Julian Nagelsmann hailed the "outstanding" Serge Gnabry after he scored a hat-trick in Bayern Munich's 5-0 thrashing of Stuttgart.

Gnabry marked his first start for almost a month with a superb display, helping himself to a treble and laying on the other two goals for Robert Lewandowski in the city where he was born.

The Germany forward gave Bayern a 1-0 half-time lead and they ran riot after the break, scoring three times in the space of five minutes behind closed doors at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Tuesday.

Gnabry was directly involved in five goals in a competitive match for only the second time in his career, with the only previous instance coming in the 7-2 win at Tottenham in October 2019 - when he scored four and provided one assist

Victory in Julian Nagelsmann's 200th Bundesliga match as a head coach put the champions nine points clear at the top of the table.

Nagelsmann lauded Gnabry, who has had to bide his time to force his way back into the team after a spell in quarantine and has also been hampered by an injury.

The Bayern head coach said: "He is an outstanding player who is currently struggling with his back and therefore maybe gets a tad less minutes than he deserves.

"He did very, very well today."

It was another devastating performance from the Bavarian giants, but there was concern when they lost Kingsley Coman to an injury in the first half

Nagelsmann said of the France winger: "We don't have an exact diagnosis for him yet. It's a muscular issue. We're hoping that it's nothing serious."

Lewandowski's double took him level with the great Gerd Muller on a record 41 goals in a calendar year in the German top flight.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann is hopeful Joshua Kimmich's declaration that he is ready to take a COVID-19 vaccine will draw a line under the matter.

Kimmich made headlines in October when he explained he was not willing to receive his first dose due to what he perceived as a lack of research into possible long-term effects.

The 26-year-old has not featured for Bayern since November 6 after twice being forced to isolate due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

He was then infected with COVID-19 himself and was last week ruled out until 2022 due to an issue with his lungs.

Kimmich confirmed in an interview with ZDF on Sunday that he is now in a position where he feels ready to get vaccinated.

Nagelsmann, who was himself struck down by the illness, is pleased with Kimmich's announcement but insisted he did not sway the midfielder's decision.

"I think it's good that he faced the media. A lot has been reported about him in the last few weeks," Nagelsmann said on Monday. 

"I gave him my opinion, but in the end his conviction was a result of talks with other people at the club. I rather try to work on the pitch."

Nagelsmann, who has been regularly questioned on the topic over the past two months, added: "I think it's funny I'm still being asked! 

"When the year 2021 comes to an end, I hope that we will be able to deal with the pandemic subject more briefly because we can master the situation."

 

Bayern will be without Kimmich for their final two Bundesliga games of the year, while Jamal Musiala is also doubtful to face Stuttgart on Tuesday and Wolfsburg next weekend.

Musiala has scored in Bayern's last two games, including the decisive strike to see off Mainz 2-1 on Saturday, but a broken hand could keep him out of action until 2022.

"That depends on the pain," Nagelsmann said ahead of the trip to Stuttgart. "He has a splint and could theoretically play, but it's a pain issue. 

"We'll see how he moves today. We'll have to wait a few days and take another X-ray to see how to proceed with the treatment, whether it will be surgical or conservative."

Nagelsmann confirmed Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso are also fitness doubts for Tuesday, but Marcel Sabitzer has returned to training and may be part of the squad.

Bayern have won 66 of their 104 Bundesliga matches against Stuttgart – no other team in Bundesliga history has won so often against a single opponent.  

The Bavarian giants have won 17 of their last 18 league meetings with Stuttgart, with the only exception being a 4-1 loss in May 2018.

Pellegrino Matarazzo's side have taken seven points from their last three games, however, and Nagelsmann is not anticipating an easy game in midweek.

"In terms of the table, they are not quite as good as they were last year," he said. "But it is incredibly difficult to prepare to face them.

"Their coach, who I know well, is a mathematician and that's how he approaches games. You cannot prepare for the way they will set up."

A draw for Bayern at Mercedes-Benz-Arena will ensure they sit top of the Bundesliga at the halfway point for the 15th time in the 16 seasons since the introduction of three points for a win.

Julian Nagelsmann felt Bayern Munich made life difficult for themselves after the reigning Bundesliga champions defeated Mainz on Saturday.

Bayern fell behind to Karim Onisiwo's first-half strike before Kingsley Coman levelled things up at the Allianz Arena.

Jamal Musiala then delivered the decisive strike to help Nagelsmann to his 100th win as a manager in the Bundesliga.

At just 34 years and 141 days old, Nagelsmann is the youngest coach in the history of the German top flight to reach the 100-win milestone, with his first and his 100th victories both coming against Mainz.

But the former RB Leipzig head coach was disappointed with Bayern's first-half performance as he felt his side caused their own problems, though he was satisfied with their response in the next 45 minutes.

"The win was tough because Mainz are doing very well this season," Nagelsmann told reporters. "But we rather made it difficult for ourselves. We started well, I had a great feeling – suddenly the momentum was gone and we played very slowly.

"In the second half we were really sharp and put in a lot of power and intensity from the first to the 88th minute. That was a very good reaction by the team."

Nagelsmann also reserved special praise for Jamal Musiala, who operated in a deeper midfield role in the absence of Joshua Kimmich.

Musiala scored from his one effort on target and also attempted 10 dribbles, a tally only bettered by team-mate Kingsley Coman (12).

"He's left his 'Bambi' status," Nagelsmann added on the versatile Musiala. "At some point you grow out of your talent status. 

"He should keep this street football gene, but he doesn't have to become Gennaro Gattuso. Defensively, it's all about being reliable."

Leaders Bayern move six points clear after Borussia Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw by Bochum, while Nagelsmann's side next travel to Stuttgart on Tuesday.

Julian Nagelsmann won his 100th Bundesliga game as Jamal Musiala's strike completed a 2-1 comeback victory over Mainz.

Perhaps suffering a hangover from their Champions League win over Barcelona, Bayern – without a number of key players – were far from their slick best on Saturday.

But the champions ultimately had too much quality, with Musiala, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role, slotting in a 74th-minute winner.

Kingsley Coman had equalised to cancel out Karim Onisiwo's header, with Mainz unable to withstand the pressure as Nagelsmann moved onto a century of league wins in his 199th top-flight game as a coach.

More often a provider, Alphonso Davies had two chances to put Bayern ahead inside 10 minutes, but he failed to put a close-range volley on target before a deflected effort hit the post.

Yet Bayern's ominous start failed to produce a goal. Indeed, Mainz were unfortunate not to have a penalty when Dayot Upamecano barged into Jae-Sung Lee.

Bayern avoided punishment, but Mainz kept up the pressure and had the lead in the 22nd minute – Onisiwo heading in from Jonathan Burkardt's cross.

Thomas Muller saw an acrobatic attempt deflected over before Alexander Hack kept Coman at bay. It was the latter who got Bayern level in the 53rd minute.

Corentin Tolisso's well weighted pass caught Mainz napping, with Coman's excellent touch setting him up for a strike that squirmed under Robert Zentner.

Coman latched onto another fantastic pass from deep soon after, this time cutting in from the left before drilling an effort just over.

Bayern's winner came with 17 minutes remaining, though, with teenager Musiala taking a sublime touch to create space on the edge of the box before finding the bottom-left corner with unerring accuracy.

Robert Lewandowski has continued with business as usual despite disappointment at the 2021 Ballon d'Or awards, according to Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Lewandowski had to settle for second place and an inaugural Striker of the Year accolade at the France Football award ceremony, with Lionel Messi collecting a record-extending seventh crown.

The Bayern striker may have felt hard done by, given he has scored 14 more times than any other player in Europe's top five leagues in 2021, with 55 goals across all competitions to his name so far.

The Poland international also missed out last year due to the coronavirus-enforced cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d'Or, which he was favourite for after breaking Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record following 41 goals in 29 league games last term.

But Nagelsmann insisted that Lewandowski – who again leads Europe's top five leagues with 27 goals this term across all competitions, seven more than second-placed Mohamed Salah – has not let the Ballon d'Or snub impact his performances.

"I haven't noticed a big change in terms of hunger for goals, regardless of the Ballon d'Or decision or new records," Nagelsmann, whose side face Mainz on Saturday, told reporters at his pre-match news conference.

"I think he was in an incredibly good mood lately with very good body language. He also does his job defensively very neatly. I think he just wants to be successful with FC Bayern."

 

Bayern, inspired by the likes of Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, sit four points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga as the reigning champions prepare to host Mainz.

Nagelsmann is also eyeing a landmark of his own, with a potential 100th Bundesliga win awaiting him in just his 199th game as a top-flight boss.

Should he do so, he will become the fastest to a century in the German top flight but the former RB Leipzig head coach claimed he did not even know he was approaching a milestone as he praised his team's recent efforts.

"Thanks for the memory, I didn't even know that," he added. "That's a nice number, I'm happy.

"The players are in a good mood, I think. The atmosphere is also good on the pitch and in the dressing room. 

"I think we have mastered the difficult autumn quite well so far, even with the many injuries and failures. We want to win the rest of the games and keep the gap to Dortmund in the league. We will drive ahead with full speed."

Nagelsmann, however, will be without Joshua Kimmich, who will miss the remainder of 2021 with a lung problem as he continues to recover from coronavirus.

But the Bayern head coach defended his player, who is yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19, after suggestions Kimmich was causing problems.

"Basically, it's always good if you ask him that yourself," he continued. "Of course, as a thoroughbred athlete, he always wants to be on the pitch, especially because he's always been fit. 

"You have to allow opinions here in Germany. He has made his decision, you have to accept it."

Julian Nagelsmann believes Bayern Munich would have won by an even greater margin had they not taken their foot of the pedal in Wednesday's comprehensive Champions League win over Barcelona.

Bayern outclassed and overpowered Barca 3-0 midweek, a result that eliminated the embattled LaLiga giants from the Champions League.

Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala were on target for Group E winners Bayern, who progressed to the knockout phase with a 100 per cent record.

Bayern led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Muller and Sane before Musiala netted a third just past the hour-mark at Allianz Arena.

With 22 goals scored and just three conceded, Bayern's goal difference of plus-19 during the group stages has only been bettered once before in Champions League history – Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18 (+21 - F25 A4).

Afterwards, Bayern head coach Nagelsmann felt Barca were fortunate not to have conceded more in Munich.

"We played against an opponent who, of course, has a very big name and actually had to win today," Nagelsmann told DAZN.

"We have never really let it unfold properly. In the second half we clearly defended deeper and let them have the ball a little more, but I believe that if we put it on properly, then we could have scored significantly more goals than three."

Along with Liverpool and Ajax, Bayern became the third side this season to win all six Champions League group-stage matches.

This is the first campaign to see more than one team manage this in the same season, whilst the German outfit are just the second team ever to do so on more than one occasion (also in 2019-20), alongside Real Madrid (2011-12 and 2014-15).

Asked if Bayern are favourites to win the Champions League, Nagelsmann replied: "It's always a huge topic for the journalists: 'Who is the favourite?' You can write a lot about it. In the end, it's a fact that in the knockout stage there are more factors.

"Sometimes the daily performance is decisive or some lucky moments. You don't have time to bring something back in order if you made some mistakes before. Of course, all teams that reach the knockout stage are some kind of favourites and can win this title. We as well. We did very well in the group stage. It's well deserved and also today our focus was really good and we reached the next round.

"It's our own requirement to be one of the favourites, of course. We would like to win the Champions League and some of us would like to win it again. We need to show the same performances in the knockout stage and keep the same level. I believe that my team can do this. But in the end it's only about doing it. Now we wait for our opponent and then we will prepare for that, but there's still some time."

Barca – amid a financial crisis – were consigned to the Europa League/UEFA Cup for the first time since 2003-04 following their Bayern defeat.

It is the fourth time Barcelona have been eliminated in the Champions League group stage after 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01, and the second time that they have fallen to the secondary European competition from the Champions League group stage following 2000-2001 (then, to play the UEFA Cup after finishing third behind Milan and Leeds United).

Barca's tally of two goals after their six group-stage matches is their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, whilst only in 1997-98 (14) did they concede more goals at this stage than the nine they have shipped this season.

"I think that the club can bounce back," Nagelsmann said of Barca. "It's still one of the biggest clubs. Today we deserved the victory and in both games we showed really good performances and our wins were well deserved.

"I think Barcelona are a club with a lot of expertise and good guys. Not only Xavi, but also guys in the back who will make intelligent decisions for this club. I already said in the news conference before the game that it's not easy to deal with more than €1billion in debt in the daily business. It's about extremely tough decisions that need to be taken. This can take a while.

"If I think that this would happen to us, then I am sure it would take a while until we could bounce back and be successful again. I wish them all the best and I hope the club will be soon the glorious Barcelona again that we all know."

Julian Nagelsmann claims Jude Bellingham tarnished Bayern Munich's Klassiker win over Borussia Dortmund with his costly outburst against the match referee.

Bellingham was unhappy after Dortmund were denied two spot-kicks in Saturday's action-packed Bundesliga clash prior to Mats Hummels being penalised for handball.

Robert Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty to earn Bayern a 3-2 win, leading Dortmund teenager Bellingham to question the integrity of referee Felix Zwayer in his post-game interview.

The England international appeared to allude to a six-month ban handed to Zwayer following a 2005 match-fixing scandal, which centred around fellow official Robert Hoyzer.

Hoyzer was found to have fixed 2. Bundesliga matches in 2004-05. One of those involved Zwayer operating as an assistant, with the allegation he took a €300 bribe. Zwayer strenuously denied any such wrongdoing in the course of that investigation.

Bellingham's comments are reportedly being examined by police, while the German Football Association (DFB) has fined the youngster €40,000.

As the fallout continues from Bayern's win, which moved them four points clear at the summit, Nagelsmann gave his view on the refereeing decisions and Bellingham's remarks.

"Those comments tarnished the game a bit," Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

"I can understand the discussions. But the incident involving Marco Reus couldn't have resulted in a penalty because there was an offside.

"I wouldn't have complained about the penalty for us if it hadn't been given. I can understand from Dortmund's point of view."

Bayern now switch focus to the visit of Barca to the Allianz Arena, with the game to be held behind closed doors due to rising coronavirus cases in Bavaria.

The German giants have won each of their last three meetings with Barcelona, which is the longest run of wins by a team against Barca in their European Cup and Champions League history.

 

Nagelsmann's side are already assured of top spot in Group E, while the visitors may need to win if they are to progress, depending on how Benfica get on against Dynamo Kiev.

Despite Barcelona enduring a trying time on and off the field in recent times, Nagelsmann insists it is only a matter of time before the LaLiga heavyweights turn things around.

"I think they are still an extremely attractive club for players and fans," Nagelsmann said. "The financial figures are known. If that hovers over you, you will be a little inhibited.

"In a successful era you may become lazy and need too long for decisions. Then you seldom think about what happens when things go bad.

"The spitting out of talent has been a bit lacking, but that will only come again. Obviously they are making ends meet and still have a good squad.

"For me, Frenkie de Jong is one of the best midfielders in the world. They still have world-class players. They are under pressure in the table and have to win. They will give everything to make this a good game."

Bayern have won all five of their group matches, scoring a combined 19 goals and conceding three.

At home, they have scored five goals in each of their two Champions League games so far this term and have netted at least twice in each of their last 11 home matches in the competition.

The Bavarians will remain without Leon Goretzka on Wednesday due to injury, despite the midfielder returning to training, while Serge Gnabry is out with an adductor issue.

Despite having little to play for on the face of it, Nagelsmann intends to name a strong side to face Barca.

"We'll play our best available team," he said. "Benfica don't have to worry! We are going for six wins from six and that is a worthwhile goal."

Robert Lewandowski was spurred on by Borussia Dortmund supporters chanting the name of Lionel Messi ahead of Bayern Munich's clash with Borussia Dortmund.

That was the verdict of Julian Nagelsmann, the head coach who saw his Bayern side prevail 3-2 in a thrilling Klassiker to move four points clear of their closest rivals at the Bundesliga summit.

Lewandowski scored twice for the leaders, the second of those goals a late penalty, in the same week he missed out to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or.

Dortmund fans, who worshipped Lewandowski during his four seasons at Signal Iduna Park, taunted the striker by singing Messi's name while both sides were warming up.

The Poland international took revenge with his double, however, taking his tally against BVB to 26 goals in all competitions – his most against a single side.

Speaking after the game, Nagelsmann said: "All of this rather spurred him on. He scored the significant goals and paid the fans back after all the Messi calls in the stadium."

 

Bayern were 2-1 up at half-time in Saturday's top-of-the-table clash after Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman struck to cancel out Julian Brandt's early opener.

Erling Haaland hit back for Dortmund, who saw a couple of big decisions go against them in what could well be a defining moment in the Bundesliga title race.

Lucas Hernandez avoided conceding a penalty despite appearing to commit a foul on Marco Reus, shortly before Mats Hummels was deemed to have handled at a corner.

Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty, leading to strong comments being made by the Dortmund camp in regard to the performance of referee Felix Zwayer.

Despite the controversial conclusion to the game, Nagelsmann felt his side were good value for their seventh successive win against Dortmund in all competitions.

"I think we deserved to win, but I also understand the discussions over the two penalty situations," said Nagelsmann.

"It was a very tight game that was worthy of its reputation. We could have scored more in the first half.

"Dortmund did it well early in the second half, but we found our rhythm again and had good control."

Bayern ended the game with an expected goals (xG) return of 2.27 compared to Dortmund's 1.44, backing up Nagelsmann's assertion that his side deserved all three points.

Dortmund had more possession (53 per cent) and outshot Bayern seven to six in the second half, however, and Thomas Muller conceded the visiting side rode their luck in the end.

"Dortmund's first goal has probably helped us," Bayern stalwart Muller told Sky Sport. "We got into the gaps relatively easily afterwards, with the goals scored after mistakes.

"We should have taken the lead in the first half. In the second half, I don't know whether we deserved to win from the way we played.

"The first-half display was definitely better – we moved the ball well and won our challenges. Based on the second-half performance, we didn't deserve it. It was more of a fight."

Borussia Dortmund head coach Marco Rose has confirmed Erling Haaland is not fit enough to play a full part in this weekend's key Klassiker clash with Bayern Munich.

Haaland scored just seven minutes into his comeback from a six-week injury lay-off in last Saturday's 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.

That was the Norway striker's 50th Bundesliga goal, reaching the landmark in just 50 matches and becoming the youngest ever player to do so at 21 years and four months.

However, with just those 17 minutes of football to his name since sustaining a hip injury on October 19, Haaland will not be considered to play the whole game against Bayern.

"Erling himself knows his situation," Rose said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "He has had a good week of training behind him. 

"But we all know that we have to be careful a little longer. He will certainly not be ready for 90 minutes, so we will have to see how long he can go."

 

Haaland has averaged 1.12 goals per 90 minutes played in Germany's top flight, scoring 40 with his left foot, six with his right and four headers.

Since making his Dortmund bow in January last year, only Robert Lewandowski (70 goals in 56 games) has scored more Bundesliga goals than the ex-Salzburg man.

Indeed, no player in Europe's top five leagues has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Bayern striker Lewandowski's 25.

Despite his continued brilliance in front of goal, Lewandowski finished second to record-extending seven-time winner Lionel Messi at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony.

Rather than feel sorry for himself, however, Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann is backing Lewandowski to be extra fired up against Dortmund on Saturday.

"I've already said that he's in great shape and it's not impossible that he could win this thing again," Nagelsmann said at his pre-match news conference. 

"He can't change the past. He's working every day on the present and the future gets created with his work in the present. I think it could be possible that he wins it someday.

"And I'm sure that, when you look at his current numbers without mathematical talent like me, it looks good for this season.  

"Therefore, I believe that he can do it and that those who vote will vote for him next year and say that he deserves the Ballon d'Or.

"It is important to accept this disappointment but also to take energy and motivation for other big performances. And I'm confident that he has this drive."

 

Against no team has Lewandowski scored more goals in all competitions than against former side Dortmund (24, level with his record against Wolfsburg).

Dortmund have lost their past six competitive matches against Bayern, but they enter this contest with six wins in their previous seven leagues games and are just a point behind Bayern.

Asked how his side go about beating reigning champions and current pacesetters Bayern at Signal Iduna Park, Rose said: "We need to play well in every department.

"I believe that Bayern have a clear structure with the ball and develop a goal risk from it with a lot of force. It is difficult to grasp. 

"It will be important to eliminate the offensive quality around Lewandowski and the wingers and to keep Munich out of the penalty area as much as possible."

Julian Nagelsmann believes Bayern Munich are ready for Der Klassiker after digging deep for a 1-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld.

Bayern's clash with Bundesliga title rivals Borussia Dortmund is coming up next Saturday, with the great rivals sitting first and second in the German top flight.

Dortmund briefly occupied top spot on Saturday after a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg, in which Erling Haaland returned from injury with a goal.

But they were nudged off the summit later in the day when Leroy Sane's 71st-minute strike earned a depleted Bayern three valuable points. Eight days previously, Bayern were beaten by Augsburg, so a league win of any sort this time was to be welcomed.

Nagelsmann's squad has been hit hard by COVID-19 cases, but the head coach saw enough from the team he fielded against Arminia to be optimistic about the tussle with Dortmund.

The Bayern boss said: "I am very satisfied. It was a step forward after the Augsburg game.

"We had enough chances to win the game. We gave away a few chances in the second half. Dortmund won, so we were under a bit of pressure. It's a deserved victory. We don't always have to score three, four or five goals. One is enough.

"Overall, we defended well. Such games are important. If you lose those games, then it's not enough to just win games like next week.

"We are now heading to Dortmund as championship leaders and full of anticipation."

 

Sane's goal was Bayern's 102nd in the league this calendar year – a Bundesliga record, beating Cologne's mark from 1977.

Thomas Muller made his 396th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern, matching the great Franz Beckenbauer's total and going sixth on the club's all-time list, led by Sepp Maier (473).

Asked how many more games he could play, midfielder Muller told Sky Deutschland: "We'll see. If I stay fresh and fit, and well enough, then something is still possible. That is just a nice statistic, it simply shows the path I have already taken.

"But I am looking forward more to the road still ahead of me, which is certainly a bit shorter in comparison."

Julian Nagelsmann would like Ralf Rangnick to be handed a long-term role at Manchester United amid widespread reports the experienced coach is to become the club's interim manager.

Rangnick, 63, only took over as Lokomotiv Moscow's head of sports and development earlier this year following an eight-season spell across various roles at RB Leipzig.

But the former Stuttgart and Schalke coach, who is credited for influencing some of football's brightest minds, appears set to join United as interim manager following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's departure.

Nagelsmann and Rangnick's careers crossed paths at Leipzig between 2019 and 2021, with the latter acting as head of sport and development for RedBullGMBH following his director of football role at both Red Bull Salzburg and the Bundesliga side.

Now Bayern Munich head coach Nagelsmann, whose high-pressing philosophy largely resembles Rangnick's preferred approach, believes his compatriot will be a hit at United.

Asked about his mentor's potential appointment at Old Trafford, Nagelsmann said: "I think it's cool. I also wrote to him. I think I wrote 'cool'.

"I'm happy for him. He's an excellent trainer."

While the 34-year-old was pleased with the Red Devils' reported move, he explained he would like to see Rangnick offered a longer deal as United are set to search for a permanent solution at the end of the season.

"I would like him to be a coach longer than until the summer," he continued. "From Man United's point of view, congratulations."

Reports have suggested United will look to appoint Rangnick on a consultancy basis after his time as interim boss is up.

Mauricio Pochettino has been touted as United's preferred option to take over next year, though Paris Saint-Germain have insisted the Argentine is staying put.

United face Chelsea on Sunday, with Rangnick's appointment expected to have gone through by that stage. However, Michael Carrick is set to be in charge for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala will be back in the Bayern Munich squad to face Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday but Marcel Sabitzer is facing a spell on the sidelines.

Bayern have been hard hit by coronavirus, but Julian Nagelsmann revealed Gnabry, Musiala and Michael Cuisance will come out of quarantine on Friday.

The trio have been cleared to return after testing negative, but will not be considered to start.

Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic have stepped up their recovery from COVID-19 in training this week, but neither will start the Bundesliga encounter this weekend.

Joshua Kimmich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting remain in isolation after they contracted the virus.

Kimmich has come in for criticism for not taking the vaccine, but Nagelsmann has sympathy for the Germany midfielder.

Nagelsmann said in a press conference on Friday: "I have a lot of contact with him. He is extremely ambitious. It is a burden for him that he cannot play."

The Bayern boss revealed Sabitzer will be out for "a few weeks" due to a calf injury, while Tanguy Nianzou misses Bielefeld's visit to the Allianz Arena due to a torn ligament in his shoulder.

Leaders Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Augsburg last Friday before beating Dinamo Kiev by the same scoreline in the Champions League.

Bielefeld are second-bottom of the table with only one win this season, but Nagelsmann says they must not be taken lightly. 

"Bielefeld have shown a clear improvement to last year. Masaya Okugawa is playing very well, has a lot of confidence on the ball and is versatile. They have a strong shape and always look to play deep.

"I know their coach [Frank Kramer]. Arminia have grown in terms of their physicality and the way in which they play. There are some parallels that can be drawn with Augsburg. It's a very important game for us."

Lucas Hernandez sustained an injury in Bayern Munich's win over Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday, further depleting a squad Julian Nagelsmann described as "on a knife-edge".

Bayern headed to Dynamo for their fifth Champions League group game of the season without five first-team players who were forced into quarantine following close contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.

A vaccine debate has raged around Bayern in recent weeks, but Nagelsmann's side were able to maintain their 100 per cent European record this term – just the third time they have made such a start since 2003-04 – with a 2-1 success that secured their place at the top of Group E.

Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock with a sensational overhead kick, extending his scoring run in the Champions League to nine straight matches – making him the first player to enjoy such a sequence twice (also in 2019-20).

That goal was also Lewandowski's 25th of the season already in all competitions, nine more than any other player across Europe's big five leagues.

Kingsley Coman added a second – Bayern's 19th goal through matchday five, the third-most in a Champions League group stage – before Denys Harmash replied for Dynamo after half-time.

Bayern were on the back foot for much of the second period, but they were playing without Hernandez, who was replaced by right-back Bouna Sarr at the break.

"In the end, we gritted our teeth well, and it was an important victory," Nagelsmann said.

"In general, it wasn't an easy game, also considering the circumstances. Not just the pitch conditions, but also our squad situation, which was already on a knife-edge before the game.

"During the interval, we had to change what we were doing because Luci [Hernandez] had to come off injured and we didn't have a third centre-back. We took a while to readjust to the change and we were a bit too passive.

"However, we had two or three good opportunities to transition into counters, but our final ball wasn't right. The third goal would have finished the game off.

"The goal we conceded was a bit annoying. We still have a long way to go. We have to be more stable, especially against opposition like today's."

Julian Nagelsmann is certain the issue of whether to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or not will not disrupt the harmony of his Bayern Munich team but is keen to avoid internal decisions leaking to the media.

Bayern were without Joshua Kimmich for Friday's shock Bundesliga defeat to Augsburg as he was forced to quarantine after coming into close contact with a positive case for coronavirus and has not been jabbed.

Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Michael Cuisance are now also in quarantine having come into contact with a person who tested positive and has close contact to the team.

German media outlet Bild has since reported Bayern have told players they will have their pay withheld for time missed in quarantine if they have not been vaccinated, with claims saying certain members of the squad are considering legal action against such measures.

Head coach Nagelsmann does not foresee the issue causing a split in the team, though,

Speaking prior to Tuesday's Champions League clash with Dinamo Kiev, he said: "It's always a group's distinction that you don't always agree.

"In a functioning team, however, everyone has to be there for everyone. I don't think it will break the team, we have to grow from it. 

"By not vaccinating, they are more likely to fail. But we have to be there for each other, we should grow from that.

"You often have conversations, if the person is positive, you have to be in quarantine as an unvaccinated person.

"The players are doing fine though, they are being tested. Josh could return earlier than the others because he was quarantined earlier."

Nagelsmann did, though, add that such matters should always be an internal matter and not be played out in the press.

"Of course I'm not happy that certain internals are leaked, that's not beneficial. It's also about private things," he added.

"There are too many things that are carried outwards. But that doesn't endanger our sporting success. It would be nicer if it was a little more closed. 

"I have more fun when everything goes in the right direction. But we mustn't make the topic too big, every club has these problems. We mustn't project these issues too much onto the sporting side. 

"We have moved forward in all statistical values. A week ago we were celebrated. Noise has been a part of FC Bayern for years."

The suspended Dayot Upamecano will miss out, while Kinglsey Coman and Marcel Sabitzer are injury doubts, but Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic face late fitness tests having returned negative coronavirus tests after previously contracting the illness.

"We're still not sure if 'King' and 'Sabi' can play. With Sabi, it doesn't look too good because he has problems with his Achilles tendon and calf. 'King' no longer feels any muscle pain, but we have to see tomorrow," Nagelsmann said.

"We have an important game on Saturday, and we have to make sure he doesn't miss it. If they're both unavailable, we still have 13 outfield players.

"Despite being without at least eight players, we still have a very good team. 'Niki' [Sule] has tested negative and will be examined tomorrow. The same applies to Stanisic. We might have two more alternatives at the weekend."

Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Muller vented their frustration at Bayern Munich's shock defeat to Augsburg by questioning the team's collective effectiveness in defensive situations.

Bayern were dominant for almost the entire match on Friday but still lost 2-1, with Mads Pedersen and Andre Hahn putting Augsburg 2-0 up before Robert Lewandowski pulled a goal back just before half-time.

While the second half was even more one-sided in Bayern's favour than the first, they did not exactly pepper Rafal Gikiewicz's goal, with the visitors' expected goals (xG) value only reaching a modest 1.4.

On the other hand, Augsburg scored twice from an xG value of just 0.6, highlighting just how clinical they were – though questions look set to be asked of the Bayern defence.

 

This was the fourth time in five matches – a run that includes a 5-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal – Bayern have conceded at least twice in a match, while they have now let in 13 Bundesliga goals from 9.8 xG against.

Only Greuther Furth (8.6) and Hertha Berlin (6.6) have worse xG against differentials than Bayern (3.2) this season, and Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) data suggests Manuel Neuer is a big part of the problem, putting him at fault for roughly 3.4 goals – the fourth-worst in the division.

Neuer failed to keep out Hahn's header despite getting a hand to it on Friday, though Muller and Nagelsmann pointed the finger at the defence as a collective.

 

"The first half was bad, very bad and in the second half you could see that we wanted to turn it around, but maybe we didn't deserve that little bit of luck in front of goal," Muller told DAZN.

"This is a bitter setback for our confidence… [but] what wasn't good today should get better.

"I think when you have the feeling in every game that you can score three or four goals, you lose a bit of hunger defensively. We noticed that over and over again in the past few games."

Head coach Nagelsmann added: "We're conceding the goals the same way throughout the season.

"We discussed it yesterday, and today we conceded both goals the same way again. The opponent didn't really have any moments of brilliance and still scored two goals. It was the same against Frankfurt.

"I think the important thing is that if there's not much going on in attack in a game, you must be more stable at the back. One impacts the other. 

"Overall we didn't create enough and didn't have enough shots on goal."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.