Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano may be fierce in the heat of battle, but Julian Nagelsmann says his centre-back is so peaceful he would hesitate to swat a fly.

Both Upamecano and Nagelsmann joined the Bayern ranks in the close season, leaving RB Leipzig to join the nine-in-a-row Bundesliga champions.

On Wednesday, Bayern take on Benfica in the third round of Champions League group games, looking to extend a dazzling start that has seen them beat Barcelona 3-0 and score a thumping 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.

Manuel Neuer is in line for a 100th appearance in the competition with the Bavarians, which would make him the fourth player for the German giants to reach the landmark.

In front of Neuer, Upamecano is establishing himself as a fixture at the heart of the Bayern backline, and head coach Nagelsmann is convinced there is a hardman element to his game, as well as the nature of a gentle giant.

"Upamecano has taken an incredible development, he has an incredible defender's gene," said Nagelsmann.

"He loves to defend. Obviously, he has a good physique. He seems mad when looking at him but he's the opposite. He is a really kind and peaceful person that has a great character. I like working with him. He's rather shy and introspective but he is a great human being.

"He looks a lot more evil than he is. I think he has never in his life hit a mosquito on the wall and probably won't do that in the future. Also from his family, he got a lot of positive things on his way while growing up. You still notice that today."

Bayern thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday, scoring all their goals by the 37th minute as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both hit doubles.

The result sent Bayern to the top of the table, their now familiar position.

"There's always potential to improve," said Nagelsmann. "The question is if you have to improve or stay at your level. We'd be happy if we could keep the level of the minutes seven to 45 from the Leverkusen game. Then we could have a great away game in the Champions League."

Speaking in his pre-game news conference, the Bayern boss added: "I expect Benfica to be typically like a great team from Portugal with great footballers. They have two, three key players who I don't want to mention here because then they could prepare accordingly. But basically they're a team that like to have the ball and are used to it from their league. They had different possession stats in the first two Champions League games than in the league."

Bayern have never lost to Benfica in European competition, posting seven wins and three draws in their 10 previous games, including two victories in the Champions League.

In the history of the European Cup and its subsequent Champions League guise, Bayern's eight unbeaten games against Benfica (W5 D3) is the joint most achieved by one team against an opponent since the tournament began in 1955. That means a record could be achieved on Wednesday, surpassing Bayern's eight-game undefeated record against Spartak Moscow (W5 D3) and Barcelona's proud record in clashes with Lyon (W5 D3).

The omens are good: Bayern Munich are on a run of 19 unbeaten away matches in the Champions League (W15 D4), since losing 3-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017.

They must be wary, though, that Benfica drubbed Barcelona 3-0 last time out in this competition.

Nagelsmann addressed the question of whether the Bundesliga might be becoming boring, given Bayern are clearly so strong compared to their rivals. It would be a major surprise were they not to carry off the title again this season.

"I don't know, I'm on the other side now," said Nagelsmann, previously boss of a Leipzig team that fought to challenge the Bavarian giants. "I think it is always easier to do everything yourself to be successful and not get into whining mode. I always acted like that and I think it's better that way.

"Of course, it is easier to speak from my position as Bayern manager now. It is easier managing a team with this quality, this greed and the desire to confirm your victories. I think that our team is being rated unfairly, leaving out the lack of tension in the league.

"But first, you have to give credit if a team is able to become champions 10 times in a row and still having this greed after [the treble-winning campaign of] 2020 and wanting to continue. I think it is remarkable to talk about our effort of character and not just the quality that we have, that's for sure."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Germany captain Manuel Neuer says it was important for his side to "set an example again" after winning each of their first three games under new head coach Hansi Flick.

Die Mannschaft eased to a 4-0 win over Iceland in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier to open up a four-point lead at the top of Group J with four matches to play.

That routine victory in Reykjavik followed on from wins over Liechtenstein and Armenia over the past week, with Flick's side scoring 12 goals and conceding none across that spell.

Flick is only the second Germany boss to win his first three games without conceding after Joachim Low, the man he succeeded following his nation's Euro 2020 last-16 exit to England.

On the back of a morale-boosting week for Germany, Neuer believes a marker has now been laid down.

"It's important that we set an example again," he told RTL. "We were dominant and defended well, so of course we are extremely satisfied.

"After these three games we now want to work on our game and set a trend. You have seen across these matches that there is an upward trend. We want to continue like this.

"The teams we have played do not compete in knockout games at major tournament, but you have to set yourself goals as a team and as a professional.

"Of course we have a long way to go, but we have started to send out a positive message."

 

Serge Gnabry's tap-in and Antonio Rudiger's header had Germany two goals ahead inside 24 minutes and Leroy Sane killed off the contest early in the second half.

Timo Werner added a late fourth to make amends for a horror miss earlier in the game as Germany moved a giant step closer to sealing automatic qualification for Qatar 2022.

While happy with what he has seen during his first international window at the helm, former Bayern Munich coach Flick insists there is still more to come from his side.

"Nine points from these games was our goal and we succeeded," he told RTL. "The way we have played is a step forward, though not everything is at one hundred per cent.

"Still, you can't expect that. I am satisfied with what I have seen, but there are a few things we will try to do even better next time."

Rudiger's goal – a powerful header after being picked out by a Joshua Kimmich delivery – was his second for Germany on his 47th appearance.

Not only did Rudiger get on the scoresheet, he also gained possession a joint-high 10 times for his side, level with left-back Thilo Kehrer.

Reflecting on this week's triple-header, Rudiger said: "It was important we got nine points and improved our goal difference.

"Keeping out the opposition each time gives us confidence. But there should have been more goals today. Overall it has been a good week and a half for us."

Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer have been ruled out of Germany's first match under new head coach Hansi Flick.

Bayern Munich attacker Muller has returned to his club for treatment on an adductor problem, which will see him miss the games with Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland over the next week.

Club-mate Neuer has missed training this week with a minor ankle issue, meanwhile, and will be replaced by Bernd Leno in goal for Thursday's meeting with Liechtenstein.

But Flick, who took over as Germany boss following the exit of long-serving Joachim Low, is hopeful of having Neuer back for the visit of Armenia three days later. 

"We assume that 'Manu' will be back for Sunday," Flick said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing the Group J clash with minnows Liechtenstein.

"Everyone could see that he did not take part in practice. He won't be available for the match against Liechtenstein and Bernd Leno will take his place. 

"Thomas Muller will leave the camp. He's got an injury to the adductors. This won't heal fast enough for Sunday or next Wednesday. 

"Wednesday could have actually worked out according to our doctor, but the risk was simply too high. 

"He would not have been able to do a lot of work in practice which is why it makes sense to send him home. We have enough players on board and are able to replace him."

Thursday's match in St. Gallen will be Germany's first without Low in charge since July 2006, the World Cup-winning coach having officially stepped down after his nation's last-16 loss to England at Euro 2020. 

Flick previously worked as Low's assistant for eight years until after Germany's World Cup success in Brazil when leaving to become Die Mannschaft's sporting director.

He has more recently spent time in charge of Bayern and helped the Bavarian giants to seven major honours across two seasons.

The 56-year-old is now tasked with lifting Germany after a disappointing end to the Low tenure, which included a shock 2-1 home loss to North Macedonia in their most recent qualifier five months ago.

"I'm looking forward to my first international game and the responsibility for the nation," said Flick, who has still yet to decide who will captain the side.

"During the first training sessions we saw exactly what we imagined. The team was active and showed enormous intensity and quality. 

"What I liked was that they immediately tried to correct their mistakes, went into pressing straight after a lost ball. The whole coaching staff was extremely happy about that. 

"Those are the things we want to see: a mentality on the pitch where you can see from the beginning that the team is giving everything they have for Germany. 

"This is crucial for me. It was nice to see. That's why we are totally convinced of this team."

Flick is now an established manager in his own right, but he is open to taking inspiration from others as he embarks on his first managerial job on the international stage.

"All players have great coaches. Thomas Tuchel is doing exceptional work at Chelsea, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Marco Rose at Borussia Dortmund. I can name them all," he said. 

"All of them have an idea of football which is close to ours. We can implement certain parts in our game to improve. That is crucial. The communication with the coaches is top, I enjoy it very much. 

"We adapt from time to time. The decisive thing is that everyone is open to our idea of football and what we want to play. I was able to see that during the training sessions we've had so far."

Germany are third in Group J after three rounds of matches, level on points with North Macedonia and three points behind surprise pacesetters Armenia, with only the group winner guaranteed a place at Qatar 2022.

Bayern Munich could be without Manuel Neuer for Sunday's home clash with Cologne after the goalkeeper missed training on Thursday.

Neuer pulled off four saves to help Bayern to a 3-1 win over DFB-Pokal holders Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old was on top form to deny Marco Reus – who later curled in a sublime consolation goal – and Erling Haaland in the first half at Signal Iduna Park.

His save from Reus was particularly excellent, the Germany goalkeeper sticking out a leg to deny the Dortmund captain, whose effort had an expected goals (xG) estimation of 0.596, which registered it as the second-best chance of the match overall.

However, in the second half, Neuer had to take extra time over taking a goal-kick after he had been clipped on the ankle by Haaland, who had attempted to pressurise the Bayern captain.

That tackle has now resulted in an injury for Neuer, with Bayern confirming he was unable to train on Thursday.

"Manuel Neuer sustained a capsule [joint] injury in his right ankle during the Supercup victory over Dortmund, so the captain will not take part in today's training," a Bayern tweet read.

It remains to be seen whether Neuer will be fit enough to be involved in Julian Nagelsmann's first Bundesliga home game in charge of Bayern.

UEFA has abandoned an investigation into Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's rainbow-coloured captain's armband.

Bayern Munich stalwart Neuer wore the armband in Germany's first two games of Euro 2020 – a 1-0 defeat to France and 4-2 win over Portugal.

The rainbow flag is a symbol of the LGBTQ community, for which Neuer was showing support as countries across the world celebrate 'Pride Month'. 

But reports emerging on Sunday suggested he could face censure from UEFA for his choice of armband.

European football's governing body had apparently deemed the rainbow flag a political statement, which are prohibited in UEFA competitions.

DFB press officer Jens Grittner confirmed proceedings had been opened, saying: "It is true that the captain's armband is being checked. We will also discuss this with UEFA.

"The regulations state that the armband officially provided by UEFA must be worn. June is also a year of 'Pride' in sport to stand up for more diversity.

"This year the DFB is participating with various campaigns. Manuel Neuer has been wearing the rainbow armband since the friendly against Latvia on June 7 as a symbol and clear commitment of the entire team to diversity, openness and tolerance and against hatred and exclusion. 

"The message is: we are colourful! "

However, the German Football Association (DFB) later confirmed that UEFA had already halted the investigation.

A statement read: "UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain's armband worn by [Manuel Neuer]. 

"In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a 'good cause.'"

UEFA has already faced criticism for disregarding the LGBTQ community with its choice of Euro 2020 host cities.

The Hungarian capital, Budapest, has held a number of group-stage fixtures already and is reportedly in the running to take the semi-finals and final from Wembley due to coronavirus concerns.

Hungary's parliament recently passed legislation banning content it believes promotes homosexuality or gender change from its schools – a move which has prompted fierce criticism from the international community.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen has confirmed he will miss Germany's Euro 2020 campaign after opting to undergo a "therapeutic procedure" on his knee.

Sunday's LaLiga results – including Celta Vigo's shock win at Camp Nou – mean Barcelona can no longer win the title, with the club and Ter Stegen subsequently deciding to cut his season short.

A brief statement released by the club revealed Ter Stegen will "undergo a therapeutic procedure on the patellar tendon in his right knee on Thursday May 20 in Malmo by Dr Hakan Alfredson and under the supervision of the club's medial services".

While Barca did not outline a return date, Ter Stegen provided an update on his official Instagram account on Monday, confirming it means he will play no part at the delayed Euro 2020.

"I'm disappointed about yesterday's defeat and that now we can no longer win La Liga," he wrote.

"After a complicated start to the season, we showed good character going 19 matches unbeaten – but we weren't able to keep this form.

"I have decided together with the medical team of the club that I will do a complementary intervention on my knee.

"I'm sad that I will miss Euro 2020 this summer with Germany. For the first time in many years I will be a fan at home supporting my country, I hope we win it!

"After the summer break, when we are back on the pitch I hope to be able to play with fans [in attendance] once again, I miss it!

"Thank you for your support throughout a difficult season and stay healthy!"

Ter Stegen has featured 31 times in the league in 2020-21 for Barcelona, but his overall performance for the season has not been quite up to the high standards he has set previously.

He has conceded 32 goals from shots on target worth 29.07 expected goals on target (xGOT), meaning he has let in nearly three goals more than expected. Celta's first goal on Sunday came from a speculative Santi Mina shot worth just 0.04 xGOT.

Ter Stegen's xGOT differential of -2.93 this term is by far his worst across a single season at the club. In 2015-16, it was -1.44, though he only played seven LaLiga matches, while his next worst was -0.16 in 2019-20, a narrow margin which essentially meant he conceded as many goals as would be expected given the quality of the shots on target he faced.

But for this procedure the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach man certainly would have been a part of the Germany squad next month, though he would have been playing back-up to Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.

 

While Ter Stegen has let in more goals than he should have this season, Neuer has conceded 40 times in the Bundesliga from an xGOT value of 42.09, therefore preventing two goals in 2020-21.

The Neuer or Ter Stegen debate has been a hot topic for Germany for a while now, though the data suggests that, at least this season, the Bayern star remains the safer option between the posts.

Recent upheaval might have leant a touch of anti-climax to Bayern Munich's latest title win but 2020-21 has shown their total dominance of the Bundesliga does not look likely to end anytime soon.

A thrilling quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain saw Bayern's reign as European champions end as they were eliminated on away goals.

The aftermath of that dramatic Champions League showdown saw speculation mount over Hansi Flick's future and the Bavarian giants were in the unusual position of naming the coach of their nearest rivals, RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann, as their next boss before domestic glory had been rubber stamped.

However, familiar celebrations can now begin after rivals Borussia Dortmund beat second-placed RB Leipzig 3-2, with the prints of some familiar faces all over this latest success.

FC Hollywood on cloud nine

Continuing a streak started by Jupp Heynckes' treble winners in 2012-13, Bayern have now won the Bundesliga for nine seasons in a row. Much as this statistic can draw mirth in some quarters over the competitiveness of Germany's top flight, it certainly did not always used to be this way.

Previously, the longest stretch of consecutive titles in a row was three, although on three of the four occasions this occurred, Bayern were the team responsible.

Indeed, Die Roten's 30th crown overall means they have won 52 per cent of the championships on offer since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963. The picture was a little more even before the turn of the century, with Bayern having now won 16 this millennium.

Bayern have equalled the record established by Juventus in Europe's top five leagues and can go clear on their own with 10 in a row next term, given the collapse of Andrea Pirlo's men in Serie A this season.

This era of success is built upon a number of mainstays. Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and outgoing trio David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez have been present for all nine of the title wins.

Muller and Alaba now have 10 overall, setting a new player record in Germany, while Martinez is the only player in Bundesliga history to win the title as many as nine times without ever failing to do so in any season.

 

Hansi off with incredible record

Flick's involvement with Bayern has been more fleeting than the stalwarts above, but he has nevertheless left an indelible impression upon one of Europe's great clubs.

His record overall is 68 wins from 83 games, with eight draws and seven defeats. That amounts to an 82 per cent win percentage – a record for any Bayern coach.

Similarly, a goals-per-game average of 2.9 is better than any of his predecessors, numbers that were enhanced during the German record-breaking run of 23 straight wins in all competitions between February and September 2020.

Consequently, the trophies stacked up and Flick's six major honours amount to one every 14 games.

He averages 2.45 points-per-game from 55 Bundesliga outings, a figure only bettered by Pep Guardiola (2.52 PPG from 102 matches).

 

Hail King Lewy

Flick is likely to reflect fondly upon the fact his brief Bayern tenure has coincided with Robert Lewandowski taking his phenomenal goalscoring exploits to another level.

Even though the Bundesliga boasts the sought-after talents of Erling Haaland and Andre Silva, each of whom have managed 25 top-flight goals this season, the race for the Torjagerkanone has not even been particularly close.

Despite spending a spell on the sidelines recently, arguably decisively when it came to Bayern's derailed Champions League hopes, Lewandowski has scored an astounding 36 goals in 26 appearances, leaving him in direct competition with Gerd Muller's celebrated all-time mark of 40 goals in a single campaign, rather than his contemporaries.

The Poland superstar's haul comes from 112 shots overall and 55 on target. Lewandowski's goals-per-minute average of 60.9 is the best of any Bundesliga player to have scored multiple goals this season.

Among players with 10 goals or more, only Max Kruse (37.04 per cent) has a better shot conversion rate than Lewandowski's 32.14.

He has 30 non-penalty goals, outstripping an expected goals (xG) figure of 21. By way of comparison, Haaland's non-penalty goals to xG comparison is 23 to 19.8 and Silva's is 19 to 18.1.

Like most great strikers, Lewandowski has a fine foil in Thomas Muller, whose 17 assists are comfortably a Bundesliga best this season, placing him five clear of Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic on 11.

 

Kimmich the man in control

The foundations for Lewandowski's incredible exploits come from Bayern's smooth control of matches and no one has been more responsible for that in 2020-21 than Joshua Kimmich.

A defensive utility man when he broke into the Bayern team under Guardiola, Kimmich is now one of the premier midfielders in world football and at the heart of his club's considerable achievements.

Among Bundesliga midfielders, Kimmich has completed the second-most passes – behind Stuttgart's Wataru Endo (1,479) – with 1,465 at an accuracy of 87.8.

He has supplied 10 assists from 59 chances created, with Kostic (80), Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho (65) and Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku (63) the only players among those classed as midfielders by Opta to have crafted more openings for team-mates.

Kimmich has made 32 interceptions, 35 tackles and is joint-seventh among Bundesliga midfielders when it comes to his 184 recoveries.

 

Time for a Neu last line of defence?

Neuer is now the first goalkeeper to win nine Bundesliga titles, putting him one clear of Oliver Kahn.

However, it might be fair to ask whether his position as Bayern number one might come under renewed threat from understudy Alexander Nubel once Nagelsmann is in position.

Of goalkeepers to have played 20 or more Bundesliga games this season, five – Peter Gulacsi, Lukas Hradecky, Koen Casteels, Alexander Schwolow and Andreas Luthe – have conceded fewer than Neuer's 40.

Similarly, eight clean sheets have him fourth overall behind Gulacsi, Casteels and Stefan Ortega Moreno.

Neuer's 77 saves from 116 shots on target faced give him a save percentage of 65.52 – leaving him around the middle of the pack when it comes to the Bundesliga's elite stoppers. Florian Muller of Freiburg leads the way, repelling 71.07 per cent of shots to have threatened his goal.

Bayern's skipper has an expected goals on target (xGOT) against figure of 40.6. Having conceded 39 non-penalty goals, Neuer has conceded fractionally fewer goals than he would be expected to, given the quality of chances coughed up by a backline lacking its previous assurance. 

 

Nagelsmann could bring fresh solidity to Bayern that would be welcomed by the 35-year-old Neuer, whose aptitude outside of his penalty area enabled Flick to operate with such a daringly high defensive line, sometimes at the expense of the goalkeeper's personal statistics.

Leipzig's number one Gulacsi has only been breached 28 times, but has faced 41 fewer shots on target than Neuer this term, actually giving him a lower save percentage (62.67). His 25 non-penalty goals conceded align with an xGOT of 25.62.

The arrival of Nagelsmann and Leipzig's best defender Dayot Upamecano might well be great news for Neuer, one of the few Bayern players to emerge from this latest success with a few question marks over their form.

Bayern Munich claimed a record-breaking ninth consecutive Bundesliga title thanks to Borussia Dortmund's 3-2 win over RB Leipzig.

Last season's treble winners missed out on Champions League glory this term, but they remain far ahead of their closest rivals in German football.

Bayern were set to have the chance to seal glory when hosting Borussia Monchengladbach later on Saturday but goals from Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho, who struck twice after half-time, gave Dortmund victory over second-placed Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park to complete the formalities.

Before this staggering run, no team had won more than three successive Bundesliga titles.

Bayern have now matched deposed Serie A kings Juventus for the longest streak of domestic championships won by teams from Europe's top five leagues.

The latest championship success for Bayern means they have won the Bundesliga 30 times since the league was founded in 1963, with Dortmund and Gladbach next on the list with five titles each.

Bayern have a 16th title since 2000, underlining their growing domestic dominance, and stalwarts Thomas Muller and David Alaba have both been champions with the club 10 times, setting a new record.

Alaba will leave Bayern at the end of the season, and Hansi Flick has also announced he will depart after barely 18 months at the helm, with the widespread assumption he will become the new Germany national team head coach.

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann will step in to try to continue the dynasty he was, until very recently, looking to bring down.

Hansi Flick admitted his Bayern Munich team were tired and ripe to be punished after a 2-1 defeat at Mainz delayed title celebrations.

Chasing the win that would have clinched a ninth successive Bundesliga title, Bayern gave a lethargic display and a last-gasp goal from Robert Lewandowski was as much as they deserved.

Mainz seized advantage as the one-time strugglers took their points tally to 28 from 16 games under new head coach Bo Svensson, soaring five points clear of the relegation zone.

Bayern boss Flick said: "We all know that just as the team has often shown its quality, something like that can happen. It's a shame we couldn't take the step today.

"But you have to understand that the team is tired. We were too harmless.

"We want to win every game, that was also the case today. We didn't perform well, you have to accept that.

"The team have many minutes in their legs. We just weren't strong enough."

First-half goals from Jonathan Burkardt and Robin Quaison put Bayern in a tangle, and the stoppage-time reply from Lewandowski, returning from injury, came too late to spark anything more.

Lewandowski now has 36 goals for the season, meaning he trails Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record by four with three rounds of games remaining.

His goal in Saturday's game was a gift rather than the result of any great personal endeavour, with a poor defensive header leaving Lewandowski the task of stroking the ball past cruelly exposed goalkeeper Robin Zentner.

Bayern slipped to a first Bundesliga defeat at Mainz since 2011, having won all eight of their away games against the 05ers since that 3-2 loss a decade ago.

Manuel Neuer was unusually at fault for the third-minute opening goal, getting in the way of the powerful shot from Burkardt but only being able to divert it into the corner of his net.

"I wasn't blinded by the sun," said Neuer, according to TZ.

"The ball was close to [David] Alaba, I couldn't see it well. I tried to put my arm up, I was unlucky."

Bayern have been hit by a Champions League quarter-final exit, the announcement from Flick that he wants to be released from his contract at the end of the season, and criticism from fans aimed at Hasan Salihamidzic.

That may have been a contributing factor to Saturday's below-par effort, but Neuer pointed to Mainz's qualities.

"We weren't surprised," said the goalkeeper. "It was clear that they went into the game with a high level of motivation. Our body language was bad."

Bayern could still be crowned champions this weekend, but RB Leipzig would need to lose to Stuttgart on Sunday.

"I would have preferred to have got it done ourselves," said Neuer. "The defeat hits us hard after the last few weeks."

Hansi Flick says the Germany job is something he will consider if approached after announcing his decision to leave Bayern Munich, but he has denied already holding talks with German Football Association (DFB) chiefs over succeeding Joachim Low.

The 56-year-old ended recent speculation over his future on Saturday by revealing in a television interview he has asked Bayern to terminate his contract, which has another two years to run, at the end of the campaign.

He has been strongly tipped to take over as Germany's next head coach when Low, who he previously worked alongside as assistant for Die Mannschaft, steps down after this year's delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

Flick has previously hinted he would welcome the chance to manage the four-time world champions, though he insisted there have been no discussions with DFB national team director Oliver Bierhoff.

"Of course the DFB is an option that every coach has to consider," he told Sky Sport Germany. "But for me the last few weeks have not been easy.

"I was in the process of informing the club and my team, which was very important. There's nothing more to say on that."

Asked if he already has another positioned lined up, Flick said: "No, my future is not clear. I haven't held talks yet [with Bierhoff] because we had an important phase here with the Champions League and the Bundesliga."

Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November 2019 and won a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble in his first season at the Allianz Arena, which Bayern have added to with three more major trophies this campaign, with another Bundesliga possibly to follow.

However, there have been suggestions of a strained relationship behind the scenes between Flick and Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, a rift allegedly triggered by the club's decision not to offer Jerome Boateng a new contract.

"My reasons for wanting to leave is something discussed internally and something that will remain internal," Flick said. "We've done a great job here for almost two years. I'm impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude."

Flick's announcement came on the back of Bayern's 3-2 win over Wolfsburg, which moved the reigning Bundesliga champions seven points clear of RB Leipzig with five games to play.

The former Hoffenheim boss informed his players earlier in the week and captain Manuel Neuer respects the decision.

"The reasons don't matter to us," he told Sky Sport Germany. "It was emotional for all of us because we had such a successful time together. It was particularly important for him to inform us personally."

Thomas Muller, another key member of Bayern's hugely successful 17-month spell under Flick, added: "He didn't give us the exact reasons, and he didn't have to. 

"He left a lot of energy in the intense past year and a half. To be a coach at Bayern, you need thick skin. The expectations are very high and you always have to stand by your team."

Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller forthrightly blamed his side's first-leg result for their "very disappointing" Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

Champions League holders Bayern won 1-0 in the quarter-final second leg in Paris on Tuesday, but were knocked out on away goals after losing 3-2 in Munich.

Muller said the disappointment was big as he bemoaned Bayern's inability to take their chances when they had them against last season's runner-up PSG.

"We didn't do ourselves any favours with the first leg result," Muller told Sky Germany. "The disappointment is big."

Bayern are the third consecutive reigning Champions League winners to fail to reach at least the semi-final stage the following season in the competition, something that has not happened since four successive teams failed between 2004-05 and 2007-8 (Porto, Liverpool, Barcelona and Milan).

Muller added: "We scored one goal too few to advance. The course of the game was different from Munich. We didn't have so much pressure in the early stages.

"We then had the situation we wanted and scored the goal just before half-time. We had a few chances just before half-time that we didn't take for different reasons.

"In the second half, the effort was always there, but the game was very disjointed. In the end, Paris has a great offence, but it's very disappointing that we got eliminated even though we won in Paris."

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer reiterated that sentiment, ruing their first-leg defeat at home to the Ligue 1 champions.

Hansi Flick's Bayern mustered 45 shots over their two clashes with PSG – the joint-most any team managed against an opponent in two games in the Champions League this season (level with Sevilla against Krasnodar).

"It was not just because of today," Neuer said. "The 1-0 was deserved, but the result last week was not good enough.

"It's annoying, especially if you look at the first game, where we missed many chances and conceded one or two goals too many.

"All the players not here today were missed. It's difficult when you play against such a great team then. Still, we had a top team on the pitch that gave it everything."

Manuel Neuer backed Hansi Flick as the right coach for Bayern Munich, amid reports of a row with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

A difficult week for Bayern ended in frustrating circumstances on Saturday, as Marcus Ingvartsen's late goal snatched a 1-1 draw for Union Berlin at the Allianz Arena.

Jamal Musiala's moment of quality seemed set to have proved decisive for Bayern, who are now just five points clear of RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.

With the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain coming up, Flick made a glut of changes for the Union clash, while both Musiala and Kingsley Coman sustained injuries.

According to reports, Flick's relationship with sporting director Salihamidzic has all but broken down, raising questions over the future of Bayern's coach, who has been linked with the soon-to-be-vacant Germany job.

Asked to discuss Flick's future after Saturday's game, a frustrated Neuer told Sky Sport: "I think Hansi Flick is the right coach for us."

Reflecting on the match, Neuer added: "Of course, it is very annoying. We played a good game with the team for long stretches. We would have deserved to win. That is bitter."

Against a stubborn Union defence, Bayern failed to register a shot on target in the first half for only the second time this season.

They managed to find a way to goal through Musiala, whose goal was his fourth in the Bundesliga, and his first not as a substitute.

Musiala went off shortly after scoring, though Flick has confirmed the youngster was only suffering from cramps, while he also revealed Coman was not expected to last the full 90 minutes.

"It was clear from the start that Kingsley would only play 45 minutes. I think it's not so serious. Jamal Musiala had cramps," Flick told reporters.

Flick also offered updates on the fitness of Lucas Hernandez and Leon Goretzka ahead of Tuesday's Paris showdown.

"I have more hope for Lucas Hernandez," Flick added.

"We won't take any risks with Leon, it's a muscular injury. The doctors decide whether it's worth the risk."

Bayern are now winless in two consecutive home games in all competitions for the first time since November 2018 when failing to win in four home games in a row under Niko Kovac.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has withdrawn from the Germany squad for their upcoming fixtures because of an adductor injury.

The 31-year-old linked up with his national side on Monday for the World Cup qualifiers with Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

However, Germany confirmed on Tuesday that Kroos has returned to Madrid as a precautionary measure and will play no part in any of their games over the next eight days.

"Our medical department has examined and treated Toni intensively," said head coach Joachim Low, who will step down from his position at the end of the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament.

"He would have liked to stay with us, and I am reluctant to be without him. But with a view to the Euros, we decided that the full recovery from this injury must be a priority."

Kroos earned his 100th cap for Germany in October's 3-3 draw with Switzerland and has featured 35 times in all competitions for Madrid this season.

He previously missed two games earlier this season with a gluteal injury, seeing him play no part in the league wins over Real Valladolid and Levante.

Germany are also without Niklas Sule and Robin Gosens for Thursday's clash with Iceland in Duisburg, the pair unavailable with thigh and muscular problems respectively.

The build-up to the match has been dominated by talk of who will succeed Low as the next Germany head coach, but Manuel Neuer insists it will be business as usual on the field.

"We had a short team meeting and are concentrating on our tasks," he said. "We have to be well prepared for the European Championship and will use every game to do that.

"We cannot make any more mistakes. We have a strong group, against some strong opponents, so every game is a final from the start.

"Of course now we want to crown this era with a success. The coach deserves that to end with a success after the successful years.

"He is is very motivated and ambitious. It's not that he thinks he's going to retire. He's enthusiastic. He wants to quit as national coach as successfully as possible."

Under-21s boss Stefan Kuntz is among the frontrunners to replace Low, who has been at the helm since 2006 and guided his country to World Cup success in 2014.

Ralf Rangnick and Hansi Flick, who manages Neuer at club level with Bayern, are also in the running, while Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann have distanced themselves.

Asked about the candidates for one of the top jobs in football, Neuer said: "A national coach must have experience and must have done one or the other in German football. 

"He should know the Bundesliga. It's not about what we think, but about the goals that we have in front of us."

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