David Alaba will miss up to three weeks with the thigh tear he suffered on Saturday, Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac has confirmed.

Austria international Alaba was forced to skip the Bundesliga draw against RB Leipzig after injuring his left thigh during the warm-up at the Red Bull Arena.

Kovac's timeline potentially rules the left-back out of action until after the October international break.

He will miss Wednesday's home meeting with Red Star Belgrade and is in doubt for the club's second Champions League encounter, a trip to Tottenham at the start of next month.

"David will be out for two, maximum three weeks," Kovac said.

"Obviously, David is a really important player for us. Unfortunately he's going to be out for a couple of weeks but Lucas Hernandez won the World Cup in that position.

"He has a different interpretation of how to play at left-back than David does but he does a very good job.

"Alphonso [Davies] can play in that position, that's actually why we fielded him against Leipzig. He didn't play as a left-back but we fielded him so that he could work together with Lucas. Tomorrow is a Champions League game, it might be a bit different."

One man who could benefit from Alaba's injury is Jerome Boateng.

The centre-back, routinely linked with a move elsewhere during the transfer window, stepped into the starting XI at late notice against Leipzig and impressed Kovac.

"I keep saying the same thing about Jerome Boateng - he's a part of this team and as a part of this team I treat him like everyone else," the Bayern boss said.

"Everyone has the right to play here. Jerome didn't play a lot in the last couple of weeks, however, on Saturday he had to play from the first moment to the last and it was a class performance. I want to emphasise that.

"Of course, I have a lot of very good players. It was his first game [in the Bundesliga] and he played 90 minutes. That's a different rhythm from someone who plays once or twice a week.

"We'll have to see how he copes. I am happy with him and he will get chances to play, that's all I can say really."

Lionel Messi will get to decide his Barcelona future, regardless of when the star is contracted until.

Messi, 32, re-signed with the LaLiga champions two years ago, extending his contract until 2021.

But such extensions may not matter when it comes to arguably the world's best player.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CAN LEAVE BARCELONA AT THE END OF ANY SEASON

Messi can choose to leave Barcelona at the conclusion of any campaign regardless of his contract, according to El Pais.

The Argentina superstar made his debut for the club in late 2004, and his future is seemingly in his own hands.

It remains to be seen when, or if, Messi decides to depart Camp Nou.

ROUND-UP

- Philippe Coutinho eventually left Barcelona for Bayern Munich on loan, but it could have been different for the playmaker. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola rejected the chance to sign the 27-year-old, according to Marca.

- Left out of Juventus' Champions League squad, Mario Mandzukic is eyeing a January exit, according to Calciomercato.com. The striker was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United during the transfer window.

- Staying in Turin, Juventus could have signed Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng in the close season. Calciomercato.com reports Maurizio Sarri rejected a move for the centre-back.

- Ousmane Dembele was reportedly wanted by Paris Saint-Germain while they were in talks with Barcelona over a move for Neymar. But the attacker refused to leave because he is at his dream club at Barcelona, according to L'Equipe.

- Former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is reportedly in talks with Monaco, but the 55-time Italy international turned down a move to Scottish giants Rangers, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Left out of the England squad, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is worried he has no international future under Gareth Southgate, the Daily Star reports.

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has been charged with assault after allegedly attacking his former partner, prosecutors in Germany have confirmed.

In a statement seen by Omnisport, the Munich prosecutor's office said it opened proceedings against Boateng relating to "dangerous bodily injury" last year, before filing the charge this February.

Chief prosecutor Anne Leiding said: "The Munich prosecutor has, since the autumn of 2018, had a case against Jerome Boateng because of dangerous bodily injury and filed, after extensive investigation, on February 11, 2019, a charge to the Munich District Court."

Leiding explained the court is yet to open the case but had accepted an accessory prosecution from the alleged victim.

Police are also investigating another instance of alleged personal injury suffered by the same person – referred to only as "S" – two weeks ago.

Former Germany international Boateng remained with Bayern for 2019-20 despite falling out of favour with head coach Niko Kovac.

Club president Uli Hoeness advised the 31-year-old to seek a new challenge in May and he is yet to play in the Bundesliga this season, featuring twice as an unused substitute.

Leroy Sane will not be signed by Bayern Munich this year, the club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says.

The Manchester City winger, who has two years left on his contract, faces an estimated seven months on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Community Shield against Liverpool.

Sane is undergoing surgery in Austria this weekend, the Germany international opting to be treated by Professor Christian Fink rather than City's usual specialist, the Barcelona-based Dr Ramon Cugat.

Despite the 23-year-old being likely to miss most of the 2019-20 campaign, reports have suggested Bayern could still continue their chase for Sane even though Ivan Perisic has arrived on loan from Inter and Philippe Coutinho is set to follow from Barcelona.

However, despite the need to replace veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Rummenigge has ruled out a move for Sane ahead of the Bundesliga's transfer window closing next month.

"No, guys. Everyone knows what a cruciate ligament tear means and what the downtime is," Rummenigge told reporters on Saturday.

Bayern have confirmed a deal in principle is in place for Coutinho to join on loan from Barca for the season, with the deal for the Brazil international including a purchase option.

Rummenigge, meanwhile, would not say whether Bayern intend to keep defender Jerome Boateng at the club.

"I cannot say anything conclusive today about that," he added. "The transfer market is open until September 2. And then we'll see how the whole thing develops."

Boateng was an unused substitute as Bayern opened their title defence with a 2-2 home draw against Hertha Berlin on Friday, when Benjamin Pavard and Niklas Sule started in central defence.

Bayern have also confirmed Javi Martinez, who was not available to face Hertha due to injury, returned to training for Saturday's session.

Tottenham won the 2019 Audi Cup by beating Bayern Munich 6-5 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the final, Jerome Boateng's miss proving decisive.

Tournament hosts Bayern named a youthful side for Wednesday's game at the Allianz Arena, Niko Kovac's side having thrashed Fenerbahce in the semi-finals a day earlier.

Spurs seemed set to follow their Real Madrid win with victory over the Bundesliga champions by going 2-0 up thanks to goals from Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.

But Jann-Fiete Arp pulled one back for Bayern, who equalised in style thanks to a superb long-range hit from Alphonso Davies, only for Paulo Gazzaniga to deny Boateng in the shoot-out.

Manuel Neuer brilliantly denied Lucas Moura in the fifth minute as the Brazilian tried to turn home an excellent right-wing cross from Kyle Walker-Peters.

Benjamin Pavard headed over at the other end, but Spurs took the lead in the 19th minute.

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou burst clear of his marker on the left wing and delivered a low cross to the back post that Lamela slid in to meet.

Neuer's replacement, Sven Ulreich, did well to deny Son Heung-min after the restart but Spurs struck again in the 59th minute.

Harry Kane pulled the ball back for fellow half-time substitute Eriksen, who drilled home across Ulreich from just inside the box.

Bayern hit back almost immediately, however, as Arp raced on to Davies' flicked pass to slot home past Gazzaniga, who was badly out of position.

Ulreich needed sharp reflexes to block Kane's powerful left-footed drive, then Marcel Zylla had an effort blocked as Bayern sought an equaliser.

Bayern, already without Serge Gnabry, lost winger Kingsley Coman to injury shortly after his arrival as a substitute, with Spurs defender Juan Foyth also needing to be withdrawn.

But while Kovac might be short of wide options following the departures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Canadian prospect Davies issued a reminder of his talent when he whipped in a sensational leveller from 25 yards to make it 2-2 with nine minutes to go.

Bayern ended the 90 minutes on top, but Gazzaniga's save from David Alaba earned Spurs an advantage Eriksen spurned by firing his penalty straight at an unmoved Ulreich.

And after five straight successful scores for Spurs, Gazzaniga made up for his error on Arp's goal by diving high to his right to keep out Boateng's strike.

Marc Roca has a release clause in his contract but Bayern Munich have not made an offer to Espanyol, according to the Bundesliga champions' chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Midfielder Roca was a key part of the Spain side that triumphed at the European Under-21 Championship.

He has been linked with leaving Espanyol following the tournament but Rummenigge denied Bayern having a bid rejected for the 22-year-old.

"There has been no contact or negotiation with the club," Rummenigge told reporters.

"But I understand he has a clause in the contract."

Jerome Boateng was widely expected to leave Bayern ahead of the 2019-20 season, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested.

But Rummenigge indicated the centre-back could stay at Bayern after impressing during pre-season.

"He has behaved very positively within the team and collected bonus points," Rummenigge said of Boateng.

Meanwhile, Bayern target Callum Hudson-Odoi is reported to have signed a new long-term deal with Chelsea.

David Alaba admits being on Barcelona's transfer radar is flattering but insists his focus remains on Bayern Munich.

The Austria international has been linked with a move to LaLiga champions Barca in recent days.

Reports in Germany indicate Bayern are unlikely to entertain negotiations for a player viewed as one of the finest and most versatile left-backs in the world.

Alaba joined the Bundesliga giants as a teenager in 2009 and has two seasons left to run on his contract.

"Of course, it's an acknowledgement, it's an honour for me," Alaba told reporters in the United States, where Bayern are based for the International Champions Cup.

However, he added: "My focus is fully on Bayern here in America and on pre-season. I want to concentrate on the essentials."

Bayern are set to return to Germany following their final ICC match against AC Milan in Kansas City.

Jerome Boateng will miss the clash after leaving the tour for private reasons.

Boateng had looked headed for the Allianz Arena exit towards the end of last season, but boss Niko Kovac insists the experienced centre-back will not be short on opportunities during the forthcoming campaign.

"Should he stay, which is what looks like happening right now, he will have the same chances as any other player," Kovac said.

"He is doing very well and I am very happy with his performance so far in pre-season."

Borussia Dortmund would benefit from the experience of Bayern Munich outcast Jerome Boateng, according to Stefan Effenberg.

Dortmund were top of the Bundesliga table for long periods of the 2018-19 season but ultimately fell short as Bayern sealed a seventh consecutive title on the final day of the campaign.

And former Bayern star Effenberg feels Dortmund's young side suffered for their lack of experience in such situations.

Boateng has featured throughout the champions' run of triumphs but appears set to leave this close-season, prompting Effenberg to suggest Dortmund as an ideal landing spot.

"At Borussia Dortmund, they were missing one or two experienced players for the title - especially in central defence," the 2000-01 Champions League winner said in quotes published on t-online.de.

"BVB should therefore really think about Jerome Boateng. He would be the perfect stabiliser to seriously fight for the title and even win. Boateng is the player you need for the next step.

"And it would be quite realistic, because Boateng is done in Bavaria. Dortmund are definitely the only club in the Bundesliga that could do it."

Boateng, 30, held talks with Paris Saint-Germain last year and has been advised by Bayern president Uli Hoeness to leave the club.

Dortmund have already signed Nico Schulz, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt.

Niko Kovac is "100 per cent" certain to be in charge of Bayern Munich next season but Jerome Boateng should look elsewhere, according to Uli Hoeness.

Head coach Kovac successfully guided Bayern to the Bundesliga title at the first attempt and completed a domestic double with a routine 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday.

The Croatian is now receiving strong backing from above after courting criticism during the earlier stages of a campaign that started slowly and featured limp elimination at the hands of Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, speaking after the Olympiastadion success, denied Kovac's future has ever been in question and president Hoeness gave further guarantees as the celebrations continued on Sunday.

"A team wouldn't be able to play such good football if the understanding with the manager wasn't good," Hoeness told reporters.

"These reports [about a potential change] were all fairytales."

Asked directly whether Kovac will continue in his role, Hoeness responded: "100 per cent, yes."

Centre-back Boateng's future at the club is not so assured.

The 30-year-old, who held talks with Paris Saint-Germain last year, watched from the bench against Leipzig as he has done for long periods since the World Cup and could have his stay in Bavaria cut short of a ninth season.

Hoeness said: "As a friend I would advise him to leave the club. He needs a new challenge, he has seemed out of place recently."

Meanwhile, Bayern have confirmed assistant coach Peter Hermann will not return for a second season under Kovac.

Hermann remained with the Bavarian heavyweights after returning from Fortuna Dusseldorf in October 2017 to serve a second stint as Jupp Heynckes' lieutenant at the Allianz Arena.

Jerome Boateng will miss Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with Bavarian rivals Nurnberg on Sunday after suffering a knee injury in training.

The 30-year-old – who played the full 90 minutes in his side's DFB-Pokal win over Werder Bremen on Wednesday – was left bruised by a collision on Saturday.

While Boateng will miss the trip to Max-Morlock-Stadion, Arjen Robben has travelled with the squad for the first time since November.

The Dutchman – who will leave the club at the end of the season – has endured a torrid campaign with injuries but could play some part as Bayern look to take advantage of Borussia Dortmund's slip up on Saturday.

Dortmund's 4-2 defeat to Schalke means Niko Kovac's side can open up a four-point lead over them at the Bundesliga summit.

Niko Kovac has demanded defensive "responsibility and discipline" from his Bayern Munich side in Saturday's mouth-watering clash against Borussia Dortmund.

Kovac was stunned by his side's defending in their dramatic 5-4 DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against second-tier Heidenheim on Wednesday.

Bayern host Dortmund, who are two points clear of them at the Bundesliga summit, on Saturday and Kovac wants every member of his team to contribute to keeping their opponents at bay – regardless of their position.

"It's about responsibility and discipline," he told a media conference on Thursday. "I do not just start with the defenders, it starts earlier. You have to be ready, no matter what your level.

"France have become world champions because they played well but also defended well.

"It is not for nothing that titles are decided at the back. We have to come back to defending well, as individuals and as a team.

"That's what we have to go back to, but you have to want it even if you're an artist.

"It will be an interesting game. The team that makes fewer mistakes will win."

Kovac also waded into the debate over Jerome Boateng's reported plan to throw a party hours after the clash with Dortmund.

The club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic believes Boateng's decision is ill-advised – a view the Bayern boss broadly agrees with.

"Personally, I do not think he should have started this party, but on the other hand, everyone has to decide for themselves what they do in their free time," he explained.

Manuel Neuer missed the tie against Heidenheim with a calf injury, while Robert Lewandowski was only fit enough to be named as a substitute after suffering from illness.

Kovac said a late decision will be made on Neuer's fitness but he thinks Lewandowski – who came off the bench to score Bayern's winning goal from the penalty spot – will be "fine".

He also confirmed that David Alaba, who has missed his side's last two games through injury, has returned to training and could feature, but James Rodriguez has a problem with his adductor and could miss out.

Jerome Boateng's plan to throw a party hours after Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with title rivals Borussia Dortmund is ill-advised, says the club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

Boateng is reportedly set to hold a glitzy affair shortly after Bayern host Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, a game that could decide the destination of the title.

Salihamidzic, though, is unimpressed with the move and said he would have advised Boateng to select another date, with Bayern sitting two points behind the leaders.

"I said I would not do this as a player," Salihamidzic told reporters after Wednesday's thrilling 5-4 DFB-Pokal quarter-final defeat of Heidenheim.

"Especially if I have this kind of game ahead and you don’t know what the result will be. I hope and I am sure that we will play a good game but, if he had asked, I would have told him he shouldn't do it."

Thomas Muller was central to Bayern's comeback against second-tier Heidenheim, scoring to make it 2-2 before setting up Robert Lewandowski to put Bayern in front, although the Poland striker still had to convert a late penalty to settle matters.

"Conceding four goals at home is too much," Muller said in the post-match mixed zone. "But for us it's going to be important to improve where we made mistakes and be better on Saturday.

"Offensively we can continue like this, but defensively, the whole team has to improve and we have to grow with the challenge. Another thing that was off today was that we probably thought we could just easily continue like this, but in the cup, that can't happen.

"I am still a bit overwhelmed after the game. It's maybe a bit easier for you to analyse the game than a player who was on the pitch. It was a 'crazy thing'. Many things happened that we didn't like and that should bother us."

Coach Niko Kovac was also frustrated with the defending on show from Bayern despite his side showing character to fight back with 10 men, Niklas Sule having been dismissed after Leon Goretzka's early header opened the scoring.

"I'm very upset, because we have many international players, many players who have achieved so much, who play on a very high level in international competitions," he told a news conference. "And yet, they didn't manage to control the game to the end like they should. The way it is in Bundesliga and all other leagues, too.

"I'm satisfied with the morale the team has shown, with one player down, to come back and go up 4-2, and win it 5-4 in the end. That shows we have a lot of quality. But one thing is for sure and I said it time and again, including at half-time, before the game, during the game, we have to be more compact. Being compact is the very basis for being able to play forward.

"But when you concede four goals, I can't remember someone winning 5-4 in recent history, somebody should check the history books. So, I'm saying, you cannot concede four goals, with all due respect to Heidenheim, that can't happen.

"No matter if it's the second league, third league, fifth league or first league. That can't happen. That's what upsets me, but we won't play two games like this one within a week. You can be sure of that."

Bayern Munich will splash out a Bundesliga-record €80million on Lucas Hernandez after agreeing a deal with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Lucas is to join Benjamin Pavard in moving to Bayern for the start of next season as the Bavarian giants look to improve on a disappointing 2018-19 season under Niko Kovac.

But having spent such a huge amount on the Atleti star - almost double the previous league record - what are Bayern getting for their money?

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at how France international Lucas compares statistically to Europe's other elite defenders.

 

GOALS CONCEDED

Lucas has played just 14 times in LaLiga this season, yet his tally of only eight goals conceded is still mightily impressive. New Bayern team-mates Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have played 15 and 17 times respectively this term, conceding 14 and 15 goals.

With the France international on the field, Atleti have conceded 0.57 goals per game. Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has been on the pitch for 0.58 goals per game.

 

TACKLES

Lucas averages a huge amount of tackles compared to his peers, making 35 in total this season - or 2.5 per game.

That figure is more than double the number per match from Hummels (1.2), Boateng (1.12) or Van Dijk (1.06). Leonardo Bonucci averages only 0.59 and Thiago Silva just 0.68, although Milan Skriniar is a little closer with 2.0.

PASSES

One area in which Lucas might need some time to adapt is in how Bayern's defenders work on the ball. Playing for the pragmatic Diego Simeone at Atleti, the 23-year-old plays just 36.36 passes per match. Team-mate Diego Godin averages 33.86.

Unsurprisingly, those at other elite clubs make far more. Aymeric Laporte plays a massive 85.67, with Silva on 80.27 and Van Dijk on 79.68. Bayern pair Hummels (82) and Boateng (78.24) are also among the most prolific passers.

 

ERRORS

What cannot be questioned is Lucas' reliability at the back. He might have made only 14 league appearances in 2018-19, but he has not made a single error leading to a shot. The same is true of Boateng and Skriniar.

Van Dijk has made one, while Gerard Pique has been guilty of a concerning five.

Germany fans thanked Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng prior to Wednesday’s friendly against Serbia after Joachim Low said they were no longer in his plans.

Head coach Low shocked German football earlier this month when he announced the three Bayern Munich players were to step aside at international level.

The experienced trio all played an important role in Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph, but following an embarrassing title defence in Russia last year that saw them dumped out in the group stage, followed by a dismal Nations League campaign, Low opted to make radical changes.

Many have come out in support of the ostracised trio, criticising Low for publicly ending their careers for the national team instead of just dropping them, while the players themselves have voiced their displeasure.

Germany’s supporters showed their gratitude at the Volkswagen Arena, creating a display before kick-off that said "thank you" and included the respective squad numbers for Hummels, Muller and Boateng underneath.

RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann will make his international debut in a new-look Germany team against Serbia on Wednesday, while Manuel Neuer is preferred to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Head coach Joachim Low shocked German football earlier this month when he announced Bayern Munich stars Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were no long in consideration for international selection.

The experienced trio all played an important role in Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph, but following an embarrassing title defence in Russia last year which saw them dumped out in the group stage and a dismal Nations League campaign, Low has opted to make changes.

Many have come out in support of the ostracised trio, criticising Low for publicly ending their international careers instead of just dropping them.

Bayern goalkeeper Neuer is one of the few experienced campaigners remaining in the squad and Low's show of faith also extends to keeping him in the starting XI, despite pressure to play Barcelona's Ter Stegen.

But the decision to ditch the World Cup-winning trio has given others the opportunity to impress, with right-back Klostermann earning his first cap.

His Leipzig team-mate Marcel Halstenberg lines up on the other side of defence at left-back, while Jonathan Tah and Niklas Sule are the ones to benefit from the absences of Hummels and Boateng.

Julian Brandt, Leroy Sane and Kai Havertz will support Timo Werner in attack, but Toni Kroos and Marco Reus have been left out of the starting XI, with Germany due to face Netherlands in their first Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday.

Eintracht Frankfurt star Luka Jovic leads the line for visitors Serbia in Wolfsburg.

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