Hansi Flick reflected on a "very successful day" after Bayern Munich dismantled Schalke to capitalise on Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig's defeat earlier on Saturday.

Defending champions Bayern won 5-0 at home to move within a point of Leipzig, who were beaten 2-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Head coach Flick was delighted with the way his side disrupted Schalke, a side also on the fringes of the title picture in fifth place.

Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara and Serge Gnabry were all on target.

"That was very good," Flick said. "Schalke were really impressive in the first game [of 2020] against Gladbach. But we play here at home and wanted to play our game, our philosophy.

"We wanted to disrupt the opponent early, put pressure on them early with a high intensity. We did this very well, especially in the first half.

"It was crucial that we got the three points. This must give us even more confidence. The quality in the squad is excellent, and if I can then lift them as I did here, I am very satisfied.

"It was, of course, a very successful day for us."

Muller, who scored his 100th goal at Allianz Arena, suggested Bayern were motivated by Leipzig's defeat.

"After the Leipzig result, we might have had a little more," he said. "Usually, there is only the 100 per cent - today there was maybe two or three per cent on top.

"Like against Dortmund [a 4-0 home win in November], we didn't want to give Schalke space. We are very happy with the game. We played well as a team."

Bayern Munich took advantage of RB Leipzig's slip up to move one point behind the Bundesliga leaders with a 5-0 demolition of Schalke.

Buoyed by Leipzig's defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt earlier on Saturday, Hansi Flick's side were dominant from the off at Allianz Arena, leading from the sixth minute when Robert Lewandowski lashed in his 21st league goal of the season.

Thomas Muller bookended a fine first-half display, with the terrific Leon Goretzka striking against his previous club with a sensational scissor-kick five minutes after the break.

Thiago Alcantara helped himself to a simple finish as the hosts ran riot, with a blunder from goalkeeper Markus Schubert – playing in place of the suspended Alexander Nubel, who will join Bayern at the end of the season – enabling Serge Gnabry to complete the scoring in the 89th minute.

Manuel Neuer's mistake handed Suat Serdar an early chance but his effort was tame and Schalke punished when Lewandowski thumped home after Schubert failed to deal with a cross into box.

Muller rightly had a goal disallowed for offside, before Schubert pulled off a fine save from Goretzka's close-range header.

Former Schalke star Goretzka did brilliantly to tee up Lewandowski for what appeared to be Bayern's second, only for VAR to deem Benjamin Pavard had strayed offside.

Schalke's luck ran out in first-half stoppage time – Muller nudging in his 100th goal at the Allianz Arena after connecting with Goretzka's cushioned header.

Schubert brilliantly denied David Alaba and Thiago in quick succession, but Bayern had their third when Goretzka volleyed in his first Bundesliga goal of the campaign.

Schalke's misery was added to eight minutes later, Lewandowski toying with Omar Mascarell before laying it on a plate for Thiago.

Bayern were not done there, however, and the hosts had their fifth when Schubert completely misjudged a curling effort from Gnabry and diverted it into his own net.

 

What does it mean? Pressure back on Leipzig

Julian Nagelsmann's side's 2-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt handed Bayern even more impetus and the Bundesliga champions are now in touching distance of leaders Leipzig.

It is turning out to be an enthralling title race, with Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund are also in the running.

Bayern host Leipzig on February 9 in what looks set to be a pivotal fixture.

Goretzka gives Schalke the blues

While Lewandowski has now scored in his past nine league appearances against Schalke, Goretzka was the fulcrum for Bayern. He teed up Muller before rounding off his performance with an exquisite finish.

Schalke's Bayern nightmare rumbles on

Schalke have now suffered 54 Bundesliga defeats to Bayern in 100 meetings, conceding 214 goals in the process, and are without a win against them in 19 matches.

What's next?

Bayern visit struggling Mainz in a week, while Schalke travel to the capital to face Hertha Berlin on Friday.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has already been impressed by Alvaro Odriozola, just two days after his arrival from Real Madrid.

The full-back joined the Bundesliga champions this week on loan until the end of the season, having made only five appearances in 2019-20 under Zinedine Zidane.

Flick will have Joshua Kimmich available for Saturday's game against Schalke after the Germany star returned from a ban, but Odriozola appears to be under consideration to make his debut despite having had relatively few training sessions with his new team-mates.

"I'll leave it open," Flick said on Friday. "He's making a very good impression, he's a good player. He's an attack-minded defender, he can introduce speed, he's very agile, his crosses are good.

"I'll decide at short notice. We have another option now, which makes us more flexible."

Regardless of whether Odriozola gets his debut at full-back, Flick is prepared to throw Kimmich straight back into action.

"Joshua Kimmich is a role model," he said. "He's 100 per cent motivated in every training session, he always gives it everything, he always wants to learn more and improve. I really like this trait. He'll play."

Flick, who says Lucas Hernandez is making "good progress" in his injury recovery and could be in contention to make the matchday squad, is eager not to become distracted by the form of Bayern's title rivals.

Bayern are four points behind leaders RB Leipzig, one ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach and just two above Borussia Dortmund and Schalke heading into matchday 19.

"I was very impressed by Schalke's display against Gladbach, how they pressed, how well they built up their attacks and that they won deservedly. It'll be a very tough match," he said.

"We're aware of the situation. We must focus on ourselves, it's important to live up to our full potential. We mustn't look at our rivals. They're all fired up and see a chance of winning the championship title this year.

"We must make sure we perform well and live up to our full potential in every match. Then it'll be like in the last few years: whoever wants to win the title must beat us."

Dortmund have strengthened this month with the signing of Erling Haaland, who scored a debut hat-trick in the 5-3 win over Augsburg, while Juventus midfielder Emre Can has been linked with a move to Signal Iduna Park.

"I've known Emre Can for a long time. He is a top professional with an excellent career," said Flick. "He has the quality to play for every Bundesliga club. He'd be good for every team.

"Haaland's debut was obviously impressive. That tells you everything about him."

Sevilla have completed the signing of highly rated youngster Ryan Johansson from Bayern Munich.

Johansson, 18, has signed a six-and-a-half-year contract with the Spanish side and is expected to feature for their second team – Sevilla Atletico – and the senior side before the end of the season.

A technically gifted midfielder comfortable in the middle and on the right flank, Johansson had been at Bayern since 2017 and was on the fringes of the first-team squad, having been involved in each of their past two pre-season camps.

But with the path to first-team football at Bayern blocked by a significant amount of talent, Johansson opted to make the move to LaLiga.

"It is a dream come true. I think Sevilla is the perfect club for me at this point in my career and I hope to play for the first team very soon," he said.

"It was a very easy decision for me to come here, where I can improve and help the team in the future. I think I can progress at first with the reserves and adapt myself to the club so I can make the first team, hopefully very soon."

Johansson has represented Luxembourg at youth level, although he is said to be attempting to switch his allegiance to play for the Republic of Ireland, the nation of his England-born mother's parents.

Bayern Munich have bolstered their defensive options by signing Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season.

The 24-year-old was a target of head coach Hansi Flick, who himself is under contract until the end of the season, and will give the Bundesliga champions more defensive flexibility as they seek to defend their crown.

Odriozola, capped four times by Spain, has only made four LaLiga appearances for Madrid this term, with the most recent of those coming in October.

While he is behind Dani Carvajal in the Madrid pecking order for right-backs, Odriozola could feature regularly for Bayern given their injury problems in defence.

His arrival may lead to Benjamin Pavard reverting inside to centre-back, where Bayern are short of options with Javi Martinez, Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule all sidelined.

In a statement on Bayern's website, chief executive Karl Heinz-Rummenigge said: "Following internal discussions, we decided to follow the wishes of our head coach Hansi Flick in strengthening the defence and decided to go for Alvaro Odriozola.

"We are delighted about the signing and thank Real Madrid for the friendly and cooperative talks."

Former Real Sociedad defender Odriozola joined Los Blancos in 2018 for a reported €40million and he featured in 14 LaLiga games in his debut term in the capital.

Bayern Munich have bolstered their defensive options by signing Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season.

Gareth Bale has returned to the Real Madrid squad for the Copa del Rey trip to Unionistas de Salamanca on Wednesday.

The Wales forward has not featured since the 3-0 LaLiga victory at Getafe on January 4, missing Madrid's Supercopa de Espana triumph in Jeddah and the 2-1 league win over Sevilla last week.

Bale has been brought back for the cup clash, along with James Rodriguez, while Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Rodrygo Goes have been given a rest and captain Sergio Ramos is still missing following an ankle problem.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane has also left out Alvaro Odriozola and Mariano Diaz, who are expected to leave during the transfer window.

Odriozola has emerged as a loan target for Bayern Munich and is reportedly travelling to Germany to finalise a deal.

Mariano, meanwhile, has been linked with Benfica and former club Lyon.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick praised his players for turning on the style in the second half to see off Hertha Berlin 4-0 at the Olympiastadion.

The reigning Bundesliga champions scored four goals in the final half-hour of Sunday's match to climb into second place, four points behind RB Leipzig.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring and Robert Lewandowski added a second from the penalty spot to pave the way for an ultimately emphatic win.

Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic were also on target as Bayern made it four league wins in a row and back-to-back away victories in the competition for the first time since March.

Flick was pleased to begin the second half of the campaign with all three points against a Hertha side that had not conceded in their past three outings.

"A four-nil win – not every team in Berlin can do that!" he said at his post-match news conference. 

"I think we deservedly won. In the first game after the [mid-season] break, with such a short preparation, it is not always so easy to know where you are. 

"So, it was great for us that we started the second half of the season with such a result."

Muller scored the all-important breakthrough goal and, in the process, became the first player to net every calendar year in the German top flight since 2009.

The Germany international, who also set up Perisic to make it 12 league assists for the campaign to go with his three goals, told Sky Sport Germany: "We made them tired.

"The gaps got bigger in the second half. In my opinion, we played too patiently in the first half. We didn't play bad, but we weren't really that dangerous.

"We let Hertha play in the first half, but in the second half we kept going."

Hertha boss Jurgen Klinsmann, who spent a season in charge of Bayern in 2008-09, claimed the game turned on the 72nd-minute penalty awarded to Bayern.

Lukas Klunter was adjudged to have pulled back on Leon Goretzka inside the box with the scoreline at 1-0 and Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot.

Hertha's first loss in five outings leaves them two points above the bottom two zone and Klinsmann told reporters: "Four goals is a bit much. I think we played well for an hour.

"We had two or three chances in the first half. Then the first goal comes, but I think the sticking point was certainly the penalty – it broke us a little.

"We have to get points against the teams that are around us in the lower half of the table."

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has softened his stance on wanting new players in January as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry have returned to fitness.

Bundesliga top goalscorer Lewandowski had groin surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in December and could not take part in the mid-season training trip to Doha.

Gnabry hurt his Achilles during the camp and only returned to full training this week ahead of the second half of the Bundesliga season.

Flick had stated publicly he wanted new signings to bolster Bayern's trophy push, comments that left sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic "surprised".

However, with Lewandowski and Gnabry ready to face Hertha Berlin on Sunday, Flick no longer appears desperate to bring in new faces in the transfer window.

"The injury situation has improved. Robert Lewandowski is back, so too Serge Gnabry, with a new haircut!" he told reporters on Friday.

"Robert is close to 100 per cent. He is an absolutely top professional and, when we were in Doha, he worked very well individually. Even when he was shooting, he didn't feel any pain.

"Lucas Hernandez will train on the pitch today. Javi [Martinez] and Kingsley [Coman] are a few weeks away. The goal is to have everyone together again in February and March, because then the tough weeks begin.

"It's true that I said [we need signings], but something has changed in the meantime. With the return of Serge and Robert, we've got two additions.

"I had a good conversation with Hasan and we both want to work successfully. When it comes to arrivals, it's important that players come to help us. I trust Hasan and his scouting department to make it possible for us.

"But that also has to be done carefully. You can't do anything crazy."

Bayern head to the capital in third place in the table, and they could be seven points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig by the time they kick off if Julian Nagelsmann's side beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

"We have to make a strong start. It's very important we start the second half of the season well," said Flick.

"We're all looking forward to it. We face a difficult task against a team that are very compact defensively. We must be prepared for that.

"We have the quality to become champions. Bayern showed last year under Niko [Kovac] that they can catch up. But we have to think from game to game.

"I don't feel any more pressure now than I did before the break. I really enjoy working with my team and coaching staff, but of course you're always under pressure, regardless of the situation."

Serge Gnabry completed full training on Thursday ahead of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with Hertha Berlin.

The champions head to the capital on Sunday for their first game in the second half of Germany's domestic season.

Gnabry was forced to miss part of the mid-season training camp in Doha due to problems with his Achilles tendon, which he sustained at the start of the month.

However, Bayern confirmed on their website that the 24-year-old winger completed the full 90 minutes of training on Thursday, including a match.

The news comes a day after top scorer Robert Lewandowksi returned to team training, the striker having undergone surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on December 21.

Gnabry has scored six times in the Bundesliga this season and set up a further six goals. Only Thomas Muller (11) has provided more league assists for Bayern this term.

Hansi Flick's side face Hertha knowing they could be seven points off the top of the table if leaders RB Leipzig beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

Thomas Muller will not make any decisions on his long-term Bayern Munich future until the end of the season.

The former Germany international has spent his entire professional career at the Allianz Arena, where he has won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokals and a Champions League medal.

However, Muller admitted back in October he was considering his options after finding his game time limited under ex-boss Niko Kovac.

With Hansi Flick now at the helm, until at least the end of the campaign, the circumstances have changed again, though rumours suggesting Muller may fancy a new challenge persist.

The man himself does not plan to rush a decision.

Speaking to Sport1, he said: "My focus is exclusively on being successful this season.

"What will happen in the summer, I will talk to the club and consider my options. Then let's see in which direction things will go."

It was put to Muller that talk surrounding his future would be put to bed by signing a new deal, with his contract at Bayern due to expire in 2021.

He replied: "With such a thing, all parties have to put their arguments in the pot. Let's see if we can make an agreement there.

"You just have to compare what all parties want."

Bayern are third in the Bundesliga after 17 matches, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig.

Barcelona appear ready to turn to their next coaching target as the LaLiga giants eye Mauricio Pochettino.

Ernesto Valverde is under enormous pressure after the Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid, but Xavi has reportedly turned down the job – for now.

Amid contrasting reports over Barca's next decision, they may be lining up a move for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA CONTACT POCHETTINO OVER COACHING JOB

Barcelona contacted former Tottenham manager Pochettino to be their next boss, according to RAC1.

It comes as widespread reports in Spain say Al Sadd boss and former Barcelona star Xavi turned down the position.

Meanwhile, Catalunya Radio reported Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman also rejected the opportunity.

After a meeting on Sunday, Barca decided to stick with Valverde for now, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reports Manchester United had agreed to terms with Bruno Fernandes, the Mirror says the Premier League club are set to bid £65million (€76.1m) for the Sporting CP midfielder this week.

- Tottenham are set to sign Benfica's Gedson Fernandes as further details about a possible move emerge. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Spurs will sign the Portugal international on loan with an option to buy for between £42.7m (€50m) and £51.2m (€60m) in 2021.

- Jerome Boateng continues to be linked with a Bayern Munich exit. Milan are ready to challenge Arsenal for the defender, according to Sky Germany.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, it appears Layvin Kurzawa's future is away from Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe reports the left-back – who has made just five Ligue 1 starts this campaign – recently rejected Inter but the Serie A club remain hopeful of signing the 27-year-old this month.

- Juventus are looking to the future. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are keeping an eye on teenage Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and AZ forward Calvin Stengs.

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has asked for January signings and the club are working to fulfil his request, but Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed Leroy Sane will not join this month.

Sporting director Salihamidzic addressed the media as Bayern take part in a mid-season training camp in Doha, Qatar.

He revealed Bayern are working with Flick, installed as coach at least until the end of the season following Niko Kovac's sacking in November, on moves for the present transfer window.

Salihamidzic had previously said of January: "I don't think much will happen."

However, at a news conference on Thursday, Salihamidzic told reporters: "Hansi Flick has assessed the current situation and has come to the conclusion that we need to strengthen. Hansi and I are in constant contact.

"We are considering every option, but it is difficult to strengthen our squad during the winter break."

However, Germany international Sane, long linked with a switch from Manchester City, will not be among any new recruits.

Salihamidzic did not deny Bayern would renew their interest at the end of the season but, with Sane still sidelined following a serious knee injury, a January deal was ruled out.

"It is not an issue for the winter [window]," he said.

Bayern have this month already agreed to sign Alexander Nubel, who will leave Schalke on a free transfer at the end of the season, seemingly putting star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer under pressure.

But Salihamidzic has assured there is an understanding with Nubel, 23, that Neuer will remain first choice for the start of the next campaign.

"Alexander Nubel will be a huge asset for FC Bayern," he said. "He is ambitious and a top character.

"Alexander knows that Manuel Neuer is our number one. He is looking forward to working with Manu."

Inter are seemingly nearing an agreement with Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, reports say.

The Denmark international is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move away from Spurs in January.

Inter are among the clubs reportedly interested in Eriksen and it seems the Serie A high-flyers are close to a deal.

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN ADVANCED TALKS WITH ERIKSEN

Inter are in advanced talks with Eriksen for a move ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

However, he reports Spurs are looking to sell Eriksen in January for at least €20million (£17m).

Amid uncertainty over his future, Eriksen has made just nine Premier League starts for Tottenham this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at San Siro, multiple reports suggest Inter are eyeing Manchester United veteran Ashley Young. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Inter and United are in advanced talks regarding the 34-year-old.

- Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked with a surprise move from Liverpool, with his contract expiring in 2021. However, Sky Sports reports the Netherlands international is happy at the European champions and wants to stay as long as possible.

- Arsenal are looking to strengthen in January, but the Premier League club are considering loan deals. Goal reports Arsenal are unlikely to make any permanent signings this month, unless an opportunity is too good to turn down.

- In a Premier League relegation battle and with injuries mounting, Aston Villa have held talks with Milan over possible deals for forward Krzysztof Piatek and goalkeeper Pepe Reina, according to the Daily Mail. Villa lost Wesley and Tom Heaton for the rest of the season to begin the year.

- Wilfried Zaha still looks set to leave Crystal Palace. The star's agent is said to have held preliminary talks with Bayern Munich, although a move to the Bundesliga giants is unlikely, according to Sky Sports. The Mirror reports Zaha's new agent, Pini Zahavi, is also trying to get the attacker to Tottenham.

- There continues to be talk about a possible move to Tottenham for Thomas Lemar. The Independent reports Spurs are considering making a loan approach for the Atletico Madrid midfielder, with a £51million (€60m) option to buy.

Manuel Neuer is thrilled with Alexander Nubel's impending arrival at Bayern Munich, but insists the goalkeeper's arrival will have no impact on his plans over a new contract. 

Nubel is set to follow in Neuer's footsteps at the end of the season, with Bayern having confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign the current Schalke goalkeeper on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has long been touted as Neuer's possible replacement for both club and country, though Bayern's captain is happy to welcome Nubel to Munich.

Neuer's deal expires in 2021, with the 33-year-old reportedly in talks over a new contract - negotiations he is adamant will be unaffected by Nubel's arrival.

"The Nubel transfer is irrelevant for my contract extension," Neuer told reporters at Bayern's mid-season training camp in Qatar.

"Of course I determine the requirements [of the contract]. I have the thoughts in my head, but of course I will not reveal them. Nothing comes out of me.

"It's a forward-thinking decision made by the club. Nubel is a top-quality goalkeeper.

"These factors are very important. It is therefore very important for me how the path with [coach] Hansi Flick continues.

"I have things I want to achieve with the team, and it's a lot of fun working together with Hansi. Together with the team, we can achieve anything.

"The club has always shown me appreciation. So far, we have not extended the contract, although I have no time pressure."

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