It would be better for German football if Borussia Dortmund pip Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title this season, according to Wolfsburg midfielder Maximilian Arnold.

Long-time leaders Dortmund opened the door for Niko Kovac's men last Friday after suffering a shock 2-1 defeat to Augsburg, and the reigning champions took full advantage as they thumped Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 the following day to pull level on points at the league summit.

Arnold – whose Wolfsburg side travel to the Allianz Arena on Saturday – does not believe a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title for Bayern would be healthy for the game in Germany, and he therefore wants to see Lucien Favre's side triumph this season.  

"If you look at the current situation, I think that Bayern will be champions," he told TZ. 

"But I think that it would be better for the Bundesliga and football in Germany if it was not Bayern. 

"They have won the title six times in a row and for a change it would be good if there is another champion. 

"It will be difficult for Borussia Monchengladbach [who are 11 points behind the leaders]. The only team that can handle it is Borussia Dortmund. With Marco Reus back, Dortmund will get back on track."

Arnold refuted suggestions that the Bundesliga is not competitive enough, pointing to Serie A and the Premier League as other examples of leagues with dominant sides.

"I would not say that the top in Germany is too weak," he added. 

"What about Juventus in Italy or Manchester City in England? There are many factors that make sure that Bayern is where it stands. For example, they buy very well and economic conditions also play a role."

Manchester City cannot be considered to be a club of equal stature to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but Pep Guardiola feels they are making steps in the right direction.

Since being taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, City have established themselves as one of the leading forces in the Premier League, winning the title on three occasions.

For the past three seasons they have been managed by one of the greatest coaches in the modern era in Guardiola.

The Catalan led Barca to the treble in 2008-09 and instilled a brand of football that won admirers across the world, including at Bayern, where he won three Bundesliga titles in as many seasons before heading to City.

Guardiola believes sustained success is needed for City to enter the same bracket as Europe's premier clubs and he is confident they are on the right path.

"The last decade, one of the teams to have grown the most is Manchester City. Not just in our period [together], but over the last decade," he said.

"To compare with Barca, we are far away in terms of history and legacy. We are far because we are one decade. But what we do is getting better and better.

"My humble opinion is we are making small, small steps and every time getting better. We made back-to-back [EFL Cup] titles, we won 100 points, we are fighting for all the titles.

"In the next years still being there, those are the best steps. [When you] compare with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, they have an incredible history of results. We are not there.

"The best way [to describe it] is that we feel far, far away from these clubs. That's the best way. At Barcelona and Munich I didn't go to work thinking about a legacy, it just happens.

"If we'll be remembered we'll see. We'll have to win more and more through the years. They are a step forward in many terms."

City are in pole position to become the first team to win successive Premier League titles since Manchester United in 2008-09, sitting one point clear of Liverpool at the summit with nine games remaining.

Jurgen Klopp's side were seven points ahead in January but drawing four of their past six games has seen a significant shift in the balance.

Guardiola does not feel suggestions Liverpool have buckled under the pressure take away from City's exploits and his point of view was similar with regards to the investigations into his club opened by UEFA and the Premier League, following allegations published by Der Spiegel.

A series of articles from the German publication, which drew upon documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks, included claims of impropriety with regards to circumventing UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, youth player recruitment and third-party ownership. City insist accusations of financial irregularities are "entirely false".

"I don't know what happens there [at Liverpool]. When you are fighting, people want to underestimate what you achieve," Guardiola said.

"I'm not too concerned or worried about what people say if we win the title and, just because of what is happening now with UEFA, they do not give us credit for what we have done. Believe me, I don't care. Absolutely zero.

"I know exactly what the guys are doing for the last two seasons and more and that is what remains, my feelings.

"If we have made mistakes we will be punished - it is what it is, on and off the pitch - but I'm pretty sure what we have done is incredible. Incredible.

"I don't know whether it is important for the rest of the people but it is important for ourselves. When we did it [win] it belongs to us and nobody is going to change that."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has given a clear indication that Bayern Munich plan to exercise their option to buy James Rodriguez.

The Colombia international joined Bayern from Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal in 2017, with the agreement reportedly including a €42million clause to make the move permanent.

James has only started 10 Bundesliga games this season under Niko Kovac, but Bayern chief Rummenigge says he is confident the switch will be completed - and insists everyone at the club is in agreement on the 27-year-old.

"I come out as a fan of James - he has an incredible left foot and, to me, is a world star," Rummenigge told Munchner Abendzeitung.

"We have until June 15 to use the option, so we have plenty of time left. But I have to say that everyone is happy with him and I'm confident that James will be playing at Bayern again next season.

"I'm sure Niko Kovac will be fine with it. He is now very happy with James."

Bayern face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday before attentions turn towards the Champions League second leg against Liverpool.

Kovac's men are waiting on the fitness of a number of key men, with David Alaba a doubt after missing their final training session on Friday.

Former Bayern Munich striker Sandro Wagner has warned Liverpool to expect an "angry" backlash from the Bundesliga champions on Wednesday following Joachim Low's decision to axe three senior stars.

Germany head coach Low announced this week that Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels will no longer be considered for international duty as he attempts to usher in a new generation of talent.

Bayern released a statement hitting out at the timing of Low's decision, with a Bundesliga game against Wolfsburg on Saturday followed by next week's Champions League last-16 second leg at the Allianz Arena.

And Wagner, a Bundesliga champion with Bayern for the second time last season before leaving for Tianjin Teda, thinks Niko Kovac's side will take out their frustrations on Liverpool.

"I'm sorry for the guys. All three are great players, world champions and great people - each in their own way," he told Bild.

"But I'm sure it'll be a positive for Bayern's season. Mats, Jerome and Thomas will now want to show everyone they are still at the absolute highest level.

"With this anger, the boys will blow Liverpool away in Munich."

Bayern held Jurgen Klopp's side to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg.

They will first look to keep pace with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga when they take on Wolfsburg this weekend.

Mats Hummels is not happy with the way Joachim Low dumped him from the Germany squad.

Low announced on Tuesday that Hummels, along with Bayern Munich team-mates Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller, would no longer be considered for selection.

Hummels has made 70 appearances for Germany and, along with Muller and Boateng, helped his country to glory at the 2014 World Cup.

The 30-year-old has now broken his silence to reveal that he is not impressed with how Low and the German Football Association [DFB] have handled the situation.

"With some distance, I would also like to comment on the decision of the national team coach," Hummels wrote on Twitter.

"Regardless of what I think is a reasonable sporting decision (which, of course, I respect), I can't comprehend the way it has been delivered.

"In my opinion, I have always had a good relationship with the people at the DFB and we have always been fair with each other.

"Thomas, Jerome and I gave everything for the national team for years and the way this has been handled doesn't do justice to what we've accomplished and achieved in my eyes. And that leaves me far from cold because I loved playing for Germany!

"For me, I can say: they have been wonderful years, 70 caps, far exceeding everything I once dreamed of as a kid. I was allowed to take part in four major tournaments.

"It was crowned by winning the 2014 World Cup. I will carry this feeling inside me forever and I would have really liked to have given everything again to repeat something similar."

Muller, meanwhile, took to social media on Wednesday to blast Low, saying: "The longer I think about it, the more I get angry about the way this happened. I was totally dumbfounded by this decision out of the blue."

Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac admits he was surprised by Joachim Low's ruthless decision to declare he will no longer call up Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng or Mats Hummels for Germany.

Low confirmed in an interview with Bild on Tuesday that the World Cup-winning trio will not be part of his plans for Euro 2020 qualifying.

Bayern issued a statement to criticise the timing of the announcement, with the Bundesliga champions facing Wolfsburg on Saturday before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool on Wednesday.

Kovac says the three players are upset by the decision, but he is backing them to respond by performing well on the pitch.

"I know that my players are disappointed - especially by the finality of it. To say a player is past it at 29, 30 isn't right," he told a news conference.

"The boys are fully focused now and I'm convinced that they will let their performances do the talking." 

Bayern head into Saturday's game level with Borussia Dortmund on 54 points at the top of the table.

Kovac thinks closing the gap to Lucien Favre's side has stimulated his Bayern players, although he is wary of underestimating a Wolfsburg side who have only lost four times in 15 away games this season in all competitions.

"I'm convinced catching up has inspired us," he said. "We were obviously dependent on the teams that played against BVB, but we had to do our job. Now it goes to the finish.

"This is a very important game for us. We're on a good run and we want to continue that at the weekend. Wolfsburg are also in good form - they are the second-best away team in the league. We need to be on red alert." 

Arjen Robben will miss Bayern Munich's Champions League clash with Liverpool with a calf injury, head coach Niko Kovac has confirmed.

The experienced winger sustained the problem in training this week and appears certain to be unavailable.

Kingsley Coman could be fit to play a part at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, though, having been battling back from a thigh problem.

"Arjen Robben injured his calf and won't make the squad," Kovac told a news conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg on Saturday.

"Coman is on his way back and we're hopeful for the Liverpool game. Arjen definitely won't be ready for that game. We expect [Corentin] Tolisso back at the end of this month."

Bayern held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the last-16 first leg and will look to follow Manchester United, Porto, Ajax and Tottenham in securing their quarter-final place.

Ajax, who drew 3-3 with Bayern in the last match of the group stage, provided one of the shocks of the season on Tuesday by beating Real Madrid 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to progress 5-3 on aggregate.

Kovac says the result made him feel vindicated for praising the Eredivisie giants.

"I had to smile a bit," he admitted. "When we played against Ajax, some people laughed at me for thinking Ajax have a good, young, high-quality team. This shows we weren't wrong in our analysis."

Bayern Munich do not fear Liverpool's visit in the second leg of the Champions League last 16, according to Franck Ribery.

The Bundesliga champions held Jurgen Klopp's side to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg last month, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of the clash at the Allianz Arena next Wednesday.

Liverpool have struggled to hit consistent top form in 2019, winning only four of their 11 games in all competitions and failing to score in three of their last four.

Bayern, meanwhile, have won all but two of their most recent 11 matches and their 5-1 thrashing of Borussia Monchengladbach last Saturday allowed them to move level on points at the top of the Bundesliga table with Borussia Dortmund.

And Ribery says they will be fired up to reach the quarter-finals when Liverpool visit next week.

"The games against Liverpool are very important. I'm really motivated," he told Bild.

"It's a very special feeling when you play in the Champions League. It's a different atmosphere.

"We're in a good mood and we're playing at home. Liverpool have a strong side but we are Bayern. We have confidence in our good performances and we're not afraid of Liverpool.

"If we play together and fight, then we can get into the quarter-finals, and then we have a real chance!"

Ribery is likely to feature against the Reds given Kingsley Coman is expected to be out with a thigh injury.

The 35-year-old has only started 18 times in all competitions under Niko Kovac this season, but he insists there is no problem with the coach.

"I'm fit for the game - I can play!" said Ribery, who returned to full training on Tuesday after overcoming gastroenteritis. "The decision lies with Niko Kovac, but we have a very good relationship and a lot of trust."

This season's Champions League has thrown up two more contenders for the greatest ever comebacks - and we are only halfway through the round-of-16 second legs.

Ajax stunned Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, before Manchester United made history of their own by overturning a first-leg loss to knock out Paris Saint-Germain.

United, of course, are no strangers to dramatic turnarounds in this competition, as caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows only too well from his treble-winning exploits of 20 years ago.

But where to these latest two results rank among the top Champions League comebacks? Have a look through our list and decide for yourself...

Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 agg), 2017

Barcelona remain the perpetrators of the most remarkable of all Champions League comebacks.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie with PSG, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored either side of a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, only for Edinson Cavani to grab what was expected to be the decisive strike for the visitors.

However, two quickfire Neymar goals – the second a highly controversial penalty after an apparent Suarez dive – levelled the tie at 5-5.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto struck to create a slice of Champions League history – no side had ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit before.

 

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 agg, Roma won on away goals), 2018

Comeback kings Barca were dethroned in the Italian capital last year as Roma completed one of the most unlikely turnarounds in quarter-final history.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the last eight on away goals after a thrilling 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured the 4-4 aggregate draw and sent the Stadio Olimpico into raptures, as Barca completely fell to pieces.

Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan (5-4 agg), 2004

Deportivo were among Spain's major forces just after the turn of the century and one of their finest moments in Europe came in April 2004 when, despite being 4-1 down from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with AC Milan, they stunned the Italians at home.

Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had Depor ahead on away goals before half-time, with Fran Gonzalez – who played for them in the second division in the late 80s and is still their record appearance holder – fittingly scored the fourth to make sure of their passage.

Depor were eliminated by eventual winners Porto in the semi-finals, but this comeback stood as arguably the very best in Champions League history until Barca went one better.

 

Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (AET, 3-2 on pens), 2005

That famous night in Istanbul. Liverpool found themselves on the end of a hiding at half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, as Paolo Maldini and a Hernan Crespo brace had the Serie A side 3-0 up.

But the second half proved to be one of the most iconic 45 minutes in Liverpool's history, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso levelling the match up by the hour mark.

Milan then failed to hold their nerve in the penalty shootout, as Jerzy Dudek's leggy antics in the Liverpool goal helped the Pole outsmart both Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko after Serginho blazed the first kick over, resulting in the Premier League side lifting their fifth European title.

 

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999

Possibly the two most dramatic minutes in the history of European club football.

United were trailing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 1999 final at Camp Nou, with Mario Basler's skidding free-kick into the bottom-right corner looking set to be enough for the Bavarian giants to end a 23-year wait for glory in the continent's top-tier competition.

However, the United of Alex Ferguson's era could never be discounted until the final whistle, and substitute Teddy Sheringham swept Ryan Giggs' shot into the bottom corner to bring the scores level in the 91st minute.

Solskjaer, another late substitute and now the man in the United dug-out, avoided the need for extra time by stabbing Sheringham's header from a David Beckham corner into the roof of the net as United completed an historic treble in astonishing fashion.

 

Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (5-5 agg, Monaco won on away goals), 2004

Monaco were an unexpected member of the last eight in the 2003-04 Champions League and had seemingly been put in their place after losing 4-2 at Real Madrid in the first leg, even if Fernando Morientes – on loan from the Spanish giants – netted their second late on to give them a chance.

A Raul goal nine minutes before the break in the return leg in Monte Carlo made their task even tougher, but Monaco rallied admirably – Ludovic Giuly pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, with Morientes then adding a second just after the restart.

Giuly – whose performances with Monaco ultimately earned him a move to Madrid's bitter rivals Barca – grabbed the decisive goal midway through the second half to secure progression, with Didier Deschamps' side finally halted by Porto in the final.

 

Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (AET, 6-4 agg), 2000

A 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge – having trailed 3-0 – had Barca in danger of being on the wrong end of a major 1999-00 Champions League upset prior to the Roman Abramovich era, but in the return match the Catalans showed their true class.

Tore Andre Flo's 60th-minute goal was sending Chelsea through despite Rivaldo and Luis Figo scoring before the break, but Dani Garcia scored seven minutes from the end of regulation to force extra time.

Rivaldo then converted a penalty after Celestine Babayaro was sent off and Patrick Kluivert wrapped things up, crushing Chelsea's dreams.

 

Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (5-3 agg), 2019

Despite their impressive display in their 2-1 first-leg defeat, nobody really seemed to think Ajax could turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergio Ramos certainly did not - he earned a booking so as to avoid the risk of a quarter-final ban, earning an extra-game suspension from UEFA in the process.

In the absence of their captain, Madrid completely capitulated amid a fearless and thrilling Ajax display.

Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the visitors 2-0 up after only 18 minutes and it was 3-0 just after the hour mark thanks to the inspired Dusan Tadic.

Marco Asensio got a goal back, but Lasse Schone's free-kick beat Thibaut Courtois and sent Madrid crashing out. It was the first time they had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie.

 

Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Manchester United (3-3 agg, United won on away goals)

Just when you thought nothing would top Ajax's thrashing of Madrid, United made history at Parc des Princes only 24 hours later.

No side had ever won a knockout tie after trailing 2-0 from a first leg at home, and with 10 senior players missing, including the banned Paul Pogba, United's chances looked slim.

Romelu Lukaku scored just two minutes in, though, and despite Juan Bernat's equaliser on the night, Lukaku struck again after a Gianluigi Buffon error to make it 2-1.

As the game crept towards second-half injury time, Diogo Dalot's shot struck Presnel Kimpembe's arm and the referee awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR review. Marcus Rashford scored it, United progressed, and the clamour for Solskjaer to be given the permanent manager's job grew louder.

Thomas Muller says he is angry about the way Joachim Low dumped him from the Germany squad.

Low announced on Tuesday that Muller, along with Bayern Munich team-mates Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, would no longer be considered for selection.

Muller has made 100 appearances for Germany and, with Hummels and Boateng, helped his country to glory at the 2014 World Cup.

And the Bayern attacker has not responded well to the decision by Low and the German Football Association (DFB).

"The longer I think about it, the more I get angry about the way this happened," Muller said in a video posted to social media. 

"I do not understand why this decision must be so final. I was totally dumbfounded by this decision out of the blue by the national coach. A national coach must take decisions. I do not doubt that.

"But Mats, Jerome and I are able to still play football at a top level. Together with the DFB we have come a long, intense and mostly successful way over the last years.

"Shortly after we learned about that decision by the national coach, we read prepared statements by the DFB and its president in the media. For me that is not a good style and it is definitely not a sign of respect.

"I was always proud to wear the DFB shirt. I always gave everything. It was an incredible journey. I am a fighter and I will look ahead now. The game's not over."

Bayern also released a statement from chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic that hit out at the timing of the DFB's decision, which was announced shortly before a Champions League tie with Liverpool.

"National coach Joachim Low has decided not to consider our players Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the future," the statement said.

"Basically, we do not comment on sporting decisions of the national coach, the nomination of the squad of the national team is solely the responsibility of Joachim Low.

"However, we believe the timing and circumstances of the announcement of this decision to the players and to the public is questionable. The last international match of the German national team took place on November 19, 2018.

"The fact that the players and the public got informed about three months later irritated us, right before the key matches of Bayern next Saturday in the title race of Bundesliga against Wolfsburg and just days later the crucial return leg in the last 16 next Wednesday against Liverpool."

Boateng, however, took a less confrontational tone when he posted on social media about being dropped by the national team.

"I am sad about this news because it has always been the greatest thing for me to represent my country," the defender wrote on Instagram. "Nevertheless, I respect the new course and understand the decision of the national coach.

"I was young myself and reliant on older players to make room for me. Personally, I am convinced that I can continue to play at the highest level and will continue to do so in the future.

"I will always look back with great pleasure on the time spent in the DFB team. I have always been extremely proud to wear the jersey of the national team and I will never forget summer 2014 in particular.

"Of course, I would have wished for another farewell for us. Good luck to the team for the future!"

Bayern Munich have confirmed David Alaba is closing in on a return to action after the Austria international completed a light training session.

A tendon injury meant Alaba missed Bayern's last game, a 5-1 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach that moved the defending champions level on points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Leon Goretzka have also returned to training this week to add to the options available to coach Niko Kovac, although Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman are still out for Saturday's home game against Wolfsburg.

Bayern host Liverpool on Wednesday in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, the two sides having played out a goalless draw at Anfield last month.

The club also released a statement from chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic condemning Joachim Low for announcing Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are no longer being considered for Germany selection.

Serge Gnabry, who signed a new Bayern contract to 2023 this week, has broken into the Germany team and he sympathised with the plight of his trio of club team-mates, who all played a key part in the 2014 World Cup triumph.

"I also only heard that after the training on my way home," the winger told a news conference. "I've been also very surprised like many others, like the whole country and the players as well.

"It's clear that it is a setback for the three of them. Nevertheless you have accept that and the guys got going today in training again. Their careers still go on and let's see what happens in the future.

"I have to look on myself but of course I'm sorry for the three of them. Nevertheless everyone has his own performance in mind. I don't bother if Thomas is with me or not, I also think that he doesn't worry about if I'm on the pitch with him or not."

Bayern Munich have hit out at Germany coach Joachim Low over the timing of his announcement that Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller will no longer be considered for selection.

Low confirmed in a Bild interview on Tuesday the experienced Bayern trio - all part of Germany's triumphant squad at the 2014 World Cup - are being dropped ahead of Euro 2020 qualifying.

Germany had an appalling title defence at the World Cup in Russia last year, failing to progress from the group stage, before suffering relegation in their inaugural Nations League campaign.

Boateng, Muller and Hummels have played 246 international matches between them and Bayern complained that Low and Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff arrived unannounced at the club's Sabener Strasse training facility to inform the players.

In a statement co-signed by chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, Bayern made clear the club's position on Low's latest move.

"National coach Joachim Low has decided not to consider our players Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the future," the statement said.

"Basically, we do not comment on sporting decisions of the national coach, the nomination of the squad of the national team is solely the responsibility of Joachim Low.

"However, we believe the timing and circumstances of the announcement of this decision to the players and to the public is questionable. The last international match of the German national team took place on November 19, 2018.

"The fact that the players and the public got informed about three months later irritated us, right before the key matches of Bayern next Saturday in the title race of Bundesliga against Wolfsburg and just days later the crucial return leg in the last 16 next Wednesday against Liverpool.

"Bayern have great respect for the athletic merits of Thomas, Mats and Jerome for the national team and German football."

Bayern have moved level on points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table, while Niko Kovac's men held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League clash.

Low's Germany, meanwhile, play Serbia in a friendly on March 20 before embarking on a Euro 2020 qualifying group containing Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Estonia and Belarus.

Serge Gnabry has signed a new contract that will keep him at Bayern Munich until 2023, the Bundesliga club announced.

Gnabry joined Bayern from Werder Bremen for a reported €8million in 2017 but spent the following season on loan at Hoffenheim.

This term, though, he has broken into the Bayern team on his return to Munich and has made 21 Bundesliga appearances for Niko Kovac's side, scoring six goals.

Gnabry's reward is a new four-year deal that will help Bayern address the impending loss of experienced wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, who are both expected to leave the club at the end of the season.

"I feel very, very good here. It's a lot of fun with the team," Gnabry told Bayern's official club website.

"Of course, I hope for many titles and great moments - and look forward to a good future with Bayern. Personally, I am currently doing very well, but I know that I still have potential and need to develop further."

Gnabry's previous deal was set to expire at the end of next season and Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is pleased to have secured the future of the 23-year-old.

"We are happy that we tied Serge to Bayern in the long term," he said. "He has taken a big step forward in his first season with us.

"Serge is one of our young guns and an important part of Bayern. We are confident that we will have a lot of fun with him."

Gnabry, who started his career with Premier League side Arsenal, has also broken into Germany squad and has scored four goals in five games for his country to date.

The attacker was on target in Bayern's 5-1 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday that moved Kovac's side level on points with leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern Munich-bound Benjamin Pavard is adamant he can prove the doubters wrong and be a success for the Bundesliga giants.

Pavard, 22, will call the Allianz Arena home from next season after Stuttgart agreed to a deal worth a reported €35million.

Bayern were persistent in their pursuit of the versatile defender despite the difficult season he has endured since winning the World Cup with France.

Stuttgart, seventh in the Bundesliga last season, find themselves in danger of relegation this term, but Pavard remains confident he can adapt to the pressures of consistently performing at the top end of the table.

"I've always believed in myself," Pavard told French broadcaster TF1. "It's not that I have a big head, it's that I have confidence in myself.

"I don't look at the comments. I play my football, I always give everything.

"I will prove to them that there is no reason to doubt me."

Pavard will link up with compatriot Corentin Tolisso at Bayern and another France international, Atletico Madrid left-back Lucas Hernandez, is heavily rumoured to be in line for a move to Bavaria.

Les Bleus playmaker Florian Thauvin has also been linked and Pavard would be happy to give the pair a ringing endorsement.

"They are friends, I'm very close to them, so it would make me very happy [if Lucas and Thauvin joined Bayern]," he said.

"And if the club was to ask me questions about them, I would tell them good things."

Germany coach Joachim Low has welcomed Marc-Andre ter Stegen's determination to challenge Manuel Neuer for a starting role as the national team's goalkeeper.

Bayern Munich star Neuer remains captain and Low's first-choice shot-stopper, leaving the Barcelona man frustrated at a lack of opportunities to represent his country.

In a recent interview with DAZN, Ter Stegen stressed he is determined to put Neuer under pressure and force his claim to a starting role.

And Low acknowledged the 26-year-old's right to make his feelings known, insisting he did not consider it an attack on his team-mate or coaches.

"I think it's absolutely okay what he said," Low told DAZN.

"It was not an attack towards Manuel Neuer or us coaches. He formulated his ambitions and he is absolutely right to do that because he became a really great goalkeeper in the last two or three years.

"We are happy to have two world-class goalkeepers in Germany. I said last year that Neuer is the number one, also because he is our captain. But this year we have a little restart and Marc will get his chances in the qualification for Euro 2020. The Euros are next summer, we have a little time left until then.

"Of course, there will be a fight [for the number one role]. At the end, the performances always count. Manuel made good performances at the World Cup, although he had a long injury before. Both goalkeepers are on a great level, so this year we'll see what happens. Surely Marc will also get a few games."

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