Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has outlined the club's plans to bring in a new striker in the transfer window after Tuesday's shock 2-1 DFB-Pokal defeat to Freiburg. 

Thomas Tuchel's side took the lead in their quarter-final fixture through Dayot Upamecano but were pegged back by Nicolas Hoefler's strike, before Lucas Hoeler's 95-minute penalty sent the Bundesliga leaders crashing out.

Bayern will now miss out on the final of the competition for the third successive season, and Salihamidzic was adamant signing a new striker will be necessary for the club to move forward next season.

"Of course we will sit down and see what we need to do in the transfer market," he said after the game.

"But the games show: To go into the new season with just Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mathys Tel, Thomas Muller and Sadio Mane would be negligent.

"In all likelihood, there will be a new striker. Whether it's Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen or Randal Kolo Muani, the coming weeks will show."

Bayern remain top of the Bundesliga and are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but they have struggled to replace the output of the talismanic Robert Lewandowski since his departure to Barcelona at the end of last season.

The Poland international scored 110 goals in just 94 league games in his last three seasons at Bayern as the club won three consecutive Bundesliga titles and the Champions League. 

Choupo-Moting has led the line in Lewandowski's absence this season but has scored just 10 league goals.

Despite the disappointing result against Freiburg, Salihamidzic remained positive about Tuchel's appointment and refused to lay the blame for the defeat at the door of the new boss.

"It is bitter for all of us, but it has nothing to do with the coach," Salihamidzic said.

"It's a process. He makes a very good impression and is doing a very good job. Today was bitter for all of us, but we will continue on Saturday."

Thomas Tuchel accepted responsibility for Bayern Munich's DFB-Pokal quarter-final exit, after they suffered a late 2-1 loss against Freiburg.

The Bundesliga leaders looked set for extra-time at Allianz Arena, after Dayot Upamecano's header was cancelled out by Nicolas Hofler.

But Jamal Muisala's penalty concession deep into second-half stoppage time allowed Lucas Holer to seal a last-gasp victory for the visitors from the spot.

In only his second game in charge since replacing Julian Nagelsmann, Tuchel acknowledged he had to shoulder the blame for their defeat.

"I am not really angry," he said. "We conceded two goals with two shots. I can’t remember another chance from Freiburg.

"The last pass, [and the] precision obviously, are all an issue. But still, we had good moments we could have used, but [we] just could not keep it up.

"In the end, it is our fault. We are very disappointed [to lose] a quarter-final at home. Of course, I am responsible."

Tuchel made a winning start to his Bayern career with a decisive 4-2 win over old club Borussia Dortmund, where he previously won the DFB-Pokal.

His failure to back it up with progress to the semi-finals of Germany's major knockout competition will take the shine off his early impression.

Bayern can claim immediate revenge on Saturday when they travel to Freiburg for a reverse fixture in the Bundesliga, looking to consolidate top spot.

They also remain in the mix for Champions League honours, and return to European competition against Manchester City next Tuesday.

Thomas Tuchel feels Chelsea are a vastly different club now to the one where he loved to work, after he was asked if he could recommend the job to Julian Nagelsmann.

Chelsea sacked Graham Potter on Sunday, with the Blues 11th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.

Potter replaced Tuchel in September, with the latter having been dismissed by co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali less than 18 months on from leading Chelsea to Champions League glory.

Whether Tuchel would be on speaking terms with Nagelsmann after replacing his compatriot at Bayern in March was not an issue that was raised when the former Paris Saint-Germain coach was asked by reporters if he would tell his predecessor, who is one of the favourites to succeed Potter, to take the Chelsea job.

"He's not going to ask me! He doesn't need my advice, that won't happen," Tuchel said in a press conference ahead of Bayern's DFB-Pokal meeting with Freiburg.

"I saw the news, in the end it was pretty tough timing, as it was right after I took over here and now the next coaching position is vacant at Chelsea.

"I needed quite a bit of time to distance myself from Chelsea, because I really liked to work there and there were friendships for life that I managed to build.

"It was a very intense time but the club changed massively. That helped me to find some distance. That's why this didn't bring out huge emotions in me.

"That's why I don't have to give any advice, because the club is different to the one I worked for."

Tuchel's first game in charge of Bayern could hardly have gone better, with the Bundesliga champions beating his former side Borussia Dortmund 4-2 to move top of the table.

Thomas Muller scored twice after Gregor Kobel's calamitous own goal had put Bayern ahead, with Kingsley Coman making it 4-0 before Emre Can and Donyell Malen grabbing consolations for Dortmund.

Sadio Mane came on as a second-half substitute as he continues his recovery from injury, though he only managed 12 touches and did not get a shot off.

Tuchel, though, is convinced Mane will return to his best form.

"I know him personally from England," Tuchel said of Mane. "He's one of the top players, he's scored in double digits, felt like 20 goals every year for Liverpool in the toughest league in the world.

"He plays at an extraordinary level, won all the trophies and titles for Liverpool. His importance is clear.

"Even with his age and experience, a change of clubs is still a change, it can lead to needing a bit of time to bed in a bit, to feel at home 1,000 per cent.

"Small things, like getting to the stadium, that were so easy in the past, have to be found out, and this takes time. Then it's done and dusted but then an injury occurs, and he could lose a bit of trust and form.

"I don't doubt his qualities, the things he can bring to us. It's about trust, a bit of patience in order to get back to the flow. A goal helps, no matter how, to get his joy back. We're working on it.

"With the strikers, those situations will occur all the time when they lose a bit of rhythm due to an injury."

Sunday saw two more Premier League bosses dismissed from their roles.

Graham Potter's sacking by Chelsea followed on from Leicester City cutting ties with Brendan Rodgers.

That pair of dismissals took the total count of managerial departures for the season to 13 in England's top tier. Twelve of those have been sackings.

According to Opta, it is the most managerial sackings in a Premier League season by three.

The previous high mark of 10 (set in the 2013-14 season and equalled in 2017-18) was matched last season.

Yet this campaign has been even more extreme. Here, Stats Perform assesses the 13 managers to have departed.

 

Scott Parker - Bournemouth (August 30)

Just four league games had passed when Bournemouth became the first club to blink, sacking Parker on the back of a humiliating 9-0 defeat to Liverpool. Parker went on to join Club Brugge in Belgium, but lasted less than three months, winning just two of 12 matches. His replacement at Bournemouth, Gary O'Neil, has the Cherries in 16th, far from down and out.

Thomas Tuchel - Chelsea (September 7)

Arguably the biggest shock sacking of the season came early on, when Tuchel was shown the door by Chelsea's new owners. Not long over a year on from leading the Blues to Champions League success, Tuchel was out of work. He is now back in a job, having succeeded Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich in March.

Graham Potter - Brighton and Hove Albion to Chelsea (September 8)

Potter will feature again in this list, of course, but he does count as two of the 13 departures on Opta's list, given he left Brighton to fill the Chelsea vacancy. The Seagulls had enjoyed a brilliant start to the season and Potter had earned his shot at a big club. It would not, of course, go according to plan.

Bruno Lage - Wolves (October 2)

A full month had not passed by the time a third coach was given the boot. Lage had a decent first season at Wolves, but their form had tailed off towards the back end of the 2021-22 campaign, going winless in seven games. That poor form carried into this term, and having won just one of their first eight league games, Wolves decided to make a change.

Steven Gerrard - Aston Villa (October 20)

Gerrard made a bright start at Villa in 2021, and had been given a large transfer budget across two windows, but the former Rangers boss was struggling to make matters click, either with his team or the fanbase. Villa made the call to end the project before the World Cup, and moved efficiently to bring in Unai Emery, who has got them well clear of any danger. Since his first game in charge, only Arsenal (13) and Manchester City (10) have more Premier League wins than Villa.

Ralph Hasenhuttl - Southampton (November 7)

Hasenhuttl had provided Southampton with fresh life when he was appointed in 2018, but since reaching a pinnacle of topping the table in November of the 2020-21 season, it had been a constant struggle. Saints managed to scrape 40 points last season but were firmly in the relegation scrap when they decided time was up for the Austrian. His replacement, however, did not fare well.

Frank Lampard - Everton (January 23)

That glut of changes prior to the World Cup break was followed by the halting of Lampard's Everton tenure in late January. Results had been terrible, with Lampard managing just three wins all season - a tally already matched by his successor Sean Dyche. However, the nature of dismissing a manager so late in the transfer window left Everton with little time to reinforce their squad, and they are still firmly in the mire. Losses to Wolves, Brighton, Southampton and West Ham marked the end of Lampard's time at Goodison Park.

 

Jess Marsch - Leeds United (February 6)

After one relegation candidate blinked, so did another. Marsch was ditched by Leeds following a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest, with the Whites - like Everton - once again faced with a scrap for their lives. Marsch, like Lampard on Merseyside, had managed to garner enough spirit and resolve to keep Leeds in the division last season, but the American was not an entirely popular figure among Leeds' fanbase, and whatever system he was trying to implement was clearly not working.

Nathan Jones - Southampton (February 12)

To put it frankly, Jones' time at St Mary's Stadium was downright bizarre. Brought in from Luton Town, Jones clearly had no lack of self-belief, but he lost his first four league games at the helm. Southampton appeared to be clicking into gear under Jones when they beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, Manchester City in the EFL Cup and then Everton in the league, yet the Weslhman – who was not shy at reeling off his strengths despite the lack of results – received his marching orders following the EFL Cup semi-final loss to Newcastle United and a 3-0 top-flight defeat to Brentford, with Saints bottom of the pile, where they remain.

Patrick Vieira - Crystal Palace (March 17)

A run of 13 games in all competitions without a win led to Vieira getting the boot midway through March. Palace lost 4-1 to league leaders Arsenal under the interim charge of Paddy McCarthy, and turned to former, supposedly retired, boss Roy Hodgson to try and push them away from danger. Hodgson made a good start, with the Eagles coming from behind to beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday.

Antonio Conte - Tottenham (March 26)

An unhappy marriage came to an end when Conte left Spurs by mutual consent, just over a week on from lambasting his "selfish" squad, along with the entire club's mentality, following a 3-3 draw at Southampton. Conte had never seemed content at Tottenham, and now Cristian Stellini will oversee the rest of the season. The international break was a turbulent one for Spurs, with director of football Fabio Paratici now on a leave of absence after his ban from Italian football was made a worldwide one by FIFA last week.

Brendan Rodgers - Leicester City (April 2)

Leicester played the April fools on Saturday in their defeat at Selhurst Park, a result that left them in the relegation zone. Rodgers had earned the Foxes' backing with his achievements since taking over in 2019, having won the FA Cup and led Leicester into Europe twice. However, Leicester had won just two league games since the season restarted, and a change felt overdue.

Graham Potter - Chelsea (April 2)

Not long after the dust had settled on Rodgers' departure, Chelsea confirmed the news that Potter was no more. Well, not literally, but the man who had managed so much magic with Brighton could not replicate those tricks at Stamford Bridge. A three-game winning streak in March seemed to suggest a turnaround was in the offing, but a home draw with Everton and Saturday's 2-0 loss to Villa marked the end for Potter, who will perhaps regret leaving Brighton. He leaves Chelsea with the joint-lowest points-per-game total of any of the Blues' Premier League coaches (1.27).

Julian Nagelsmann's representatives have denied claims from Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn that the coach was informed of his sacking before it was reported by the media.

Nagelsmann was replaced as head coach by Thomas Tuchel during the international break, with the new boss leading Bayern to a 4-2 win over Bundesliga title rivals Borussia Dortmund in his first game in charge on Saturday.

The 35-year-old was said to have learned of his imminent exit while enjoying a skiing holiday in Austria, with Bayern's decision widely reported 24 hours before it was officially announced. 

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic denied anyone at the club leaked the news, an assertion that was repeated by Kahn on Saturday.

Speaking to Sky Germany ahead of the win over Dortmund, Kahn referred to Nagelsmann's departure as a "disaster" but insisted the coach was "the first to know" about his sacking.

However, Nagelsmann's management agency Sports 360 has now disputed those claims, saying Bayern did not make contact with the coach before his exit was reported.

"There has been no contact or attempt to get in contact from Bayern," a representative from Sports 360 told Sky Germany.

"After all the rumours in the media, the management of Julian Nagelsmann contacted Hasan Salihamidzic by themselves."

Bayern cruised into a four-goal lead within 50 minutes as they leapfrogged BVB at the Bundesliga summit on Saturday, posting a ninth successive win in home meetings with their Klassiker rivals.

Thomas Tuchel's first game as Bayern Munich coach may have been an impressive 4-2 victory over rivals Borussia Dortmund, but he knows there is work to do.

Tuchel replaced Julian Nagelsmann during the international break, and his first game in the dugout was Saturday's Klassiker against his old club Dortmund, who had won nine of their first 10 league games in 2023 to leave them top of the Bundesliga.

But Bayern leapfrogged them to the summit in style.

Gregor Kobel's error and a Thomas Muller double had the 10-time reigning champions 3-0 up within 23 minutes.

Kingsley Coman made it 4-0 shortly after half-time, and though consolation goals from Emre Can and Donyell Malen somewhat took the shine off their victory, Bayern now look the clear favourites to claim an 11th straight Bundesliga title, with Opta rating it at an 87.7 per cent chance they become champions again.

Despite the great start to his tenure, Tuchel insists there is still much work to do if Bayern are to get where he wants them to be, telling Sky TV: "I was very nervous today. It was a good first step but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

"It was a bit too wild, we wanted to have more dominance. We started very nervously. The whole game was actually too sloppy with too many ball losses.

"We have a lot to analyse. The team is extremely willing to learn. I understand that some things haven't worked out yet. All in all, it was too many turnovers that made life difficult for us. We want to be in possession. 

"It's a bit like a band or an orchestra. We have to find our rhythm."

Nagelsmann's sacking came despite Bayern being in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"Everyone was aware of what was at stake here. A change of coach always brings unrest, there was a lot to absorb," Tuchel added.

"The will to implement everything was there 100 per cent. That's the most important. 

"When we played calmly and clearly, we had top-class chances. We have leaders, and that will give us peace and confidence."

Borussia Dortmund hoped there had been a sign of change. BVB were back on top of the Bundesliga ahead of Der Klassiker and going to rivals Bayern Munich as the league's in-form team, their hosts meanwhile were in self-inflicted turmoil.

Victory at Allianz Arena would be the real statement Dortmund desired in a quest to prove they could end Bayern's domination of not only German football's biggest game, but the Bundesliga in general.

And perhaps Dortmund will still go on to win the title, but Saturday's match suggested that no matter how good BVB are, Bayern's psychological hold over them will take years to overcome.

As Bayern cruised to a 4-2 win, the Bundesliga's title race took another turn.

There had been plenty of talk about confidence from the Dortmund camp coming into the game, with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke managing to perfectly encapsulate Bayern's recent dominance of this fixture when saying they were travelling "to Munich with a lot of self-belief for the first time in a long time".

He was referring to the fact BVB hadn't won at Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga since 2014, when Jurgen Klopp was still in charge, and their run of eight – now nine – successive league losses away to Bayern was their second-worst streak against any club in their top-flight history.

They'd been on the end of some hammerings in that time, too, losing by three or more goals five times.

So, when Dortmund began with genuine promise and swagger on Saturday, there was at least a suggestion Bayern weren't going to have it all their own way.

 

Dortmund were aggressive in their pressing and incisive with their distribution. Marius Wolf's energy down the right looked a potential weapon; Jude Bellingham showed some classy touches; Marco Reus' off-the-ball runs caused Bayern issues.

In fact, had Reus got his shot off a fraction of a second earlier in the seventh minute after Wolf's clever release, he may well have given BVB an early lead – as it was, Matthijs de Ligt got across to make a vital block.

But as predictable as some might have suggested a comfortable Bayern win was, there was nothing inevitable about the moment everything changed on Saturday.

Dayot Upamecano's pass from just inside his own half was seemingly routine for Gregor Kobel, but the goalkeeper took his eye off the ball as he raced out to clear, getting a slight nick on the ball to score arguably the most remarkable own goal of the season.

It's impossible to definitively say if things would've been different without that horror show, but Dortmund ceased to be much of a threat from that point in the 13th minute.

The following 10 minutes saw Bayern build a handsome lead. Thomas Muller was on hand to nudge home from De Ligt's headed flick-on to make it 2-0, and then punished another Kobel mistake with a tap-in when Leroy Sane's long-range strike was only parried.

It was effectively game over inside a quarter of the contest. Dortmund may have been the Bundesliga's form team coming into the weekend, but their first-half collapse had them reverting to type in Der Klassiker.

It wasn't over yet either.

Bayern looked especially potent in the opening half when attacking from the flanks, with Sane and – in particular – Kingsley Coman absolutely devastating at times.

 

Their deployment as inverted wingers was one of few significant alterations to the Bayern setup from Tuchel. It worked a treat almost throughout, and its success was tangible with the fourth goal early in the second half.

Sane cut in from the right, played a perfectly weighted pass towards the back post – through the legs of Muller – and Coman was there to stab home.

No one would have expected wholesale changes from Tuchel. After all, he's only had a couple of days to work with much of the squad following the international window.

But such a subtle yet demonstrably effective tweak perhaps highlights why Bayern were so keen to not miss out on the opportunity to finally hire Tuchel.

Similarly, Bayern were thrilling to watch, and we know just how important that is.

"We've 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."

Club CEO Oliver Kahn's comments after Julian Nagelsmann's sacking were pretty brutal but offered a lot of clarity to not only the man he'd just fired, but also the one he'd just hired.

 

Dortmund's late consolations via an Emre Can penalty and Donyell Malen's precise finish might be indicative of some of the issues with Bayern's mentality towards the end of Nagelsmann's reign. The 5-3 win over Augsburg comes to mind.

But 4-2 was a scoreline that flattered Dortmund. If anything, Bayern were a little wasteful, and had they checked their runs better, more goals certainly would've arrived.  

In some ways, this win was almost as close to the perfect start as Tuchel could have enjoyed when you consider the reservations Bayern started to have with Nagelsmann.

It will have likely dealt Dortmund a psychological blow, while Bayern find themselves back at the top of the table having produced an entertaining attacking spectacle.

But this wasn't where the title was won and lost – Bayern's shaky post-World Cup form proves Tuchel still has a lot of work to do.

Thomas Tuchel's Bayern Munich tenure started with a resounding 4-2 victory over rivals Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena.

Tuchel replaced Julian Nagelsmann during the international break, and his first game at the helm saw him tasked with shifting his former club Dortmund from top spot in the Bundesliga.

It was a fantastic start for Tuchel on the other side of the Klassiker rivalry, with Gregor Kobel's calamity and Thomas Muller's double putting Bayern 3-0 up inside 23 minutes.

Kingsley Coman nudged Bayern further ahead, though Emre Can's penalty and Donyell Malen's neat finish somewhat reduced the embarrassment for Dortmund, who lost in the league for the first time since November.

Bayern took the lead in bizarre fashion.

Dayot Upamecano's long throughball was seemingly running straight through to Kobel, but Dortmund's goalkeeper opted to try and boot it upfield, only to miscue, inadvertently sending the ball skimming into his own goal.

It was 2-0 just five minutes later, Matthijs de Ligt nodding a corner into the path of Muller, who stabbed home from close range.

Another Kobel blunder gifted Bayern a third – Muller on hand to tuck in the rebound after Leroy Sane's strike had been parried out.

Coman extended the lead in the 50th minute, latching onto Sane's clever pass to sidefoot into the bottom corner, and Dortmund had a reprieve when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's acrobatic finish was disallowed for offside.

Can smashed home a penalty after Jude Bellingham was felled by Serge Gnabry before Malen slotted in, but those goals were merely minor blips in an emphatic Bayern win.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are among the heavy hitters with reported interest in out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.

Tchouameni arrived in Madrid last July from Monaco for a €100million fee, but has started just 15 of 26 LaLiga fixtures this term, and played only a combined six minutes in their two-legged Champions League clash with Liverpool, whom he reportedly turned down to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The defensive midfielder has found himself behind 20-year-old Eduardo Camavinga for Madrid's most crucial contests, also only making brief substitute appearances in both meetings with Barcelona in March.

Tchouameni, who has made 23 senior appearances and scored two international goals for France, still has plenty of time to turn himself into the impact player Madrid envisioned, but the club are reportedly weighing up if they could cash in and use the resources elsewhere.

TOP STORY – EUROPE'S ELITE KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON TCHOUAMENI

According to El Nacional, Madrid are not happy with such an expensive signing only being used sparingly in a rotation role, and will consider any bid in the next transfer window starting at €70m (£61.5m).

The report names Arsenal, United, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Chelsea as Tchouameni's "admirers", with the Premier League clubs in particular having all been in the market recently for help in central midfield.

Tchouameni could even cost less than breakout Brighton and Hove Albion star Moises Caicedo, and significantly less than Borussia Dortmund talent Jude Bellingham, adding another key name into the mix for midfielder-hungry clubs this offseason.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Calciomercato, Liverpool are considering a move for Brighton's Caicedo if their pursuit of Bellingham is unsuccessful.

– Football Insider is reporting that Chelsea are hoping to receive £100m in return for midfield duo Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic in an effort to balance the books after lavish spending.

– Chelsea's Kai Havertz has interest in reuniting with former boss Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich, and that interest is mutual according to 90min.

– Fichajes is reporting that Roma may swoop for 32-year-old United goalkeeper David de Gea if he does not sign a new contract to stay in the Premier League.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, PSG have told Lionel Messi they will pay whatever is necessary to retain his services amid heavy interest from Barcelona and Inter Miami.

Graham Potter confirmed that Chelsea and Bayern Munich are in talks over assistant coach Anthony Barry.

However, a potential switch from London to Munich might well be delayed until a potential Champions League meeting between the sides.

Thomas Tuchel, who was appointed as Bayern coach after the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann last week, worked with Barry during his time at Chelsea and is keen to get the 36-year-old on his staff.

Barry is away from the Chelsea training ground while negotiations take place but Potter hinted that any agreement may be delayed until after a potential semi-final Champions League clash.

"Obviously that delay is something I'm pretty sure is in the conversation for obvious reasons," Potter said at a press conference on Friday.

"I have spoken to Anthony, he's someone I respect a lot and he's given everything for Chelsea. I understand that people have aspirations and it's about respecting that.

"He's away from us for the moment. It's between the clubs, it's not something I get involved in.

"I have huge respect for what he's done, here. He's a fantastic coach and a fantastic person."

Chelsea face reigning champions Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, as they did last year, but could be tasked with a semi-final face-off with former boss Tuchel if Bayern beat Manchester City.

Speaking to reporters in Germany on Friday, Tuchel was positive about the move for Barry.

"It's a matter between the clubs. It's still my absolute wish for him to come. The clubs have to reach an agreement. But I'm optimistic," he said.

Thomas Tuchel believes there is a positive energy around Bayern Munich as they begin the season's "weeks of truth" with Saturday's Klassiker against title rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Tuchel replaced Julian Nagelsmann at the Allianz Arena during the international break, with Bayern trailing BVB by one point and at risk of missing out on an 11th successive Bundesliga title.

The first game of the former Champions League winner's reign pits him against the club he led between 2015 and 2017, winning the DFB-Pokal in his second season at the helm. 

Despite enjoying limited time on the training ground with his new players, Tuchel believes Bayern are raring to go in their hunt for three major trophies.    

"Today was the first training session with everyone. I feel positive energy and great anticipation. We are very aware of the importance of the game," Tuchel said on Friday.

"These are the weeks of truth at FC Bayern and now it's about titles. Normally Bayern can focus a little more on the Champions League at this stage of the season because they already have a lead in the Bundesliga.

"That's not the case this year and that's why every game counts now. When you arrive at Bayern in April and still are in all competitions, you'll be fighting for all three titles. 

"Of course, the quality and performance of the team should be right and should improve, but in the end it's about the titles."

Nagelsmann's exit came amid suggestions all was not right behind the scenes in Munich, but several members of the 35-year-old's backroom team will remain in place under Tuchel.

Denying he had been in contact with Nagelsmann, Tuchel said: "I want to gather my own impressions. 

"Some people went with Nagelsmann and some stayed, but I don't see why working with me shouldn't work. 

"I would like to form my own opinions and then draw my own conclusions from them. But the impressions have been very positive in all departments.

"Eat, sleep, work and repeat are the keywords. It feels like it has been a month's work and I have been pretty tired every day, but it's still good."

Nagelsmann's dismissal came as a surprise to several Bayern players, with midfielder Joshua Kimmich describing him as an "outstanding" coach while on international duty with Germany.

Asked about those comments, Tuchel said: "His disappointment is understandable. It's not a problem to have a close relationship with a coach. 

"Joshua is a player who embodies Bayern. He is a very important player. It's a gift to work with players like that. Most of the time, players' feedback is welcome. 

"Along with Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, he is a very important player. I didn't feel any reservations [from them]."

Edin Terzic is excited to test himself against Thomas Tuchel when Borussia Dortmund visit Bayern Munich for Saturday's Klassiker, but he is not viewing the game as a Bundesliga title decider.

Dortmund sit one point clear of Bayern at the Bundesliga summit as they bid to deny the Bavarian giants an 11th successive league title.

Amid suggestions of unrest behind the scenes, Bayern opted to make a change in the dugout during the international break, replacing Julian Nagelsmann with former BVB boss Tuchel.

Ahead of welcoming Tuchel back to the Bundesliga, Terzic said competing with the former Champions League-winning coach was evidence he had himself reached the top level.

"What hasn't changed at Bayern is that they have a top coach," Terzic said at Friday's press conference.

"It's a shame with Nagelsmann because he's an absolutely top coach, but we all know how quickly things can change. 

"I'm very happy to welcome Thomas Tuchel and it shows that I work at the top level. Tuchel is not only one of the best coaches, but also one of the most successful."

Tuchel averaged 2.09 points per game during his two-year spell in charge of Dortmund – the best figure managed by any boss in their Bundesliga history.

Dortmund are entering a Bundesliga matchday top of the table for the first time since the second week of the 2019-20 campaign, while the last time they did so during the second half of a season was when they visited Bayern in April 2019.

BVB suffered a chastening 5-0 defeat on that occasion as Bayern went on to be crowned champions, but Terzic does not believe Saturday's game will decide the destination of the title.

"I'm firmly convinced that the championship won't be decided in tomorrow's game, but of course it can point the way," he said.

"We think that we can set an example and we want to prove that we are different than we have been in recent years. 

"We not only respect the task against Bayern, but also the upcoming duels. This is the hot phase of the season."

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."

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