Bayern Munich have raided RB Leipzig once again with the signing of Marcel Sabitzer on a four-year deal.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed on Saturday that the champions were working on a deal for the Austria international, and reports suggest he will cost approximately €16million.

Ordinarily Sabitzer would have been expected to fetch a significantly larger fee, but the 27-year-old – who joined Leipzig from Rapid Vienna in 2014 – has less than 12 months to run on his contract.

Sabitzer will link up once again with Julian Nagelsmann, who left Leipzig for Bayern at the end of last season, as did centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

The attacking midfielder enjoyed arguably his best season in Germany's top flight under Nagelsmann in 2019-20, scoring nine Bundesliga goals (none of which were penalties) and setting up another seven – though 12 players had a hand in more (excluding spot-kicks).

That season was also his best for chances created (59). Although that was only enough to rank joint-eighth for that metric, Sabitzer's 52 key passes from open play was bettered by just Thomas Muller (81), Kai Havertz (57), Jadon Sancho (55), Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner (both 53).

His output did decrease last term, managing just four goals (excluding four penalties) and three assists, while his chances created from open play nearly halved (28).

But that does not appear to have perturbed Nagelsmann.

Leipzig look set to pull of something of a coup in signing Sabitzer's replacement, with Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba expected to join.

Moriba, a technically gifted midfielder, broke into the Barca first-team set-up last season and went on to feature 18 times across all competitions.

On February 13 this year, he became the youngest player this century to provide an assist on his LaLiga debut at the age of 18 years and 25 days.

The teenager particularly impressed with his confidence and ability on the ball, with his average of 3.2 dribbles per 90 minutes across 14 league appearances bettered by only four team-mates.

His 2.8 completed dribbles every 90 minutes gave him a success rate of 89.3 per cent – granted, it is a small sample, but the only Barca player to attempt at least one per 90 minutes and boast a better completion record was Miralem Pjanic.

Barca had been very eager to tie Moriba down to a new contract, with his deal set to expire next year, but president Joan Laporta suggested the midfielder was being unrealistic regarding his renewal demands.

Laporta said Moriba would not feature for the first team without committing his future to the club and added that he would sold as soon as possible to avoid him leaving for free next year if an agreement could not be met.

Leipzig have seemingly used the situation to their advantage, though their reported €20m outlay is not insignificant for a player with just 14 top-flight appearances to his name.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann lauded Robert Lewandowski, labelling him a Bundesliga great following his hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Hertha Berlin.

Lewandowski was in ruthless form on Saturday, scoring three goals to lead Bayern to a crushing win at home to Hertha.

The Poland international, who has been linked with a move away, netted in his 13th successive Bundesliga match – only the late Gerd Muller (16, 1969-70) found the net in more consecutive league games than Lewandowski.

Lewandowski surpassed 300 goals for Bayern, reaching 301 in just his 333rd appearance for the German giants. It is a mark only surpassed by Muller (566 goals in 607 matches) in the club's history.

The 33-year-old forward (15) is second in the list of hat-trick scorers, behind only Muller (32).

"He is definitely one of the best in Bundesliga history," Nagelsmann told reporters post-match.

"You would have to go through many of them, the league has been around for quite a while. But he is very consistent, has a great ability to get himself between the lines in possession. That's what makes him hard to catch.

"He's not just someone who waits for the balls up front, he participates in the game and creates a numerical advantage in the box. He is really dangerous because he can finish with all body parts really well."

"He does that with quality and has a great character. If you win so much like he did in the last two years and are still as hungry from the first game, if you have these transfer rumours revolving around you, which is normal for him, and then still perform as hungry as he does, this is extraordinary.

"No question. He's probably top of the top."

Teenage sensation and Germany international Jamal Musiala was also on target for Bayern after Thomas Muller opened the scoring inside six minutes against Hertha.

On the 18-year-old Musiala, Nagelsmann added: "The best thing is his modesty and humility. He's not one to over-celebrate his performances but wants to keep going. I think this is a prerequisite for a great career if he keeps that modesty.

"He has incredible qualities in one-on-one situations and a good finish. This is hard to find in today's youth teams: players with a certain football ground mentality. He has that and I don't want him to lose it but my biggest task will be making him keep it."

Bayern are unbeaten in 29 Bundesliga home games (W24, D5) – since moving to the Allianz Arena in 2005, the club have only had a longer streak without defeat in top-flight home games from March 2016 to April 2018 (38 fixtures).

Bayern Munich's merciless 12-0 demolition of Bremer in the DFB-Pokal left the minnows' player-coach Sebastien Kmiec watching with "one eye crying and one eye lit up".

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting hit four goals as a strong Bayern side that included Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Joshua Kimmich tore apart their fifth-tier opponents with "brutal" efficiency.

Bayern had 37 shots, which is the most they have had since also having 37 in a Bundesliga clash with Darmstadt in February 2016, a game in which the Bavarian giants came from behind at the interval to seal a 3-1 win.

There were no such difficulties this time, with Wednesday's deadly dozen capped by Colentin Tolisso late on.

The French midfielder had a team-high nine goal attempts and got his reward last of all by grabbing the 12th goal in the 88th minute.

Jamal Musiala also grabbed a double as Bayern put their foot down and crushed Bremer beneath their might.

Kmiec, who is an assistant to head coach Benjamin Eta, played the first 58 minutes and departed the scene with Bremer 7-0 in arrears.

"The quality is brutal, of course. We had very little to counter with. We didn't get into the 50-50s and just ran after every ball," Kmiec said, quoted on Bayern's website.

"You see it with one eye crying and one eye lit up, because it's just brutal.

"They made substitutions, but even the ones who came on wanted to put themselves forward and played their part.

"Here on the pitch you can see how fast they are, but also how quickly they think. You just have to say: outstanding."

 

Bayern had an 89.9 per cent passing accuracy and 68 per cent of possession against their outclassed hosts at the Weserstadion. That is now Werder Bremen's home, but was once shared by Bremer.

Bremer substituted goalkeeper Malte Seemann after 70 minutes, giving deputy Ole Bahr the final 20 minutes against the rampant Bundesliga champions. The score moved on from 8-0 to 12-0 after the switch.

In the face of Bayern's brilliance, Seemann was determined not to be deflated, labelling the game as "unbelievable" and "an indescribable feeling".

Seemann even added: "It was fun. Our boys were great and the Bayern players were all nice. That's something we'll remember."

Julian Nagelsmann insisted there is more to come from Jamal Musiala following the teenager's brace in Bayern Munich's 12-0 DFB-Pokal demolition of Bremer.

Musiala scored twice on his first start of the season as Bundesliga champions Bayern put 12 past their helpless fifth-tier opponents at the Weserstadion on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old brilliantly executed a neat one-two with four-goal star Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for his opener, while rifling home a 20-yard thunderbolt for his second just after half-time.

Germany sensation Musiala carried a constant threat with his pace and ball retention down the right flank, and would have claimed a hat-trick had his goal-bound first-half shot not been turned over his own line by Jan-Luca Warm.

Bayern head coach Nagelsmann is certainly excited by what the academy graduate has to offer.

"Jamal is incredibly good in possession, but there's more to him," Nagelsmann told the official club website post-match after Bayern secured their second-highest winning margin in all competitions since their promotion to the Bundesliga in 1965 – they defeated DJK Waldberg 16-1 in the DFB-Pokal.

"There's a lot of potential in Jamal. The way he handles the ball; it does seem as if he has magnets in his boots. 

"He's got great quality. No doubt, this is a very talented 18-year-old."

Nagelsmann also hailed the performance levels of Leroy Sane, who scored a goal for the German giants and provided seven key passes including two assists.

One of four survivors in a much-changed side from Sunday's win over Cologne, the former Manchester City attacker also successfully completed 30 of his 38 attempted passes.

"He was super involved; he defended extremely well and scored a goal," Nagelsmann added.

"I think he could have scored three more if other players had passed the ball to him; he was in a very good position several times. 

"What some people accuse him of doing is not going to the limit, but today it was really obvious that he went to the limit. He gave it his all and I'm super happy."

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed Bayern Munich will be without Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer for their DFB-Pokal clash with Bremer on Wednesday.

The head coach is set to rotate as Bayern launch their campaign against the fifth-tier side at Werder Bremen's Weserstadion.

Bayern are aiming to reclaim the trophy after suffering a surprise defeat against Holstein Kiel in the second round of last season's competition.

Nagelsmann has overseen an unbeaten start to the new season; Bayern taking four points from their opening two games while also retaining the Supercup after a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.

And the head coach revealed he will rest some of his senior players ahead of their trip to Bremen.

"Manuel [Neuer] will be rested, as his foot has flared up again, as we expected," he said. "He won't travel to the game. 

"Neither will Robert [Lewandowski], he will stay behind and do some intensive training here. The same goes for Leon [Goretzka].

"For them [Bremer], this is a once-in-a-lifetime game. In the end, the fact is that we need to and want to win, which means that we need to remain focused on the task at hand." 

Nagelsmann will soon be able to call upon the services of Lucas Hernandez, who returned to team training on Tuesday.

The France international underwent surgery on a meniscus injury at the beginning of July and missed Bayern’s first three games of the season.

Julian Nagelsmann insists Bayern Munich have a lot of room for improvement after narrowly defeating Cologne 3-2 on Sunday.

Serge Gnabry's brace, coupled with Robert Lewandowski's opener, ensured Bayern's new head coach his first Bundesliga win at the second time of asking.

The reigning German champions failed to win in their opener for the first time in 10 years, having drawn 1-1 with Borussia Monchengladbach, and Nagelsmann compared the two opening fixtures.

"The result is good," the 34-year-old told reporters. "It was a wild game that had parallels to the game against Gladbach.

"We still have a lot to do and improve. We lost the ball too often and we could have done better.

"Football is a sport of results, and in the end the result was good from our point of view today."

Gnabry's double was his fourth multiple-goal return against Cologne, while Lewandowski equalled his own record 12-game Bundesliga scoring run with a close-range finish.

However, Leroy Sane was hauled off at half-time amid first-half jeers from the crowd.

"We didn't play a good game in the first half as a whole team," Nagelsmann continued.

"I heard the whistles [from the crowd towards Sane]. The fans should support their own players – anything else does not help."

Sane's half-time replacement, Jamal Musiala impressed to create Lewandowski's tap-in and Nagelsmann hailed the Germany international's "outstanding game offensively" and lauded his one-on-one abilities to attack.

Asked whether Bayern would be active in the transfer window, having only spent money on Dayot Upamecano, Nagelsmann responded: "Transfers? We'll see what's possible. If there's something, then we will announce it. If not, then we will work with what we have."

Julian Nagelsmann picked up his first Bundesliga win with Bayern Munich on Sunday as they edged past Cologne 3-2 courtesy of a Serge Gnabry brace.

Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, scoring in his 12th consecutive Bundesliga appearance, and Gnabry inflicted further damage eight minutes later.

Cologne refused to surrender, though, Anthony Modeste heading home before Mark Uth equalised to cap off three goals in four chaotic second-half minutes.

Gnabry, however, netted his second to restore Bayern's advantage, arrowing into the roof of the net and sealing three points for the hosts.

Thomas Muller spurned the first chance of the game, poking a sliding finish wide after a driving run by Lewandowski down the right.

Niklas Sule then enjoyed a rare foray forward, twisting and turning inwards before firing towards goal, where Timo Horn reacted acrobatically to tip over.

The hosts failed to make their 62 per cent of first-half possession pay but a double half-time change proved vital, Jamal Musiala – introduced for Leroy Sane – creating the opener.

The substitute roamed forwards before pulling back for Lewandowski to tap-in, the finish equalling his personal record of 12 consecutive Bundesliga appearances with a goal, previously achieved with Borussia Dortmund in 2012-13.

Gnabry made matters worse for the visitors, collecting his 10th goal in eight appearances against Sunday's opponents by arriving at the back post to convert Josip Stanisic's low cross.

However, Cologne pulled a goal back with their first shot on target, Modeste redirecting a header past Manuel Neuer from Jonas Hector's delivery.

Uth shocked the home crowd with his 62nd-minute equaliser, diving to prod low past Neuer after Kingsley Ehizibue's curler from the right.

The visitors remained level for only eight minutes, though, Gnabry firing powerfully past Horn before Lewandowski almost added a fourth, only to be denied by the crossbar.

What does it mean? Nagelsmann on the board as control over Cologne continues

Nagelsmann became the first Bayern boss in 10 years not to win on the opening day of a new Bundesliga season with a 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.

However, the former RB Leipzig coach picked up the DFL-Supercup with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in midweek and now has his first Bundesliga win with his new side.

The hosts have now won each of their past eight games against Cologne and are undefeated in 15 such Bundesliga fixtures, too – their longest winning streak and the longest unbeaten run against any current team in the top flight.

Lewandowski marches on

Lewandowski's opener means he has now scored a goal in every one of his past 12 Bundesliga games.

However, the Poland forward's link-up play was also excellent – making a game-high two key passes and competing for the joint-most duels (17) as he embroiled himself in a battle with Jorge Mere and Rafael Czichos.

Nagelsmann's star attacker now has four goals across all competitions for the season and he will be hoping he can fire his team to their 10th straight Bundesliga title.

Lost Ljubicic

Dejan Ljubicic set the tone for a poor performance with a needless booking in the first half for not retreating to block Bayern's quick free-kick.

The midfielder completed just 61.5 per cent of his 26 attempted passes, while also touching the ball just 37 times as he struggled against Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in the middle of the park.

What's next?

Bayern travel to Bremer on Wednesday in the DFB-Pokal before hosting Hertha Berlin on Saturday. Meanwhile, Cologne return to RheinEnergieSTADION to face Bochum on the same day.

Julian Nagelsmann is not at all concerned about transfer speculation surrounding Robert Lewandowski, believing it is "completely normal" that other clubs would be interested in the Bayern Munich superstar.

Reports emerged this week of Lewandowski wanting to leave Bayern, where he has been the main man since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

But a big fee is said to deter potential suitors, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola – Lewandowski's former Bayern coach – completely dismissed the idea of signing the forward on Friday.

In the meantime, Lewandowski continues to perform for the Bundesliga champions.

Having last term scored 41 times in the league – breaking Gerd Muller's single-season record – the 32-year-old, who turns 33 on Saturday, has maintained his lofty standards in the opening weeks of the new campaign.

With a brace against Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup in midweek, Lewandowski now has a record seven goals in that match and has netted in 14 successive games in all competitions – two shy of another Muller record.

Nagelsmann took that display as evidence of Lewandowski's continued happiness in Bavaria.

Asked about the rumours ahead of Bayern's game against Cologne, the coach said: "That doesn't bother me at all, if I'm being honest. That is part of the business.

 

"If I were not coach at Bayern but at another big club, I would always ask about that name and hope that something would work. It's because he scores a lot and is the most dangerous striker out there. This is completely normal. 

"The only thing that matters to me is how the player reacts – and Lewy is in top shape. He talks a lot to me and the players in training. He is not a satellite that isolates himself and hopes that he will go away. 

"He feels good, which was also shown by his performance against Dortmund, even in training. A player who wants to leave would not do that. 

"It is part of life that there are rumours. Live and let live – both journalists and players. When the player is in a good mood, and that's the case, we're all happy."

Before equalling Muller's streak, Lewandowski can first match his own best stretch. With a goal against Cologne, he would net in 12 league games in a row – only previously doing so for Dortmund in 2012-13.

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann has credited his predecessor Hansi Flick with the team's success in the DFL-Supercup.

Bayern beat Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at Signal Iduna Park, Robert Lewandowski scoring twice against his old club either side of Thomas Muller's simple finish and a sensational strike from Marco Reus.

It sealed Bayern's ninth Supercup win in total, and their second in a row after they beat the same opponents in 2020, under then-coach Flick, who left the club at the end of last season.

Flick, now the Germany coach, led Bayern to two Bundesliga titles, the Champions League, a DFB-Pokal, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup – as well as the Supercup – during his 18-month spell, and was watching on from the stands as part of a limited-capacity but vociferous crowd on Tuesday.

For Nageslmann, the victory represents his first trophy as a coach. Indeed, the 34-year-old had only overseen one appearance in a final – RB Leipzig's 4-1 defeat to Dortmund in May.

Despite finally claiming silverware to get his Bayern tenure off to a strong start, Nagelsmann insisted the credit had to go to Flick and the players who claimed a ninth successive Bundesliga title in 2020-21.

"We thoroughly deserved to win. It's not easy against Dortmund with the attacking power that they have," Nagelsmann told Sat.1.

"The title is the reward for last season because we won the title. Not me, but Hansi Flick. The title belongs more to others than it does to me.

"I was forced by the boys to pick up the trophy, they picked me up a little – 'now you finally have a title too'."

Describing winning his first trophy and an eagerness for more, Nagelsmann stated he has "small hamster teeth", adding: "Everyone knows that this has a meaning, also for me. But also, for the dressing room.

"At Bayern there is pressure, you have to win games and win titles, so it was important."

 

Lewandowski was in imperious form on his old stomping ground, converting the two big chances that came his way in clinical fashion – his first goal a fantastic header, his second a cool finish following Manuel Akanji's mistake – as the Bayern star paid homage to one of German football's greats, Gerd Muller, who passed away over the weekend.

"It means a lot to me. It's the next title win for us," said Lewandowski, who broke Muller's record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season last term.

"It's great for the fans to watch the game live. It's great for the team. We can enjoy it."

While Lewandowski starred at one end, Erling Haaland toiled to no avail at the other, though Dortmund's free-scoring forward was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside.

Reus was the main threat for Marco Rose's team, with his three attempts and two key passes leading the way.

"It was an unnecessary defeat. Bayern had their chances, we knew they would," said Dortmund's captain.

"There was no faulting our energy levels and passion, but titles have a habit of ending up at Bayern."

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has hailed the "extraordinary" Erling Haaland, but says the Borussia Dortmund star has to maintain his form over several years to compare to Robert Lewandowski.

The two prolific goalscorers are expected to come face-to-face on Tuesday when Dortmund host Bayern at Signal Iduna Park in the 2021 DFL-Supercup, a trophy the Bundesliga champions have won in four of the last five campaigns.

Haaland enters the match on the back of a strong start to the season, having followed up a hat-trick against lower-league Wehen Wiesbaden in the DFB-Pokal with two goals and two assists in Saturday's 5-2 Bundesliga victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Norway international Haaland now has 62 goals in 61 appearances since making his BVB debut in January 2020, including 42 goals in 44 Bundesliga games for an average of 1.06 goals per 90 minutes in the competition.

Only ex-Dortmund man Lewandowski can better that return over the same period, scoring 57 goals from an identical number of appearances in the German top flight – an average of 1.35 per 90 minutes.

While Nagelsmann has been impressed by Haaland's incredible season-and-a-half in the Bundesliga, the recently appointed Bayern boss still thinks the 21-year-old has some way to go to match Lewandowski's consistency.

"Lewandowski has proven over several years now that he is a world-class striker," Nagelsmann said at Monday's pre-match news conference. "Erling hasn't been in the league that long, though his scoring rate is great.

"The other difference is age. Lewandowski has a lot more experience on his side than Haaland. In terms of similarities, they are both an unbelievable goal danger. But I am incredibly happy to have Lewandowski here."

 

The weekend win over Frankfurt was the first time Haaland has provided two assists in a single competitive game for Dortmund in his 19 months at the club.

Keeping Haaland off the scoresheet on Tuesday will be a huge task, but Nagelsmann is confident his players – including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – are capable of doing so in the battle between last term's German cup and league winners.

"He is of course an excellent striker. Extraordinary. In addition to his goals, he is also robust and fast," Nagelsmann said. "We have to get close to him to prevent him from making runs in behind our defence.

"We have to be physically ready and be prepared to initiate the counter-press after we lose the ball so that quick passes up the other end of the field are prevented. We can't prevent that completely, but we still have the best goalkeeper in the world."

Nagelsmann has endured a difficult start to life as Bayern boss, not helped by a number of players returning late to training, with the reigning Bundesliga champions yet to win any of his five games in charge.

Bayern were held 1-1 by Borussia Monchengladbach in their first competitive game under Nagelsmann on Friday and the 34-year-old coach is eager to get off the mark with some silverware in midweek.

"I would like to sign for a win tomorrow and then go on and take the title," he said. "Dortmund have started the season well, whereas we're still waiting for that first win, but I wouldn't look into that too much.

"Of course this is an important match for us, but it's not necessarily important for the rest of the season. Both teams have a few injuries and the season is still young, but we are going there with the aim to win."

Nagelsmann also paid tribute to Bayern's all-time leading goalscorer Gerd Muller, who passed away at the weekend at the age of 75.

"My condolences to Gerd's family and friends," Nagelsmann said. "Yesterday was a sad day for everyone involved in the club. Gerd played a lot of great games and scored some great goals."

Robert Lewandowski acknowledged Bayern Munich made "a lot of mistakes" in Julian Nagelsmann's first Bundesliga match at the helm as the champions drew 1-1 with Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.

Bayern were deservedly trailing after 10 minutes, as a poor start was compounded by Alassane Plea beating Manuel Neuer.

They soon sorted themselves out and eventually levelled just before half-time through Lewandowski, who tied a personal record of 11 successive goal-scoring Bundesliga appearances for the club, but Bayern were unable to add to that.

Their wastefulness was underlined by the fact that Bayern's chances had an accumulative expected goals (xG) value of 3.1, with Yann Sommer having an impressive game between the posts for the home side.

 

Sommer's eight saves – a single-match figure that was only bettered six times across all of 2020-21 – ensured Gladbach had a fighting chance in the latter stages and they were arguably denied two clear penalties as Dayot Upamecano clumsily tripped Marcus Thuram twice, and Lewandowski accepts they have lots of room for improvement.

"It's a difficult question, whether we are satisfied or not," he Sat.1. "What we played wasn't perfect football.

"We lacked speed and consistency. We could score, but Gladbach also had great opportunities. Now we have to look to the next game and prepare.

"It's not that easy to play here and the atmosphere was really great. A game like this is something special with spectators and it was always problematic for us here. We have to do a lot of things better."

 

Gladbach players and coaching staff were angered by the two contentious non-penalty calls late in the game, with Adi Hutter adamant Thuram was fouled on at least one occasion.

Referee Marco Fritz did not go to a pitchside monitor to watch a replay, which Hutter felt was "weird", but Nagelsmann thinks the situations were exaggerated by the crowd.

"I think if we have the referee and the video evidence [not calling for a penalty], it's fair," he said.

"Then, of course, the crowd also makes noise and reinforces the subjective feeling. I think there is less discussion in such scenes without a crowd."

In preventing defeat, Nagelsmann avoided becoming the first permanent Bayern coach to lose his first league game in charge since Franz Beckenbauer in 1994.

Now he will set his sights on his first silverware at the club, with Bayern set to face Borussia Dortmund in Tuesday's DFL-Supercup.

Julian Nagelsmann's reign as Bayern Munich head coach began with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in the first match of the 2021-22 Bundesliga season, with Yann Sommer frustrating the champions.

Nagelsmann, who joined from RB Leipzig during the close season, will have been largely pleased with the overall dominance exerted by Bayern but they were unable to make the most of their chances.

Die Roten looked shaky at the start and were deservedly behind in the 10th minute thanks to Alassane Plea, though Robert Lewandowski – who had previously been thwarted three times by Sommer – volleyed home the equaliser to equal his longest Bundesliga scoring streak (11 matches).

More presentable chances came and went after the interval, with Sommer loving his personal duel with Lewandowski, but the best opportunity of all fell to Gladbach as Bayern were arguably fortunate take a point back to Munich.

Bayern had two lucky escapes early on as Patrick Herrmann shot wide from the edge of the box before then surging on to an exquisite Florian Neuhaus ball only to make a mess of his eventual squared pass to Lars Stindl despite having only Manuel Neuer to beat.

Stindl was picked out by Christoph Kramer, however, with the Gladbach skipper nudging his throughball past Bayern debutant Dayot Upamecano and Plea was on hand to slam past Neuer.

Lewandowski somehow failed to level in the 26th minute when shooting straight at Sommer from point-blank range, but the Pole found his range just before the break as he met Joshua Kimmich's corner with a controlled volley.

 

Bayern had firmly established dominance and that continued into the second half, with a desperate block by Sommer denying Alphonso Davies a near-certain goal and he then stuck out a foot to prevent Lewandowski getting his second of the day soon after.

But Gladbach began to create openings on the break towards the end and Marcus Thuram should have sealed the three points 13 minutes from time when he only got the faintest of touches on Stefan Lainer's pass across the face of goal.

Upamecano was then lucky to avoid conceding two late penalties for clumsy collisions with Thuram, as the spoils were ultimately shared.

Julian Nagelsmann has long seemed destined to be Bayern Munich coach, and the 34-year-old now has his chance after succeeding Hansi Flick.

He has a lot to live up to. Flick, in his 18-month tenure, Flick led Bayern to two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal, a Champions League triumph, Club World Cup glory, the DFL-Supercup and the UEFA Super Cup – a remarkable seven trophies.

While Nagelsmann settles into life in the hottest of coaching seats in Germany, his former team RB Leipzig will look to finally make a title challenge last, this time under new coach Jesse Marsch.

Borussia Dortmund scraped into the Champions League places thanks to a super run late in the season, and now Marco Rose will look to build on their DFB-Pokal success in his first season in charge.

Just what can we expect from each of Germany's big three in 2021-22?


Bayern Munich

Bayern ultimately claimed their ninth successive Bundesliga title with ease last term and Robert Lewandowski was once again the driving force. He had to wait until the last kick of the last day, but he finally broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 41 goals in a single campaign.

Unsurprisingly, Bayern scored the most goals in Germany's top tier in 2020-21, netting 99 times across their 34 fixtures. Their tally of 483 chances was also by far the most in the division, 54 ahead of second-ranked Leipzig (429) in that regard, though they conceded 44 times while the Leipzig defence under Nagelsmann was the stingiest, with only 32 goals conceded. 

Bayern averaged 65.39 per cent possession and had 1,304 touches in the opposition box, over 400 more than any other side.

However, Nagelsmann does have to contend with the loss of some players who have been crucial to Bayern's dominance. David Alaba has joined Real Madrid, while fellow stalwarts Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng also left on free transfers.

Dayot Upamecano has made the same switch from Leipzig as Nagelsmann, and the young centre-back adds pace and dynamism to Bayern's backline. Other than that, the squad remains largely the same, with Sven Ulreich having returned after a spell at Hamburg, while Omar Richards arrived on a free transfer from Reading.

Even without much more in the way of incomings, it is difficult to see Bayern letting the chance to make it 10 titles in a row slip from their grasp.

 

Dortmund

Last season was a difficult campaign for Dortmund, but it was one which ultimately ended successfully. They clinched Champions League qualification and ran riot against Leipzig to lift the DFB-Pokal.

It was a fine parting gift from Edin Terzic, who took over on an interim basis after Lucien Favre was relieved of his duties, and now Rose – whose Borussia Monchengladbach team slumped in the back half of the season and missed out on Europe – will look to reshape Dortmund in his own way.

Renowned for attacking, front-foot football, Rose's style, if all goes to plan, is bound to be a hit with the Dortmund fans upon their return to Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund may have sold Jadon Sancho, but they still have Norway sensation Erling Haaland, who scored 27 Bundesliga goals last season from 93 attempts, giving him a shot conversion rate of 29.03 per cent, the third-highest in the league out of players to have scored 10 or more times.

Donyell Malen has arrived as Sancho's replacement, and Rose has already been talking up the Netherlands youngster, while goalkeeper Gregor Kobel has arrived from Stuttgart. Like Bayern, Dortmund said goodbye to a club legend in the form of Lukasz Piszczek, but with Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard, Malen and Haaland complemented by the likes of Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham, there should be plenty of cause for optimism.

It might well be Haaland's final season at the club, and you would not put it past the youngster, who also set up six goals last term, to propel Dortmund into the title race, back where they belong.

 

RB Leipzig

There are plenty of quality teams competing with the three leading lights, and it would certainly not be surprising to see Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt or Gladbach mount a serious push for Champions League football.

However, Leipzig have well and truly established themselves as a Champions League regular now, and will be looking to Marsch, who has made the transition from sister club Salzburg, to continue Nagelsmann's work.

Leipzig sold Timo Werner to Chelsea in 2020, and netting just 60 times, they clearly missed the striker. Indeed, midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, with eight goals, was their leading scorer, with forwards Alexander Sorloth and Yussuf Poulsen only managing five each.

In Andre Silva, signed from Frankfurt, Leipzig have a forward who scored more than Haaland in the Bundesliga last season, with the Portugal international finding the net 28 times in 32 appearances.

Silva boasted an impressive 'big chance', as defined by Opta, conversion rate of 55 per cent, while only Lewandowski (137) had more than the former Milan man's 117 attempts. Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku – who supplied nine and six assists respectively last season – can provide the creativity, with Poulsen and Sorloth able to offer Marsch a variety of attacking options. Caden Clark, who is starring in MLS, will arrive before the turn of the year, while Dominik Szoboszlai is almost like a new signing, given he is yet to feature for the club since his arrival in January due to injury.

Leipzig have faced a reshuffle in what had been a strong defence, with key man Upamacano departing while Ibrahima Konate has also left for Liverpool, though the acquisition of Salzburg's highly rated Mohamed Simakan shows the production line is still ticking along, and a Champions League place will be the minimum expectation. 

Alphonso Davies is back for Bayern Munich, but Julian Nagelsmann has been hit by another injury blow ahead of his belated bow with Benjamin Pavard ruled out.

Nagelsmann will get his Bayern reign under way at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Friday, having seen last week's DFB-Pokal opener against Bremer postponed due to coronavirus-related quarantine measures imposed on the lower-league side.

That time has allowed left-back Davies to recover, though, making a swift return from ankle ligament damage suffered on international duty with Canada last month.

Davies played only 23 league games last season but led all Bayern defenders in recoveries (201) and boosts a back line that will now miss Pavard due to a training-ground ankle setback of his own.

"Phonzie did quite well and made a good impression," Nagelsmann said in Thursday's pre-match news conference. "It is an advantage that he is a model athlete.

"He won't be able to play the full 90 minutes yet, but I already have in mind that he will start.

"We will see how far his legs carry him. He is definitely a candidate for the first XI. We're glad he's back.

"That [injury] with Benji is very, very annoying because he played a good pre-season. He's a player I've scheduled for his position. Now he's gone for a few weeks.

"When he comes back depends on the healing process. We don't know exactly how long.

"We have players in the squad like Bouna [Sarr], Niki [Sule] or Josip [Stanisic] who can replace him."

Pavard's absence will be particularly frustrating for Nagelsmann as he has identified the defence as an area in which Bayern must improve.

While Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig boasted the best record in the Bundesliga last term (32 goals conceded), Bayern shipped 44 goals – their most since 1995-96 (46).

It ultimately did not cost the champions as they picked up 22 points from losing positions, more than any other club, but their new coach insists this approach is not sustainable.

"This is a decisive factor that we want to improve," he said. "Nobody wants to always chase after a 0-2 deficit.

"We would do well to bring in more stability defensively. Defending always has to do with attitude."

Bayern have already made a change at the back, replacing David Alaba with Dayot Upamecano, but additional transfer activity may occur further up the field.

Nagelsmann acknowledged the Bavarian giants were currently reliant on "13 or 14 players" staying healthy, and they have been linked with Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer to add further depth.

"I know Marcel very well, I've worked with him for a long time," Nagelsmann said. "He is a very good player.

"Basically, we handle this, as in recent years, that we do not comment on rumours that are floating around anywhere in the transfer market."

Bayern Munich's rearranged DFB-Pokal clash with Bremer will take place on August 25, the club announced on Thursday.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were meant to get their campaign underway against the fifth-tier outfit this Friday.

However, positive COVID-19 test results forced Bremer into quarantine and subsequently ensured the first-round clash had to be rescheduled.

Bayern announced the new date in a statement on their official website. It read: "FC Bayern's DFB-Pokal match away to Bremer SV has been rearranged for Wednesday August 25. The first-round clash, which was originally scheduled for Friday, had to be postponed due to quarantine measures imposed on the fifth-division club.

"The new date has now been confirmed by the German Football Association (DFB), with the match at Bremen's Weserstadion kicking off at 20:15 CEST. The new date for the draw for the second round is 5 September at 18:30 CEST."

The original postponement meant the Bundesliga champions missed the chance to get crucial minutes into first-team players before their top-flight opener against Borussia Monchengladbach on August 13.

Further scheduling issues may follow for the Bavarians given they must play five times in 15 days, including the DFL-Supercup against Borussia Dortmund and clashes with both Cologne and Hertha Berlin.

Aside from Nagelsmann's appointment, Bayern have had a quiet transfer window, with the only signing of note being the acquisition of RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano following the departures of club greats David Alaba and Jerome Boateng.

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