evidence that Bayern would entertain a move for the 37-year-old. Still, it hasn’t stopped fans from dreaming.

Now club CEO Oliver Kahn has come out and firmly shut the door on Ronaldo potentially moving to Bayern Munich. Speaking to kicker, here’s what the former goalkeeper had to say on the subject:

This lines up with earlier statements by club sporting director Hasan Salihamidizic, who said that Ronaldo was not a subject of discussion at Bayern Munich. No explanation was provided by Brazzo, but Kahn’s comment on the club’s philosophy is telling.

While we have reports that CR7 would even accept a wage cut to play in the Champions League next season, Bayern Munich do not see him as a fit for the team Julian Nagelsmann is trying to build. If you’re confused about what that means, we tackled this very topic on the latest episode of our podcast — “Should Bayern Munich sign Cristiano Ronaldo?” Spoiler alert: The answer is no, and the reason why is more complicated that you might think.

In many ways, the issues discussed above also fit for Chelsea, and any other top club currently meeting Ronaldo’s criteria. He doesn’t fit the projects at Liverpool and Manchester City, and PSG don’t seem like a suitable destination for him.

In a nutshell, top level teams have moved past the need for a superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo. Right now it looks like he’s stuck at Manchester United, and he won’t be happy about that.
Update: Sport1 challenges report on Bayern Munich’s rumored big offer to Juventus for Matthijs de Ligt

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