Julian Nagelsmann expects normal order to be restored against Bayer Leverkusen as he backed Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski to get back on track this weekend.

Lewandowski's run of netting in 15 successive Bundesliga matches came to an end prior to the international break as he failed to find the net against Greuther Furth and then Eintracht Frankfurt.

It is the first time since November 2019 that the 33-year-old has gone scoreless in consecutive league games, and he also failed to find the net in Poland's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Albania over the international break.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker will be looking to put that right when Bayern travel to the BayArena, but his average of a goal every 225 minutes against Leverkusen is his worst record against all current German top-flight teams.

However, Nagelsmann is convinced the prolific marksman will return to the scoresheet in Sunday's top-of-the-table showdown, with Bayern only ahead of their opponents by virtue of a superior goal difference going into the weekend.

"Normally the situation takes care of itself when you take into the equation his quality and the number of chances we create," Nagelsmann said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "I expect things to return to normal again on Sunday.

"Of course I speak to him, like I do every other player, but mostly about the things that he can bring onto the pitch. Even a player like Robert can go a few games without scoring a goal." 

 

Bayern's unbeaten start to Nagelsmann's tenure came to a surprise end in their most recent match as they fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Frankfurt, with that also their first league loss at the Allianz Arena since November 2019.

The reigning champions now face a tricky trip to Leverkusen, but the omens are on the visitors' side.

In the past eight such meetings between the first and second-placed teams in Bundesliga, the league leaders have lost only once – Leverkusen against Bayern in this corresponding fixture last season.

Nagelsmann is not seeking excuses on the back of the Frankfurt loss, a game in which opposition keeper Kevin Trapp made 10 saves – the joint-most of any keeper in Europe's top five leagues this season – with full focus now on Leverkusen.

"It would be too cheap for me to say it was simply a case of the ball not going in in the last match," Nagelsmann said. "We played very similar to our other games this season, but on this occasion we didn't score four or five goals.

"We've spent time working on that. Over the course of several games, we will continue to work and deal with issues in the same way. On Sunday we can take the next step in our development.

"You can see Leverkusen have had good results and they have as many points as we do. I prepare for such a game by watching the opponents' matches, reading about them, watching interviews.

"I've learned about the good spirit they have. They have a good feeling of togetherness in their camp. But in the end we are looking forward to a top game and it is one we want to win."

Nagelsmann confirmed Lucas Hernandez is in contention to start against Gerardo Seoane's side, despite facing a six-month prison term for breaching a restraining order following a 2017 conviction of domestic violence against his then girlfriend.

Hernandez will attend court next week, but Nagelsmann has no concerns over the defender's mindset.

"I've experienced a normal player, not one with any negative effects," Nagelsmann said when asked about Hernandez. "If I hadn't read about the story, I wouldn't have asked about it.

"He's trained well again today and made a good impression. If he's healthy then he will play both in this game and the Champions League match against Benfica on Wednesday."

Julian Nagelsmann fired a warning to defences across Europe by claiming Robert Lewandowski has a long time left at the top level – insisting the Ballon d'Or should come his way this year.

Although Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski turned 33 in August, there is no indication age is catching up with the Poland international.

His record haul of 41 Bundesliga goals last season came at a rate of one every 60.07 minutes.

That was the fastest rate of scoring across a campaign, in terms of minutes per goal, for any player with 10 or more goals in a Bundesliga season since the league was founded in 1963.

After missing out on Ballon d'Or recognition last year, when the award was cancelled due to the pandemic's impact on the global game, there is little doubt Lewandowski is a serious contender this time.

Bayern did not match up to their 2019-20 treble-winning feats, but they carried off a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title and Lewandowski was their spearhead.

"He deserves the Ballon d'Or – and in my opinion he has to win the award, because he has played more consistently than anyone else over the past three years," Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said.

Speaking to Munich newspaper Abendzeitung, Nagelsmann predicted Lewandowski would continue to thrive at the highest level into his late thirties.

"If Robert Lewandowski's body stays like this, it is far from over," said Nagelsmann.

"He is extremely dynamic, has no injuries, he can train a lot: I definitely trust him to play at the top, top level for a few more years – also because he aligns everything in his life accordingly, to be in the best physical condition."

 

In Bayern's triumphant 2019-20 Champions League campaign, Lewandowski netted 15 times, scoring on average once every 59.13 minutes. This term, he has four goals already in that competition from just 169 minutes on the pitch.

Lewandowski has said it "would mean a lot" to scoop the individual honour, and after being shortlisted his chief rival appears to be six-time winner Lionel Messi, who helped Argentina to Copa America glory.

Nagelsmann, meanwhile, is sitting tight when it comes to the future of Bayern defender Niklas Sule, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Sule has been linked with Chelsea and Newcastle United, and Nagelsmann is taking a wait-and-see approach to what comes next for the Germany international.

"It depends on his development and also on the market situation whether he wants to extend the contract or not," Nagelsmann said. "Then we'll see if it works for both sides.

"Niki still has to develop a little with his potential and then make the most of it as a very good central defender."

Robert Lewandowski is hopeful of landing a first Ballon d'Or, citing his remarkable achievements over the past two years.

Lewandowski was in incredible form as Bayern Munich won a treble in 2019-20, but the award was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the 33-year-old has maintained his incredible standards and was named on the 30-man shortlist for this year's prize.

Last season, the centre-forward broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of Bundesliga goals in a single season, netting 41 times in the league and scoring seven more across all other club competitions, the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues. 

Lewandowski has not surrendered that position this season, with his 13 strikes in all competitions lifting him above second and third-placed Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema, on 11 and 10 goals respectively.

The Poland captain feels his astonishing level of production makes a good case for him to win the award, despite competition from the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Benzema and six-time winner Lionel Messi.

"The possibility of winning the Ballon d'Or means a lot to me, it makes me feel proud, if you look at everything I've achieved, not just this year, last year as well when they cancelled the ceremony, I've won a lot of titles, scored a lot of goals," Lewandowski told Marca.

"It would mean a lot to me to win it, having won the Champions League, the Super Cup, the Club World Cup. Breaking Gerd Muller's record of [40] Bundesliga goals [in a single season] was also a big achievement, one which made me very proud and happy.

"Everyone can see what I have done and keep doing. My achievements speak for themselves because my last two years have been a big achievement, not just for me but for any player in history."

 

Of his many achievements over the last two years, breaking revered goalscorer Muller's record is one of the most special to Lewandowski, who surpassed the late Bayern legend on the final day of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season with a 90th-minute strike in a 5-2 victory over Augsburg.

"I have to say that I couldn't sleep well [the night I broke Muller's record]," Lewandowski continued. "I remember the week before the game well, I heard I was on the verge of breaking the record. Until then the importance of breaking it hadn't really dawned on me, not just for the Bundesliga but in terms of football history.

"The day of the match I thought "this is mentally tough because it's all anyone is talking about". I knew I was so close, on the verge of making history, it was hard, but after scoring in the final seconds of the game I said to myself, "this is like a Hollywood movie."

"I was very proud of myself, of my team-mates, because they helped me a lot to break the record. To be honest, I still can't truly appreciate the magnitude of it, but I know what it means to people, they remember that record stood for [nearly] 50 years."

After not being awarded in 2020, the Ballon d'Or – football's most prestigious individual award – is back up for grabs this year.

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi is the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers to win a record-extending seventh trophy.

Messi was, of course, among a shortlist of 30 players nominated on Friday, with that number to be whittled down to just three players next month.

Here, Stats Perform looks at five candidates for the prize… starting with the obvious.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona may be in turmoil, but Lionel Messi was still at his extraordinary best before departing for Paris Saint-Germain amid financial strife for the LaLiga heavyweights – albeit on the trophy front he won only the Copa del Rey last term. In 2021, Messi has 29 goals, nine assists and 76 chances created domestically for Barca and PSG. But it is Messi's triumph with Argentina at the Copa America that make him the favourite for a seventh Ballon d'Or, with the achievement finally marking his first title on the international stage. Messi had four goals and five assists as Lionel Scaloni's men celebrated success in Brazil.

Jorginho

It has been a year to remember for Jorginho, who has been one of the biggest beneficiaries following Thomas Tuchel's appointment as Chelsea boss in January. The deep-lying playmaker was influential as the Blues were crowned Champions League winners for the second time, securing the trophy thanks to a 1-0 win over Manchester City. Fast forward two months and Jorginho was celebrating Euro 2020 success with Italy, playing in every match for the Azzurri, who defeated England in the final via a penalty shoot-out at Wembley. His achievements have already been acknowledged after he was named UEFA's Men Player of the Year.

N'Golo Kante

Much like team-mate Jorginho, N'Golo Kante has been superb under the tutelage of Tuchel. Kante was a top performer as Chelsea defeated Real Madrid in the semi-finals and was named man of the match following an all-action display against City in the final. France's shock last-16 exit to Switzerland at Euro 2020 is likely to count against Kante, but he remains one the finest midfielders in the game.

Robert Lewandowski

Really the only thing that denied Robert Lewandowski winning a Ballon d'Or in 2020 was France Football's decision not to present the award amid the coronavirus pandemic. While there was no repeat of the treble-winning heroics of that disrupted 2019-20 campaign, Lewandowski has still been in astounding form for Bayern Munich and last season broke Gerd Muller's 49-year record for goals scored in a single Bundesliga campaign, netting 41 as Die Roten were crowned champions for a ninth straight campaign. So far in 2021 across Europe's top-five leagues, Lewandowski leads the way for goals scored (41) and big chances (as defined by Opta) scored (34).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Much like Messi, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo did not necessarily enjoy his finest year in terms of domestic trophies won. Juventus ended up in a disappointing fourth position in Serie A, while they were knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Porto. But he did finish as top scorer in the league with 29 goals and helped the Bianconeri win the Coppa Italia before he left to re-join Manchester United in a late transfer window move. Internationally, Ronaldo – at the age of 36 – finished top scorer at Euro 2020, where Portugal's defence of the European Championship was ended at the last-16 stage. In September, he became the record goalscorer in men's international football, as a brace against the Republic of Ireland took him to 111.

 

Ballon d'Or 2021 shortlist in full:  Cesar Azpilicueta, Nicolo Barella, Karim Benzema, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Jorginho, Harry Kane, N'Golo Kante, Simon Kjaer, Robert Lewandowski, Romelu Lukaku, Riyad Mahrez, Lautaro Martinez, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Gerard Moreno, Mason Mount, Neymar, Pedri, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez.

The winner of the prestigious prize will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on November 29.

 

 

The contenders for the Kopa Trophy – awarded to the world's best male under-21 footballer – was also published by France Football on Friday.

Barcelona's teen sensation Pedri, Bayern Munich talent Jamal Musiala and England trio Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Mason Greenwood have all been nominated.

Jeremy Doku, Ryan Gravenberch, Nuno Mendes, Gio Reyna and Florian Wirtz complete the 10-man shortlist.

Meanwhile, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ederson, Edouard Mendy, Thibaut Courtois, Kasper Schmeichel, Manuel Neuer, Emiliano Martinez, Jan Oblak, Keylor Navas and Samir Handanovic are in the running for the Yachine Trophy, which is awarded to the best goalkeeper of the year. 

Dusan Vlahovic decision not to extend his Fiorentina contract is set to spark a bidding war.

Fiorentina had been hopeful of re-signing their star forward.

Now, Europe's elite are reportedly queuing up to sign the Serbia international.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC EYEING JUVE MOVE

Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic is dreaming of a move to Juventus, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Vlahovic's future is a hot topic after Fiorentina announced the Serbia international will not re-sign in Florence.

Contracted to Fiorentina until 2023, Vlahovic has been tipped to make the move to Juve like former Viola team-mate Federico Chiesa, while Manchester City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Inter and Arsenal have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport says City forward Raheem Sterling is open to a loan move to Barcelona in January. Sterling has found himself out of favour under Pep Guardiola in Manchester.

Manchester United are prioritising a new right-back in January to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, reports 90min. Rangers' Nathan Patterson and Max Aarons of Norwich City have been linked.

- It is only a matter of weeks before Lautaro Martinez extends his Inter contract, per Fabrizio Romano. Inter are also set to open talks with midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

- Roma have re-opened talks to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Zakaria is out of contract at the end of the season, though Roma are set to try to bring in the Gladbach star in January. 

- The Daily Mail claims Tottenham are eyeing Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juve, Real Madrid and Atletico.

Milan are monitoring Salzburg trio Luka Sucic, Brenden Aaronson and Maurtis Kjaergaard, according to Calciomercato.

Antonio Rudiger is honoured by rumoured interest from Bayern Munich, but the defender is focused only on performing well for Chelsea.

The centre-back has become integral for the Blues since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, with only Cesar Azpilicueta (2,054) playing more Premier League minutes under the German coach.

No Chelsea player has managed a better tackle success rate than the 71.88 per cent posted by Rudiger, who had struggled for minutes towards the end of Frank Lampard's reign.

However, the 28-year-old's long-term future at Stamford Bridge remains unclear. He is out of contract at the end of the campaign, leading to rumours of a move elsewhere on a free transfer.

Bayern have been one of the clubs linked to Rudiger, who spoke about the speculation while on international duty with Germany.

"It honours you, but I don't allow myself to be distracted too much," he told the media on Tuesday.

"I have certain obligations to my club and that is to perform. But it also shows that you have done a lot right in the past months and years."

Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann was asked about Rudiger recently and while refusing to discuss the player's possible arrival at the Allianz Arena, he did offer praise for his development.

"I'm not talking about players from other clubs, particularly outside of the transfer window," Nagelsmann said. "But I will speak of him as a football fan: he has developed very well.

"Thomas Tuchel has coached him well. Before he was sidelined at Chelsea, but now he is a crucial player. I can't say anything else.

"Believe it or not, I haven't spoken to Brazzo [Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic] about it yet. Even if I had, I wouldn't give that away.

"I have to see how long he still has to go on his contract. Then I will see if I have any money in my wallet."

Dayot Upamecano joined Bayern in the previous transfer window, adding to a squad that already boasted Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez, plus youngsters Josip Stanisic and Tanguy Nianzou.

Arsenal spent almost £150million on new recruits during the last transfer window.

But the club are reportedly set to let Alexandre Lacazette go, leaving them short in experienced attacking options.

Manager Mikel Arteta is known as a meticulous planner and wants to be ready for Lacazette's departure.


TOP STORY – GUNNERS SET SIGHTS ON DCL AND WATKINS

Arsenal have Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins in their sights as they plan for Lacazette's exit, so say The Sun.

Lacazette is in the final year of his contract and the Gunners are unlikely to offer him a new deal, meaning he will depart either in January or at the end of the season as a free agent.

Arteta wants back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and has the England forwards on the club's shortlist.

 

ROUND-UP

– Cash-strapped Barcelona have €16m to spend in the January transfer window according to Mundo Deportivo, with the publication also claiming Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is among their top targets, potentially on loan given their financial challenges.

Robert Lewandowski appears to have had a change of heart and will renew his deal with Bayern Munich, reports Fichajes. The star striker had been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga champions.

– MilanNews.it reports that Milan are in negotiations with head coach Stefano Pioli about extending his contract following a bright start to the season.

– Man City are keeping an eye on Barcelona's 19-year-old midfielder Nico Gonzalez, according to Fichajes.

What does the future hold for Erling Haaland?

The Borussia Dortmund forward is wanted across Europe.

However, Haaland could remain in Germany…

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR DORTMUND STAY?

Erling Haaland is a player in demand but he is not certain to leave Borussia Dortmund, according to Sport Bild.

Haaland has been tipped to depart Dortmund at the end of the season amid links with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

But Norwegian pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft suggests Haaland could remain at the Bundesliga outfit for longer than many expect.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sports Italian claims Fiorentina chairman Rocco Commisso is concerned whether star forward Dusan Vlahovic intends to sign a new contract with Viola. Contracted until 2023, the Serbia international has been in talks regarding a new deal as the likes of City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Inter reportedly circle.

- United are still backing under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Tuttomercatoweb reports Atletico have joined the race to sign Chelsea's Timo Werner, who has found himself behind Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge. Bayern and Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing Werner.

Madrid have been offered the chance to sign RB Leipzig Christopher Nkunku in 2022, says Mundo Deportivo.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann defended Dayot Upamecano's performance in Sunday's 2-1 Bundesliga upset at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.

A run of 30 matches without defeat at home was snapped by Eintracht, who stunned the Bundesliga champions and leaders thanks to Martin Hinteregger and Filip Kostic at Allianz Arena.

Upamecano was criticised following his display, with the off-season recruit from RB Leipzig punished for losing possession as Kostic scored the 83rd-minute winner.

Asked about France international centre-back Upamecano, Nagelsmann told reporters: "I didn't have a conversation with Dayot Upamecano yet. After the game, there is sadly no time for me.

"The whole chain, has done a lot of steps forward in the recent weeks. They have done it better before though. They were all not so clear with their actions.

"That's why the opponent had that many counter attacks. Kostic has done it very hard for us today and has scored the goal in that duel.

"Upa has played a lot of good games since he is here and today a weaker one. That can happen."

 

Bayern had been in scintillating form heading into this match against Eintracht, whom they had beaten in 12 successive home league matches prior to Sunday's visit.

Nagelsmann's Bayern, who last tasted defeat on home soil in the German top flight against Bayer Leverkusen some 31 games ago, are now level with the latter atop the summit heading into the international break.

"First of all, congratulations Oliver [Glasner] and your team," Nagelsmann said after Leon Goretzka's 29th-minute opener was cancelled out within three minutes. "I think this was a game, which we didn't need to lose. It started to look like this in the second half, where we did not have a good structure anymore. This game wasn't a lot different, from the games before, just the result was.

"We did have a lot of chances today and unlike in [Dynamo] Kiev and Bochum, we just didn't score the goals. We only scored one, which could have been enough. Despite that, the game was very similar. Now it is the international break and we will have some time afterwards to go over those scenarios. There is a lot to take out of the last three games, where we could have done similar things better, want to make better and will do better. In the end, there were two very dangerous counter attacks. Once we had a lot of luck, that Frankfurt did not pass the ball deeper earlier, to then go 2-0 ahead.

"Instead Manuel [Neuer] was able to get the ball. With the goal we conceded, we had a feeling in the second half. [Djibril] Sow had a lot of time on the ball and dribbled four metres sideways. That was most of the time like this. Very rarely, Frankfurt had the pressure to pass the ball into the depth. Instead, they had a lot of time in their actions. That cost us the true pressure-phase in the second half.

"We weren't able to build up the pressure, from a secured defence. In nine out of 10 situations, we got out of our box. We had to run then back into that deep block, then one counter, we couldn't get and that went in. Whether we deserved it or not, we had 20 shots on target to their five and it doesn't matter if it was deserved. We lost. Frankfurt did well and we could have done a lot of things better to win. It is like this now, that's why I will still continue and we will look forward to the game against Leverkusen after the international break."

Thomas Muller was left "disappointed, angry and upset" after Bayern Munich's unbeaten start to Julian Nagelsmann's tenure was brought to an end with a shock 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Bayern had gone 10 without defeat in competitive games since Nagelsmann replaced Hansi Flick, winning the last nine of those, but they came unstuck at Allianz Arena on Sunday.

Leon Goretzka deservedly put the reigning champions in front, only for Martin Hinteregger to equalise before half-time and Filip Kostic to secure a smash-and-grab win late on.

Kevin Trapp produced 10 saves to keep Frankfurt in the match, with Bayern only finding the net from one of their 20 shots, compared to two goals from five efforts for the visitors.

Muller created a game-high five big chances, but he was left to reflect on a rare home league loss – Bayern's first in 31 matches in a run spanning back to November 2019.

"We are disappointed, angry and upset," Muller told DAZN. "We definitely shouldn't have lost this game. We lacked effectiveness. 

"We felt we had a lot of scoring chances, but the crucial centimetre was missing. Frankfurt scored from their first shot and their two goals in the end were enough."

 

Bayern are now level on points with Bayer Leverkusen at the summit heading into the two-week break after falling just short of making it a perfect 10 wins from 10 since their opening-game draw, and Nagelsmann rued his side's profligacy in front of goal.

"Defeats always hurt and today's defeat was very avoidable," he told DAZN. "We had enough chances to score. 

"In the end we conceded a classic Kostic goal, which was absolutely avoidable. Kevin Trapp played a very good game. We had good chances and didn't take them so we lost.

"When you look at the stats we had 20 shots against five to them. It doesn't matter if we deserved more because in the end we lost. 

"Now we have to analyse what wrong and look forward to the next game in Leverkusen after the international break."

Frankfurt's victory was their first of the Bundesliga season and their first away to Bayern in the league since 2000 when Felix Magath was in charge.

The shock triumph would not have been possible if not for Trapp, whose 10 saves was the joint-most in a single game this campaign in Europe's top five leagues.

Only Oliver Baumann for Hoffenheim against Dortmund and Sascha Burchert for Greuther Furth versus Stuttgart can match that impressive save count.

"I had a lot of work to do today," Trapp told DAZN. "We defended very well. Nobody seriously believed we would get something from Bayern today. 

"We were a bit lucky, of course. We got the maximum out of what was possible. Our plan worked out very well in the end."

Bayern Munich's unbeaten start to Julian Nagelsmann's tenure came to an end on Sunday with a shock 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Bavarian giants had won nine in a row since an opening-game draw and looked set for another routine victory at Allianz Arena when Leon Goretzka deservedly put them in front.

But Martin Hinteregger equalised for Frankfurt before the interval and Kevin Trapp made a number of saves to put the visitors on course for a fifth successive 1-1 league draw.

Not content with only a point, Filip Kostic rifled in a winner seven minutes from time to inflict a first home Bundesliga loss on stunned champions Bayern since November 2019.

Could Darwin Nunez be the next Benfica star to make a big move?

Portuguese sensation Joao Felix swapped Benfica for Atletico Madrid in a club-record deal in 2019.

Now, Uruguay international Nunez is attracting interest from across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONT OF QUEUE FOR NUNEZ

Manchester City are leading the race to sign Darwin Nunez from Portuguese giants Benfica, according to the Daily Star.

Premier League champions City are desperate to sign a forward amid links with Tottenham's Harry Kane, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic.

Nunez has also reportedly attracted interest from BarcelonaLiverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

– United forward Edinson Cavani could join Real Madrid in January, claims Mundo Deportivo. It comes as Cavani finds himself battling Cristiano Ronaldo for regular game time at Old Trafford, where the club's hierarchy are concerned amid their form under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- The Daily Star reports Arsenal are weighing up a move for out-of-favour City forward Raheem SterlingBarca are also believed to be interested in Sterling, according to The Sun, as they face the prospect of missing out on Leipzig's Dani Olmo. The Spain international has been linked with United, Juventus and Bayern.

Liverpool are eyeing Pogon Szczecin midfielder Kacper Kozlowski, says the Mirror. The 17-year-old has been linked with Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, RB Leipzig and Salzburg.

Julian Nagelsmann insists he is not getting carried away after receiving public praise from Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn regarding his positive start as the club's coach.

Nagelsmann took over from Hansi Flick in pre-season and has presided over nine wins from 10 matches across all competitions, with Borussia Monchengladbach the only team to avoid defeat to this new Bayern when they drew on matchday one of the 2021-22 Bundesliga campaign.

Bayern have amassed 16 points in their first six league games, their biggest total at this stage of a season since 2016-17 (also 16 points), while only Ottmar Hitzfeld (1998) and Otto Rehhagel (1995, both 18 points) have ever accumulated more from their first six Bundesliga matches with Die Roten.

On top of that, the champions have scored 23 times, more than any other Bayern coach in their first six league games in charge and a total bettered once (24, last season) in the club's history.

Kahn's praise came after Bayern battered Dynamo Kiev 5-0 in the Champions League, the former goalkeeper applauding Nagelsmann for making strides in his quest to make the team better defensively without impacting them negatively going forward.

"It's always nice to hear positive things, even better when it's internal," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Bundesliga clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"You have to classify things in order to understand them. I've taken on an outstanding team that does a lot of things right on its own.

 

"The influence of a coach is always smaller at such a large club. You try to bring in your own things, but we haven't turned everything around.

"I am neither surprised nor disappointed. Progress and a 'mark' should be visible quickly."

Marcel Sabitzer followed Nagelsmann to Bayern from RB Leipzig, though his impact in Bavaria has been significantly less spectacular, with the Austrian playing just 107 minutes across all competitions.

But Nagelsmann is calm about the situation, adamant Sabitzer had no expectations of walking straight into a regular role.

"He hardly trained in preparation because he had problems in the adductor area. First he has to find his way around. This is completely normal," Nagelsmann said.

"He will get his working times, right from the start [of matches]. We have a very stable construction. He's an excellent player, but he didn't come here with the expectation to play every game from the start."

Frankfurt are yet to win a league game under new boss Oliver Glasner, while they have suffered more top-flight defeats to and conceded more goals against Bayern than any other team, though Nagelsmann believes history counts for nothing.

"Basically, I am not interested, I read it briefly," he said. "You can never buy anything from the past. It's about expanding the statistics tomorrow and not thinking too much about the past."

Paul Pogba has been the subject of constant speculation over the past 12 months.

Manchester United's French midfielder is into the final year of his contract.

Pogba has been in excellent early season form, with seven assists in the league already.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MOVE LOOMS FOR POGBA

Real Madrid are Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba's most likely destination at the end of this season, claims El Nacional.

The France international is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of this season and could leave on a free transfer.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola is trying to persuade Pogba to join Madrid, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Liverpool target Karim Adeyemi is being chased by German pair Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, reports Sport Bild. RB Leipzig are also monitoring the 19-year-old Salzburg striker.

Marco Asensio appears destined to leave Madrid given his current role, with Sevilla hoping to sign the midfielder, according to El Gol Digital.

– Fichajes reports that Milan are plotting a January move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek.

– The Sun claims that Tottenham have revived their interest in West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as they seek a successor to Hugo Lloris.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele by signing him, reports Calciomercato.

– Marca claims that Manchester City are considering tabling an offer to sign Villareal forward Pau Torres .

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