Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel said he will avoid Bayer Leverkusen securing the Bundesliga title on Sunday by watching Arsenal’s Premier League match against Aston Villa instead.

Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen are on the brink of being crowned champions and host Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Even if Bayern beat Cologne at the Allianz Arena a day earlier, Leverkusen – 16 points clear with just six matches remaining – will take their first title by seeing off Bremen.

However, Tuchel, whose side host Cologne fresh from a pulsating 2-2 Champions League draw at Arsenal on Tuesday night, will have his attention elsewhere.

“I won’t be watching the Leverkusen game on Sunday,” he said. “I’ll watch Arsenal.”

The Champions League is the only trophy still up for grabs for the German giants following a disappointing domestic campaign.

And ahead of the quarter-final return leg in Munich on Wednesday, Tuchel has hinted he will rotate his side for the visit of Cologne.

“We’ve got several days between Cologne and Arsenal, but there’s the consideration to throw in some other players and make some changes,” said the former Chelsea manager, who is leaving Munich at the end of the season.

“If we make changes, then it’s more to give players some match rhythm for Wednesday and not to rest anybody.”

Leroy Sane is among those unlikely to feature on Saturday.

The former Manchester City winger impressed for Bayern at the Emirates on Tuesday night before he was substituted in the second half.

“It’s about how much pain he can tolerate,” added Tuchel of Sane.

“We geared everything towards him being able to play for Arsenal. He was an important factor there and played a great game.

“Since he showed a reaction, we’re focusing on him on Wednesday. The plan is for him to return on Sunday or Monday. But if he plays, he’ll show a reaction in his pubic bone again, which will remain the case for the time being.

“It’s clear what assets and talent the boy has. But we’ve been waiting for him to score a competitive goal since October. He got off to an outstanding start to the season, but he’s slowed down a bit.

“The expectations before the Arsenal first leg were huge and he delivered. We expect him to keep pushing himself, then he’ll be a key player for us.”

Tuchel will watch Saturday’s match from the stands after he was shown a fourth yellow card of the season in last weekend’s shock defeat to Heidenheim.

Cologne are four points from safety and Bayern are unbeaten in their last 19 meetings against their opponents on Saturday.

Bayern Munich slipped to their first home league defeat of the season as Mitchell Weiser’s second-half goal earned Werder Bremen a shock 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena.

The visitors, who had Justin Njinmah’s strike ruled out in the 25th minute after a VAR check, looked relatively comfortable for much of the first half against a Bayern side who were looking to close the seven-point deficit to leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Bremen took the lead just before the hour mark when former Bayern man Weiser cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Ole Werner’s team had Michael Zetterer to thank for preserving their advantage, the goalkeeper producing several superb saves to ensure the away team took home all three points.

Bayern had the better of the early stages, Leroy Sane firing the game’s first shot on target straight into the grasp of Zetterer.

But the away side, who headed into the match unbeaten in four, soon began to grow in confidence.

Jens Stage forced a save from Manuel Neuer, and Weiser’s deflected effort looked to be heading in before the Germany goalkeeper superbly touched behind for a corner.

They thought they had the opener in the 25th minute when Njinmah was set clear on goal and slotted home, but it was ruled out after a VAR check adjudged Jamal Musiala had been fouled in the build-up.

The hosts then almost took the lead themselves when Dayot Upamecano found himself one one one with Zetterer, but he directed his effort straight at the keeper.

Harry Kane had his first real glimpse of goal at the start of the second half when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box but he powered over the bar.

Bremen took the lead just before the hour when Weiser crashed into the roof of the net from close range.

Bayern pushed for an equaliser, with no-one on hand to tap home after England captain Kane headed a corner back across goal from the back post.

It turned into wave after wave of home attack in the closing stages and they were denied again when Sane’s goal-bound shot was tipped behind by Zetterer.

Bayern went within inches of an equaliser with three minutes to go when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s cross found Mathys Tel, but the Frenchman’s header was tipped onto the post by Zetterer as the visitors held on.

Bayer Leverkusen returned to the Bundesliga summit with a 3-0 win at Werder Bremen to ensure boss Xabi Alonso enjoyed a memorable 42nd birthday.

Bayern Munich had taken over at the top on Friday night with a narrow victory at Cologne, but Alonso’s unbeaten team provided the perfect response.

An own goal by Olivier Deman broke the deadlock after nine minutes and then it was all about the visitors’ wing-backs.

Jeremie Frimpong made it 2-0 before half-time with a thumping finish from close range and Alex Grimaldo wrapped up a comprehensive win with Leverkusen’s third in the 76th minute to make it 12 league games without defeat.

Stuttgart are third in Bundesliga after goals at either end of the first half from Deniz Undav helped them to a 2-1 victory away to Frankfurt.

Borussia Dortmund make up the top four after they fought back from two down to beat Borussia Monchengladbach in a thriller.

Goals from Rocco Reitz and Manu Kone put Monchengladbach 2-0 up inside 28 minutes, but Marcel Sabitzer started the comeback before further efforts by Niclas Fullkrug, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Donyell Malen inspired an excellent 4-2 triumph for the hosts.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg got the better of RB Leipzig 2-1 and Union Berlin started the post-Urs Fischer era with a 1-1 home draw with Augsburg.

Barcelona lost more ground in the LaLiga title race after they were forced to settle for a point at Rayo Vallecano.

Unai Lopez fired Vallecano ahead six minutes before half-time with a superb strike from range and Xavi’s side struggled to make their dominance count until the 82nd minute when Florian Lejeune put through his own net.

 

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Barca substitute Raphinha had strong penalty appeals turned down in stoppage time as it finished 1-1.

Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Barca to move into third after a 1-0 victory at home to Mallorca.

In-form Antoine Griezmann grabbed the only goal of the game with 64 minutes on the clock when he headed home Mario Hermoso’s deep cross to send Diego Simeone’s team into the top three.

Mason Greenwood found the net in Getafe’s 2-1 win at home to Almeria, while Rafael Benitez celebrated a point on his return to Valencia after his Celta Vigo side battled to a goalless draw.

AC Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A against Fiorentina thanks to a Theo Hernandez penalty on a historic night at the San Siro.

Hernandez won a spot-kick in first-half stoppage time and converted from 12 yards to end a four-match winless run in the division for Stefano Pioli’s team.

Pioli helped Milan make history with seven minutes of the match remaining when he introduced 15-year-old forward Francesco Camarda for Luka Jovic to make the teenager the youngest ever player to appear in Serie A.

Napoli got the Walter Mazzarri reign under way with a 2-1 win at Atalanta after goals by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Eljif Elmas, but Lazio suffered a surprise defeat by the same scoreline at Salernitana.

Ciro Immobile put Lazio ahead in the 43rd minute but Grigoris Kastanos’ equaliser and Antonio Candreva’s long-range rocket earned Salernitana a first league victory of the season at the 12th time of asking.

Patrick Vieira’s Strasbourg held Marseille to a 1-1 draw in Ligue 1, while Lens claimed an excellent 3-0 win at Clermont where both teams finished the match with 10 men.

Harry Kane scored and assisted for Bayern on his Bundesliga debut against Werder Bremen in a 4-0 victory.

Bayern’s record signing shone under the lights at Weserstadion as Thomas Tuchel’s men claimed all three points in their opening league game of the 2023-24 campaign.

Leroy Sane was sent through by Kane before neatly finishing with his right foot after four minutes to give the champions a 1-0 lead.


And a bursting run down the left channel by Alphonso Davies resulted in the left-back picking out Kane, who timed his run into the box perfectly before finding the bottom corner after 74 minutes to give his new side a 2-0 advantage.

Sane and Mathys Tel both got on the scoresheet in added time to confirm a
4-0 victory for Bayern on the road.

Villarreal showcased a convincing performance when they beat Mallorca 1-0 away from home to make up for last week’s opening day 3-2 defeat to Real Betis.

The 2021 Europa League winners stifled their opposition with 61 per cent possession before prolific goalscorer Gerard Moreno’s 62nd minute strike gave his side their first points of the season.

Metz held Marseille to a 2-2 draw at home having gone down to 10 men in the second half.

Emran Soglo opened the scoring after 14 minutes when he squeezed the ball inside the near post after receiving a neat pass from new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aboubacar Lo was sent off after 59 minutes for Metz but the home side responded with goals from Cheikh Sabaly and Georges Mikautadze to give them a 2-1 advantage.

However, Vitinha salvaged a point for Marseille and more than nine minutes of added time failed to produce a winner.

Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the Bundesliga summit to four points as goals from Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane clinched a 2-1 win over a stubborn Werder Bremen.

Having taken advantage of Borussia Dortmund's slip-up at Bochum to go top last week, Bayern knew an 11th consecutive league title is now in their hands as they travelled to the Weserstadion on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel's stuttering start at Bayern looked set to continue as Werder held firm for over an hour, but Gnabry's close-range finish broke the hosts' resistance before Sane capped a flowing move to make it 2-0.

Though Niklas Schmidt's stunning strike ensured a nervous finish, Bayern clung on to pile the pressure on Dortmund ahead of their meeting with Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Jiri Pavlenka smothered Gnabry's shot from a tight angle early on before making an even better save 20 minutes in, blocking Benjamin Pavard's powerful close-range header.

Werder threatened on the break as Mitchell Weiser went close to converting Romano Schmid's cross, while Christian Gross fired over at the end of a mazy run.

Gnabry misjudged an overhead kick as Bayern's pressure mounted after the restart, and then teed up Sadio Mane to side-foot narrowly wide.

It was Gnabry who made the breakthrough just as Bayern seemed to be running out of ideas. The Germany international lost his marker to sweep home from close range after Jamal Musiala's shot deflected into his path.

Bayern extended their lead 10 minutes later as substitute Sane slotted into the bottom-left corner.

There was a tense finish to come as Schmidt found the top-right corner from long range, but Bayern stood firm to take a huge step towards retaining their title.

Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34.

The 92-cap Germany international, who won the World Cup with his country in 2014, also represented Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir during his 17-year career.

Ozil was under contract with Turkish side Basaksehir until the end of the season, but he has called time on his playing career due to a number of injury issues.

"After thoughtful consideration, I'm announcing my immediate retirement from professional football," he wrote in a statement on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday.

"I've had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

"But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it's become more and more clear that it's time to leave the big stage of football."

Ozil started his career with Schalke before moving to fellow Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, where his impressive form across three seasons led to a move to Madrid.

In three campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, the German playmaker won a LaLiga title, a Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana.

He joined Arsenal in a big-money deal in September 2013 and was arguably the best number 10 in world football for a period.

Indeed, the 146 chances Ozil created in 2015-16 remains the most ever in a single Premier League campaign.

After seven and a half years in north London, during which time he won four FA Cups, Ozil joined Fenerbahce on a free transfer after his Arsenal contract was terminated.

Ozil spent two largely unsuccessful seasons with Fener before making the switch to Basaksehir, where he had been restricted to just four league appearances this season.

"It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions," Ozil added in his statement.

"I want to thank my clubs – Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates who have become friends.

"Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support, through the good times and the bad.

"Thank you to all my fans who have shown me so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club I was representing.

"Now I'm looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters, Eda and Ela – but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels. See you soon, Mesut!"

At international level, Ozil started all seven of Germany's matches in their triumphant World Cup 2014 campaign.

He scored 23 goals in 92 appearances, the most recent of those caps coming against South Korea at the 2018 World Cup.

Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34.

The former Germany international, who earned 92 caps for his country, also represented Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir during his 17-year career.

Ozil was under contract with Turkish side Basaksehir until the end of the season, but he has called time on his playing career due to a number of injury issues.

Koln boss Steffen Baumgart quickly turned his attentions towards containing Bayern Munich after watching his rampant side hit Werder Bremen for seven on their return to Bundesliga action on Saturday.

Baumgart's men, who began the day four points behind their visitors in the table, ended an incredible opening period 5-1 up after Linton Maina, Ellyes Skhiri and Denis Huseinbasic added to Steffen Tigges' double.

Huseinbasic's 36th-minute strike gave Koln the earliest five-goal lead in their Bundesliga history, before Skhiri's second, coupled with a Marco Friedl own goal, rounded off the scoring after the break.

While Baumgart was pleased to see Koln halt a five-game winless run in their first outing since the World Cup, he refused to get carried away ahead of Tuesday's daunting clash with the champions.

"It's a game that you won't always have, of course," he said at his post-match press conference.

"We scored five goals from the first five shots on goal. We are happy about the result. We went forward with a lot of speed and earned the goals.

"On Tuesday, however, we have a team in front of us that shot down other teams with a similar result. We know what to expect."

Saturday's win represents the first time Koln have hit seven goals in a game since a 7-0 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt in October 1983.

The visitors, meanwhile, are now winless in their last 11 Bundesliga trips to Koln (D6 L5).

Hansi Flick was pleased to see Niclas Fullkrug score on his Germany debut, but admitted his side were far from their best despite the 1-0 win over Oman.

The visitors struggled in Muscat in their World Cup warm-up game, relying on substitute Fullkrug's 80th-minute strike to take victory in a match that never really got going.

Though Germany will not be the only side battling fatigue amid a mid-season tournament, their lacklustre performance against relative minnows perhaps highlighted the difficulties they could face at Qatar 2022, which begins on Sunday.

Flick did take time to praise Fullkrug, the Werder Bremen striker winning his first cap after firing 10 goals in 14 Bundesliga games this season, while outlining his concerns over their warm-up showing.

"He deserved the goal," Flick told RTL after the win. "He had two or three other shots also. You could already feel when he was on the pitch, there was a presence up front."

Germany won just 38.4 per cent of their duels against Oman, but while the head coach admitted they will need to do better at the World Cup, did acknowledge that low number was likely down to his players wanting to avoid injury.

"Of course you have to say, if you see how we tackled in duels, that's not the level we want at the World Cup. But you can also understand that no one wants to hurt themselves."

Flick did lose defender Lukas Klostermann during the first half, with the RB Leipzig man only recently returning from a lay-off with knee ligament issues.

Germany kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan on November 23, before further Group E matches with Spain and Costa Rica.

Sadio Mane will undergo an X-ray after sustaining a shin injury during Bayern Munich's 6-1 victory over Werder Bremen, head coach Julian Nagelsmann has confirmed.

The Senegal skipper limped off in the 20th minute at the Allianz Arena, where Serge Gnabry hit a hat-trick as the Bundesliga leaders moved four points clear at the summit. 

Mane now faces a race to be fit for his nation's World Cup opener against the Netherlands on November 21, with Bayern awaiting further tests to determine the severity of the issue.

"He got a blow to the shin," Nagelsmann told Sky. "Maybe, you have to go under the X-ray machine and see if there is something there.

"This is an unpleasant place. I hope there's not something, but I don't know exactly."

Bayern made it nine successive wins, while equalling a club-record by netting four or more times for a fourth successive home league match.

Nagelsmann praised his side after they took their Bundesliga goal tally to 47 already – more than any other team across Europe's top five leagues – though he felt the margin of victory could have been greater.

"Goals are what makes football so appealing," he added. "After 14 matchdays, we have 47 goals in the Bundesliga, that's extraordinary.

"Today, we could have done a lot more. We have good quality on the field and a good spirit. We are very quiet, stable. We played a nice game for the fans."

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich moved four points clear at the Bundesliga summit following a 6-1 victory over Werder Bremen.

Jamal Musiala, Leon Goretzka and Mathys Tel were also on target for Julian Nagelsmann's side, who equalled a club record by netting at least four goals in a fourth successive home league game.

It was not all positive for Bayern, though, as Sadio Mane limped off less than two weeks before the start of the World Cup, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw a penalty saved.

Werder had briefly equalised early on through Anthony Jung, yet they are now without a win in 30 meetings with Bayern.

Musiala put Bayern in front in the sixth minute, calmly slotting into the far corner after Mane's initial effort was blocked, but Werder were level four minutes later when Jung tucked home from Mitchell Weiser's lay-off.

Despite Choupo-Moting seeing his penalty saved and Mane limping off injured, the hosts regained the lead in the 22nd minute as Gnabry curled a brilliant effort beyond Jiri Pavlenka.

Bayern then hit their opponents on the counter twice in quick succession. Goretzka made it 3-1 after racing onto Joshua Kimmich's throughball and rounding Pavlenka, before Leroy Sane latched onto Choupo-Moting's precise pass and squared for Gnabry to slot into an empty net.

Julian Nagelsmann's side scarcely slowed after half-time as Sane hit the post, while Pavlenka thwarted Gnabry's attempted lob for the hat-trick.

He was not to be denied in the 82nd minute as he cleverly stepped inside a couple of challenges before poking home, and Tels put the icing on the cake two minutes later with a powerful finish into the top corner.

Edin Terzic denounced Borussia Dortmund's late implosion as "brutally stupid" after Werder Bremen came from 2-0 behind in the 89th minute to snatch a 3-2 victory in the Bundesliga.

Goals from Julian Brandt and Raphael Guerreiro had put an off-colour Dortmund in charge of Saturday's game and seemingly on course for three points.

However, Werder never gave up hope and pulled a first goal back through Lee Buchanan, with Niklas Schmidt equalising in the third minute of stoppage time and Oliver Burke completing the turnaround with the winner two minutes later.

With the flurry of late goals, Bremen became the first side in the history of the Bundesliga to score three goals in the 89th minute or later in a single match.

Dortmund head coach Terzic said: "You have to honestly say that it was a deserved defeat. We didn't play well, and it was a very poor performance from us, both in the first and in the second half.

"We didn't manage to control the game. The way we conceded goals at the end is brutally stupid, brutally annoying and now we're empty-handed."

Captain Marco Reus was similarly scathing, telling Sky: "I have no idea what happened. Despite being 2-0 up, we didn't have any control over the game, not even over the 90 minutes.

"Then Bremen scored the goal in the 89th minute and came again. But in the end we just didn't play well throughout the game."

 

Former Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann, working as a Sky pundit, said Werder's victory was "well deserved".

He said of Dortmund: "I have rarely seen them so confused and desolate over 90 minutes."

Bremen head coach Ole Werner savoured the moment, saying: "It was a turbulent game with a better ending for us.

"Of course there's a bit of luck involved in the end. It wasn't undeserved for the 90 minutes. The last few minutes were pure emotions, that was madness. That cannot be explained rationally."

Another Bundesliga campaign kicks off on Friday after a frantic close-season saw Germany's top flight robbed of its two biggest stars.

Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski left for Barcelona, while fellow striking sensation Erling Haaland departed Borussia Dortmund as expected for Manchester City.

What do these moves do to shake up the Bundesliga, then? Perhaps not an awful lot...

Stats Perform AI has predicted the outcome of the coming campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and have thrown up some interesting results, even if the title race is a little too predictable.

MANE TO MAINTAIN BAYERN DOMINANCE

Lewandowski's exit was offset by the arrival of Sadio Mane at Bayern, and Stats Perform AI expects Julian Nagelsmann's side to again charge clear at the top of the table.

Bayern have won 10 consecutive titles, so perhaps it is no surprise they are given an 84.93 per cent chance of taking the trophy home again in May.

That figure makes Bayern the most likely champions across all of Europe's top five leagues, with nearest contenders Dortmund only in with a 6.01 per cent shot.

RB Leipzig (4.64 per cent), Bayer Leverkusen (3.38 per cent) lead a group of 10 other clubs who are given at least a slim hope of winning the championship.

For six teams – including 2003-04 champions Werder Bremen and 2006-07 victors Stuttgart – their title tilt is over before a ball has even been kicked.

 

SCRAMBLE OUTSIDE THE TOP FOUR

Unfortunately, the top-four tussle appears as predictable as Bayern's coronation.

The champions will of course occupy one Champions League spot – their 99.53 per cent chance again the greatest across the top five leagues – while Dortmund (76.78 per cent), Leipzig (72.2 per cent) and Leverkusen (62.98 per cent) also look secure, forecast second, third and fourth respectively.

That means a return to Europe's elite competition for all of those who have qualified this year, even if Leipzig have leapfrogged Leverkusen.

Stats Perform AI suggests Union Berlin (4.66 per cent) and Freiburg (8.22 per cent) – one and three points outside the top four last term – have missed their shot, with Borussia Monchengladbach (22.94 per cent) and Eintracht Frankfurt (21.5 per cent) the most likely gatecrashers despite last season finishing 10th and 11th.

Eintracht are also in the Champions League this term after winning the Europa League, but they are considered the team most likely to return to the second-tier competition (13.32 per cent).

There could be a real scrap for those final European places, though. All but four teams have at least a 1.0 per cent likelihood of qualifying for the Europa Conference League, with title favourites Bayern one of those four.

 

SCHALKE AND WERDER FACE A FIGHT

Schalke and Werder – two of the great names of German football – have returned to the top flight following successful promotion campaigns in the 2. Bundesliga last season, but they face tricky first seasons back in the big time.

The ceiling for Schalke is a little higher, so Stats Perform AI has them finishing in the relegation play-off place in 16th.

This is despite two teams – Augsburg (14.02 per cent) and Werder (13.9 per cent) – being more likely to qualify for that play-off than Schalke (13.3 per cent).

Werder are ranked 17th, while the outlook for Augsburg is awful; 14th in the Bundesliga in 2021-22, they have a new coach in ex-Dortmund II boss Enrico Maassen and are considered a strong 38.19 per cent shot for relegation.

Bochum (30.84 per cent) are also in a little trouble, with Hertha Berlin (11.62 per cent) backed to pull away and finish 12th after their play-off scare last time out.

Miroslav Klose pointed to the influence of Hansi Flick on his fledgling touchline career as the World Cup record-breaker began his first job as a head coach.

Germany great Klose has taken over as boss of Austrian Bundesliga team SCR Altach. The player whose career haul of 16 World Cup goals remains unmatched was presented to the media on Monday.

The 44-year-old Klose had a spell as an assistant with the Germany national team during Joachim Low's tenure, and worked at Bayern Munich under Flick in the 2020-21 campaign, having previously spent two years with the Bavarians' under-17 team.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies in the season when Klose was involved in the first-team squad. Flick then departed to become Germany boss, and Klose also left.

"I learned a lot from Flick, he's fantastic in every respect," Klose said.

Altach narrowly avoided relegation in the 2021-22 season, and Klose's impact will be closely watched.

He said: "I'm incredibly happy. I am full of anticipation and have been received in a very friendly manner. I'm able to work where others go on holiday.

"I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. It is important the team shows heart and passion. We have to work out everything step by step, so it's also important that the team communicates with me."

Klose said he would allow himself "time to develop" as a coach, declaring the team must have targets without yet identifying those.

"I don't know how fast that will go. But I think it's incredibly important to have goals," Klose said. "I put myself under a lot of pressure. I have clear ideas. It will be a tough road. I probably need to lower my expectations."

Klose won 137 caps and scored a record 71 goals in a distinguished Germany career, in which he reached the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, before helping Die Mannschaft win the World Cup in 2014.

The winner of the Golden Shoe at the 2006 tournament on home soil also played elite club football with Bayern, Lazio, Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen.

Miroslav Klose has secured his first senior job as a head coach after taking over as boss of Austrian Bundesliga team SCR Altach.

The appointment of the Germany great, whose career haul of 16 World Cup goals remains a competition record, was announced on Friday.

The news was portrayed as a surprise appointment in Austria. Altach said Klose will sign his contract on Sunday and be presented on Monday.

Klose, the 44-year-old former striker, retired from playing in 2016 after five years with Serie A side Lazio and has since had spells working as an assistant with the Germany national team, and at Bayern Munich.

He was head coach of the Bayern under-17 team for two seasons and served as first-team assistant to Hansi Flick in the 2020-21 campaign.

Altach said in a statement that Klose's former Bayern coaching colleague Slaven Skeledzic would become an assistant coach, once his release from the German champions, where he remains employed, can be secured.

Klose said of his challenge: "I'm really looking forward to my new job here in Altach. It was just that positive feeling right from the start that I have to have, that I'm in the right place here.

"The first discussions with those in charge were so open that it was clear to me that I want to do this. Now I can hardly wait to get to know the team, the people in the club and of course the fans."

Klose won two Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal doubles during four years as a player with Bayern, from 2007 to 2011.

He won 137 caps and scored a record 71 goals in a distinguished Germany career, in which he reached the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, before helping Die Mannschaft win the World Cup in 2014.

The winner of the Golden Shoe at the 2006 tournament on home soil also played elite club football with Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen.

Altach managing director Christoph Langle offered assurance that the club were not merely attracted by Klose's high profile.

Langle said: "Miro Klose is a very big name in football. But it's not about the name for us, it's about Miro Klose's personality, his skills as a coach and what is very important to us at SCR Altach: the people.

"Known as a hard, down-to-earth worker, Miroslav has risen to world class. The values ​​he stands for are a perfect match for our club and his football skills are undisputed anyway."

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