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 .

Paris Saint-Germain continue to plan for Kylian Mbappe's potential departure. 

The Ligue 1 giants have been linked with several possible replacements. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest rumoured target.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE LEWANDOWSKI AS MBAPPE REPLACEMENT

With seemingly everyone expecting Kylian Mbappe to depart Paris Saint-Germain after the season, the club have been linked with several potential attacking options. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest, with Le10Sport reporting the Bayern Munich and Poland striker could make a lucrative move to PSG. 

The 33-year-old is under contract with Bayern through 2023, though, and could end up agreeing to a new deal to remain in the Bundesliga. 

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are set to take another run at Manchester United's Edinson Cavani during the January transfer window, says El Nacional. 

Andrea Pirlo and River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo are candidates to replace Ronald Koeman if he is sacked by Barcelona in the coming days, the Express reports. 

PSG are eyeing midfield help, with Inter's Nicolo Barella a possibility, according to Calciomercato, along with N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Franck Kessie.

Liverpool are interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, according to Calciomercato. 

Timo Werner could look to leave Chelsea if he does not receive more playing time the rest of the season, says the Telegraph.

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn lauded Julian Nagelsmann's fast start to life at the German giants following their 5-0 Champions League rout of Dynamo Kiev.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice while Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were also on target in Wednesday's crushing Group E victory.

Nagelsmann has now won nine of his first 10 games in all competitions since replacing Hansi Flick – the best start by a Bayern coach.

Bayern have kept five clean sheets across all competitions this season to top the Bundesliga and Group E, and former goalkeeper Kahn hailed their stability under highly rated boss Nagelsmann.

"I think it has happened very, very quickly and we can already see his handwriting," Kahn said of former RB Leipzig coach Nagelsmann.

"We conceded too many goals in the past two years. We weren't optimal defensively.

"Now we can keep clean sheets again, which is the basis for success.

"We already saw that against Barcelona. We could see his [Nagelsmann] handwriting, the quality that he has.

"He knows how to teach our players a few changes relatively quickly."

Bayern enjoyed their biggest home Champions League win since February 2018, when they humbled Turkish giants Besiktas 5-0 in the last 16.

Since losing 3-2 to Manchester City in December 2013, Bayern have only dropped two of a possible 66 points available at home in the Champions League group stages, winning 21 of their 22 matches (D1).

On Bayern's latest clean sheet, star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer told reporters: "I like that very much as a goalkeeper or as a defensive player, just like our defenders.

"I think it's also important for us as a team to be stable defensively. That's what we've been working on. And I think it's very important for all of us that we have a lot of games with a clean sheet.

"Then, of course, we gain confidence in our defending we and can show our opponents that we can defend really well."

Julian Nagelsmann hailed Bayern Munich's greediness as they crushed Dynamo Kiev 5-0 in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Bayern cruised past embattled Barcelona in the Bundesliga champions' European opener before consolidating their perfect start in Group E with their fifth win in as many European home games against Dynamo.

Robert Lewandowski fired in a brace – his second goal representing his 119th strike in just 100 games for Bayern – before Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting completed the rout midweek.

Nagelsmann has now won nine of his first 10 games in all competitions – the best start by a Bayern head coach – but the highly rated German boss still wants improvements from his side.

"For a long time I'm already satisfied," Nagelsmann told DAZN post-match. "It's never easy to keep your concentration high if you lead early. There are still things that can be done better.

"It was symptomatic that the players always wanted to keep going. It's about this greed. To have it in both directions, and we showed this greed today. In the phases in which it might have tipped, the concentration was there."

"The most important scene for me was when [Dayot] Upamecano cleared the ball in the 89th minute and celebrated that we were keeping a clean sheet.

"That was an important step that the guys are so happy about. A zero for the opponent in the result just looks better."

Sane had been whistled off against Cologne by the Bayern supporters in September and Nagelsmann was pleased to see his winger's response as the hosts remained relentless in their thrashing of Mircea Lucescu's Ukrainian outfit.

"It's important for every person, for every footballer, to have a clear head," Nagelsmann continued.

"It's good to just let him [Sane] do his thing. He plays more central with me than last year. That's good for him, he has space there. He is an outstanding player with a very good character."

Robert Lewandowski scored a double to fire Bayern Munich to a 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

The Poland forward netted from the penalty spot to open the scoring at the Allianz Arena after 12 minutes, before adding his second 15 minutes later as he curled past Georgi Bushchan.

Serge Gnabry fired in the hosts' third after the interval before Leroy Sane caught the Dynamo goalkeeper off guard at his near post to score the fourth.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting rounded out the scoring with Bayern's fifth to consolidate their Group E top spot as they look firm favourites to progress through to the next stage after two wins in as many games.

Viktor Tsygankov volleyed the first chance of the contest narrowly wide before Bushchan tipped over Lewandowski's header but problems followed from the resulting corner.

Serhiy Sydorchuk was adjudged to have handled inside the area, with Lewandowski coolly rolling the spot-kick home before Thomas Muller setup the second.

The German forward's throughball teed up Lewandowski, who found the bottom-right corner to score his 119th goal in his last 100 matches for Bayern.

Sane's left-footed drive struck the post eight minutes later, with Manuel Neuer forced into a rare save against Carlos de Pena on the stroke of half-time.

Lewandowski hooked wide as he looked for his hat-trick after half-time, with Gnabry then missing the target with a simple header following Alphonso Davies' delivery

However, Gnabry made amends on a rapid counter-attack as he smashed in off the underside of the crossbar following an offload from Sane, who added a fourth after 74 minutes as he whipped in from the left flank and caught Bushcan by surprise.

Choupo-Moting added a fifth as he headed in from Benjamin Pavard's cross as Bayern cruised to their ninth win in nine games in all competitions.


What does it mean? Bayern set early Group E pace

Bayern dominated against Barcelona in their opener and carried on emphatically against the Ukrainian Premier League champions to maintain their Group E lead.

The Bundesliga outfit collected their 33rd win in 35 home group-stage games with a comfortable victory as Barcelona went down to Benfica to offer Nagelsmann's side an early advantage after two games.

Meanwhile, Dynamo remain in third, with just one point from their opening two and Mircea Lucescu's side will need to find some form if they are to mount a charge for the knockout stages.

King Kimmich

Joshua Kimmich controlled proceedings from start to finish in another classy display for Bayern.

The midfielder misplaced just four of his 90 attempted passes, with a game-high 60 of those coming in the opposition half as he enjoyed a game-leading 109 touches.

Terrible Tymchyk

Oleksandr Tymchyk picked up a needless first-half caution for a late challenge on Sane and was treading on thin ice from then on.

Mircea Lucescu hooked the right-back off at half-time following a poor showing in which he won less than 15 per cent of his seven duels as he struggled against Bayern's wealth of attacking riches.

What's next?

Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt as they return to Bundesliga action on Sunday, while Dynamo are at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on the same day.

Manchester United need points to get their Champions League campaign going, and doing so by getting revenge for their Europa League final shoot-out loss to Villarreal would be a moment to enjoy for the Old Trafford fans.

When it comes to established elite needing results, United are not alone. Barcelona head to Benfica looking to banish thoughts of that humbling home loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one, while Massimiliano Allegri could use a strong performance against strong opposition when Chelsea visit Juventus.

Bayern themselves host Dynamo Kiev, as Mircea Lucescu looks to fare a little better than the last time he took a team to the Allianz Arena.

Read on for more as Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts ahead of Wednesday's Champions League action.

 

Benfica v Barcelona: Can Memphis Depay breathe life back into Catalans?

Barcelona's 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one was the first time in at least 186 Champions League matches in which they did not attempt a single shot on target.

Memphis Depay did not manage a shot of any kind, something he had never before experienced when starting a game in this competition. However, with two goals in his previous two games against Benfica, he could be the man to get Barca firing in Lisbon.

Benfica have not beaten Barcelona since the European Cup final in 1961, but if they do manage to pile more pressure on Ronald Koeman with a victory, it will mark the first time the Blaugrana have lost their opening two games of the season in Europe since 1972-73, when they lost twice to Porto.

Bayern Munich v Dynamo Kiev: More unhappy memories beckon for Lucescu

The Allianz Arena was the scene of Lucescu's heaviest Champions League defeat: his Shakhtar Donetsk side lost 7-0 to Bayern Munich in March 2015.

Having failed to score in seven of their previous 11 games in this competition, it is hard to expect Dynamo to stop Bayern from claiming what would be a 33rd home win out of their most recent 35 in the group stages.

In fact, across the past three seasons, Bayern have won the most games (20) and scored the most goals (73) of any team in the tournament. In 14 of their 22 games in that time, they have netted at least three goals.

 

Juventus v Chelsea: Bianconeri out to keep up king-slayer tradition

Juventus have won seven matches against the holders in this competition's history, a figure only Real Madrid can beat (11 wins). They also beat Chelsea 3-0 in their previous meeting back in the 2012-13 group stage.

Still, Chelsea have only lost three of their past 32 group games and none of their most recent 12. Thomas Tuchel's 68 per cent win ratio is bettered by only two men among managers to take charge of 20 or more group games: Pep Guardiola (71 per cent) and Jupp Heynckes (73 per cent).

The last time Juve hosted an English team in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United snatched a 2-1 win in November 2018. Massimiliano Allegri's side have never lost consecutive home games to English opponents.

 

Manchester United v Villarreal: Goals at last in Europa League final repeat?

All five previous European meetings between Manchester United and Villarreal have ended in draws. The first four did not even see a goal scored – it's the most played Champions League match never to see a goal – while the Europa League final last season finished 1-1, with the LaLiga side winning 11-10 on penalties.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only manager to take charge of 10 or more Champions League matches at an English club and lose more than half of them (he's lost seven out of 11). Should they suffer defeat at Old Trafford, it will mark the first time in history they have ever lost their first two European games of a season.

If he plays, Cristiano Ronaldo will break Iker Casillas' record of 177 Champions League appearances. However, he has failed to score in four games against Villarreal in the competition – only against Lille and Benfica has he played as many times without finding the net.

Other fixtures:

Atalanta v Young Boys

30 – Atalanta's 30 Champions League goals have all been scored by non-Italians. They have netted more goals without any coming from a player of the nationality of the club he's representing in Champions League history. Young Boys have scored six times in the competition, but none has come from a Swiss player.

17 – David Wagner's side had 17 more shots than Manchester United in their opening-round win (19 vs 2). The last time a coach saw his team have that many more attempts than their opponents in his first game in charge was when Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich had 27 shots to Olympiacos' three in November 2019.

Zenit v Malmo

1 – Zenit have only taken one point from their previous eight group-stage matches and have lost four of their past seven home games in European competition.

8 – No team faced more shots on target than Malmo on matchday one of this campaign (eight against Juventus), while their xG against total of 3.5 was the most of any team in the opening round.

Salzburg v Lille

40 – This will be Lille's 40th Champions League match. They only won six of their first 39 - only Dinamo Zagreb (five) and FCSB (four) have ever won fewer than eight of their first 40 games in the competition.

35 – Although 10 of Salzburg's starting XI against Sevilla last time out were aged 24 or younger, they also included 35-year-old Andreas Ulmer, who was two years and 158 days older than his coach, Matthias Jaissle. It's the first time a player has been over two years older than their manager in a Champions League match since Naldo for Schalke in December 2018 under Domenico Tedesco (three years and two days older).

Wolfsburg v Sevilla

3.7 – Wolfsburg's previous six games against Spanish opponents in European competition have seen a total of 22 goals scored (11 for, 11 against), at an average of 3.7 per game.

7 – Sevilla are unbeaten in their past seven away games in this competition (W3 D4), their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. They last suffered defeat on the road in October 2017, losing 5-1 away to Spartak Moscow.

Julian Nagelsmann hailed Serge Gnabry's unique ability as Bayern Munich prepare to face Dynamo Kiev in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Bayern crushed Barcelona 3-0 in their Group E opener and have won the most games (20), while scoring the most goals (73) across the last three Champions League campaigns.

Robert Lewandowski has been directly involved in 27 goals in his last 17 appearances in the competition and has ended on the winning side in all 17 games, the joint-longest run of wins by a player in the tournament's history.

However, Nagelsmann preferred to focus on Gnabry, who has scored three and assisted twice this term, ahead of the visit of Dynamo.

"I didn't do anything with [Gnabry] consciously and didn't have that many conversations," Nagelsmann told reporters on Tuesday when asked about Gnabry's form.

"I've known him for a long time, if not as long as Niki [Niklas Sule]. We already had a good connection in Hoffenheim and it works properly.

"For me, he is very important as a type, he brings in a good mood. In terms of play, he is of course also important, he has a good degree, a good feeling and good ideas.

"The player with quality in connection with the character, I look forward to seeing him every day.

"I see it that he has to be free and not think too much about what he is doing. He does a lot about instinct and has the street footballer gene."

Gnabry ranks fourth for chances created (12) across all competitions for Bayern this term, while also placing fourth for dribbles completed (16) as he continues to fight for his place alongside Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and the absent Kingsley Coman.

Whichever wingers Nagelsmann utilises, the head coach also appreciates the different challenge that the reigning champions of Ukraine – who have never won away at Allianz Arena in Europe – will propose as he looks to assert his dominance on the Champions League.

"They are always favourites in the league and play that way," he continued. "They are often very low in games in the Champions League. Benfica failed to score, it will be our main task to play around the block.

"We want to get three points and stay ahead in the table. Otherwise, the plan is more tactical. We want to put a lot of pressure on possession. We also have to avoid counter-attacks.

"It's about making it clear that we are one of the favourites. In the end, the team that lifts the trophy has to be the one that has won the most games. We want to be that team."

Is the end nigh for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford?
 
Wan-Bisakka joined Manchester United in a big-money deal in 2019 but the Red Devils are reportedly ready to replace the Englishman.
 
A talented RB Leipzig defender could be the team's next right-back.

 

TOP STORY – NEW RIGHT-BACK SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are eyeing RB Leipzig right-back Nordi Mukiele, according Fichajes.net.

United are reportedly keen to sign a replacement after losing patience with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be interested in Leipzig's 23-year-old star Mukiele.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Milan and Juventus are interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi. The 18-year-old has also been linked with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Inter are willing to let Alexis Sanchez leave the Serie A champions, reports Calciomercato. Marseille, Real Betis and Sevilla are among the possible options for the 32-year-old Chilean.

Tottenham are weighing up a move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins, per Fichajes. It comes amid continued uncertainty over Spurs star Harry Kane, who has been linked with Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as well as United.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down, despite his advancing years.

But the evergreen 36-year-old is still planning for life once he decides to call it quits.

A coaching career in Manchester is believed to be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO DOESN'T WANT TO LEAVE OLD TRAFFORD

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to stay at Manchester United beyond his retirement, according to The Sun.

Ronaldo is back at United for a second spell after re-joining from Juventus before the transfer window closed, having left Old Trafford in 2009.

The 36-year-old, however, is already planning for life after football as he eyes a coaching role with United's youth team in order to work with his son Cristiano Jr.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are interested in Juventus star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund.

- Chelsea are preparing to make a big-money move for Juve centre-back Matthijs de Ligt after missing out on Sevilla star Jules Kounde, reports Diario AS.

- The Daily Mail says Arsenal and Tottenham are eyeing a January loan move for Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho.

- Staying in London and the Mirror claims Tottenham are considering an approach for Juve's Dejan Kulusevski.

Atletico Madrid are hoping to sign Fabian Ruiz from Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Determined to prise the Spain international, LaLiga champions Atletico could use Marcos Llorente as part of the deal. Fabian has also been linked with Real Madrid and Barca.

- Per Corriere della Serra, United, Chelsea and Juve are among the heavyweight clubs plotting a move for disgruntled Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has found himself on the bench since joining on a free transfer.

 

Manuel Neuer was full of praise for Thomas Muller and his "weird" celebrations after the Bayern Munich forward got a milestone goal in the 3-1 win at Greuther Furth.

Robert Lewandowski's long goalscoring streak ended at 15 consecutive Bundesliga games – one short of Gerd Muller's record – but the champions moved three points clear of Wolfsburg.

That is now 40 goals in their past eight matches for ruthless Bayern, who led 2-0 courtesy of great finishes from Muller and Kimmich at half-time.

Benjamin Pavard was given his marching orders for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak early in the second half, but a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal extended their lead.

Cedric Itten's header in the closing stages was too little, too late for bottom side Furth in the Bavarian derby at Sportpark Ronhof on Friday.

Muller, who also scored the opener in recent victories over Barcelona and Hertha Berlin, is now on 218 goals for Bayern, one more than Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Neuer was delighted for his long-time team-mate, although he joked the forward could be summoned to a meeting with the former Bayern CEO after taking his place in the all-time list.

"He doesn't get tired and has been around for a long time," Neuer said, as per Bayern's website.

"I've accompanied him for long stretches of this time, and I'm always happy about every one of Thomas' goals and celebrations, which sometimes look a bit weird with him.

"I'm especially happy for him personally, because we've been playing together for a long time, but I think he'll have to report to Kalle [Rummenigge] today."

Bayern, who next face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday, have started the season with eight consecutive victories under coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Neuer himself added: "It looks quite good. We scored three goals and showed a good attitude. In the first half, we didn't make enough of it when we had space. We wasted a lot of chances. That's annoying.

"Despite being a man down, we made it 3-0, which gives you a good feeling. Then we got in between the lines better, but sometimes we were too sloppy.

"It's nitpicking really, but we can still play more flowing football. We're happy with how it's going, but we always have to take the next step and improve."

Anthony Martial has reportedly been permitted to explore his options by Manchester United.

Martial has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford since Cristiano Ronaldo's return.

France international Martial scored four league goals for United last term, after netting 17 times in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND PLOTS MARTIAL MOVE

Borussia Dortmund are bracing for Erling Haaland's departure by plotting a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, claims 90Min.

Haaland, who has a release clause in his contract that activates in mid-2022, is being chased by a host of top clubs, including Premier League champions Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Liverpool and United.

Martial is still contracted to the Red Devils until 2024, having penned a five-year deal in January 2019, amid reported interest from Barca, Tottenham and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Window podcast claims City owner Sheikh Mansour wants to hijack Madrid's bid for PSG star Kylian Mbappe and sign him "at any cost". Mbappe has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

- Barcelona are looking at Reims' Spanish head coach Oscar Garcia as a replacement for under-pressure boss Ronald Koeman, per RMC Sport.

- Madrid midfielder Isco has held numerous rounds of negotiations with Serie A challengers Milan about a move to Italy, according to Todo Fichajes.

Barca are considering a move for Porto's Colombia international forward Luis Diaz next off-season, claims El Nacional.

- Diario AS says Theo Hernandez is ready to commit his long-term future to Milan amid interest from PSG and City.

Joshua Kimmich warned "hungry" Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich still have room for improvement after they beat Greuther Furth 3-1 despite Benjamin Pavard's red card.

Robert Lewandowski's long goalscoring streak ended at 15 consecutive Bundesliga games - one short of Gerd Muller's record - but the champions moved three points clear of Wolfsburg.

That is now 40 goals in their past eight matches for ruthless Bayern, who led 2-0 courtesy of great finishes from Thomas Muller and Kimmich at half-time.

Pavard was given his marching orders for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak early in the second half, but a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal extended their lead.

Cedric Itten's header in the closing stages was too little, too late for bottom side Furth in the Bavarian derby at Sportpark Ronhof on Friday.

Bayern have won eight consecutive matches in a great start to Julian Nagelsmann's reign and midfielder Kimmich says there is more to come.

 

The Germany international told DAZN: "The character of the team is great. We have players who want to develop, who are hungry.

"We want to win every game. We're in good form at the moment, but we haven't been able to manage all of the games this season with confidence. There's room for improvement."

Kimmich, who delivered the free-kick that was turned into his own net by Griesbeck, added: "It wasn't exactly a brilliant performance on our part, but we had the game under control even when we played with 10.

"We made mistakes in the first half, and we kept inviting Furth via set-pieces."

Robert Lewandowski's scoring streak ended and Benjamin Pavard was sent off, but Bayern Munich still cruised to a 3-1 victory over Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga.

In a Bavarian derby battle between top and bottom on Friday, Bayern were in control at half-time following goals from Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich at Sportpark Ronhof.

There was hope for Furth when France full-back Pavard was shown a straight red card early in the second half for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak.

The champions remained a class apart from their newly-promoted opponents despite Pavard's dismissal and a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal increased their advantage, with a late Cedric Itten header no more than a consolation for the home side.

Lewandowski was unable to match Gerd Muller's record of scoring in 16 consecutive Bundesliga games, but Julian Nagelsmann's moved three points clear at the summit.

Bayern wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game, with Leon Goretzka's early long-range drive flashing just wide.

The champions were in front in the 10th minute, when Thomas Muller finished clinically with his left foot after Maximilian Bauer could only divert Alphonso Davies's cross into his path.

Furth were unable to live with Bayern and Kimmich doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark with a measured right-footed strike from 25 yards out after Leroy Sane laid the ball back to him.

Lewandowski flicked Kimmich's corner against the crossbar as Bayern dominated, but they were a man down when Pavard was given his marching orders for upending Dudziak three minutes into the second half.

Bayern continued to pose a major threat despite their numerical disadvantage, Sascha Burchert getting down to keep out Lewandowski's first-time shot.

Nagelsmann was shown a yellow card for dissent before Kimmich's free-kick was turned into his own net by Griesbeck, under pressure from Lewandowski.

Itten nodded in Timothy Tillman's inviting cross with a couple of minutes remaining, but the points were in the bag by then for Bayern.

Julian Nagelsmann has been impressed by Antonio Rudiger's development under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea but insists he has not yet discussed a move for the centre-back.

The Bundesliga champions are rumoured to be among a number of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, keeping a close eye on the Germany international.

Rudiger is into the final year of his Chelsea contract and will therefore be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January unless fresh terms are agreed.

According to reports that emerged on Thursday, Bayern have already been in contact with Rudiger's agent about an end-of-season switch to the Allianz Arena.

But Nagelsmann was unwilling to discuss his side's supposed interest in Rudiger any further during Thursday's news conference previewing the trip to Greuther Furth.

"I'm not talking about players from other clubs, particularly outside of the transfer window," he 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 saying anything else.

"Believe it or not, I haven't spoken to Brazzo [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."

Rudiger's importance to Chelsea since Tuchel took charge on January 26 is reflected in the statistics.

The 28-year-old has helped the Blues to 20 clean sheets in 32 matches in all competitions across that period – the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are next on the list with 15 each, highlighting Chelsea's defensive solidity under Tuchel.

Rudiger has played seven times this season and has won 0.55 tackles per 90 minutes, compared to 0.76 for Niklas Sule, 0.88 for Lucas Hernandez and 1.64 for Dayot Upamecano among Bayern's regular centre-backs.

The German's 73.77 touches per 90 minutes and 56.86 successful passes is also fewer than each of Sule, Hernandez and Upamecano have managed, albeit in different competitions.

Sule and recent acquisition Upamecano have been Bayern's most regular pairing at centre-back this term and may get the nod for Friday's trip to Trolli-Arena. 

Bayern enter the game on a seven-match winning run in all competitions, scoring 37 goals across that spell, and have lost only one of their last 48 league games against promoted opposition.

Nagelsmann has Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala back in contention following recent lay-offs, but he will not take any risks over the fitness of the attacking pair.

"The good news is that Gnabry and Musiala have both been able to return to training, with Hernandez also taking part today," Nagelsmann said.

"Serge and Jamal are both looking good and ready to play. But we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

"Both of their conditions could cause a reaction after training, so we have to wait and see how sensible it is to field them from the start. We also have a Champions League game coming up next week.

"Looking at today's training session alone, I'd say that both players can start tomorrow. But the probability they will both start is very low."

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski believes he can continue improving with age and does not feel the need to prove himself in another league outside of the Bundesliga.

The Poland international was speaking on Tuesday after collecting the European Golden Shoe award as the continent's top-scoring player in the 2020-21 campaign.

Lewandowski scored an incredible 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games to surpass Gerd Muller's record for the most goals scored in a single German top-flight season.

That was 11 goals more than Lionel Messi managed in his final LaLiga season with Barcelona and 12 more than Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Serie A for then-club Juventus.

Reigning UEFA and FIFA Player of the Year Lewandowski only failed to score in four of his 29 top-flight outings and found the net more than once on 10 occasions.

He has picked up from where he left off last season by scoring 14 goals in 10 appearances for club and country, including a goal in every game Bayern have played.

Indeed, the 33-year-old has now scored in 15 successive Bundesliga games stretching back to last season, one short of another long-standing record held by the late Muller.

The former Borussia Dortmund man was linked with Real Madrid and Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, but he is in no rush to depart the Allianz Arena.

"I don't have to prove myself in another league," he said when collecting his latest award. "I can compete with the best from other leagues in the Champions League.

"I am 100 per cent focused on Bayern Munich. I don't think about anything else but my team."

 

Lewandowski may face competition from rising star Erling Haaland to finish as the Bundesliga's top scorer this term, with the latter having also scored five goals in seven games.

But Bayern's prolific striker has warned Haaland, who has been touted as Lewandowski's successor in Bavaria, that he may not have even reached his peak.

"I am still here – and I will be here for a long time," he said. "Age is just a number. I feel very good and I have the best stats I've ever had. 

"I know that with my body I can play at the top level for years to come. I'm like a good wine and I hope to get even better."

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