Julian Nagelsmann says Thomas Muller's new contract sends a "positive signal" and hopes other Bayern Munich players follow suit.

Long-serving forward Muller this week extended his deal with the Bundesliga champions until 2024.

Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer and Serge Gnabry are only under contract with the Bavarian giants until the end of next season, while Corentin Tolisso and Niklas Sule are nearing the end of their deals, with the latter set to join Borussia Dortmund as a free agent ahead of 2022-23.

Bayern boss Nagelsmann says it was vital to keep Muller and believes the 32-year-old's decision to commit his future to the club may prompt some of his team-mates to stay.

He said in a press conference on Friday: "It was very important that he extended, this will also send a positive signal to people both within the club and outside of the club.

"It could mean others will follow suit now. I'm really happy about it."

Bayern face relegation-threatened Stuttgart in their final home game of the season at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

The champions will be presented with the Meisterschale trophy and Nagelsmann wants his side to put on a show in front of a sell-out crowd.

He said: "I want to win the game, even though I have a lot of respect for Pellegrino Matarazzo as a man and as a coach.

"We will give our all to try and win our final home game in front of a sold-out Arena this season."

Stuttgart are 16th in the table and battling to avoid the drop but Nagelsmann says they can pose a threat.

He added: "They're a very versatile team. They can set up in a number of different ways. Matarazzo has some creative ideas. They're in a tough situation as they fight relegation. They've had a number of injuries at key moments this season."

In the past 38 seasons, Bayern have lost their final Bundesliga home game only once and it was Stuttgart who inflicted that defeat on them, winning 4-1 in 2018.

Julian Nagelsmann bemoaned Bayern Munich's underwhelming performance and suggested change is needed after the Bundesliga champions succumbed to defeat at Mainz.

Bayern secured a record 10th straight league title with Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund last weekend but were caught cold by Mainz after first-half strikes from Jonathan Burkardt and Moussa Niakhate.

Robert Lewandowski reduced the deficit with his 18th away league goal this season, setting a Bundesliga record for a single campaign, while taking his tally to 49 in all competitions – the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

Leandro Barreiro Martins restored the two-goal cushion after the interval for Bo Svensson's hosts as Mainz coasted to just a second league win over an uncharacteristically poor Bayern in their last 10 attempts.

Nagelsmann expressed frustration with his side after the defeat but acknowledged a downturn in performance was to be expected after the title win.

"We had too many performances and defeats of this kind this season," he told reporters.

"I have an explanation for it, but I won't give it to you. It's not for the media. I say it internally.

"After winning the 10th title in a row, it's a bit human but we still have to play for the badge on our chest.

"It seems like the passion isn't really there anymore. We reached a point where something needs to change. That's where we are right now."

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich fell to a 3-1 defeat at Mainz despite Robert Lewandowski setting another record.

Julian Nagelsmann's side sealed a record 10th straight league title by defeating Borussia Dortmund last time out, but were soon behind on Saturday after strikes from Jonathan Burkardt and Moussa Niakhate.

Robert Lewandowski halved the arrears with his 18th away league goal this season – a new Bundesliga benchmark for a single campaign – before Leandro Barreiro Martins restored Mainz's two-goal cushion after the interval.

Bayern were unable to respond as the champions suffered just a second defeat in their last 10 games against Mainz, who moved up to ninth with victory.

Burkardt cannoned against the crossbar and the post, while the unmarked Alexander Hack was denied by the woodwork but Mainz's early dominance soon paid dividends.

Sven Ulreich thwarted Karim Onisiwo from close range yet could not stop Burkardt when the striker powered a left-footed attempt home following Dominik Kohr's headed offload.

Niakhate doubled Mainz's advantage when he tapped in after Anton Stach's flick, before Lewandowski rolled into the bottom-right corner following Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's pass to reduce the deficit.

Barreiro Martins almost restored the hosts' two-goal lead before the interval, only for his left-footed free-kick to curl narrowly wide.

But Barreiro Martins' luck was in after the break when his strike deflected in off Benjamin Pavard.

Burkardt dragged wide and Onisiwo smashed onto the crossbar from the edge of the area as Bayern, who repeatedly appeared frail on the counter-attack, were unable to mount a comeback.

What does it mean? Bayern caught cold on the road at Mainz again

Bayern had won eight of their last nine league meetings with Mainz, though the one blemish on their record came in this fixture last season when the hosts ran out 2-1 winners.

Mainz scored first on that occasion and followed suit in this game as they opened the scoring for four straight games against the Bavarian giants – no other current Bundesliga side have achieved this consecutively more than twice.

Super Stach shines

Stach was a constant presence in the middle of the park for Bo Svensson's team, setting up Niakhate's goal – one of a game-leading seven key passes the midfielder supplied for Mainz.

Legendary Lewandowski

Despite speculation of a move away from Bayern with just over a year left on his contract, Lewandowski continues to deliver. His tally in all competitions this season now stands at 49.

No player has managed more goals in Europe's top five leagues, while the Poland international also put his name to yet another Bundesliga record.

What's next?

Bayern host Stuttgart on May 8, while Mainz make the trip to Hertha Berlin the day before.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann reiterated his desire for Robert Lewandowski to stay at the club amid ongoing speculation over his future.

Lewandowski has scored 33 goals in the Bundesliga this season, 12 more than nearest rival Patrick Schick, to fire Bayern to a record-setting 10th straight league title with three games to spare.

The Poland international has found the net once every 81 minutes in the top flight this campaign, while no player has managed more than his 48 goals across all competitions in Europe's top five leagues.

However, questions persist as to the future of Lewandowski, who is entering the final year of his contract at the Allianz Arena with Barcelona reportedly preparing to swoop for the 33-year-old.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic insists the talisman will not be sold to avoid losing him on a free transfer, but Lewandowski suggested no new contract talks have been opened by the club.

Nagelsmann, speaking ahead of Saturday's visit to Mainz, reaffirmed his stance on wanting to keep his star striker at Bayern for as long as possible.

"It's always good when you have planning security in all areas of life. I've said it at least 50 times that of course I wish he would stay, nothing has changed this week. That's my point of view," he told reporters.

Salihamidzic has already rebuffed talk of signing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who will reportedly be available for a €75million release clause at the end of the season, as a replacement for Lewandowski.

Nagelsmann echoed Salihamidzic's sentiment as he ruled out moving for Haaland, who has scored 82 goals and supplied 19 assists in 86 appearances in all competitions since his Dortmund debut in January 2020.

Pressed on comparisons between the two strikers, the Bayern coach responded: "These are two different types of players that you can't compare. It's like apples and oranges."

 

Lewandowski is likely to feature at Mainz, fitness permitting, but Nagelsmann confirmed he will be without Thomas Muller, who has 17 top-flight assists this term – the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

"Muller is ill and will not travel this weekend. We will try to give some players the opportunity to start," he continued.

"[Eric Maxim] Choupo-Moting will definitely be in the starting line-up, that much I can say for sure. 

"The virtue of a winning mentality is noticeable in the lads even after the championship in training. My everyday life is a little more relaxed than in the middle of the season."

Bayern would surpass the Bundesliga record for most away goals in a season (47, a record set by Bayern in the 2019-20 season) with two strikes at Mainz, but Nagelsmann appeared uninterested by that feat.

"You always have to be a bit careful when it comes to respect for the opponent," he added on the possible record. 

"Of course we always want to score a lot of goals, that's what makes football so appealing. It won't be easy, but we're trying hard to find goals and play a good game offensively."

The dominance of Bayern Munich is not just down to financial muscle, but more the lack of consistency from their Bundesliga competition.

That is according to former Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos, who played 130 times for the Bundesliga giants before swapping Bavaria for Real Madrid in 2014.

Bayern became the first team across Europe's top five leagues to win their respective top flight on 10 successive occasions after a 3-1 victory over Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund last Saturday.

Julian Nagelsmann's side had previously shared the record of nine with Juventus, who won Serie A each year from 2012 to 2020, before cruising to their record-setting triumph with three games to spare.

Many cited Bayern's financial power as an issue in the German top flight, such as being able to prise Robert Lewandowski from Dortmund in 2014.

Indeed, Lewandowski helped power Bayern to the title with 33 Bundesliga goals so far this term, netting once every 81 minutes on average.

However, Kroos does not believe that it is just the disparity in transfer activity that has aided Bayern's dominance, but also the lack of constant pressure from title contenders Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

"The competition has to be more constant. Teams like Dortmund or Leipzig are quite capable of keeping up in certain phases," said Kroos in the Simply Mal Luppen podcast.

"But they are not as consistent. It's not just about money."

While Kroos was quick to question the competition provided by Dortmund and Leipzig, the 32-year-old could take nothing away from another fantastic season for Nagelsmann's men.

"It's an exceptional performance, especially mentally," said the midfielder. "It's no surprise that they are the best team in Germany in terms of quality.

"But wanting to do it year after year and giving the championship title meaning is something special."

 

Thomas Muller was also integral to the success of Bayern once again, with his 17 assists in 30 top-flight games this season unmatched by any player in Europe's top five leagues.

The evergreen Muller also surpassed former team-mate David Alaba (10 titles) as the Bundesliga's most decorated player of all time, having been ever-present in the 10-in-a-row feat alongside the title win in 2010 (11).

Kroos believes his former colleague Muller relishes the prospect of protecting Bayern's dominance every campaign.

"You can also say at some point, after the eighth, ninth, tenth time: 'Well, then not for a year.'," Kroos added.

"But I have the feeling that he has a lot of fun defending the thing year after year."

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has not yet heard anything from the club regarding talks over a new contract.

Lewandowski scored for a 27th time against former club Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, as Bayern's 3-1 win in Der Klassiker ensured the Bundesliga title was theirs for a 10th successive campaign.

That is a record across Europe's top five leagues, with no side having ever managed 10 titles in a row. Indeed, Bayern shared the previous record with Juventus (nine).

However, Lewandowski is about to enter the final year of his contract with Bayern, who he joined from Dortmund on a free transfer in 2014.

Speculation has mounted that the 33-year-old may well move on ahead of next season, with Barcelona having been linked.

 

And the Poland forward confirmed he has not yet been told if talks over a new deal were progressing.

"I read what was in the media, but I haven't heard anything from the club," Lewandowski told Sky Sport.

"A meeting is coming soon, but I don't know what will happen either.

"I also see what's happening, it's not that easy for me."

Lewandowski has scored 33 goals in the Bundesliga so far this season, 12 more than any other player, and Julian Nagelsmann would surely be against losing such a crucial player.

However, Bayern's boss - who has now won his first league title as a coach - trusts the club to make the right decision.

He told Sky Sport: "I trust in the work of [sporting director] Hasan [Salihamidzic] and Oliver [Kahn]. Today he played again very well. He secured a lot of balls and was extremely strong in tackles. 

"There is not much to say about him. It goes without saying when you look at the statistics how important he is for Bayern Munich."

Bayern Munich are champions of Germany for a 10th successive time after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in Saturday's Klassiker to seal another Bundesliga triumph.

While the 2021-22 season has not entirely gone to plan, with Bayern falling well short in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, they have once again dominated in the league.

Bayern's 10-in-a-row feat, with those successes coming under six different coaches, is something that has never previously been achieved in any of Europe's top five leagues.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind the Bavarian giants' latest title romp.

Ten in a row unmatched

Bayern equalled Juventus' record, set between 2012 and 2020, with nine titles in a row last season and have now overtaken the Italian giants' record for successive crowns.

Prior to this ongoing run, Bayern's longest streak of consecutive titles were the three in a row they managed on three previous occasions (1972-1974,1985-1987 and 1999-2001).

The only other team to have had such a long run of dominance in the competition was Borussia Monchengladbach from 1975 to 1977 with three titles.

 

Julian's title joy

Julian Nagelsmann masterminded Bayern's latest triumph in his first season in charge, but he fell just short of setting the record for the youngest Bundesliga title-winning coach.

Aged 34 years and 275 days on the day of the Dortmund win, Nagelsmann is 35 days older than Matthias Sammer was when Dortmund lifted the title in 2002.

Incredibly, Nagelsmann is a seasoned campaigner when compared to Lippo Hertzka, who had only just turned 28 when he won LaLiga with Real Madrid in 1931-32.

Lewy leads from the front

Robert Lewandowski has scored 33 Bundesliga goals this term, which is 12 more than next-best Patrik Schick, meaning he is now almost certain to win another Golden Boot award.

The Poland international has been at his ruthless best once again this campaign, netting every 81 minutes in the top flight.

It seems almost certain that Lewandowski will finish top of the Bundesliga scoring charts for the seventh time, and the fifth time in a row since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did so in 2016-17.

The only other player to have finished top scorer in the division as many times was Bayern great Gerd Muller, who did so between the 1966-76 and 1977-78 campaigns.

Muller the magician

Prolific striker Lewandowski is very much the poster boy of this Bayern side, but that is not to say he has done it all on his own this season.

Thomas Muller, for example, has assisted 17 goals in 30 games. That is the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

However, he is still short of the 21 Bundesliga assists he managed in the 2019-20 campaign, with that the most of any player since Opta began recording such data in 2004-05. He still has three games to match that total.

 

Neuer another ever-present

Muller has been a key member of Bayern's squad throughout their decade of dominance, as has goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer.

The pair will set a record for the most German top-flight titles won in a row, surpassing ex-team-mates David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez, who have all left.

Germany international Muller also lifted the title in 2010, with his overall haul of 11 seeing him surpass Alaba as the competition's outright most decorated player of all time.

In this footballing climate, what are Bayern Munich and where do they sit in its pecking order?

From Barcelona, to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in recent years, the financial and footballing disparity between Europe's elite and the rest has warped perception. Lifting the league trophy at the end of the season no longer provides safety for a head coach.

Even then, Bayern are an extreme example. In the six years since Pep Guardiola left for Manchester City, they have gone through six head coaches, despite winning the Bundesliga in every season over that same period.

Bayern have been global standard-bearers for nearly four decades. Where other clubs and leagues have had lull periods away from the very highest levels of European football, they have consistently been in contention for silverware, even in relatively weak periods.

Just as importantly, though, the superiority clubs like Bayern now enjoy almost automatically dictates they will dominate possession in many games, irrespective of the ideology of the coach in charge and whether their teams can function with the ball as a consequence.

Niko Kovac's first season in 2018-19 was a good example of this. Bayern came nowhere near functioning in possession relative to the array of talent they had and still – along with some aid from Borussia Dortmund's regression to the mean after initial xG over-performance under Lucien Favre – managed an 11-point turnaround from third place in February to win the Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, they were comprehensively beaten by Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League with the majority of possession. Things declined even further under Kovac in his second season, before Hansi Flick took over the head coaching role, conquered Europe and subsequently replaced Joachim Low as the German national team coach at the end of the 2020-21 season.

This is the wider context that must be considered for Julian Nagelsmann's first season and what follows, because both club and international football ultimately acts within a continuum. Ahead of this weekend's Klassiker, much like that first season under Kovac, there's a dissonance that will accompany Bayern's title win.

Ultimately, a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title will not wash away the taste of Bayern's meek elimination at the hands of Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-finals. Those two legs were a microcosm of numerous aspects concerning this Bayern season – their true capacity in possession relative to the level of opposition, Nagelsmann's continual switching between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 formations, and finally from a standpoint of net gain, whether he's really getting the most out of the extraordinary creative forces that are Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski.

It is hard to overstate how Muller and Lewandowski provided more than goals and assists for Bayern under Flick. The utilisation of that duo was integral to the team's very functioning in possession, especially with Thiago Alcantara missing significant portions of that post-lockdown run late in the 2019-20 season. Kingsley Coman's decisive goal in the 2020 Champions League final against PSG was a perfect picture of the team when all three of Lewandowski, Muller and Thiago played – having initially tried to cover Muller, Leandro Paredes had to scramble, but it was too late, as Thiago fired his pass into Joshua Kimmich and Bayern got up the pitch.

Their combined touches in open play per 90 minutes under respective coaches makes for a good starting point. Under Kovac, Lewandowski and Muller held a combined 98.19 touches and 3.35 chances created from open play per 90 in all competitions. Flick's arrival leads to a dramatic spike for the two in both categories, with 107.6 touches in open play and 4.53 chances created in open play per 90.

 

 

Father Time will dictate an inevitable decline for the two as they approach 35, but more pertinently, Nagelsmann's approach has led to a return to their numbers under Kovac, with 98.59 touches per match and 3.85 chances created from open play between the two in all competitions this season. Then there's the discrepancy in eventual shot location.

The difference lies in involvement. Under Flick, Muller and Lewandowski effectively played as two strikers in a 4-4-2, while the wingers kept the defensive line pinned back, allowing the two with sufficient space to retreat and operate between the lines. Especially with midfielders like Kimmich and Leon Goretzka who do not like receiving the ball in tight areas, it was a critical component of Bayern's play and enabled them to open up the pitch.

Kimmich's increase in chance creation – his 2.83 per 90 this season is his highest out of the last four seasons in all competitions – is arguably born of the fact he is now Bayern's set-piece taker. His chance creation in open play has actually gone down from last season's 1.68 to 1.44, despite an increase in touches from 100.8 to 105.85.

 

 

Lewandowski and Muller's comparatively higher positioning and primary objective of threat behind the defensive line under Nagelsmann frankly makes the switching between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 irrelevant, because the 34-year-old has taken away the very thing that made Bayern function to begin with – the pair's ability to incorporate as well as get on the end of moves. Jamal Musiala's deployment in a 3-4-3 in the second leg against Villarreal only managed to clog the middle of the pitch up even further.

The player who has suffered the most with this change, however, is Serge Gnabry. His combined xG+xA figure of 0.92 in 2019-20 has dramatically decreased to 0.69 this year, while the middle of the pitch has been completely closed off to him, something evident in his dribble progression.

 

 

It all relates to the eventuality of Bayern's shot location and quality. Shot volume in Nagelsmann's first season has gone up to 20.13 in comparison to the 18.08 of that treble season under Flick, but they are shooting from further away, and with no increase in xG per shot. Against better defences, teams that hold high volumes of possession but ultimately struggle to play through the middle of the pitch are eventually found out. That has been the case this year, in Europe and particular in domestic losses to Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach.

This all exists amid the backdrop of Bayern Munich's waning financial power and status as a destination in relation to the rest of Europe's elite. Bayern centre-back Niklas Sule is set to leave for arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. Emerging stars from within the Bundesliga who traditionally would have been guaranteed to end up at Sabener Strasse such as Dortmund's Erling Haaland, or RB Leipzig's Cristopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol, appear destined for elsewhere.

In the meantime, Bayern are reportedly haggling with Ajax over the release of Ryan Gravenberch who, despite the hype, arguably will not transform their midfield – much like Corentin Tolisso and Marc Roca.

There is also the small matter of Lewandowski's contract not being renewed and running the risk of expiring at the end of next season.

Sustained success can run the risk of providing diminishing returns, much like Juventus discovered in Italy. The question for Bayern is how to avoid it both as a club and under Nagelsmann, but can they?

Julian Nagelsmann is relishing a "match point" game with Borussia Dortmund after Bayern Munich moved on the brink of another Bundesliga title with a 3-0 win at Arminia Bielefeld.

Bayern bounced back from the disappointment of their Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal in routine fashion, goals from Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala securing all three points against their relegation-threatened opponents.

It means Bayern have a nine-point lead over Dortmund with four games remaining and can clinch the title with victory over their arch-rivals at the Allianz Arena next Saturday.

"It was a deserved win and it's important for us to have this match point game at home against Dortmund," Nagelsmann said in quotes reported by Bayern's official website. 

"It's a coincidence that doesn't happen very often. We're looking forward to that."

Bayern's Joshua Kimmich added: "The first half was pretty good, but in the second half we slowed down a bit. 

"We kept allowing counter-attacks with long balls. It was a deserved win. 

"We definitely want to win the title next week against Dortmund at home. This is a special game for us and for the whole Bundesliga. Because to get the championship trophy, that's clearly the ultimate goal."

Gnabry, who also created four chances, conceded there was an element of frustration from the aggregate defeat to Villarreal that was taken out on struggling Arminia.

"It was a bit of a reduction in frustration today after being eliminated from the Champions League, in which we had planned to progress," he said.

"But in the end, football just keeps going. Today was a new game. We wanted to win and we did. We played well with the ball, created a lot of space, let our opponents run and lost the ball a few times. 

"We had a lot of chances and maybe we could have scored earlier. But we can be satisfied." 

Robert Lewandowski has denied becoming unhappy with life at Bayern Munich, head coach Julian Nagelsmann insisted on Sunday.

The Polish striker was reported to have hinted at disenchantment as he gets close to completing eight years as a Bayern player.

Lewandowski, 33, is the leading scorer among players in Europe's top five leagues for a third consecutive season, netting 47 goals in all competitions so far in 2021-22 after 48 in 2020-21 and 55 in 2019-20.

Rumours have suggested he could be a Barcelona target, and if it became known that Lewandowski wanted a fresh start there would be no shortage of suitors.

Nagelsmann said he received assurances from Lewandowski that there is no truth to the theory he has become disgruntled.

"We are in close, very direct contact. He is old enough, and so am I, that we could address things directly if that were the case," Nagelsmann told DAZN on Sunday.

"He immediately denied that. In an interview in Poland he once said that he had very little space up front and that it's difficult to score a lot of goals and that made him unhappy.

"He doesn't have a problem with me and the other way around isn't the case either."

Former RB Leipzig boss Nagelsmann took charge at Bayern after Hansi Flick departed at the end of last season to become head coach of the Germany national team.

Bayern are well placed to land a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title, but they made an early exit from the DFB-Pokal and were upset by Villarreal in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Lewandowski played but did not score as Bayern won 3-0 at Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga on Sunday to move nine points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund with four games to play.

Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn insists the club are "totally convinced" by head coach Julian Nagelsmann, while he hit out at the "cowardly" death threats towards the manager.

The Bundesliga side crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in midweek to Villarreal, leaving the German top-flight title as the only major trophy Nagelsmann can manage in his first season.

Bayern can restore their nine-point lead at the Bundesliga summit when they visit Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday, meaning the league would be almost secured with four games left to play after the weekend. 

However, Nagelsmann revealed in the build-up to the clash with Arminia that online abuse and threats, including towards his mother, have become commonplace in the wake of defeats for Bayern.

Kahn, speaking to German TV channel Sport1, acknowledged criticism in a high-pressure role is expected but says "limits are being far exceeded" with such threats.

"We all know it, we know what happens when FC Bayern is in this situation," he said. "That's part of it, you have to be able to deal with criticism.

"Here, however, limits are being exceeded, now far exceeded. What's going on with people who are sending death threats to other people out of anonymity?

"There is nothing more cowardly than discrediting other people out of anonymity. We will think about whether we can and must put a stop to it."

As for the success of the former RB Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann, who conceded the Bundesliga title alone was not enough at Bayern, Kahn fully supports the 34-year-old.

"We want to emphasise that we're totally convinced," he added on the Bayern boss. "We want to continue on this path with him. He knows what's important to us.

"In addition to the development of the younger players, you can see that [Jamal] Musiala is a positive development, you could also see that he pulled [Leroy] Sane out of the slump in form.

"That's what we expect from him. Of course, we also want to strengthen. We knew that Julian was a young coach, that's what we wanted too.

"We knew that there would be one or two setbacks and that's part of the path we want to take.

"Of course we always have the highest demands at Bayern Munich. But if we look at the season and also look at the data, then we have made some progress.

"Especially in terms of defence, for example, we conceded 10 goals fewer than at the same time last season and scored the same number of goals.

"We lost important players, David Alaba and Jerome Boateng but on the other hand, you have to see that we conceded 44 goals last season.

"It was our goal to become more stable, we've achieved that, we've become more flexible. This team is always capable of delivering top performances."

Robert Lewandowski's attitude towards his work at Bayern Munich gives the impression he is staying at the club, coach Julian Nagelsmann believes.

Lewandowski is the leading scorer among players in Europe's top five leagues for a third consecutive season, netting 47 goals in all competitions in 2021-22 after 48 in 2020-21 and 55 2019-20.

He is the only player in Europe to have scored at least 40 goals in each of the past seven seasons.

But the 33-year-old's contract has only a year to run, and he has been linked with a move away from Bayern – most prominently to Barcelona.

Bayern have insisted Lewandowski will not be sold, yet he will be able to leave on a free transfer in 2023 if a new contract is not agreed, denying the Bundesliga giants a huge fee.

However, Nagelsmann does not think Lewandowski intends to quit the German champions based on the conversations the pair have had.

"Of course I would like to keep him, he is an important goalscorer," Nagelsmann said ahead of Sunday's game at Arminia Bielefeld. "He has a contract. There are conversations.

"I never got the impression that he wants to leave. We talk a lot about tactics, and he participates a lot. That implies for me that he wants to stay.

"But it's also quite normal to think about your future, especially when you've been with the club for so long."

Nagelsmann was speaking on Friday, three days after a Champions League draw with Villarreal that saw Bayern eliminated from the competition at the quarter-final stage.

Their failure to reach the quarter-finals in consecutive seasons will have financial implications, but Nagelsmann hopes Bayern will keep investing in order to return to Europe's top table.

"It's always a vicious circle," he said. "The squad changes, you lose regular players; on the other hand, the income is missing because you don't get that far.

"Of course, we don't have the money we would have made from the semi-finals.

"You have to decide: do you take a risk, how much do you invest? If you do not take risks, the probability of reaching a semi-final is lower, then again the money is missing. It's always a balancing act."

Now, though, the focus has to be on clinching the Bundesliga title – that is Nagelsmann's message as Bayern aim to move on from the Villarreal game, where Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman sustained muscle injuries that make them doubts against Arminia.

"There's a bit of dreariness. We won't have the opportunity to play such games again until a year from now," he said. "We have a year to think about it.

"But we now have a mission: ideally win the next two games to become champions. You have to turn that dreariness into vigour."

There is the potential for yet another Lewandowski record, too, needing only a single goal to become the outright away scorer in a Bundesliga season; he has 17 on the road so far this term, tied with Jupp Heynckes in 1973-74 and Timo Werner in 2019-20.

Lewandowski's only previous away game against Arminia in October 2020 saw him score twice and assist another in a 4-1 Bayern win.

Julian Nagelsmann revealed he regularly receives death threats in the aftermath of Bayern Munich matches and his mother is also targeted.

Bayern were eliminated from the Champions League in midweek after a 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal resulted in a 2-1 aggregate quarter-final defeat.

It means Die Roten can only win one major trophy in Nagelsmann's first season as head coach, though a nine-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with five games to go means that trophy looks reasonably secure.

Nagelsmann said receiving threats is not out of the ordinary as he opened up on the abuse when previewing Bayern's weekend fixture with Arminia Bielefeld.

"I get them after every game, regardless of whether we win or lose. I only ever see the first line and then delete them all at once," he said.

"They even shoot at my own mother, who doesn't play football at all. That's a little wild.

"There are more death threats when we play a back three. How do I deal with it? I don't give a f***. I cannot understand. As soon as you turn off the TV, people forget their decency. But that's all useless. They think they're right, that's the bizarre thing.

"I don't think the club is increasing security. You also move as a private person. I don't want to provoke anyone now."

Club legend and former CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke about how uncertainty over the contracts of several big-name players may have proved a distracting factor in Bayern's European demise.

Nagelsmann says it is easier to accept criticism from such quarters.

"I am aware that you have to put up with criticism from all sides. That's normal, part of it. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's criticism is manageable for me. I can handle that," he added.

"Maybe not quite as good with the 450 death threats on Instagram. But I don't read them all, of course that's a bit irrelevant.

"Of course, if you are eliminated in two out of three competitions, a coach will also be criticised. But I can take it and keep working."

Nagelsmann also stated he had held constructive talks with Bayern's hierarchy following the Villarreal setback.

"We sat together for two hours on Wednesday and talked about the game. I picked out the most important things again, but again our game was good. We lost it in the first leg," he said.

"I had a long phone call with [chief executive] Oliver Kahn yesterday, also about the squad and my ideas. He wants to have a picture of what the coach is thinking. The exchange has been very good so far. 

"We are very good at planning, but implementation is not that easy. The squad planning changes every day, you imagine something. Two days later it looks very different. That's where the fast pace of business comes into play."

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery hit back at criticism from Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn about the way the Spanish side played after they knocked the Bundesliga leaders out of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Taking a 1-0 advantage into the second leg on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena, the Yellow Submarine defended resolutely and scored a late goal to secure a 1-1 draw on the night, going through to the semi-finals 2-1 on aggregate. 

Robert Lewandowski had levelled the tie early in the second half via Thomas Muller's assist, but Samuel Chukwueze put Villarreal through with his goal in the 88th minute.

Speaking after Bayern's elimination, Kahn said: "There are few less pleasant teams to play against [than Villarreal]."

In response at a news conference following the game, Emery said: "Well, we do need to respect opinions, but they are totally unfair. The match is played in two games: 90 minutes [in Villarreal], where we were better than them, where we got a difference in the scoreboard, and today we played a match in which we haven't lost.

"The talk is that they wanted to be more aggressive in the pressure, and in fact, Lewandowski committed two aggressive tackles and the referee didn't send him off, which I understand because he shouldn't, and then they claimed a second card for Juan Foyth. But it was a clean game, well played."

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal manager also addressed accusations of time-wasting against his team.

"Logically, we played for time, but also in Villarreal we played like this," he added. "Like with the goalkeeper, if they do not want to come and pressure, we gain our time. It is not that we do not want to play, we want them to come and pressure us. Today they did it, that is why it cost us more. [In the first leg], they didn't [pressure us].

"So what I want to say is that each team has tactics, but respect, I will never lose it. If someone disrespects [me], it is not that I will respect him, but I will omit him.

"[Kahn] said that they had bad luck and that we surprised them... well, one needs to be a man."

Villarreal captain Dani Parejo also did not hold back when speaking about Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

"When the draw took place and Villarreal was their opponent, I believe that their coach... well, I do not know him, but I think he showed a little bit of disrespect, not to Villarreal, but to football," Parejo told Movistar+.

"And our club in this case, when he said that he wanted to decide the tie in the first leg. I trust that this was a lack of respect to us.

"In the end, when you spit in the wind, sometimes it returns straight to you."

Julian Nagelsmann knows this season cannot be considered a success for Bayern Munich after falling short of their "minimum goal" of making the Champions League semi-finals.

Bayern are on course for a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title, nine points clear of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund with five games to play.

But as last season, Bayern have failed to win the DFB-Pokal and been eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

After being edged out by big-spending Paris Saint-Germain in 2020-21, underdogs Villarreal put paid to their European hopes this time, claiming a 1-1 draw in Germany on Tuesday to claim a 2-1 aggregate success.

Samuel Chukwueze's late equaliser saw Bayern eliminated in the last eight for the eighth time in the Champions League era – more than any other side.

It was the first time Bayern had failed to win consecutive matches at any stage of the competition since facing Liverpool in the last 16 in 2018-19.

On the back of that disappointment, Nagelsmann was unwilling to be complacent about the Bundesliga title race as he considered the season as a whole.

"It depends on what happens in the Bundesliga," said the first-year Bayern coach.

"If we win that, we've matched what we did last year, which is not enough for Bayern Munich. The semi-finals should have been our minimum goal, but we've not done it."

While Nagelsmann insisted the damage had been done in Spain, he ranked this result among the three most disappointing of his coaching career.

"To be honest, this is one of the worst three defeats of my career," he said. "Hoffenheim v Liverpool was tough. RB Leipzig v PSG was difficult to take. We had plenty of chances, this is certainly one of the three toughest occasions.

"As to how we lift the team, everything works as normal. I'll do my job as usual. [On Wednesday] we'll start preparing for our next Bundesliga game and I'll get the team ready for it.

"A team like Bayern has experience with good and bad results. You win together and lose together, and you have to prepare for the next matches together.

"It's not easy, we will feel bad about [Tuesday], but I will do my best to lift the team."

Nagelsmann will be relieved he will at least not have to face Villarreal again this season, having grown frustrated by the approach of the LaLiga side, who had just four attempts but scored with their only shot on target.

Crucially, they limited Bayern to four shots on target from their 23 efforts, making seven blocks, and won 11 fouls to slow the pace of the game.

"It's difficult when the opposition have eight defenders in the penalty box, so it's never that easy to find your rhythm," Nagelsmann said.

"We have to score from winning the ball back, as we did. In other situations, it's super difficult.

"That's a part of how football is in southern Europe. I don't want to open up any discussion I'll have to apologise for next week, but everyone has to see their style for themselves.

"We had a couple of strong tackles where players could reasonably stay down, but not every situation needs to end with a player staying down for three minutes. I'm not going to make excuses about that, though."

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