Arsenal could look to offload Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old has not lived up to his billing after being signed in 2019.

Pepe has scored once in nine appearances for the Gunners this season.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN SET FOR JANUARY PEPE SWOOP

Italian giants Milan are interested in signing Arsenal's Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe, claims Il Milanista.

Pepe has more than two years to run on his Gunners deal, having joined on a five-year contract from Lille in 2019 for a club-record fee of £72 million (€79m).

Arsenal may be willing to let Pepe go for a little as £25m in January.

ROUND-UP 

- Chelsea's Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta is on Barcelona's transfer radar, according to SPORT. The 32-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Tottenham have joined Inter in having an interest in signing Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, claims Kicker. Tolisso is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that talks between Gavi and Barcelona on a five-year contract extension are progressing amid interest in the Spanish teenager from Chelsea.

- Jose Mourinho's Roma are considering a move to sign Atletico Madrid's Mexico international midfielder Hector Herrera in January, claims Calciomercato. Atletico are willing to cash in on Herrera, who is out of contract in mid-2022.

- Manchester City target Theo Hernandez is close to completing a contract renewal with Milan, according to Rudy Galetti. The Rossoneri have reached an agreement with him until 2026.

- FotoMac claims Mohamed Elneny's agent has reached an agreement with Arsenal for the Egyptian to leave in January. He was previously linked with Galatasaray.

- Lens midfielder Seko Fofana has been added to Newcastle United's shortlist of transfer targets, claims Foot Mercato.

Bayern Munich are waiting to discover if Joshua Kimmich will be available to face Augsburg on Friday after he was in close contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed Kimmich missed training on Thursday as a precautionary measure and the Bundesliga champions are awaiting the results of his PCR test.

Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, was recently forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Niklas Sule.

Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Kicker reported that Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala – who are all unvaccinated – are being split up for the rest of the Bayern squad due a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Josip Stanisic was the latest Bayern player to return a positive COVID-19 test this week, with the Bavarian giants stating on Wednesday that the fully-vaccinated Croatia defender is isolating at home but feels "fine".

Nagelsmann revealed Kingsley Coman will miss the clash with Augsburg due to a minor muscle problem, but Leon Goretzka is fully fit.

The Bayern head coach will make a late decision on whether Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Alphonso Davies feature on Friday after they only returned from international duty on the eve of the game.

Bayern Munich have revealed defender Josip Stanisic has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Bundesliga champions on Thursday confirmed Stanisic, who is fully vaccinated, is isolating at home but feels "fine".

Stanisic came on as a substitute in Croatia's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Russia on Sunday.

It has been reported that another two Bayern employees have returned positive COVID-19 tests.

Stanisic's team-mate Niklas Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for the virus.

Joshua Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, was forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Sule.

The Bavarian giants returned to Bundesliga action with a trip to Augsburg on Friday.

It appears Raheem Sterling's future is away from Manchester City.

Down the pecking order, Sterling has been linked with Barcelona.

City, however, are believed to want a player as part of any deal.

 

TOP STORY – STERLING OUT, TER STEGEN IN?

Manchester City are interested in a swap deal that could see Raheem Sterling move to Barcelona in exchange for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to El Nacional.

Barca are reportedly trying to bring Sterling to Camp Nou, with the England international struggling for regular game time at the Premier League champions.

Pep Guardiola had previously tried to bring Frenkie de Jong to Manchester but Barca were not keen, though the City manager is now interested in goalkeeper Ter Stegen – who has been linked with Bayern Munich in the past.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid plan to extend Luka Modric's contract for one more season, reports Marca. The 36-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. He has previously been linked with Milan and Inter.

- Diario AS claims Barcelona are eyeing a move for Spain and Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta. The 32-year-old is out of contract at season's end.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are accelerating their efforts to sign Lille and Portugal star Renato Sanches. It comes amid uncertainty over soon-to-be free agent Franck Kessie, who is tipped to leave Milan following reported interest from the likes of Manchester UnitedBarcaParis Saint-GermainTottenham and Inter. Sanches has also been suggested as a target for Liverpool and Wolves.

- Calciomercato claims CityLiverpoolJuventus and Roma are targeting Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.

- Serie A champions Inter are pushing to sign Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic, per Gazzetta dello sport. Inter tried to prise the winger from Eintracht at the start of the season.

Real Madrid are trying to offload a pair of veterans to Tottenham. 

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale could be on the way out at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Spurs are reportedly only interested in one of them.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS WEIGH BALE REUNION

Gareth Bale could be headed for a permanent return to Tottenham, El Nacional reports. 

Real Madrid have offered Bale and Eden Hazard to Spurs but head coach Antonio Conte is not interested in his former Chelsea player. 

However, Spurs may pounce for Bale at a reduced price before he is out of contract following the season.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are interested in adding France defender Jules Kounde to replace Harry Maguire, says Todofichajes, which reports Sevilla will demand €80million (£68m) in return. 

Donny van de Beek wants out at United, according to the Metro, and Birmingham Live says Wolves will make a strong push to sign the Dutch midfielder, with Everton and Newcastle United also rumoured suitors.

- Fiorentina are willing to sell Dusan Vlahovic in January if an interested club like Manchester City or Tottenham will pay £70m for the Serbia international, says the Sun. Vlahovic has also been linked with Bayern MunichAtletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Arsenal.

Milan have joined Chelsea and Atletico in pursuit of 17-year-old Angers striker Mohamed-Ali Cho, according to L'Equipe. 

Barcelona will extend 17-year-old Spain sensation Gavi's contract for five years, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

Dean Smith's appointment at Norwich City is expected to become official Monday, says The Guardian. 

Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness mocked Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for their failure to win the Champions League despite their vast resources.

City were acquired by Abu Dhabi United Group – backed by Sheikh Mansour – in 2008, while PSG were bought by Qatar Sports Investments three years later, with the company's chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, becoming the club's president.

The two clubs have gone on to achieve extraordinary success domestically, with City winning five Premier League titles and PSG claiming seven Ligue 1 crowns since their respective takeovers.

However, neither club has managed to win the Champions League.

Both have gone close in recent years, though City were beaten in the final by Chelsea last season and PSG were bested in the showpiece event by Hoeness' Bayern the year before.

That was Bayern's second success in the competition since 2011, the other occasion being their 2-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund in 2013 after losing the final on penalties to Chelsea the year before.

Hoeness takes great pride in Bayern pipping their richer counterparts to club football's most coveted European trophy and insisted the Bavarian giants will remain ahead of both sides. 

"So far they haven't won anything," Hoeness said on the 11 Leben podcast. "Nothing at all. The two teams don't have a single Champions League title.

"They will continue to lose against us. Not always, but sometimes. That has to be the goal, and if we win against them, I'm really happy. This is what stimulates me to show them, 'your s****y money, that's not enough!'

"The difference between [PSG president Al-Khelaifi] and me is: I worked hard for the money and he got it as a gift. He doesn't need to work for that. When he wants a player, he will find his emir."

City and PSG were both drawn into Group A of this year's Champions League and the pair are battling for top spot in the table, with Pep Guardiola's men one point ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's side after four matches.

Bayern, meanwhile, have won each of their four group-stage games and are already through to the knockout stages, sitting six points ahead of Barcelona in Group E.

Germany's national team director Oliver Bierhoff has confirmed Niklas Sule is the player to have tested positive for coronavirus.

It was announced earlier on Tuesday that a member of Germany's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Armenia had returned a positive PCR test result and had immediately gone into isolation, though the player was not named at the time.

Four other players who were judged to have been close contacts also had to isolate, though no other positive results had been recorded within the camp.

At a subsequent news conference, Bierhoff confirmed Bayern Munich centre-back Sule was the player to have contracted COVID-19. 

Sule is double vaccinated, and the earlier update stated he had not shown any symptoms.

His club-mate Joshua Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, is one of the other four players to have gone into quarantine.

Kimmich, 26, explained last month that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

Fellow Bayern players Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala have also been forced into isolation, given they were part of the same travelling party to the training camp, while Karim Adeyemi also has to quarantine.

"The squad is still strong, and we will prepare for the two games in World Cup qualification from noon today and make them successful," said Bierhoff.

"The situation is not easy for the players, but there is no huge concern now."

Asked about Kimmich, Bierhoff said: "It was clear that if someone in his environment tests positive, he would be put in quarantine.

"Of course, that's difficult to accept when you have acted correctly and paid attention to everything."

Bierhoff was joined at the media conference by Germany's team doctor Tim Meyer, who explained the length of the quarantine will depend on the regulations set by the local health authority in Wolfsburg.

Asked if Gnabry, Musiala and Adeyemi were vaccinated, Dr Meyer said: "I won't give you any information about that. The vaccination plays a role in the decision, but also how close the contact was.

"I have already given my personal opinion on vaccination against COVID-19. Joshua Kimmich's opinion is also known. We have to accept that."

Dr Meyer added that four other players have been classed as contacts, though will be allowed to remain at the accommodation and will be tested again in the coming days.

Germany have also lost Florian Wirtz and Nico Schlotterbeck to muscular injuries, with Kevin Volland and Wolfsburg duo Ridle Baku and Maximilian Arnold added to the squad.

Leon Goretzka was delighted to send Bayern Munich into the international break on a high as his goal helped them to a 2-1 win over Freiburg.

The Bundesliga leaders ended Freiburg's unbeaten start to the season at the Allianz Arena, Goretzka's opener and a second-half strike from Robert Lewandowski proving enough for maximum points.

Julian Nagelsmann's team lost at home to Eintracht Frankfurt prior to the last international break.

But they were dominant this time around against Freiburg, Bayern's 29 shots their most of the season so far.

Goretzka, who also hit the post in the second half, underlined the importance of approaching the break with a positive result.

"We shouldn't forget that we played against a good team today," Goretzka said to Sky. "The most important thing was to win the game, which we did.

"It was incredibly important to score the second goal, because you can always concede at any time. Our goal was to win today as it's the last game before the international break.

"It wasn't a good feeling when we lost just before the last international break. Therefore we are very happy today."

Bayern Munich solidified their position atop the Bundesliga as they ended Freiburg's unbeaten start with a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

Freiburg were the sole team yet to taste defeat in the league this season, but they were always second best against Julian Nagelsmann's side on Saturday.

Leon Goretzka opened the scoring on the half hour and Bayern saw several chances to pad their lead go begging.

But Robert Lewandowski could hardly miss as he eventually made it 2-0, Bayern at least temporarily going four points clear of Borussia Dortmund in second despite Janik Haberer's late consolation.

Freiburg's defence had conceded only seven goals going into this game, but Bayern found consistent joy in carving a way through the backline.

Alphonso Davies was a menace down the left and forced saves from Mark Flekken twice in the opening six minutes before Lucas Holer could have put Freiburg ahead.

Holer should have done better as he fired wide and, after some fruitless probing from Leroy Sane, Goretzka punished Freiburg's earlier profligacy with a confidently taken close-range finish at the end of another well-worked Bayern attack.

Only the right-hand post denied Goretzka a second as Bayern upped the ante in search of a second after the interval, with Sane then lashing over on the volley.

It was Sane who supplied the final pass as Lewandowski put the game beyond doubt. The Poland international tapped in from point-blank range after Sane had combined with Kingsley Coman, but there was late consolation for Freiburg, whose reward for a strong finish came in stoppage time as Haberer wriggled free in the box and beat a frustrated Manuel Neuer.

Bayern Munich will attempt to end Freiburg's unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, with Julian Nagelsmann believing coaching counterpart Christian Streich could take charge of any team in Europe.

Freiburg are the sole remaining unbeaten team in the Bundesliga and trail leaders Bayern by just three points going into their meeting at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern have lost only one of their last 36 matches against Freiburg, but Nagelsmann is understandably wary of a team and a coach for whom he has great respect.

"A very likeable club that I have been following intensively for many years," Nagelsmann said of Freiburg.

"I have often played against Freiburg in the youth ranks and you can take a better look behind the scenes there.

"Overall, it is a very likeable club. They have a very solid team. Christian is an extremely positive character and an incredibly intelligent man. And of course a great coach.

"Freiburg will demand a lot from us, they have the most stable defence. Their discipline is very good, they get behind the ball with a lot of passion and speed."

Asked if Streich could coach Bayern, Nagelsmann replied: "Christian has unbelievable experience with youngsters and professionals and can handle players very well.

"The games against Freiburg are always some of the most demanding. Christian Streich could coach any club in Europe."

Unbeaten in 10 Bundesliga games, matching their longest ever run in 2011-12, Freiburg have conceded only seven goals in the league this season.

That record will be sternly tested by Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski, who has scored in each of his last five league games against Freiburg and already has 12 goals to his name this term.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking a second away victory in a week as the Champions League returns, with the 3-0 success at Tottenham on Sunday being his first in six domestic games.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will also be hoping for a win to seal qualification from Group H with two games to spare, having lost back-to-back Serie A matches.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea will expect more of the same after they both won 4-0 against their opponents last time out in the Champions League.

Stats Perform pick out the key Opta facts ahead of Tuesday's Champions League action.

 

Atalanta v Manchester United: Ronaldo aiming to hurt Italians once more

United are looking to record their 150th victory in the European Cup/Champions League, which would make them the first English side to reach this milestone, and fourth overall after Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Having failed to win in five domestic games prior to Sunday, pressure was starting to pile on Solskjaer. A third win in a row in the Champions League will boost confidence further.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be aiming to break Atalanta hearts as he did when he scored the winner in a 3-2 turnaround at Old Trafford on matchday three. Since returning to United, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in all three of his Champions League appearances – the last player to score in four consecutive appearances for the club in the competition was Ruud van Nistelrooy in April 2003.

3 - Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in three consecutive Champions League games for Manchester United for the second time, previously doing so in November 2007 en route to winning the trophy with the Red Devils. Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/eEYYnJpGV0

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 20, 2021

 

Juventus v Zenit Saint Petersburg: Allegri can cheer up Old Lady by sealing qualification

Things are not looking great for Juventus domestically, trailing Napoli and Milan at the top of Serie A by 16 points after Allegri's men were beaten by Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.

It has been a much smoother Champions League campaign so far, though, as the Turin side have won all three Group H games and will secure qualification to the knockout stage with a win against Zenit.

This will be Juve's 10th time facing Russian opponents in European competition, winning eight of the previous nine (D1) and they have kept six clean sheets. Zenit are also winless in their past nine away games in the Champions League (D1 L8). This is their longest run without an away win in the European Cup/Champions League.

 

Malmo v Chelsea: Blues can expect more goals in Sweden

Chelsea will be confident of another comfortable win against Malmo to go within a point of sealing qualification to the knockout stage. No team has conceded more goals than the Swedish side (11) in the Champions League this season, while only Besiktas (11.1) have a higher expected goals against total than their 8.7.

The holders are unbeaten in their seven meetings with Swedish teams to date, winning four and drawing three against them across all competitions. The past three have all been against Malmo, with each of them ending in Chelsea victories.

Malmo have lost seven of their eight previous games against English opponents in European competition, including each of the most recent four. The only time they have avoided defeat in such games came against Nottingham Forest in September 1995, winning 2-1 in the UEFA Cup.

 

Bayern Munich v Benfica: Bundesliga champions to mark milestone with another win?

This clash with Benfica will be Bayern’s 500th game across all European competitions, becoming only the third team to reach this milestone, after Barcelona (587) and Real Madrid (575). A win would not only be a fitting way to mark the occasion, but will also see them clinch qualification from Group E.

Bayern are unbeaten in all 11 of their meetings with Benfica in European competition, with eight of those ending in victories for the Bundesliga champions. They have faced Benfica more times without losing than against any of their other opponents in European competition.

It is also set to be a historic night for Robert Lewandowski, who could be in line to make his 100th Champions League appearance. The Poland striker has netted 78 goals in the competition to date, which is already the most by a player through their first 100 appearances in the Champions League.

Other fixtures:

Dynamo Kiev v Barcelona

11 – Dynamo Kiev's last victory against a Spanish team in the Champions League came back in March 1999, beating Real Madrid 2-0 in a quarter-final clash. Since then, they have faced Spanish opponents on 11 occasions in the competition and failed to win all of them (D3 L8).

9 – Since the start of the 2018-19 season, no full-back has provided more assists in the Champions League than the nine from Barcelona's Jordi Alba. This is three times as many as any other current Barcelona player in the same period (Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, 3).

Villarreal v Young Boys

8 – Arnaut Danjuma has generated eight shots following carries (moving five or more metres with the ball) for Villareal in the Champions League this season (six shots and two chances created) – only Vinicius Junior (10) and Jack Grealish (9) have produced more.

10 – Young Boys have not kept a clean sheet in any of their past 10 games in the European Cup/Champions League (W2 D1 L7), with their last one coming back in September 1986 versus Real Madrid (1-0).

Wolfsburg v Salzburg

1 – Wolfsburg have lost just one of their nine home matches in the Champions League (W6 D2) and remain unbeaten in six on home soil in the competition since a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in December 2009.

3 – Salzburg could become the first Austrian side to win three consecutive European Cup/Champions League matches since Rapid Vienna in 1982.

Sevilla v Lille

1 – Sevilla have only lost one of their past seven home games in the group stage of the Champions League (W4 D2), with that lone defeat coming against Chelsea in December 2020.

3 – Since scoring in six consecutive Champions League appearances between October 2012 and March 2013 for Galatasaray, Lille striker Burak Yilmaz has only scored in three of his past 20 appearances in the competition.

Nuno Espirito Santo's replacement at Tottenham will be no surprise.

Antonio Conte had been rumoured as the top choice.

The ex-Inter man looks set to make it official on Tuesday, barring any late hitches.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE SET FOR SPURS MOVE

With Nuno Espirito Santo officially out, Antonio Conte is set to step in at Tottenham.

According to widespread reports, Conte has agreed a contract through June 2023 and the move will be finalised on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old left Inter by mutual consent after last season.

The Sun claims Spurs will give Conte £150million to spend on new players.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Paul Pogba prefers Paris Saint-Germain over Real Madrid or Juventus once he makes his expected departure from Manchester United, Fichajes reports.

- PSG are eyeing Karim Adeyemi as a potential replacement should Kylian Mbappe leave, Sky Sport in Germany reports. The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg striker also has drawn interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

- Real Madrid's Marco Asensio will be in demand in January, with El Nacional reporting Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, Milan and Dortmund all have offers ready.

- Arsenal are eyeing Torino striker Andrea Belotti, says Calciomercato.

- Villarreal's Unai Emery is the new favourite to take over as Newcastle United manager, says the Mirror.

David Alaba said "everything is a shade bigger" at Real Madrid compared to former side Bayern Munich as he learns to cope with the increased expectation to succeed.

Alaba's 13-year association with Bundesliga champions Bayern came to an end in May after rejecting numerous contract offers at the Allianz Arena and joining LaLiga giants Madrid.

The Austria international has started 13 of Madrid's 14 matches in all competitions this season – only Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois have started more often – totalling 1,170 minutes on the field.

Alaba has featured in multiple positions and has instantly made himself a fans' favourite with the opening goal in the 2-1 El Clasico victory over Madrid's fierce rivals Barcelona on October 24.

That made Alaba the fifth Madrid player to net on his Clasico bow this century after Brazilian icon Ronaldo (2003), Ruud van Nistelrooy (2006), Raphael Varane and Jese Rodriguez (both 2013).

Alaba has also assisted a couple of goals, meaning only Marco Asensio (four), Vinicius Junior (12) and Karim Benzema (19) have been directly involved in more. 

With five clean sheets to his name also, it has been a positive start to a new chapter for Alaba and one the versatile defender is taking in his stride.

"I felt this special aura and atmosphere from day one," he told Kicker. "You can tell the history of this club when you walk across the training ground or through the city."

Asked how Madrid compare with Bayern, Alaba added: "Both clubs stand for absolute success. Bayern are one of the biggest clubs in the world, Madrid too.

"There's not much to separate them. But here at Madrid, without being disrespectful to Bayern, everything is just a shade bigger still."

 

Alaba arrived at Madrid shortly before Sergio Ramos departed on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, the long-serving captain having made 671 appearances for the club.

Ramos won four Champions Leagues and five LaLiga titles during his 16 years in the Spanish capital, but Alaba does not consider himself a direct replacement in defence.

"I came here to write my own story and play my game," he said. "I get the comparisons every now and then, but I don't really bother with them. 

"People accept that I'm here now and play my football. We are also different types of players who can hardly be compared with one another."

Alaba played a full part in Saturday's 2-1 win over Elche that places Madrid level with Sevilla and one point behind surprise leaders Real Sociedad, whom they have a game in hand over.

That was Alaba's 10th appearance in the Spanish top flight and he has already noticed a difference in style compared to the Bundesliga.

"Playing wise, LaLiga is somewhat different," he said. "Even teams like Levante and Alaves try to play football out from the back. 

"As a central defender I have fewer aerial duels after goal-kicks than in the Bundesliga. There it's played forward more directly.

"In Spain, on the other hand, a lot of stock is placed on ball possession, even by teams who are quite far down the table.

"It's hard to say which is tougher, but they're certainly different."

Thomas Muller hailed Bayern Munich's efforts after the Bundesliga leaders responded to a 5-0 thrashing by Borussia Monchengladbach with victory over Union Berlin.

Gladbach handed the Bavarian giants a shock demolition in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, the first time Bayern had lost by a five-goal margin since December 1978.

However, Julian Nagelsmann's side responded well with a 5-2 win against Union, who had gone 21 home league games without defeat before facing the reigning champions.

Leroy Sane added to Robert Lewandowski's first-half brace to put Bayern three ahead before Niko Giesselmann and Julian Ryerson struck either side of Kingsley Coman's finish.

Muller, who has scored against all the other 17 current Bundesliga teams bar Bayern, then netted to seal victory while adding Union to his list – the 26th side he has scored a top-flight goal against.

The 32-year-old was one of the more vocal figures after the Gladbach thrashing and he once again defended his team-mates and club after Saturday's game.

"You don't have to work on every little detail now," Muller told reporters post-match.

"If FC Bayern crashes out of the cup with a 5-0 loss, you have to be able to learn something, we're not made of sugar.

"Sometimes there is criticism that is a little below the belt. But we are not standing here comfortably.

"We are still out of the cup, the competition was very important to us. It's certainly not all great now."

Muller also explained how Bayern were expecting a tough task, given Union's impressive home form and the fact they had taken 16 points after nine games – their best return, joint with last season, in a top-flight season.

"We had to show a reaction," he continued. "Here in this stadium you never know what's going to happen.

"We had to accept the duels and take responsibility that everyone wanted the ball.

"We played a very dominant game, we should have scored a few more goals.

"Then came the Union response, they fought back and showed even more aggressiveness, played long balls but we gave the right answers with the goals."

Robert Lewandowski scored a double as Bayern Munich defeated Union Berlin 5-2 to keep the reigning champions top of the Bundesliga.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were thrashed 5-0 by Borussia Monchengladbach in Wednesday's DFB Pokal clash but Lewandowski's first-half brace settled any early nerves on Saturday.

Leroy Sane put Bayern three ahead away from home, although Niko Giesselmann hit back for Union – as did Julian Ryerson after Kingsley Coman had made it four.

Thomas Muller sealed the victory with just over 10 minutes remaining, netting Bayern's 38th goal after just 10 matches of the league season in a new Bundesliga record.

The scoring started from the penalty spot after Paul Jaeckel was adjudged to have handled the ball and Lewandowksi slotted into the bottom-left corner.

The Poland forward soon added a second as he rifled into the top-right corner following a short free-kick routine.

Sane was denied from close range by Andreas Luthe shortly after, but the Bayern winger made amends, tapping in Muller's cross, before Giesselmann pulled one back for Union, who also saw Taiwo Awoniyi's strike ruled out for offside.

Manuel Neuer was twice required to parry away from Sheraldo Becker after the interval, and those saves provided a platform for Coman to extend the visitors' lead again as he blasted into the top-right corner.

Ryerson turned in from Kevin Behren's cutback after 65 minutes, but Union's 21-match unbeaten run at home in the Bundesliga would not be prolonged as Muller finished high into the net.

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