Real Madrid need a transition plan as captain Karim Benzema heads towards his late thirties, and that could lead them to making a summer swoop for a new forward.

There has been plenty of speculation about Mohamed Salah's future with Liverpool over the past few months, even with the 30-year-old Egyptian being contracted to the Reds until 2025.

Rumours have continued to emerge about a possible move, but Madrid also reportedly have their eye on Victor Osimhen, Harry Kane and Rasmus Hojlund as they consider various options.

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID WANT A NEW STRIKER

Real Madrid might see Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah as an option for an off-season transfer, claims Defensa Central.

The report claims Los Blancos could consider Salah while they also look at other possible acquisitions, including Napoli's Serie A top scorer Victor Osimhen and Tottenham's ever-prolific Harry Kane.

Karim Benzema turns 36 later this year, and Madrid will need other proven frontline options for when the Frenchman steps away from the spotlight.

Rasmus Hojlund, who has settled in well at Atalanta this season, is also said to be admired at Madrid, no doubt helped by him scoring five goals in his first two starts for Denmark during the recent international break.

ROUND-UP

– The Guardian claims Mason Mount is open to a move to German champions Bayern Munich amid swirling rumours about their new boss Thomas Tuchel's interest in a reunion. Mount and Chelsea have reportedly reached a stalemate in their discussions on a new contract. Tuchel left Chelsea in September.

– Manchester City have identified Borussia Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko as a target, reports Football Transfers. The report claims City are fearing Erling Haaland's exit but could use any incoming funds to facilitate a move for the Dortmund forward.

– David de Gea has rejected Manchester United's initial new contract offer which he believes is not adequate, according to The Athletic. The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of this season, with United proposing a pay cut in his new deal. The report states an agreement on new terms is expected to be reached.

– Bayern are not interested in either of West Ham's Declan Rice or Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic, reports Sky Sport Germany's Florian Plettenberg.

Bayern Munich will always be favourites to beat Borussia Dortmund, with Leon Goretzka suggesting no team can face Die Roten at Allianz Arena and have the upper hand.

The two teams meet in their first game back from the international break in what could be the most decisive encounter of the Bundesliga title race this season.

Dortmund hold a one-point lead over their rivals, who dismissed coach Julian Nagelsmann and replaced him with former Black and Yellow boss Thomas Tuchel last week.

Speaking ahead of the crunch clash though, Goretzka insisted the visitors' advantage in the league table means nothing when they go to Allianz Arena, given the hosts' pedigree.

"We are ready," he told SportBILD. "We want the 11th championship in a row. To quote Kylian Mbappe, we are always favourites.

"When we play at home, there isn't a team we don't go into the game against as favourites. I think [the pressure] is great.

"I really enjoy these games. As a player, you don't want to be part of the team that can break this series [and miss out on another title win]."

Nagelsmann's departure, despite guiding Bayern to the title last term and the Champions League quarter-finals this year, is a gamble for the Bavarian giants.

But in Tuchel, they have a former Champions League-winning coach from his time at Chelsea, and Goretzka hopes he can help retain their Bundesliga crown.

"We all know and appreciate his successes," he added. "[We] have great respect for his achievements and experience."

Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt was surprised by the club's decision to part company with head coach Julian Nagelsmann and says it has been "hard to swallow".

German heavyweights Bayern officially called time on Nagelsmann's 20-month reign on Friday and swiftly appointed Thomas Tuchel as his successor.

Nagelsmann won the Bundesliga in his only full season in Bavaria, but Bayern find themselves a point behind Borussia Dortmund with 25 games of this campaign played.

Bayern face leaders Dortmund in a huge clash on Saturday, while they also have DFB-Pokal and Champions League quarter-final ties to play in April.

And with the club still in the hunt for a treble, De Ligt – who has been away on international duty with the Netherlands – did not see Nagelsmann's sacking coming.

"I was surprised," he told Dutch TV broadcaster NOS. "We're second in the league and in the quarter-finals of the cups. We're still playing for everything.

"Those in charge decide who the coach is, but it was a difficult decision that is hard to swallow. But I also believe that Tuchel is a coach who suits us."

According to a report in the German media, certain Bayern players turned against Nagelsmann and effectively forced him out of the Allianz Arena.

But De Ligt, who has played 31 times since arriving at Bayern from Juventus at the start of the season, refuted those suggestions.

"Oh, the German media. That says it all," he said. "I had a good relationship with him and his team.

"I sent him a message and thanked him for everything he taught me.

"He really wanted me here at the club and was very important to me. 

"Thanks in part to him, I have taken important steps in my development over the past few months."

Kai Havertz hailed the impact Thomas Tuchel had on his career, with the new Bayern Munich boss having coached the Germany international at Chelsea.

Tuchel, who was announced as Bayern's coach following the shock sacking of Julian Nagelsmann last week, took charge of the Blues between January 2021 and September last year.

The German guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2021, with Havertz scoring the first-half winner in a 1-0 victory over fellow Premier League side Manchester City.

Speaking to The Guardian on Tuchel's influence, he said: "Tuchel gave me a different idea of football. 

"Every detail counts, every centimetre, how you touch the ball, how you control, where you pass, which foot, movement, creating spaces: he's just top level. 

"To come and win the Champions League in six months says it all.

"My brother and I used to watch every Champions League game and to hold the trophy with your family on the pitch was such a relief. 

"I scored this goal, I can be happy. I made my childhood dream come true."

Chelsea remain in this year's competition after overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit to Borussia Dortmund with a 2-0 home win at Stamford Bridge. 

Havertz scored the crucial second goal from the penalty spot and his side now face reigning champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

"The ambition is still there," Havertz said about Chelsea's Champions League aspirations this campaign. 

"In the league, we are not very good and we feel for the fans but against Dortmund, the atmosphere was the best I have seen. You feel the excitement. 

"The Premier League is big and winning it may be even more difficult but the Champions League is different. Hearing that anthem, playing at night, it's special."

Despite progress in the Champions League, Tuchel's successor Graham Potter sees his side sit tenth in the Premier League and 11 points off a top-four position heading into the final stage of the season.

Regardless of the pressure on Potter and the new singings brought in as part of an ambitious January spending spree, Havertz believes all of them will thrive at the club given time to develop. 

"Potter is very good for Chelsea even though he gets criticism; in the changing room, everyone knows his qualities.

"Enzo [Fernandez] and [Mykhaylo] Mudryk have come for a lot of money and they're only 22, you know? You cannot expect them to be Neymar straight away. It's like me: it takes time."

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham remains in limbo, given his contract status and the departure of Antonio Conte.

The 29-year-old forward, who recently became Spurs' all-time leading scorer, is out of contract in 2024.

Kane has previously spoken about his desire to contend for silverware and almost joined Manchester City in 2021.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD SANCTION KANE MOVE

The Manchester United bosses have sanctioned a potential £80million deal for Tottenham striker Harry Kane, reports the Daily Star.

United are ready to ramp up their interest in the England captain, who has interest from Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea.

The report claims United hope to get the jump on their rivals and open up talks soon, with a view to having a deal agreed with Kane within weeks.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Times reports Bayern Munich want to sign Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount who previously worked with the German champions' new boss Thomas Tuchel.

Arsenal are circling for Eintracht Frankfurt's Danish midfielder Jesper Lindstrom who may be available for €30m, reports Sport1.

– The Mirror claims Liverpool have joined the battle to sign Evan Ndicka from Eintracht Frankfurt as a free agent in the off-season.

– Barcelona may cash in on Samuel Umtiti's revival on loan at Lecce and look to recoup a transfer fee this off-season according to SPORT.

– Sky Italy claims former Real Madrid boss and France World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane is on Tottenham's shortlist to replace Conte, along with Mauricio Pochettino, Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique.

Thomas Tuchel will not have had enough time with his Bayern Munich players to have a significant impact on Saturday's Klassiker, according to Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl.

Former BVB boss Tuchel has been appointed Bayern coach, replacing Julian Nagelsmann ahead of a huge game against their title rivals.

Ten-in-a-row champions Bayern are a point behind Bundesliga leaders Dortmund heading into their meeting, hoping Tuchel can inspire an upturn in form after a run of only five victories in 10 matches let their opponents back into the title race.

But Tuchel was appointed in the middle of the international break, meaning Kehl cannot see how he would have a big say in proceedings right away.

"I don't know if FC Bayern will be better on Saturday with Thomas Tuchel than before under Julian Nagelsmann," Kehl told reporters.

"I don't think that this coaching staff will necessarily affect this game, because many international players are still away until the middle of the week and a great number of training sessions cannot take place.

"They will not have that many opportunities to work on tactical things."

Tuchel left Dortmund in 2017 after clashing with the club's hierarchy, but Kehl again does not foresee those events playing a part.

"It doesn't matter at all," he said. "I think the issues from back then have long since been forgotten and cleared up."

Kehl added: "I don't think it's a game against Thomas Tuchel at the weekend; in the end, it's between the first-placed team and the second-placed team.

"All parties are so professional. It's part of the process that coaches change and sometimes come to play against old clubs."

Either way, Kehl does not see Saturday's result deciding the title race, even if Dortmund have a huge opportunity to move four points clear.

"We can make a big step up the table because we're playing against a direct competitor," he said. "First plays second, a game everyone can look forward to.

"It's nice that we were able to make it such an exciting game. But the title will not be decided at the weekend."

New Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel has reportedly communicated to the board that Tottenham striker Harry Kane is his top priority in the upcoming transfer window.

Kane, 29, is just five goals away from overtaking Wayne Rooney for second on the Premier League's all-time leading scorers list, after recently surpassing Rooney as England's all-time top scorer and Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham's record holder.

With his personal legacy in England already secured, the logical next move is somewhere the striker can secure some team silverware, and that is an area Bayern can deliver.

While Tottenham will be desperate to convince their star to stay put, any indication that he will not sign a new contract will likely force the club to cash-in on their top talent.

 

TOP STORY – TUCHEL HOPING TO MAKE KANE BAYERN'S NEW CENTREPIECE

According to Football Insider, Tuchel "is a huge fan of Kane from his time in the Premier League managing Chelsea", and he has communicated to the Bayern board that he should be the main focus going forward.

Despite Kane approaching the final 12 months of his deal, Tottenham are still expected to demand a fee in the £100million (Є113.8m) range to part ways with their club icon, but it remains exceedingly unlikely that they will allow his contract to run out.

However, the report adds Kane would potentially be open to an extension if Spurs can secure former Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann as Antonio Conte's replacement.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports 27-year-old Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips is prepared to leave the club amid concerns his limited playing time will affect his spot in the England team, but Football Insider claims Phillips is prepared to stick it out.

– According to Sport, all 29 MLS clubs have agreed to split the salary of Lionel Messi and would allow him to choose whichever franchise he would prefer.

Paris Saint-Germain are planning to capitalise on a two-week window at the start of July when 26-year-old Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae has a temporary release clause of €52.5m, per Foot Mercato.

– Fichajes reports Barcelona will likely be forced to sell 20-year-old winger Ansu Fati in the next transfer window for financial reasons.

Thomas Tuchel will be a success at Bayern Munich, according to Germany international Thilo Kehrer.

Tuchel, who had been out of work since he was sacked by Chelsea in September, replaced Julian Nagelsmann on Friday.

Nagelsmann was relieved of his duties despite Bayern having reached the Champions League quarter-finals and sitting just a point off top spot in the Bundesliga.

Tuchel's first game in charge will come against Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, who he coached between 2015 and 2017, in Saturday's Klassiker, and having worked under him at Paris Saint-Germain, Kehrer feels his former boss is the right pick for Bayern.

"I had a very successful time in Paris under Thomas Tuchel," Kehrer told reporters at a pre-match news conference ahead of Germany's friendly with Belgium on Tuesday.

"He's a coach from whom I've learned a lot and also developed a lot, so I can only say positive things about him - as a coach and as a person. I have always felt his trust and support."

Tuchel has led some of Europe's biggest clubs, claiming two league titles and a Champions League trophy along the way, and Kehrer believes the 49-year-old's experience with big-name players will serve him well in Munich.

When asked how he dealt with the superstar squad he inherited at PSG, Kehrer said of Tuchel: "On the one hand he solved it with his tactical expertise and meticulousness. On the other hand, he is very intelligent in his dealings. Where do you demand discipline? Where do you give players a certain amount of freedom?

"He did that very well in Paris, although it's not an easy situation for a coach. I'm also confident that he will do well at Bayern Munich."

Bayern Munich are adamant they were not at fault as Thomas Tuchel's appointment was reported before previous head coach Julian Nagelsmann had been sacked.

Nagelsmann was said to have learned of his departure through the media while skiing in Austria this week.

The news first broke on Thursday but was not made official for another 24 hours, by which point Tuchel had formally agreed to take the Bayern job.

However, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic appeared on SPORT1's STAHLWERK Doppelpass on Sunday and defended the club's position.

"We met [with Tuchel] on Tuesday, had a very good conversation," Salihamidzic said. "And on Wednesday and Thursday, we negotiated with Thomas' managers.

"On Thursday evening, we learned that the information had been leaked by a third party. We really couldn't help it.

"I don't know who that was [behind the leak] – certainly from the other side. We behaved fairly. As fair as you can be in this business.

"The first person we called on Thursday was Julian Nagelsmann. You don't share such a decision on the phone. That's why we met the next day at Sabener Strasse. We waited until there was a commitment from Thomas Tuchel."

Indeed, although the leak looked "bad", the Bayern chief explained why it was not possible to dismiss Nagelsmann before putting a deal in place with Tuchel.

"It came out before Thomas Tuchel agreed, so I wouldn't have been able to call Julian yet," Salihamidzic said.

"I couldn't have told him, 'we're talking to Thomas now, but if he doesn't want to, you'll go ahead'.

"Of course, it's bad that this comes out beforehand, but that's not our fault."

Now, Bayern are looking forward to a future with Tuchel, even if he has had strained relationships with bosses at Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

Disputes have often centred around transfer business, but the Bundesliga champions are ready to back Tuchel.

"With Julian Nagelsmann, we entered the transfer market together and discussed everything. We will do the same with Thomas Tuchel," Salihamidzic said.

"The coach's ideas are important, he has to transfer them to the team. We have let Julian be Julian and will also let Thomas Tuchel be Thomas Tuchel."

Thomas Tuchel's arrival at Bayern Munich has already resulted in fresh transfer links with the Bundesliga giants.

One player said to be of interest to Bayern's new boss is one of his former Chelsea regulars.

However, Bayern could face competition from several Premier League clubs.

 

TOP STORY - FOUR-WAY TUSSLE FOR KOVACIC

Mateo Kovacic is said to be attracting interest from Bayern, Manchester CityManchester United and Liverpool.

Calciomercato report that Bayern's new boss Tuchel, who replaced Julian Nagelsmann in a shock move on Friday, wants to bring in the Croatia international, who he coached at Chelsea.

However, according to 90min, Liverpool, City and United are also monitoring the situation, with Kovacic heading into the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

ROUND UP

- According to Calciomercato, Bayern could also look to sign Edouard Mendy from Chelsea.

- Fabrizio Romano has claimed Newcastle United are keen on signing Scott McTominay.

- Romano also says that Chelsea and Arsenal are interested in Southampton's  Romeo Lavia.

- GiveMeSport's Dean Jones reports that Tottenham will look to sound out ex-Bayern boss Nagelsmann should they sack Antonio Conte.

Roberto Martinez has told Thomas Tuchel that Anthony Barry will remain part of Portugal's coaching staff even if he swaps Chelsea for Bayern Munich. 

Tuchel revealed at Saturday's unveiling as Bayern's new head coach that he is hoping to add Barry, who he worked with at Chelsea, as one of his assistants.

Highly regarded Barry has also spent the past year working alongside Martinez at international level, first with the Belgium national side and now Portugal.

And regardless of whether the 36-year-old stays at Stamford Bridge or joins Tuchel in Germany, Martinez expects him to remain as part of his own coaching set-up.

"I've been with Anthony for many years. What happens in international football has nothing to do with club football," Martinez said. "If there's a change, it'll be from club to club."

Martinez's tenure as Portugal boss got off to a positive start with a 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in Thursday's opening Euro 2024 qualifying fixture.

Portugal fielded a strong line-up for that game that included Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice on the day he became the most-capped player in men's international football.

Bernardo Silva was also on the scoresheet, but he has warned his team-mates not to take next Group J opponents Luxembourg lightly, even if they are ranked 92nd in the world.

"The truth is we don't know what to expect because teams can change depending on what they see in the games we've been playing and they can adapt to our game," Silva said. 

"We expect a difficult game. The last time we came here we went through a lot of difficulties. The team has improved a lot. If I'm not mistaken, they haven't lost in seven games. 

"We know that the game can be difficult at times. We have to fight against that, dominate the game and create opportunities to score goals and win."

Martinez is still getting to grips with his squad, having only replaced Fernando Santos two months ago, and he suggested changes will be made against Luxembourg.

"It's very important to have fresh people," he said at his pre-match press conference. "Three days after the game with Liechtenstein, it's important that everyone is physically well. 

"We've been together for three days. I've been delighted with the level of unity, ambition and commitment I've seen. The quality of the squad is exceptional. 

"We're just at the beginning of the journey; we have to grow together. But it's always easier when you win. Our last win was important from that point of view."

Thomas Tuchel is determined to set the tone for his reign at Bayern Munich by knocking his old team Borussia Dortmund off their perch at the top of the Bundesliga.

The new Bayern head coach is braced for "a different dynamic" in next Saturday's Klassiker, which could be the defining game of the German league season.

Dortmund hold a one-point lead after Bayern were beaten last weekend by Bayer Leverkusen, and there are only nine rounds of games remaining, ramping up the fixture's significance.

Tuchel, whose appointment as successor to the sacked Julian Nagelsmann was made official on Friday, has already begun to receive messages from within the Dortmund camp.

He was boss at Dortmund from 2015 to 2017 and grew his reputation before being sacked amid behind-the-scenes disharmony.

After a year out, Tuchel was snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain, and he went on to win the Champions League with Chelsea before being fired last September, a decision the Stamford Bridge hierarchy might have reason to regret.

On Tuesday, Tuchel was called by Bayern and asked to be the man to save their season, with CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic fearing the campaign was coming off the rails.

Tuchel said at his introductory press conference on Saturday: "I was a bit naive in the first discussion. The ball dropped that this would start with a game against Borussia Dortmund. The expectation level couldn't be higher."

He said the game was "not about me", but inevitably his presence adds spice to the Allianz Arena occasion.

"I got lots of messages and calls from staff at Borussia Dortmund saying they were looking forward to seeing me," Tuchel added. "There will be a different dynamic because of how the table now stands.

"I'm proud to have BVB on my CV, but it's not going to stop me dealing with the situation."

Dortmund have been long-time chasers of Bayern, so to be ahead of them at this stage of the season is unusual.

Bayern have won the last 10 Bundesliga titles and are fearful of that running coming to an end. They could still finish with a treble, given they have reached the quarter-final stage of the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, so if all goes swimmingly Tuchel could have plenty to celebrate in May and June.

The 49-year-old has pledged to "go in with open eyes and try to do everything we can to win all three titles".

He believes Bayern are suitably equipped to go after such silverware too.

"It's only on Tuesday I started really thinking about the squad," he said. "No one wants to play against a club like Bayern. It really got me excited for the job straightaway."

Due to the international break, Tuchel will not see some of his squad until Friday, the day before Bayern tackle Borussia Dortmund in a top-of-the-table Klassiker.

He considered it "a surprising time" for Bayern to change coach and said he would not be making radical changes over the coming weeks, promising a "deeper analysis" would take place in good time.

He expects some players may consider his arrival "a new chance" and said he would prioritise "forming some faith on the pitch".

"The fact is, I'm going to get feedback from players, but I don't want to overload anyone," Tuchel said. "The game that's coming up is a very exciting proposition, how everyone wanted it. It's my job to create a bit of anticipation as well."

He is determined not to look back and instead only focus on what Bayern have ahead of them, labelling the Dortmund game "a chance to put the first exclamation mark out there".

Asked about Nagelsmann, Tuchel spoke from experience when he said being sacked was "never nice", having lost his jobs at Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in frustrating circumstances.

"I think everyone knows that when you take over a job at a club like Bayern, things like this can happen," Tuchel said. "I know it could be difficult for Julian Nagelsmann right now."

He stressed though, that the sacking was "not my responsibility" and hopes to have convivial discussions with Nagelsmann somewhere down the line.

Tuchel has not yet picked up the phone to sound out Nagelsmann about the players he is inheriting.

"I don't want to be disrespectful," he said. "I start things on Monday, and I'm sure we'll cross paths at some point and talk about things. My relationship with Julian, from my perspective, is impacted not one per cent."

Oliver Kahn believed Bayern Munich's hopes of trophy success this season and in the next campaign were under threat with Julian Nagelsmann at the helm.

The tacit admission that the 10-in-a-row Bundesliga champions would surrender their crown if Nagelsmann stayed in charge came in a press conference on Saturday.

Bayern CEO Kahn sacked Nagelsmann and has brought Thomas Tuchel to the club as head coach, with their hopes of a treble remaining alive going into the closing weeks of the season.

The shock departure of Nagelsmann, less than two years after he was acquired at great expense from RB Leipzig, was one the Bayern hierarchy decided was essential.

"The last few days have been hard for us all," Kahn said. "They certainly weren't easy days, and it's safe to assume there was the odd night where I didn't sleep well.

"That's one side of this job that is no longer fun but unfortunately is part of the business. When you let a head coach go, ultimately there's a person behind that decision.

"Nothing big changed, we all see him as an excellent and very good head coach, and on a personal level we understood each other over the course of the last year and three quarters.

"But it's our responsibility and duty to sort out the sporting success of this club, and so we asked ourselves the question of what's the reason behind the big changes in performance.

"So, this isn't a panic decision. It's got nothing to do with panic. We had a close look at everything, and we took the emotions out of the decisions."

Bayern were beaten 2-1 by Bayer Leverkusen last Sunday and as a result relinquished top spot in the Bundesliga to Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund are Bayern's next opponents, and incoming boss Tuchel is a former Dortmund coach.

A beaming Tuchel was presented by Bayern on Saturday, having been first contacted on Tuesday.

"We might have taken the decision on Monday, but we took a chance to look at everything," Kahn said. "It's all about finding out where these big swings in performances come from."

Kahn pointed to last season's Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal and a 5-0 DFB-Pokal loss to Borussia Monchengladbach in October 2021.

"The fact is there were vulnerabilities that were hard to understand that kept raising their head over several games, despite the fact we strengthened the squad before the start of the season and have one of best squads in Europe," Kahn said.

"The continuity in performance of the team never really got better.

"If you look at the start of the second half of the season, we were often not happy with the performances.

"It's the expectation for a club like Bayern that we are a stable ship, so we started with three 1-1 draws in a row – a tough start to the second half of the season – and you see where we are today. Out of 10 Bundesliga games, we have five wins and three draws. That's not where our expectation levels are.

"That's ultimately why we had to make a decision. The expectations are always at their highest here at Bayern.

"We saw and felt our season targets for this season and next season were in danger, and that's why we came to the decision to let Julian Nagelsmann go. It was a well thought through process, certainly not an emotional decision down to one game."

Kahn said he and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic had supported Nagelsmann until reaching this decision.

They took no satisfaction in parting company with the 35-year-old Nagelsmann, who will be eager in his next job to prove Bayern made a rash choice.

"Of course, there are nicer things in life," Kahn said. "It was frustrating and he was trying to understand. We explained it as we have explained it today.

"He took it on board and understood. The bottom line is it really did not go how we expected things to go."

Kahn said his open-door policy to the club's players had provided some insight into the vibe of the squad under Nagelsmann's leadership.

"I let players come into my office, have a coffee and listen in," he said. "I think this is one of the strengths of the club. I think everyone had a very clear picture of how the players were feeling and what kind of situation they found themselves in."

Oliver Kahn says Bayern Munich's decision to replace Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel as head coach was due to the team playing "less successfully and less attractively" since the World Cup.

The Bundesliga giants lost their lead at the top of the table at the weekend after a 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen, with Borussia Dortmund leapfrogging them with a 6-1 win over Koln.

Despite an impressive Champions League last-16 success against Paris Saint-Germain, Nagelsmann has paid the price for a dip in domestic form, with two of their three league defeats this season coming in their last five games.

"When we signed Julian Nagelsmann for FC Bayern in the summer of 2021, we were convinced we would work with him on a long-term basis, and that was the goal of all of us right up to the end," Bayern chief executive Kahn told the club's website.

"Julian shares our aspiration to play successful and attractive football. But now we have come to the conclusion that the quality in our squad – despite the Bundesliga title last year – has come to the fore less and less often. After the World Cup we have played less successfully and less attractively. 

"The big fluctuations in performance have cast doubt on our goals for this season, but also our goals for the future. That is why we have acted now. 

"Personally and on behalf of FC Bayern, I would like to thank Julian and his coaching team, and wish everyone the best of luck for the future."

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic echoed Kahn's words, saying it was "the most difficult decision in my time as a board member".

He added: "I have had an open, trusting, friendly relationship with Julian from day one. I regret the parting of the ways with Julian. But after a thorough analysis of the sporting development of our team, especially since January and with the experience of the second half of the previous season, we have now decided to release him. 

"I am very grateful to Julian for what he has done for FC Bayern and I wish him all the best."

Bayern have appointed former Dortmund, PSG and Chelsea head coach Tuchel on a contract until June 2025.

Thomas Tuchel was appointed head coach of Bayern Munich on Friday as the club ruthlessly sacked Julian Nagelsmann.

Reports of Nagelsmann's demise as Bayern boss first emerged on Thursday, and confirmation of the 35-year-old's dismissal meant he lasted less than two full seasons at the helm.

The former RB Leipzig chief guided Bayern to the Bundesliga title last season and led them into the quarter-finals of the Champions League this term, with Manchester City awaiting them in that competition.

Bayern went into the international window second in the Bundesliga, a point behind bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund ahead of their meeting in Der Klassiker on April 1.

The club have opted to act now, during the international break, and Tuchel is the man they have chosen to take the high-pressure job.

"FC Bayern Munich have released head coach Julian Nagelsmann," a statement read.

"This decision was taken by CEO Oliver Kahn and board member for sport Hasan Salihamidzic in consultation with club president Herbert Hainer.

"Nagelsmann is to be succeeded by Thomas Tuchel.

"Tuchel will receive a contract until June 30, 2025 and will supervise squad training for the first time on Monday.

"Along with Nagelsmann, assistant coaches Dino Toppmoller, Benjamin Gluck and Xaver Zembrod have also been released."

A former Chelsea, Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain head coach, Tuchel had also been strongly linked with Tottenham in recent days. Spurs could part ways with Antonio Conte before the end of the season.

Bayern were long-term admirers of Tuchel, and he takes over at Allianz Arena with an opportunity to make a trophy-winning impact.

The first game in charge for Tuchel will be against his old club Dortmund, a potentially pivotal match in the title race.

Nagelsmann is unlikely to be out of work for long, having built a strong reputation during his time with Hoffenheim, Leipzig and Bayern.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.