Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have vowed to make €20million available to support Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga clubs struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The German football season is on hold at least until April 30 due to the spread of COVID-19, which has infected almost 40,000 people in Germany – the third most-affected European nation.

Suspension of the campaign is set to have major consequences on the finances of many clubs, with the situation forcing some to implement salary cuts or similar measures.

Players of Bundesliga side Union Berlin are waiving their salaries to aid the wider business, but a new approach from Germany's four Champions League sides should help alleviate the strain on many teams in the top two divisions.

A statement released on Thursday by the German Football League (DFL) confirmed the €20m support fund will be created by the four clubs initially foregoing "their share of the undistributed national media revenue of the DFL in the coming season".

That figure, which stands at €12.5m, will be supplemented by contributions from the clubs' own resources.

"This campaign underlines that solidarity in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga is not lip service. The DFL Presidium is very grateful to the four Champions League participants in terms of the community of all clubs," DFL spokesman Christian Seifert said.

Bayern CEO Karl Heinz Rummenigge added: "Together with the three other Champions League participants, we want to send a signal of solidarity to all clubs in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga with this initiative.

"In these difficult times, it's important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders. With this, we also want to show that football is standing together right now."

The DFL will decide on matters relating to the distribution of the €20m.

Liverpool have sent centre-back Nathaniel Phillips back to Stuttgart on loan for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

The 22-year-old was only recalled to Anfield on December 27 amid a defensive injury crisis for manager Jurgen Klopp.

Phillips made his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup win over Everton earlier this month, but it was confirmed on Monday he will now return to Stuttgart with Joel Matip (knee) and Dejan Lovren (hamstring) closing in on returns to fitness.

Stuttgart sit third in the Bundesliga II and Phillips made nine league appearances for them during his initial spell.

Hertha Berlin have signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart on "a long-term deal".

The 22-year-old, who earned the most recent of his three Argentina caps in November 2018, becomes Hertha's first signing since Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Ante Covic.

Ascacibar previously played two seasons of Bundesliga football for Stuttgart prior to their relegation last year and featured 13 times in the second tier this term.

He will join the rest of the squad for their mid-season training camp in Orlando and is in contention to make his debut when Bayern Munich visit the Olympiastadion on January 19.

"I'm happy that the transfer has been completed in the winter break," Ascacibar told his new side's official website.

"After holding talks with [sporting director] Michael Preetz and Jurgen Klinsmann, I believe I can continue to develop as a player here and that we can achieve a lot together. 

"I'm really looking forward to that and can hardly wait to get to know my new team-mates. We'll do everything we can to keep climbing up the table in the second half of the season."

Hertha, 12th in the Bundesliga after collecting eight points from Klinsmann's opening five matches, are also in the running to sign Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Liverpool have recalled Nat Phillips from his loan at Stuttgart to bolster their options in defence.

Phillips was due to spend the entire 2019-20 season at the 2.Bundesliga side but has returned to Anfield and will be available for selection from the FA Cup meeting with Everton on January 5.

Injuries to Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have left Liverpool short at centre-back, with Jordan Henderson having to play in defence for the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey on December 18 when Virgil van Dijk was ruled out through illness.

However, 22-year-old defender Phillips could yet return to Stuttgart next month.

"With their squad currently stretched by injuries and a busy schedule, Liverpool asked to recall the centre-back from his loan spell," a Stuttgart statement read.

"The two clubs have agreed, however, to look into the possibility of Phillips going back to Stuttgart at the end of the German winter break."

Phillips has featured 11 times in all competitions for Stuttgart this season, making seven starts.

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