Borussia Dortmund bade farewell to several players on an emotional day at Signal Iduna Park, with Erling Haaland signing off in style.

Haaland is moving to Manchester City ahead of the 2022-23 season, with that move confirmed this week.

The 21-year-old – who joined Dortmund from Salzburg in 2019-20 – was presented with a wreath prior to kick-off on Saturday, as Dortmund faced Hertha Berlin in their final Bundesliga game of the season.

He was not the only player given an ovation before the match, with Axel Witsel and Dan-Axel Zagadou, who are leaving the club following the expiration of their contracts, and departing loanees Marin Pongracic and Reinier Jesus also paraded on the pitch, along with Marcel Schmelzer, who has retired.

Long-time sporting director Michael Zorc is also retiring, and was given a huge send-off by the Dortmund crowd.

The enthusiasm in the stands was not initially matched on the pitch, as relegation-threatened Hertha took an 18th-minute lead through Ishak Belfodil's penalty.

However, Haaland got his farewell goal with 22 minutes of normal time remaining, coolly slamming in an 86th Dortmund strike from the spot, in what was his 89th appearance for the club.

Zagadou and Witsel were both subbed off with the game winding down and, fittingly, it was the latter's replacement who netted Dortmund's winner.

Marco Rose insisted Dortmund would "not stop playing football" in the wake of Haaland's departure and 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko showed the future is bright as he converted from Jude Bellingham's sublime pass.

Haaland was able to enjoy a standing ovation as he made way, with Dortmund's 2-1 victory also ensuring Hertha will be in the relegation play-off.

Dortmund's place in second was already sealed, but below them, Freiburg's attempt to get into the Champions League fell just short as they lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen, who took third, while RB Leipzig finished fourth.

Freiburg still have the DFB-Pokal final against Leipzig to look forward to but ultimately slipped down to sixth, with Taiwo Awoniyi's late penalty sending Union Berlin into fifth with a 3-2 win over VfL Bochum.

Barcelona are reportedly open to "big-money" offers for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong, who has 40 caps for the Netherlands, arrived at Barcelona from Ajax for a €75million fee in 2019, accumulating 137 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The midfielder has been a key pillar in Barcelona's line-up this season, appearing 44 times, but the Catalan giants may be ready to move on as the interest from United intensifies.

TOP STORY – BARCA ARE CONSIDERING OFFERS FOR DE JONG

The Blaugrana are open-minded about potentially parting ways with De Jong, who is being closely linked with his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag for his new venture at United.

He is one of the main players on the Red Devils' wish-list, which Fichajes reports also includes Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and West Ham's Jarrod Bowen.

The Telegraph adds that Ten Hag has identified eight players "he can trust" at the club, while being on the fence about Marcus Rashford's future.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku would like to leave the club after this season, with a desire to head to Manchester City, United, Paris Saint-Germain or Milan

Newcastle United have met with the agent of Watford's Ismaila Sarr but will have to match the club's £40million asking price, per FootballTransfers.

Bayer Leverkusen are planning a move for PSG youngster Eric-Junior Dina Ebimbe after failing to secure the deal during the January transfer window, according to RMC Sport.

– Sport is reporting Samuel Umtiti will leave Barcelona in the next transfer window and wants to return to Lyon, who will be competing for his services with Rennes, Montpellier and Nice

– Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is unlikely to sign an extension with the club and could be sold in the next transfer window with his contract set to expire in 2023, according to The Times.

Florian Wirtz can roar back to action for Germany for the World Cup and end a testing year by starring at Qatar 2022, according to Oliver Bierhoff.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder sustained a major knee injury during Bayer Leverkusen's defeat by FC Koln earlier this month, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament guaranteeing a long-term absence.

But speaking at a news conference ahead of friendlies against Israel and Netherlands, national team managing director Bierhoff believes Wirtz has both the incentive and the physical attributes that mean his prospects are positive.

The teenager has already earned four senior caps for Germany, having made his debut last September after dazzling at club level.

There is no doubt Wirtz is a beneficiary from the World Cup taking place unusually in November and December, given he now has some hope of being able to get fit and match ready.

Had the tournament run in June and July, as has been the custom, he would have been ruled out of Germany's plans by now.

"I'm absolutely convinced that he can do it, for various reasons," Bierhoff said. "First, there is the mental aspect when you have a World Cup in front of you.

"But he's also a light-footed player, and I'm always confident that they'll get over it a little faster. We will give all possible support in coordination with the club."

 

"Our demand is that the players have the World Cup in their heads all year round.

"I am firmly convinced that if you start early and also deal with this topic mentally and build up this inner will, you will do everything you can to want to play a successful tournament in November.

"We will always give the players material so that they can take this one step further."

With 10 goals and 14 assists across all competitions, Wirtz has the most direct goal involvements among players under the age of 21 in 2021-22 from Europe's top five leagues.

The 19 big chances created by Wirtz is bettered only by Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Muller and Dimitri Payet (all on 20), as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold (22) and Bruno Fernandes (23).

Germany head coach Hansi Flick is confident Bayer Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz can return just as strong after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The 18-year-old sustained the damage in Saturday's 1-0 Bundesliga loss to Cologne when twisting awkwardly on the turf 28 minutes into the contest.

Wirtz has earned four senior caps for Germany, having made his debut last September, but is now in a battle to be fit and ready for the World Cup in November.

The news is a big blow for Flick ahead of his first tournament in charge of Germany, but the ex-Bayern Munich boss has faith that Wirtz will make a full recovery.

"He is one of the greatest talents that German football has produced in recent years," Flick told the DFB's official website. 

"That's why we were all shocked when we found out about his cruciate ligament rupture. I've already phoned him and tried to encourage him. 

"He's still young, he'll come back at least as strong, I'm sure of it. He gets our full support. 

"We wish him all the best and keep our fingers crossed that the healing process goes as optimally as possible."

 

Wirtz is considered to be one of the highest-rated young players in European football and has been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

With 10 goals and 14 assists, Wirtz has the most direct goal involvements among players under the age of 21 in 2021-22 across Europe's top five leagues.

The 19 big chances created by Wirtz is bettered only by Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Muller (both 20), Bruno Fernandes and Trent Alexander-Arnold (both 22).

Bayer Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the 1-0 Bundesliga defeat to Cologne on Sunday.

The 18-year-old is expected to be out of action for several months after an MRI scan showed the extent of the damage to his left knee.

The attacking midfielder twisted awkwardly on the turf just 28 minutes into the game at the BayArena, which was settled by Kingsley Schindler's second-half goal.

Wirtz is one of the highest-rated young players in Europe and has been linked with transfers to the likes of Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

He already has four senior caps for Germany, having made his debut last September, and would have been in contention to make the squad for the 2022 World Cup.

With 10 goals and 14 assists, Wirtz has the most direct goal involvements among players under the age of 21 in 2021-22 across Europe's top five leagues.

Leverkusen are third in the Bundesliga, a point ahead of Freiburg and Hoffenheim.

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule insisted he will "give everything" to ensure Borussia Dortmund finish second in the Bundesliga this season, despite agreeing to join Marco Rose's side in 2022-23.

Sule has agreed to join Dortmund when his deal expires at the Allianz Arena in June, but Julian Nagelsmann has repeatedly assured that the centre-back remains committed to the cause.

That was evident when Sule opened the scoring against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, although the reigning Bundesliga champions had to settle for a 1-1 draw after Thomas Muller's own-goal.

The 26-year-old was a standout performer against Gerardo Seoane's side, completing a game-high 99 successful passes, with no player attempting more in the opposition half (53).

While Bayern missed the chance to go 11 points clear at the Bundesliga summit, Sule expressed his commitment to Nagelsmann's side with his focus solely on domestic and Champions League success this term before joining Dortmund.

"I'm nothing but grateful. I'll give everything for this club until the last day, hopefully with two more titles," Sule told Sky Deutschland, as quoted by BILD.

"I believe in that. I'm grateful for the way people here are coping with my decision.

"I deliberately haven't spoken out yet. I'm still a Bayern player. There are still two big titles to play for and I will give everything to make sure Dortmund finish second this season."

The Bavarian giants sit nine points clear at the top, with second-placed Dortmund boasting a game in hand but they are not in action next until March 13.

But Nagelsmann was disappointed with his team's outing as he acknowledged Leverkusen squandered as many presentable opportunities as Bayern.

"The first half an hour was very good," he told reporters. "We had a lot of control and missed the second goal. We had chances. The goal we conceded was avoidable. The communication between Thomas [Muller] and Sven [Ulreich] was there, but I think it was too quiet.

"We were lucky not to concede a second. In the second half, Leverkusen defended deep. They had three good chances on the counter.

"The final touch was missing for us. I think in the end a point was fair for both teams, even though, of course, both wanted to win."

Bayern will look to make amends in the league when they visit Hoffenheim in a week's time, after Nagelsmann's men host Salzburg on Tuesday in the return leg of their Champions League last-16 clash, which is finely poised at 1-1.

Bayern Munich missed the chance to open an 11-point gap at the Bundesliga summit as they were held to a thrilling 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were 5-0 up after 37 minutes in the reverse meeting last October, and needed just 18 minutes at the Allianz Arena to take the lead through Niklas Sule.

Thomas Muller's own goal levelled things up in the first half, but neither team could find a winner after the interval despite an end-to-end affair that produced a host of opportunities.

The result leaves Bayern nine points clear of second-placed Dortmund, who have a game in hand and are not in action until March 13, while Gerardo Seoane's Leverkusen sit 14 adrift of the leaders in third.

 

Amine Adli drilled the first chance of the contest narrowly wide for Leverkusen, and it was Bayern who opened the scoring shortly after.

Sule slammed past Lukas Hradecky following Charles Aranguiz's goal-line clearance from a deflected Joshua Kimmich corner, before Serge Gnabry flashed just wide.

Parity was soon restored when Muller poked Kerem Demirbay's free-kick into his own net, and Leverkusen should have headed into half-time ahead.

Adli rounded Sven Ulreich following Dayot Upamecano's wayward pass but could only strike the post, before the same visiting player shot wide when clean through, and then the Bayern goalkeeper thwarted Aranguiz minutes later.

Jamal Musiala forced a smart Hradecky stop after the break, while Florian Wirtz's deft touch squirmed just off target with Ulreich seemingly beaten at the other end.

Hradecky denied substitute Marcel Sabitzer when one-on-one immediately after his introduction as Bayern's push for a winning goal came to no avail.

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that Manuel Neuer returned to full training on Friday, but a home clash with Bayer Leverkusen will come too soon for Bayern Munich's goalkeeper.

Neuer required knee surgery in February and has not featured since a 3-2 win over RB Leipzig, in which he matched Oliver Kahn's all-time record of 310 Bundesliga victories by a player. He achieved the first 77 triumphs with former club Schalke.

The Germany international – who holds the record for the most clean sheets in the Bundesliga (209), having surpassed Kahn (196) in 2021 – returned to light training late last month, but Nagelsmann confirmed the 35-year-old is now back into full team sessions.

While Neuer will be unavailable for the meeting with Leverkusen at Allianz Arena, the Bayern head coach suggested a return for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Salzburg on Tuesday could be a possibility.

"Manu did a little more today for the first time, also in team training," Nagelsmann told reporters at a pre-match news conference.

"Things are looking good. He still feels a little twinge when he has to stand up from a deep knee bend. He won't be an option for the squad tomorrow, that would be naive. 

"We'll have to see how sensible that is for Salzburg. We'll have to wait and see how he reacts. He hasn't lost any of his quality."

 

Bayern sit eight points clear at the summit of the German top flight ahead of their clash with third-placed Leverkusen, who are 14 adrift of the leaders.

Nagelsmann's team won the reverse fixture 5-1 and were 5-0 up after just 37 minutes – only in a 7-1 win at home against Hoffenheim in 2012 have they lead by five goals at an earlier point in a league match (after 35 minutes).

However, Leverkusen have taken 44 points from their 24 games in this campaign – the last time they had more at this stage was in 2012-13 (45) – and Nageslmann is expecting a stern challenge.

Indeed, both Bayern, who have managed 75 goals, a Bundesliga record for any team, and Leverkusen (63) have never before found the net as many times after 24 Bundesliga matches as they have done this season.

"A goal spectacle would be good for the spectators, but only to a limited extent for the coaches," Nagelsmann added. "Game control and the defence will be particularly important. 

"[Florian] Wirtz has the ability to move between the lines. [Jeremie] Frimpong initiates a lot, they have a very high pace and a lot of quality. We have to be prepared for that. 

"The first game [against Leverkusen] was very impressive, but we could have conceded a goal or two more.

"I don't expect them to be as offensive as they were in the first meeting and I expect them to keep pushing up but a little bit lower than they have been in recent years."

Niklas Sule, who has agreed to join Borussia Dortmund when his contract expires at the end of the season, also comes back into contention, and Nagelsmann believes the centre-back will continue giving his all for the club until he departs.

"I have a clear opinion," Nagelsmann said. "There is a certain contractual situation, the contract is limited and expires. 

"A player ideally extends, is sold or a contract expires. If the player continues who has the desire and does everything to be successful, I would always let the player play. 

"In many cases, things turn out well for the club. Sometimes things turn out differently, like with [David] Alaba [who joined Real Madrid at the end of his contract] or Sule. 

"That's part of it. You try to get the player on your side for a long time so that he gives everything for the club."

Marco Reus has labelled Borussia Dortmund's heavy 5-2 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen "a catastrophic day" for the club.

The sides traded early own goals, but Dortmund were 3-1 down by the 28th minute and then conceded twice more in the second half before Steffen Tigges' late consolation.

After six wins in a row in this fixture, BVB were beaten at home by Leverkusen for the first time since 2014 and conceded five at home to their North Rhine-Westphalia rivals for the first time ever; Leverkusen had never previously netted more than three in Dortmund.

Dortmund actually matched Leverkusen in terms of expected goals, with both teams creating chances worth 1.86 xG, but Reus was not looking for excuses.

Although his side remain second in the Bundesliga, they are now nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

"It's a catastrophic day for us," Reus told Sky Sports. "We didn't get into the game well and were a step too late in every situation. We then [allowed] counter-attacks,  even though we agreed before the game that that's their strength. We will be punished for that. It was just not enough today.

"We simply didn't implement the guidelines we prepared [before] the game for two weeks and worked on a lot. We always say the same thing and then have to bring it onto the pitch. We didn't manage that today. A very bitter day, we didn't deserve [to win] today. It was really, really bad overall."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future is unclear having become frozen out.

The Gabon striker was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy last month and dropped by the club for disciplinary reasons and has not played since.

Aubameyang's future is a hot topic as the January transfer window opens.

TOP STORY - NEWCASTLE IN FOR JANUARY AUBA MOVE

Big-spending Newcastle have got in touch with Arsenal about a loan deal for outcast striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claims The Mirror.

The Magpies want to sign 32-year-old Aubameyang on loan for the remainder of the season.

Newcastle would also look to sign Aubameyang, who is away at the African Cup of Nations, on a £20million off-season permanent deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Teenage US international Ricardo Pepi is on the verge of joining Bundesliga club Augsburg claims Fabrizio Di Romano. The 18-year-old netted 13 goals for Dallas in the 2021 MLS season and is set for a medical on Sunday.

- Eddie Nketiah is being pursued by Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer from Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports The Sun.

- Sport reports that Brazilian giants Palmeiras are not interested in signing forward Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona try to shop him around in January.

- Axel Tuanzebe will join Napoli on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, claims the Manchester Evening News. Tuanzebe is currently on loan at Aston Villa.

- The Sun claims that Manchester United's pursuit of Declan Rice has been boosted by West Ham's recent slide outside the Premier League top four.

Barcelona are struggling financially but Xavi is desperate to reinforce his attack following Sergio Aguero's retirement.

Ferran Torres and Edinson Cavani are believed to top Barca's transfer list heading into the January window.

It could be a busy month ahead for the LaLiga outfit.

 

TOP STORY – TORRES, CAVANI TO BARCA?

Manchester City's Ferran Torres and Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani are priority objectives for Barcelona, according to Marca.

Barca continue to be linked with Spain international Torres as Xavi attempts to bolster the embattled LaLiga giants.

Cavani has also emerged as a top target after Sergio Aguero retired from football and the duo could reportedly arrive in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are open to selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang next month, but the Gunners are more likely to move on from the former skipper at the end of the season. Aubameyang has been stripped of the captaincy and linked with Barca and Juventus.

Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt are eyeing Yusuf Demir as Diario Sport reports Barca have decided to cut short the 18-year-old's loan spell from Rapid Vienna.

Rafael Leao is poised to sign a contract extension with Milan until 2026, per Nicolo Schira.

- Calciomercato says Arsenal have not given up on signing Juve attacker Dejan Kulusevski. The Sweden international has also been linked to London rivals Tottenham.

Barca are monitoring United sensation Mason Greenwood, reports El Nacional. England international Greenwood is highly rated at Old Trafford.

- Jeunes Footeux says Liverpool have joined the race to sign Lille star Jonathan David. The Canada international is reportedly wanted by Arsenal, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Any hopes of Paul Pogba remaining at Old Trafford appear to be fading. 

The Manchester United stalwart has halted contract talks with the club. 

Multiple European clubs are said to be interested in the 28-year-old. 

 

TOP STORY – POGBA ENDS MAN UTD TALKS

Paul Pogba has ended talks over a potential new contract at Manchester United amid an apparent row with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, The Sun reports. 

The France international will be out of contract in June and appears likely to move on. 

The Sun reports he apologised to his team-mates but did not speak to Solskjaer after being sent off 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool. 

His former club Juventus could be an option, while Paris Saint-GermainReal Madrid and Barcelona are also said to have shown interest. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona would prefer to have Jurgen Klopp take over whenever they sack Ronald Koeman, says Sport. Klopp is under contract with Liverpool through 2024. 

- Newcastle United are prepared to offer Alex Ten Hag £6million a year after taxes if he leaves Ajax for St. James' Park, reports the Mail. 

- Arsenal and Manchester City are interested in Barcelona's Spain international Sergi Roberto, says Fichajes. 

- Inter have had talks with Sampdoria midfielder Morten Thorsby's agent over a potential move, claims Calciomercato. 

- River Plate forward Julian Alvarez is drawing interest from Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Aston Villa, says Calciomercato. 

Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with Bayern Munich's display in their 5-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen but felt his side should have added even more goals to their tally.

The reigning champions responded to their first defeat of Nagelsmann's tenure two weeks ago against Eintracht Frankfurt with a superb attacking display at BayArena on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry each scored a first-half double and Thomas Muller was also on target in between those braces, all in the space of 37 minutes.

It marked the first time Bayern have scored five goals away from home in the first half of a Bundesliga match as they reclaimed top spot from Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern also hit the post through Leroy Sane, whose eight shots was the most of any player in a game this campaign in the German top flight.

And with Patrik Schick getting a consolation for Leverkusen in the second half, Nagelsmann does not believe the scoreline was a true reflection come full-time.

"We had an incredible number of closing situations and an outstanding structure," he told DAZN. 

"It sounds strange at 5-0, but we also had a chance of scoring sixth, seventh and eighth goals in the first half. We could have scored more.

"The second half was more calm and that's completely normal from both teams' point of view. 

"A lot of things we didn't do well against Frankfurt worked out today. In the end we are very happy to win the game."

 

Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

Leverkusen are no strangers to one-sided first halves, meanwhile, as they are the only team to have scored six goals in the opening 45 minutes of a match in the division since the turn of the millennium, doing so in their 6-1 win over Frankfurt in 2018-19.

"It was a terrible beginning," Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky added. "We have to ask ourselves whether we gave it our all. There was something missing from everyone today."

Lewandowski's two goals came from three shots as the Poland international brought an end to his mini drought.

His run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland's double-header of October fixtures.

The 33-year-old has now scored two or more goals in 73 different Bundesliga games – a tally bettered only by late Bayern great Gerd Muller (87) – and was happy to joke about his short-lived scoreless run after getting back on the scoresheet.

"Four games without a goal... which four games? Do you mean training? I scored in the Champions League game before the Frankfurt match," Lewandowski pointed out.

"Personally, I'm happy when people ask when I'll score my next goal. That shows what expectations they have of me.

"Sometimes there are phases when the ball doesn't fall to you, you have to be patient. Today it worked out twice.

"We scored five goals in 45 minutes. At the break it was clear we would take all three points with us to Munich. We can be satisfied with the performance."

The 29 goals scored by Bayern in their opening eight Bundesliga matches equals their previous highest tally at this stage in a campaign from the 1976-77 season.

Bayern Munich helped themselves to five first-half goals as they thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the Bundesliga.

The reigning champions suffered their first defeat of Julian Nagelsmann's tenure last time out, but they responded in the best way imaginable at BayArena.

Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry helped themselves to a couple of goals each in a one-way first half, with Thomas Muller registering in between those doubles.

Leverkusen were level on points with Bayern before kick-off and pulled one back through Patrik Schick, but Nagelsmann's side were able to cruise through the rest of the match to overtake Borussia Dortmund at the summit.

The hosts had won their previous five matches in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in the last three of those, but it took Lewandowski just three minutes to backheel Dayot Upamecano's centre past Lukas Hradecky.

Bayern went on to lose after opening the scoring against Frankfurt, but there was no sign of that happening against Leverkusen. Shortly after Leroy Sane sent a shot against the right post, Lewandowski lashed home a second of the game on the half-hour.

That was the first of four goals in seven minutes, with Muller in the right place to deflect in a Niklas Sule shot before setting up Gnabry to score. Gnabry then joined Lewandowski in bagging a brace with a shot into the bottom-left corner.

The visitors had kept a clean sheet in only one of their last nine league games, however, and that poor defensive record was extended when Schick latched onto Florian Wirtz's throughball and arrowed a shot past Manuel Neuer in the 55th minute.

Sane squandered a couple of good opportunities to get in on the act, including a header over the bar from close range, while a disallowed Lucas Alario goal for offside was the closest Leverkusen went to further reducing the deficit.

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