Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel has defended “p****d off” Thomas Muller’s right to deliver a withering assessment of his team after their Bundesliga title hopes suffered a major setback.

Bayern, who have won the league for the last 11 seasons, were beaten 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday as the hosts opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table, prompting 34-year-old Germany international Muller to reveal he was “p****d off” at their lack of “energy and freedom” in an explosive post-match interview.

However, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 clash with Lazio, Tuchel said: “I think he pretty much hit the nail on the head – and if anybody is allowed to issue a statement like that, it is Thomas.”

Tuchel, who admitted his players are currently struggling to transfer their quality in training into games, added: “Thomas is allowed to say this to the microphones because he’s also going to address it internally.

“And it’s important that the team internally talks about it because when we wake up tomorrow and look out of the window and see Rome, you know it’s a different competition and a new day.

“Even though Bayern Munich loses, the sun will rise again, even though you won’t believe it. We will allow ourselves to really be happy and to try to win. That’s part of the game.”

Tuchel finds himself under pressure heading into the game, but is adamant he will not allow it to distract him.

He said: “No, I don’t feel any increasing pressure. Pressure as such is a privilege, it’s a sporting pressure. I’ve never felt it differently and it hasn’t changed anything.

“It’s important to stay self-confident, to stay self-critical.

“The stronger the noise is around the game and the stronger the pressure gets, it’s more important to stay calm. Nothing will change.”

Lazio will hope to inflict further misery on the 2020 winners, and striker Ciro Immobile is relishing the chance to go head-to-head with Bayern’s 28-goal England striker Harry Kane.

Italy international Immobile told a press conference: “Numbers are important for a striker.

“Being able to compare myself with top-level players like Harry Kane is a big motivation for me. It allows me to understand the level I have reached in my career.

“But tomorrow it’s not a direct match with Kane that matters but the match between Lazio and Bayern.”

The Serie A side returned to form on on Saturday when they won 3-1 at Cagliari, in the process ending a run of three games without a victory, but they remain in eighth place in the table and a full 23 points adrift of leaders Inter Milan.

However, head coach Maurizio Sarri said: “We must not forget that we play to have fun. We need to rediscover the sense of fun on the pitch despite all the responsibilities we have to assume.

“If the child who loved playing football dies, the man also has less fun.”

What the papers say

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller has been linked with a move to Manchester United. According to The Sun – which cites German outlet Bild – the Red Devils are in the market to exploit the veteran Germany international’s lack of playing time since the arrival of Harry Kane, with a 2024 bid.

United are also reportedly interested in Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo. Metro, via Sky Germany, says Todibo is on the Old Trafford club’s radar for a January move, but they may need to compete with Tottenham for his services.

And The Sun, via ESPN and Corriere Dello Sport, reports Red Devils duo Jadon Sancho and Donny Van De Beek could both be sold to Juventus for as little as £26million.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mason Greenwood: The Manchester United forward, who is currently on loan at Getafe, may yet play again at Old Trafford, according to Metro.

Matias Soule: Newcastle are leading a host of Premier League clubs in pursuit of the Juventus forward, reports Gazetta dello Sport.

Referee Stephanie Frappart overturned a late penalty for Bayern Munich to ensure they were held to a goalless draw by Copenhagen in the Champions League.

The Group A fixture at Allianz Arena was not without controversy after Frappart pointed to the spot in the second minute of added time when the ball hit the arm of Peter Ankersen, but the French official was told to look at the incident on the pitchside monitor by VAR and changed her decision.

It occurred minutes after Bayern captain Manuel Neuer had made a superb double save to deny Mohamed Elyounoussi after Copenhagen produced an excellent display, although the post-match focus centred on Frappart.

Frappart’s decision to subsequently not give the spot-kick occurred 24 hours after Paris St Germain were given a controversial penalty against Newcastle in similar circumstances, but the draw did boost Copenhagen’s hopes of finishing second behind Bayern in the group.

Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel had confirmed on Tuesday that Thomas Muller would earn a rare start and he was one of four changes made from Friday’s win over Cologne, but Harry Kane still led the line for the home side.

While Bayern already had a place in the knockout phase assured, they were eager to keep up their perfect record.

Copenhagen had other ideas, especially after Galatasaray and Manchester United shared the spoils in the early kick-off, and the visitors had the first effort of note, but defender Denis Vavro dragged well wide from 35 yards.

The first opening for Bayern arrived 60 seconds later in the 14th minute when Muller’s header dropped for 18-year-old forward Mathys Tel, but he sliced wide.

Chances remained limited with the home team struggling to get out of second gear, although Raphael Guerreiro fired wide from a corner midway through the first half.

Tuchel would have been growing frustrated, but breathed a sigh of relief in the 27th minute when Copenhagen squandered a golden opportunity.

A skilful flick by Viktor Claesson sent Lukas Lerager away inside the area, but the midfielder cut back and teed up youngster Roony Bardghji, who curled wide from 14 yards.

It should have resulted in the breakthrough and Copenhagen were indebted to goalkeeper Kamil Grabara on the half-hour.

Bayern full-back Konrad Laimer got to the byline and his cross was headed back across goal by Tel, but Muller’s close-range header was brilliantly clawed away by Grabara.

The half-time sentiments of Tuchel failed to have the desired effect initially with Diogo Goncalves curling wide in the 47th minute for Copenhagen.

A chance was fashioned for the hosts just past the hour mark when Alphonso Davies laid into the path of Tel, but he sliced off target under pressure from Rasmus Falk.

Tuchel had already seen enough and that miss proved Tel’s last involvement with Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry sent on with 26 minutes left.

Copenhagen remained a threat with Neuer forced to parry wide an effort by substitute Elias Achouri before Kane did finally get a sight at goal.

Kane let fly from 22 yards but his firm drive was pushed over by Grabara in the 68th minute.

Grabara looked to have made another stop four minutes later from a Sane free-kick, but a goal kick was awarded and Bayern substitute goalkeeper Sven Ulreich was shown a yellow card by Frappart amid whistles from the Munich supporters.

More whistles occurred with 84 minutes on the clock when Muller went down twice in quick succession in the area and yet both hopeful penalty appeals were waved away.

There was still time for Neuer to show his class with a fine save to thwart a header by Elyounoussi before the follow-up shot by the ex-Celtic attacker was also blocked by the Bayern captain, with Frappart overturning the stoppage-time penalty given after Frans Kratzig’s pass hit Ankersen’s arm.

Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel is the latest high-profile manager to take issue with the football calendar after admitting his players are physically and mentally tired.

Tuchel’s mood has not been helped by the Bundesliga scheduling their fixture at Cologne for Friday night.

Pre-weekend matches in Germany are generally designed to help teams with Champions League fixtures the following week but coming immediately off the back of an international break does not appear to have done Bayern too many favours.

“People want to see the best players play football with joy and desire,” Tuchel told a press conference.

“The calendar is at the absolute limit, if not over it. The boys are tired. They’re mentally tired, they’re emotionally tired, they’re physically tired.

“There are two more Champions League games next year, there’s a tournament in the summer (Euro 2024), that’s just at the limit.”

Some of Tuchel’s internationals only arrived back in Munich on Thursday, just 24 hours before kick-off.

“It’s our second Friday match. Minjae Kim and Alphonso Davies are only back from their travels today,” he added.

“It’s very unfortunate scheduling, particularly in a sporting sense, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. I don’t want to go on about it.

“We’ve opted for a short trip on Friday morning so that the players can sleep at home. We want to win and we’ll prepare to do that.”

Tuchel will be without defender Matthijs de Ligt and forward Jamal Musiala while defender Raphael Guerreiro is a doubt with a minor problem.

“We’re looking closely at which internationals have had a big workload like Konrad Laimer, Minjae Kim or Alphonso Davies. We’ll decide late on the line-up for tomorrow,” said Tuchel.

Veteran forward Thomas Muller is in the final year of his contract and has seen reduced playing time this season but the 34-year-old has stressed he wants to continue playing next season.

Bayern are understood to want to keep Muller but they have yet to come to an agreement.

“We want him in the team. It’s clear he wants to keep playing. He’s a footballer through and through. Why shouldn’t he keep playing at the very highest level?” said Tuchel.

“I have a very positive impression of him. He’s in top shape and it’s all good. Thomas is a club icon, a living legend. He gets the maximum respect from us.”

Thomas Muller has overtaken Bayern Munich team-mate Manuel Neuer as the player with the most Bundesliga wins in history.

Muller won his 323rd game in Germany's top flight as he helped Bayern beat Mainz 3-1 on Saturday.

That sets him clear of Neuer as the outright leader for Bundesliga victories.

Muller's contribution at Mewa Arena was limited as he replaced Kingsley Coman as an 88th-minute substitute, but with fellow Bayern legend Neuer still sidelined by injury, that brief cameo saw Muller edge ahead of his team-mate to claim the record for himself.

Goals from Coman and Harry Kane put Bayern 2-0 up within 16 minutes before Anthony Caci pulled one back for the winless hosts, but Leon Goretzka's second-half strike ensured Bayern ran out 3-1 winners.

The victory maintained Bayern's unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, though Thomas Tuchel's men still trail surprise contenders Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart at the summit.

Muller's standout stats

Muller has played 449 Bundesliga matches, 127 more than any other Bayern player since he made his debut in August 2008.

The 34-year-old has created 884 chances for his team-mates in that time, with Franck Ribery (536) ranking a distant second for the Bavarian giants.

Of current Bayern players, Joshua Kimmich (505) is the closest to Muller, who has directly contributed to 306 Bundesliga goals, another team-high. Robert Lewandowski is second, with 273 goal contributions.

Lewandowski (238) is the only player to have scored more Bundesliga goals for Bayern than Muller (144) since the latter made his bow for the club, while the Germany international has provided 162 assists, almost 80 clear of second-best Ribery (85).

Muller has had 2,448 touches in the opposition box, over 500 more than any other Bayern team-mate since he made his Bundesliga debut, while he has also had the most duels (4,314), winning 1,904 of them.

 

His best goalscoring season came in 2015-16, when he netted 20 times in the Bundesliga and provided five assists.

However, it was in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons that Muller provided his most goal contributions in the Bundesliga, with 29 in each campaign.

Muller netted eight times in 2019-20, but supplied 21 assists. The following term, he teed up 18 goals and scored 11 himself.

Thomas Tuchel insisted there was nothing personal about his decision to bench Thomas Muller for both legs of Bayern Munich's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

The 33-year-old was omitted from the starting line-up in Manchester and Munich, and Bayern slipped to a 4-1 aggregate defeat to slide out at the last-eight stage for a third consecutive season.

Muller is the most decorated player in Bayern's history, winning 11 Bundesliga titles and two Champions League crowns during his stellar career with the Bavarians.

He has a chance of another domestic league title this season, but that is all Bayern have left to challenge for after their European exit and defeat to Freiburg in the DFB-Pokal quarters.

It would be a calamity if recently appointed Tuchel fell out with club legend Muller, but the coach denies there is any problem between the pair. Indeed, he said he was "extremely impressed" with how Muller accepted his team selections.

"I am a big Thomas Muller fan myself. He has a world-class indefinability," Tuchel said in Friday's pre-match press conference.

"The Manchester games haven't suited him perfectly. Otherwise, he probably would have played. Many games are Muller games.

"Everything is OK at the moment. I was pleased with his reaction on the training ground yesterday. I was extremely impressed. He handled it in an exemplary manner. He just stepped on the gas and pulled the team along.

"But I have to make my decisions, sometimes they are hard. There is no personal note in it. Everyone has to accept it in a competitive situation."

Muller, who made brief substitute appearances in both City games, is likely to start on Saturday when Tuchel goes up against Mainz, one of the Bayern coach's former clubs.

Tuchel has called on Bayern to show more swagger in their remaining games, saying the team have lacked "a dash of determination and a dash of egoism".

"It's important how the team handles the situation. A lot has happened this season," said Tuchel. "The team has experienced a lot."

Bayern lead the Bundesliga by two points from Borussia Dortmund with six rounds of games remaining, and Tuchel stressed the domestic league must not be seen as a consolation prize for a team who craved European glory.

"I experienced it myself in Paris [when coaching Paris Saint-Germain], how sad it is that the championship is taken for granted," Tuchel said.

"It must not be taken for granted. Sure, we won't be celebrated as if an underdog became champion. We will not artificially downplay our claim to become champions.

"A championship is less prone to failure because you have time over a longer period of time. We fight for the title. We shouldn't be ashamed of that."

Thomas Muller was left feeling bitter after Bayern Munich were saddled "with the shambles" of another DFB-Pokal failure against Freiburg.

The Bundesliga leaders slipped to a 2-1 defeat in the quarter-finals, after Lucas Holer's 95th-minute penalty condemned them to a late loss.

Dayot Upamecano had handed Bayern the lead in Thomas Tuchel's second game in charge, before Nicolas Hofler squared matters in the first half.

It means the club will miss out on the DFB-Pokal final for the third straight season, and Muller concurred the loss represented a blow to their pride.

"[There is] a certain bitterness," he told Sky Sport Germany. "We're eliminated. You can't make amends anymore. You're standing there with the shambles.

"It's over again. Of course that scratches your sense of honour. Freiburg hardly had a chance to score, but if you lose in the end, you have to face the questions."

The result means it is one win and one loss for Tuchel since he succeeded Julian Nagelsmann, having picked up a 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in his first game.

Muller appreciated the need to adapt to their new coach, but still stressed the blow of their exit would linger, particularly with a rematch in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

"We [have] now had two games with a new coaching line-up," he added. "Now, we're emotionally down to earth. We have to manage that as a group.

"We will get back together on Thursday, we will try to improve. But now, there is disillusionment and brutal disappointment."

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.

Bayern Munich shocked the Bundesliga by making a dramatic change in the dugout, replacing Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel.

The decision came with Borussia Dortmund posing a serious threat to Bayern's hopes of an 11th consecutive league title.

Tuchel arrives with Bayern sitting one point off the Bundesliga summit and through to the Champions League quarter-finals, with the former BVB and Chelsea boss facing several pressing tasks.

Fending off his former club's challenge for domestic glory and plotting a route past Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will be among the immediate concerns, but there are others requiring Tuchel's attention.

From the futures of club stalwarts Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, to the need to suitably replace Robert Lewandowski, there will be plenty to keep Tuchel occupied until the end of the season and beyond.

Here, Stats Perform looks at five of the most pressing tasks facing Tuchel on his return to Germany.

Fix Bayern's sloppy backline

While Bayern boast the Bundesliga's best defensive record with 27 goals conceded this term, Tuchel – who was successful in making Chelsea tough to beat in his last managerial assignment – will be keen to examine a series of shortcomings at the back.

Having beaten Augsburg 5-3 in Nagelsmann's penultimate game at the helm, Bayern suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen last time out, with Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano clumsily conceding a pair of second-half penalties.

With Nagelsmann known for employing a high defensive line and adopting an aggressive approach, Bayern have often appeared too open this campaign.

Of the Bundesliga-high 13 errors leading to shots made by Bayern players this season, three have resulted in goals, while last year's big-money recruit Matthijs de Ligt is yet to establish himself as a dominant defensive presence.

Tuchel's Chelsea kept five clean sheets in seven Champions League knockout games en route to being crowned European champions in 2021 – he will be confident of having a similar impact in his new job, given the defensive talent at his disposal.

 

Make crucial Neuer decision

The most controversial incident in Bayern's season before the change of coach came in January, when captain Neuer hit out at the club's decision to fire close friend and goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

Those comments were met with a furious reaction from the club's hierarchy, throwing Neuer's future in Munich into doubt.

A series of injuries – the latest a broken leg sustained during a skiing holiday – have limited Neuer to 16 appearances across all competitions this term, and with Yann Sommer's arrival giving Bayern two top-class goalkeepers to choose from, Tuchel has a decision to make.

While Neuer boasts a better save percentage (75.44 per cent) than Sommer (64.1) for Bayern this term, the 2014 World Cup winner will be 37 by the time he returns to fitness, and there may not be room for both shot-stoppers in Bayern's long-term plans.

Find Lewandowski's successor

No discussion of Bayern's inconsistent season would be complete without a mention of their failure to find an adequate replacement for goal machine Lewandowski.

Lewandowski left for Barcelona last year, having led the Bundesliga's scoring charts in six of his eight seasons with Bayern (2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21 and 2021–22).

The Poland international hit 35 goals in as many league appearances in his final season with the Bavarian giants. This term, Jamal Musiala is their top Bundesliga marksman with 11 goals, one ahead of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

While having five separate players on double figures across all competitions this term is no bad thing (Choupo-Moting, Musiala, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane), an established successor to Lewandowski is surely required.

 

Solve the Mane conundrum

On a related note, getting the best of last year's marquee arrival Mane will also be high on Tuchel's to-do list, with the Senegal attacker yet to hit the heights he reached at Liverpool.

Injuries and mixed form have meant Mane has started just 14 of Bayern's 25 league games, failing to net in any competition since a 6-2 win over Mainz in October.

Tuchel's previous success with a fluid forward line could bode well for Mane. In his only full Premier League campaign with Chelsea, the Blues were only outscored by Manchester City and Liverpool, with a plethora of players chipping in as the returning Romelu Lukaku fell out of favour.

 

Examine Muller's role

While the acquisition of a centre-forward will surely be at the forefront of Bayern's plans at the end of the season, the Bavarians' chances of short-term success could hinge on finding a regular role for Muller.

Muller, who became Bayern's all-time leading outfield appearance maker in the Bundesliga last month, has started just 14 league games this campaign, but his tally of 11 goal contributions (four goals, seven assists) in just 1,062 minutes demonstrates his lasting quality.

With Nagelsmann alternating between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 shapes in recent weeks, Muller has featured in a number 10 role – where he previously thrived under Hansi Flick – and in a front two.

With high-stakes clashes against Dortmund and City on the horizon, Tuchel's first month at the helm could prove decisive, and finding a place for the experienced Muller could help the new boss make a flying start.

 

Julian Nagelsmann felt his team deserved to lose after two Exequiel Palacios penalties condemned Bayern Munich to a 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at BayArena on Sunday.

After title rivals Borussia Dortmund picked up three points on Saturday to move them top, a 22nd-minute deflected goal from Joshua Kimmich looked to have set Bayern on their way to retaking their position at the summit.

But Palacios converted twice from the spot after the break, both for fouls on Amine Adli, to inflict a third league defeat of the season on Bayern and hand Dortmund the advantage ahead of the pair's table-topping Klassiker after the upcoming international break.

Nagelsmann had no complaints with the defeat or the penalty decisions, both of which saw Adli initially handed a yellow card for diving until a VAR review intervened to award a spot-kick.

"I saw relatively quickly that both are penalties," Nagelsmann told DAZN after the game. "They definitely weren't dives.

"We deserved to lose. Except for the last ten minutes, we were the worse team. 

"We did a lot on our own. A lot of pressing by ourselves, a lot of walking by ourselves."

Nagelsmann blamed fatigue for the below-par display, which saw them lose a Bundesliga game after leading at half-time for the first time in 87 matches since a 3-1 defeat against Leverkusen in February 2019.

"Today we were pretty sluggish overall," Nagelsmann added. "We won very few duels up front, but also in defence.

"We have some exhausted players, so of course it was difficult. We were very weak in our game."

Captain Thomas Muller agreed with his head coach that Bayern's efforts did not warrant anything out of the game, saying: "Leverkusen did very well today.

"Unfortunately, we put very little of what has made us strong in the last few games onto the pitch.

"Looking at the game as a whole, the defeat is unfortunately deserved today."

Though some of his players are now set to jet off to their respective national teams, Nagelsmann's sights are set firmly on that crucial clash with Dortmund in just under two weeks.

He is under no illusion of the importance of that fixture, explaining: "We definitely have to win [against Dortmund], otherwise it will be difficult to win the championship."

Thomas Muller showed he remains indispensable to Bayern Munich as the veteran was thankful to play a full part in the 3-0 demolition of Union Berlin.

With two assists, setting up goals for Kingsley Coman and Jamal Musiala, the old man of Bayern's midfield showed he can still deliver at the cutting edge.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the first goal, with Bayern three to the good by the interval and the game essentially won. Musiala's goal came on his 20th birthday, and the win came in the wake of a midweek team get-together amid a results crisis.

With Muller captaining the side in the absence of injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, he found himself sacrificed just 16 minutes into Bayern's previous Bundesliga game at Borussia Monchengladbach after defender Dayot Upamecano was sent off.

Julian Nagelsmann sent on Joao Cancelo to strengthen the backline, and Bayern went on to lose 3-2 on that occasion as the 33-year-old Muller watched powerlessly, frustrated to have been hauled off so early.

"It's clear that I didn't enjoy it," he said of that experience on Sunday, looking back.

But Muller stressed it also "wasn't a huge issue", telling DAZN: "The coach made the decision and of course every player – including me – always has the feeling that he can give the team something, even if he's outnumbered, to win a game.

"We want to win a lot and it's also about everyone accepting tough decisions in the interests of the team and showing the reaction the next day in training – and not showing off in any way."

Bayern's players gathered together this week for an evening team meeting, head coach Julian Nagelsmann revealed.

It came amid their dip in results, with Union and Borussia Dortmund joining leaders Bayern on the same points mark heading into the latest round of games, putting hopes of an 11th consecutive title in some peril.

However, Bayern swept Union aside dismissively, and while Muller came off for a rest in the 87th minute, it was with the job done and to acclaim. The meeting seems to have had a positive effect already.

Dortmund continue to keep pace with Bayern, and there is a Klassiker coming up that could tilt the title race either way, but Bayern showed enough against Union to suggest they are moving in the right direction again.

The expected goals comparison between the teams underlined Bayern's dominance, with Nagelsmann's team posting xG of 3.56 to Union's meagre 0.35, reflecting the quality and volume of the chances that came their way.

 

Quoted further on Bayern's official website, Muller said Bayern's display against Union was "really lively".

"For example, the way we managed to break free in attack. We need to be active like that," he said. "We were always on the move and aggressive in the tackle. For me, it was a lot of fun to be so involved in such moments. It was a good game.

"We weren't top at kick-off, so had to do something about that. It was a good step but counts for nothing next week. We have to deliver again. I'm happy we made that step. You have to play that way against Union. It was the first small step towards the kind of football we want to play."

Nagelsmann described Bayern's win as a "benchmark" result.

He added: "We were dominant in all areas. We had 10-12 big chances and gave little away.

"Union are not a team that give you many chances – that in itself makes it a good performance from us. We trained well and talked a lot. We wanted to show what we expect of ourselves. We played very well today."

Confirming the players' meeting, Nagelsmann said: "There was a team evening, which is nothing earth-shattering, but where the team talked about what they wanted. I think it bore fruit today.

"The medicine at Bayern is easy to administer: you just have to win, then it's always calm. If you don't win, there's never calm."

Thomas Muller will start Bayern Munich's clash with title rivals Union Berlin on Sunday after he was hauled off early on in the defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann replaced captain Muller with Joao Cancelo after just 16 minutes against Monchengladbach, making a tactical substitution with Bayern a goal behind and down to 10 men after Dayot Upamecano's early red card.

The champions went on to lose 3-2, another blow to their hopes of winning an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title as their challengers made ground.

Nagelsmann's decision to replace veteran Muller so early came under scrutiny after the match, having also chosen to start him on the bench for Bayern's 1-0 Champions League first-leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

With the Bavarian side facing shock title challengers Union this weekend, Nagelsmann confirmed the 33-year-old will be in the starting XI.

"Thomas is a very experienced player, he was told why the decision was made," Nagelsmann said at his pre-match press conference. "You can always discuss it afterwards. I spoke to Thomas at length and clearly he is not happy.

"He is very professional and an important player. His importance is huge because it goes beyond the game itself. He will start on Sunday. He is aware of the overall situation."

The slip-up against Monchengladbach allowed Borussia Dortmund and Union to both pull level on points with Bayern at the top, though the champions' goal difference means they clung onto their position at the summit.

Nagelsmann's men have picked up just nine of a possible 18 points since the turn of the year, while Sunday's opponents have taken 16 over the same period.

A tricky encounter is expected against Union, who have never won a Bundesliga match against Bayern in seven attempts.

"I'm expecting a top game," Nagelsmann said. "Union always bring their football onto the pitch, designed for counter-attacks, with their physicality. It's always uncomfortable to play them.

"It will definitely be an exciting and interesting game, hopefully with a better outcome for us."

Nagelsmann revealed Bayern could be boosted by the return at some point in the game of Sadio Mane, who has been absent since early November after suffering a leg injury that ruled him out of Senegal's World Cup campaign.

"Sadio Mane isn't fit enough to start," Nagelsmann added. "But he is an option that we're really happy about."

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann demanded a much improved performance from his side in their Champions League last-16 first leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

The Bundesliga leaders stretched their unbeaten league run to 13 games on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Bochum thanks to goals from Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.

Nagelsmann was less than impressed with his side's display, though, and challenged his players to improve dramatically for the mouth-watering clash in Paris.

"We're not in the flow," he told Sky Sport.

"I think if we had played at full throttle, which is fun, and if we moved properly and brought a little enthusiasm onto the field, then I think in the first six minutes we should have led by two or three goals to nil.

"We had huge chances. But that's a bit like the three games we drew, we lacked the finishing. Overall, it wasn't a good game from either team.

"In the end, we didn't show enough life, and we don't have a super flow now.

"We have to put in an outstanding game in Paris, even if [Kylian] Mbappe might be out, because they're just a world-class team.

"If we play like that on Tuesday, it won't be enough to go through."

Muller's goal came in his 428th league outing for Bayern, which took him clear of Gerd Muller as the outfield player with the most Bundesliga appearances for the club.

Only goalkeepers Sepp Maier (473) and Oliver Kahn (429) now stand between him and the outright club record.

The 33-year-old's match ended at half-time when he was replaced by Alphonso Davies, but Nagelsmann said his withdrawal was precautionary.

"He indicated on the way in that he had a bit of a calf problem," the Bayern boss explained.

"I hope he doesn't have anything. It's nothing bad; it was more of a precautionary measure. It was just too much risk for me that he had anything there."

Thomas Muller marked a record-breaking appearance for Bayern Munich with the opener in the champions' 3-0 win over Bochum on Saturday.

Muller's 428th league outing for Bayern took him clear of Gerd Muller as the outfield player with the most Bundesliga appearances for the club, with just goalkeepers Sepp Maier (473) and Oliver Kahn (429) now standing between him and the outright club record.

The 33-year-old, who was taken off at half-time after sustaining an injury, gave Bayern the lead in the 41st minute, before Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry's penalty sealed all three points in the second half. 

The result moved Bayern three points clear at the league summit, although Union Berlin can move back to within a point with victory over RB Leipzig in Saturday's late game.

Bayern went close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's back-post header from Joao Cancelo's cross clipped the outside of the post.

The hosts were gifted the opener four minutes before the interval when Muller latched onto Saidy Janko's short backpass and rolled into an empty net after he had initially been thwarted by Manuel Riemann.

It should have been 2-0 before half-time, yet Leon Goretzka inexplicably headed wide from inside the six-yard box after Riemann had kept out Matthijs de Ligt's header.

Bayern did grab a second in the 64th minute when Coman, who had replaced Cancelo four minutes earlier, powered through the legs of Riemann after being played in by Jamal Musiala. 

Janko's dismal display reached a new low in the 73rd minute when he tripped Gnabry in the area, with the Germany international slotting home a third from the resulting spot-kick.
 

What does it mean? Bayern inflict more away-day misery on Bochum

Bayern were far from their best against a side they beat 7-0 earlier in the season, but a routine win extended their unbeaten run in the league to 13 games and cranked the pressure up on Union Berlin.

Bochum, meanwhile, have now lost 10 of their 11 Bundesliga away games this season. The last time they suffered this many defeats on the road at this stage of a campaign was in the 1992-93 season when they were relegated.

Gnabry excels

Gnabry was a handful throughout for Bochum's defenders and deservedly got on the scoresheet late on. The winger had more touches (104) and shots (six) than any other player on the pitch, while his tally of eight crosses was not bettered by anyone from either side.

Janko's nightmare

There cannot have been many worse individual displays in the Bundesliga this season than Janko's here. The 27-year-old gifted Muller the opener with a woeful backpass, before bringing down Gnabry to give referee Matthias Jollenbeck one of the easiest penalty decisions he will ever make.

What's next?

Bayern visit Paris Saint-Germain for the first leg of their mouth-watering Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, before a trip to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday – the same day Bochum host Freiburg. 

Thomas Muller surpassed Gerd Muller as the outfield player with the most Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich after being named in the starting XI for the German champions' meeting with Bochum.

Muller's 428th league outing for Bayern takes him beyond his legendary namesake's tally of 427, with just two goalkeepers now standing between him and the outright club record.

Three-time European Cup winner Sepp Maier leads the way with 473 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, while former captain-turned-chief executive Oliver Kahn played 429 times.

Muller was selected to make his 13th league appearance of an injury-hit season against Bochum, though he has still recorded seven goal involvements this term (three goals, four assists).

The 33-year-old's 140 Bundesliga goals put him fourth in Bayern's all-time goalscoring charts in the competition, behind Gerd Muller (365), Robert Lewandowski (238) and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (162).

Muller penned a contract extension with Bayern after helping them win a 10th consecutive league title last May, ensuring he will remain at the club until 2024.

Having made his league debut with the Bavarian giants in 2008, Muller has won 31 club trophies, including 11 Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues.

 

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