Bayern Munich will do "everything" to keep Robert Lewandowski for "as long as possible", but Niklas Sule is set to leave the club at the end of the season.

Lewandowski's contract expires at the end of 2022-23 and there have been suggestions Bayern could look to move the Poland star on this year to free up room for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

That is despite the 33-year-old having just won The Best FIFA Men's Player Award for the second year running, his 34 goals in all competitions this season at least 10 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn suggested on Wednesday that the Bundesliga champions have no plans to let Lewandowski leave.

"He is an absolute phenomenon," Kahn told reporters. "Not just for the goals he constantly scores but for the level at which he has been playing for years.

"Of course, we will try to keep Robert with us. He's a kind of insurance for us, with his way of playing football. We will do everything we can to have Robert with us for as long as possible."

 

Sule, however, appears destined to leave the Allianz Arena after rejecting Bayern's offer of a new contract.

The centre-back, 26, has missed just two games in the Bundesliga this season and is reportedly of interest to Chelsea and Newcastle United, who could offer greater salaries.

"Negotiations with Niklas have dragged on for a very long time," Kahn said.

"We made him an offer, but he didn't accept it, as he told us. I think [club president] Herbert Hainer wanted to leave the back door a little ajar.

"Now we know what the situation is. This has happened over the past few days. I think you have to take into account that there are a lot of conversations going on. At some point, a player makes his decision.

"I think it was a very good offer. We have economic limits within which we must move. He's one of the best central defenders out there right now. I think we showed him that appreciation.

"Ultimately, it's the player's decision."

When asked if Bayern would look to sign a replacement, Kahn added: "We always look at all the options. We have a lot of options when it comes to the centre-back position.

"We have Lucas Hernandez in central defence, an excellent centre-back in [Dayot] Upamecano, young talent in Tanguy Nianzou. [Benjamin] Pavard can also play there."

 

Anthony Martial has made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United in the January window – and the France international appears to have been granted his wish.

Restricted to just four starts in all competitions this season, Martial has very much been on the periphery at United in what is his seventh campaign at the club.

However, there are no shortage of suitors for Martial and it looks increasingly likely that the 26-year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign away from Old Trafford.


TOP STORY – SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR SEVILLA

Sevilla had a loan bid for Martial rejected earlier this month, but Goal reports that the issues have been ironed out and the out-of-favour forward is now set to undergo a medical.

Juventus are said to have been among a number of other European sides in the running to sign Martial, but Sevilla were always his preferred destination.

The LaLiga club are expected to pay a loan fee for the former Monaco man, potentially as much as €5.96million (£5m), while the player himself will accept a cut in wages.


ROUND-UP

– After growing frustrated in their attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, The Sun reports that Arsenal may now instead go after Real Madrid's Luka Jovic this month.

– Calciomercato claims that Serie A leaders Inter are close to strengthening their squad with the addition of striker Felipe Caicedo from Genoa.

Watford are set to move quickly on the back of sacking head coach Claudio Ranieri by bringing in Roy Hodgson as early as Tuesday, according to Sky Sports.

– Goal suggest that Bayern Munich are targeting Chelsea's Andreas Christensen on a free transfer after Niklas Sule turned down the offer of a new contract in Bavaria.

Manchester City are increasingly confident of wrapping up a deal for Julian Alvarez. However, the Daily Mail reports that the striker will initially remain on loan with River Plate.

Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

Julian Nagelsmann was happy with Bayern Munich's performance as they swept aside Hertha Berlin 4-1 in the German capital on Sunday, particularly with the quality of their counter-pressing.

Goals from Corentin Tolisso, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry restored Bayern's six-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, despite a late reply from Jurgen Ekkelenkamp after a mistake from substitute Dayot Upamecano.

The reigning champions dominated the game, having 30 shots of which 19 were on target, registering an overall expected goals (xG) tally of 5.00.

"I'm very pleased with the performance," Nagelsmann said at a post-match news conference. "The first half was a bit stronger than in the return fixture. Our players were extremely sharp in their counter-pressing. We had many chances from our possession.

"In the second half, Hertha were a bit better. Overall, it's a deserved win and a very good game from us."

 

Muller was also impressed by the team's efforts, especially in creating the number of chances they did.

"We played well. We had a lot of attacking players on the pitch," the 32-year-old said after scoring his sixth league goal of the campaign.

"We were looking forward to the game because we knew what we were going to do today. On the other hand, of course, you never know how an attacking wing pairing of Coman and Gnabry will work."

Muller added, quoted on Bayern's official website: "The first half was maybe even a bit better than the second because we had more control.

"Our counter-pressing was a bit better, we allowed practically nothing. We had Berlin pinned down right from the start and let nothing go to waste, and had chance after chance. A very good afternoon of football."

Bayern Munich restored their six-point lead at the Bundesliga summit with an extremely comfortable 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Sunday. 

The reigning champions saw their advantage halved when Borussia Dortmund beat Hoffenheim on Saturday, but it did not look like remaining at three points once Corentin Tolisso opened the scoring at the Olympiastadion.

Thomas Muller doubled Bayern's lead before the break and, after a string of impressive saves, Alexander Schwolow gifted Leroy Sane a tap-in with a wayward pass across the face of his own goal.

Serge Gnabry added a fourth as the visitors' relentless pressure finally told in the closing 15 minutes, though Jurgen Ekkelenkamp lobbed home a consolation 35 seconds after being subbed on.

Tolisso had a goal ruled out for offside by the VAR in the second minute, with Schwolow making saves from Sane, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski to keep the game level midway through the first half.

After Ishak Belfodil threatened for the hosts, Tolisso stooped to head Coman's left-wing delivery into the bottom-right corner and give Bayern a deserved lead.

Tolisso missed an open goal and Schwolow kept out Lewandowski, but Bayern got their second on the stroke of half-time when an unmarked Muller guided Joshua Kimmich's free-kick home.

Suat Serdar was unable to hit the target from six yards out, and Bayern were out of sight when Schwolow's pass to Linus Gechter was intercepted by Sane, who was left with a simple finish into a vacant net.

Gechter did well to clear a looping effort from Gnabry off the line, but the winger was not to be denied again, drilling home a fine finish for Bayern's second goal in four minutes.

Dayot Upamecano had not even been on the pitch for a minute when he sold Manuel Neuer short with a back pass and, after the keeper thwarted Stevan Jovetic, Ekkelenkamp lofted in the follow-up to complete the scoring.

Bayern Munich still have no plans to make signings late in the January transfer window, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said ahead of Sunday's game against Hertha Berlin.

The Bundesliga champions are top of the table and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

From this position of strength, Bayern have let the first three weeks of January pass without a senior signing – and Salihamidzic does not plan on entering the market before the end of the month.

The availability of Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria has not piqued Bayern's interest; nor has the potential need for a replacement for left-back Alphonso Davies.

The club confirmed earlier this month Davies is unable to take part in training due to a mild inflammation of the heart.

But Salihamidzic told DAZN: "We have Lucas Hernandez and Omar Richards [at left-back].

"I said before Christmas that we are well positioned and have no need [in January]."

Bayern were three points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund heading into Sunday's match, with BVB having beaten Hoffenheim 3-2 on Saturday.

Agreeing a new contract with Robert Lewandowski is not a matter of urgency for Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer, though he hopes the striker will stay put.

With his deal set to expire at the end of next season, Lewandowski's future has been the subject of much speculation. 

It was reported this week that Bayern were open to selling the Poland captain at the end of the season to avoid losing him on a free transfer. 

Lewandowski on Monday won The Best FIFA Men's Player award for the second straight year, having scored an astounding 82 goals in 68 games in all competitions for Bayern since the start of last season.  

That is the most of any player from the top five European leagues. Erling Haaland is his closest rival with 64 strikes in 61 appearances for Borussia Dortmund. 

Hainer remains keen for Lewandowski to extend his stay at the Allianz Arena, though he insists there is no rush for an agreement to be reached. 

"I've already said this a few times. I would be happy if Robert ended his career at Bayern," Hainer told Sky. 

"Our sporting management is in constant contact with the players. We still have a little time with him. The contract runs until 2023." 

Hainer suggested a new contract for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, reportedly until June 2025, is much closer to being confirmed. The Germany star's existing deal is also due to expire at the end of next season. 

"I am absolutely convinced Manuel will end his career at Bayern Munich. He can certainly play at this level for a few more years," said Hainer. 

"He's still the world's best goalkeeper for me, and I'd be happy if we can announce it at some point. 

"We are in no hurry. Manuel knows what he has in us. We know what we have in him. He's been with us long enough now, so there is no rush. But at some point, I hope, it will happen." 

Defender Niklas Sule is only under contract until the end of this campaign and he has been linked with Barcelona and a number of Premier League clubs. 

Hainer confirmed an extension has been offered to Sule and he has a deadline to make his decision so the club are not left scrambling for a replacement. 

"We made Niklas an offer. Now it's up to him to accept or reject that," said Hainer. 

"Of course, it has to be within a certain period of time because we have to position ourselves accordingly. 

"I don't know the exact date right now, but it will certainly be at some point in the foreseeable future that he will say what his wishes are. Then we will take to him." 

The race for Erling Haaland's signature will be a huge story in 2022.

The 21-year-old sensation has interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Haaland has netted 63 goals in the past 18 months for Borussia Dortmund.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD GIVE UP ON HAALAND

Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign Dortmund's Haaland, according to ESPN.

The Red Devils will focus on alternative attacking options with uncertainty around Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo's futures at the club while Haaland is favouring a move to Real Madrid.

United have had a long-standing interest in the Norwegian, who has a €75 million (£62m) release clause on his Dortmund contract.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are closing in on a deal for River Plate's 21-year-old Argentina international Julian Alvarez, claims The Telegraph. As part of the imminent deal, Alvarez – who has interest from Milan, Inter and Juventus – will remain with River until June. The fee is expected to be no less than £20m.

- Liverpool have joined the race to sign Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria, according to ESPN. The Reds will rival Dortmund and Bayern Munich who are both keen on the Swiss midfielder.

- Ajax's Mexico international Edson Alvarez is attracting interest from Premier League trio Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace, reports Football Insider.

- Leeds United have opened contract talks with Brazilian superstar Raphinha,  according to the Daily Star, amid interest from Chelsea and Liverpool .

- French club Nice are set to offer Tottenham's Bryan Gil a loan deal, according to L'Equipe. The Spaniard has struggled for impact since his move to England.

- Diario AS claims that Valencia are working on a January deal for Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez .

Julian Nagelsmann has dismissed the idea of the Bundesliga adopting play-offs in the style of American sports – predicting Bayern Munich would still be likely champions.

The concept was proposed by former Bayern technical director Michael Reschke, who now works for a leading player management group.

Reschke, speaking to German sports show Ran this week, suggested a system that would see the top four in the league battle it out for the title in a mini tournament, claiming it would add an extra edge to the season's end.

He said play-offs should only take place in years when there is no summer international tournament.

Yet Nagelsmann says adding more games to the calendar would likely do more harm than good.

The Bayern head coach said in a news conference on Friday: "Despite the play-offs, things would technically stay the same.

"It's not like you'd have to pick someone, draft someone or comply with a salary cap or whatever. Even with play-offs, we would still have a good chance to win this.

"I said many times that you have to be cautious that there is not too much sport on TV. Or not more than currently. A demand can become over-saturated if there's too much of it.

"Football lives from its fans and spectators. That is the emotional side, but also financially, too many games or a model with more games could be more stress for the players, the quality of the games then decreases.

"Ticket prices become too expensive because of too many games. But people don't want to pay for it anymore because it's no fun to watch anymore.

"The entire system could suffer from this, so you would have to think carefully. But I am always open to new ideas, expressing my opinion, even though it will not have much influence on what will actually happen."

Bayern have won nine consecutive Bundesliga titles and lead the way again this season, holding a six-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund going into this weekend's programme.

This is Nagelsmann's first season in charge of the Bavarians.

Cristiano Ronaldo's dream homecoming to Manchester United has not gone quite to plan so far.

While Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 22 games – double the amount of any other United player – his team have otherwise struggled this term.

And with United in a serious battle to qualify for next season's Champions League, an early parting of the ways could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO'S TOP-FOUR ULTIMATUM

Ronaldo's representatives have informed United that the superstar forward will leave if the club miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League, according to The Sun.

The Portugal international, who penned a two-year contract in August with the option of a further year, is said to be concerned by the direction in which United are heading.

Ralf Rangnick's side beat Brentford 3-1 on Tuesday but still remain seventh, albeit now just two points off fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.

Serial winner Ronaldo last week questioned the attitude of some of his United team-mates and then reacted angrily to being substituted off during the win at Brentford.


ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich will consider selling Robert Lewandowski at the end of the season if their talisman turns down the offer of a new deal, according to Bild. Lewandowski, who received The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year on Monday, is out of contract at the end of 2022-23.

– Goal reports that Atletico Madrid have no intention of allowing Luis Suarez to complete a sensational return to the Premier League this month. The former Liverpool striker had been touted as a target for Aston Villa, who are now under the management of his old team-mate Steven Gerrard.

Chelsea have set their sights on a trio of Barcelona players, reports El Nacional. Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is said to be particularly keen on Frenkie de Jong, while full-back Sergino Dest and youngster Gavi are also targets.

– Meanwhile, Sport say that Barca are interested in Chelsea's Andreas Christensen. Barca are hoping to reach a pre-contract agreement with the defender this month.

Newcastle United must fend off competition from another Premier League club for the signing of Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos, claims Sky Sports. The Magpies are also reported to be interested in Jesse Lingard.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the subject of a loan bid, with an obligation to buy, from Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. The Gabon international is out of the picture under Mikel Arteta and may be granted permission to leave for the rest of 2021-22. Goal are reporting that story.

Robert Lewandowski declared he would not let it trouble him after Lionel Messi left the Bayern Munich striker off his picks for the FIFA Best Men's Player award.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Messi lavished Lewandowski with praise after pipping him to the Ballon d'Or award in November, saying the Poland captain would have deserved the previous year's award, which was scrapped because of the pandemic.

Yet when it came to selecting his picks for the FIFA prize, which is a right afforded to all national team captains and head coaches, Argentina skipper Messi chose PSG team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as his first and second picks respectively, putting Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in third place.

Lewandowski picked Champions League and Euro 2020 winner Jorginho as his first choice, ahead of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the end, Messi's voting choices did not prevent Lewandowski picking up the FIFA honour, which went his way on Monday. Messi finished second, with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah third.

"When you see what he said at the Ballon d'Or, those were nice words and it was very nice of him," Lewandowski said of Messi in a news conference on Tuesday.

"Regarding his choices, this question must go to him. I don't think he can be mad at me privately, if it's about sport. It was his decision and I have to respect that. I don't have to be mad. I definitely voted him second."

Messi and Ronaldo had held a near-duopoly over European and world football's top awards in recent times, but Lewandowski has now won the FIFA award in consecutive years.

The 33-year-old set a Bundesliga single-season scoring record last term when he hit 41 goals for champions Bayern Munich, passing Gerd Muller's 40-goal benchmark.

Once again, this season he is setting the standard across Europe's top five leagues for putting the ball in the back of the net.

Among players from the Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, LaLiga and Serie A, nobody comes close to matching Lewandowski's haul of 34 goals in 27 games so far across all competitions.

Benzema is second on the list with 24 goals, Mbappe has 19, while Messi has scored only six times for PSG since his dramatic move from Barcelona.

After Salah (23 goals) in third place, next among scorers is Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland (21 goals).

There has been speculation Haaland's next club could be Bayern, and Lewandowski was asked whether the strikers could play together.

"If I train with him, then after a week or two you could say something," Lewandowski said. "Erling is a different type of player than me. But he's a top player, and I'm happy that he shows how good he is in every game. For me, that means I can keep doing my job.”

Real Madrid's squad is already packed with a magnitude of talent – and it could become even stronger should Erling Haaland arrive from Borussia Dortmund later this year.

Haaland has scored 78 goals in his two years with Dortmund – only Robert Lewandowski (107) has more in Europe's top five leagues – and would be a major coup for Madrid.

But while the Spanish giants remain confident of bringing in the in-demand striker from Dortmund, it could have a negative knock-on effect.


TOP STORY - HAALAND IN, BENZEMA OUT?

Karim Benzema is a much-loved figure at the Santiago Bernabeu and is enjoying another impressive campaign, but El Nacional claims that Madrid risk losing the Frenchman.

The report suggests that Benzema does not like the fact that president Florentino Perez is so fixated on bringing in a new player to lead Los Blancos' attack from next season.

While the 34-year is not currently seeking an exit, that could change should Madrid reach a pre-contract agreement with Haaland in the coming weeks, as has been suggested.

Benzema would not feel the need to move on should Kylian Mbappe join, though, as he considers that case to be different given the PSG striker is set to become a free agent.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona accept that it is increasingly likely Ousmane Dembele will leave Camp Nou as a free agent at the end of the season. According to Sport, Manchester United and Juventus have held talks with the player's camp, while Chelsea and Bayern Munich have an outside shot of signing the forward.

Arsenal have made their first move to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, with Corriere Della Sera reporting that the Gunners have tabled an offer of £50million (€60m) plus Lucas Torreira, who is currently on loan with the Serie A side.

Chelsea are interested in signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan as they look to bolster their full-back ranks. However, Fabrizio Romano claims that the Blues have not yet officially opened talks with PSG.

– Calciomercato reports that Man Utd forward Anthony Martial has emerged as a January target for Juventus. The France international has struggled for games this season and has openly admitted he wants to find a new club this month.

Everton are on the lookout for a new manager after parting company with Rafael Benitez on Sunday and hope to make a swift appointment. According to ESPN, former boss Roberto Martinez – now in charge of the Belgium national team – is the leading candidate to take over.

Newcastle United have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood this window, but The Telegraph reports that they have been knocked back in their bid to bring in Donny van de Beek on loan. The Man Utd midfielder is said to have been put off by the Magpies' position in the Premier League.

The futures of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, arguably the two most sought-after players in world football, could be determined by the end of the January transfer window.

While the forwards look set to stay at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain respectively this month, moves away at the end of the campaign look increasingly likely.

And despite intense competition from fellow heavyweight clubs, Real Madrid are determined to win the race for both players.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID TO PUT ASIDE €350m FOR HAALAND

Madrid had two bids knocked back for Mbappe last year but, according to Marca, they remain in pole position to sign the France international in six months' time.

Landing Haaland could prove to be a little more complicated, though, given he will still have two years to run on his contract at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

However, the Spanish publication reports that Madrid are willing to spend big on the prolific striker, who is thought to have a €75million release clause in his deal.

On top of triggering that, it is claimed that Los Blancos will have to set aside cash for Haaland's father, agent Mino Raiola and a hefty salary for the player himself, which could total around €350m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Madrid may be considered the frontrunners to sign Mbappe and Haaland, but they already have a back-up plan in place should either of those moves fail to materialise. According to El Nacional, Fiorentina's in-demand Dusan Vlahovic is also on the Spanish giants' radar.

- CalcioMercato reports that Milan have joined the queue to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen. Christensen, who comes out of contract at the end of this season, is being chased by Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

- Newcastle United could beat Manchester United in the race for RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara, with The Mirror reporting that the newly-rich Magpies are set to make an offer.

- The Everton board got together on Saturday to discuss manager Rafael Benitez's future in the job, according to Sky Sports. Everton have won one of their past 13 league games and lost to bottom club Norwich City 2-1 on Saturday.

- PSG, Bayern and Madrid are among Kalvin Phillips' suitors. El Nacional reports that Leeds United have a battle on their hands fending off interest in the midfielder, who has been capped 19 times by England.

- The Mirror reports that Chelsea are considering a move for Inter's Ivan Perisic. The Blues are in the market for a versatile player who can play at left-back while Ben Chilwell recovers from a long-term injury.

 

Manuel Neuer described Robert Lewandowski as a "machine" after the striker reached 300 Bundesliga goals with a hat-trick in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

The Poland star broke the deadlock on Saturday as Bayern became the first team in the history of the competition to score in 66 consecutive matches.

After Corentin Tolisso struck a fine second, Lewandowski delivered two more precise finishes following Leroy Sane throughballs to move the leaders six points clear.

The 33-year-old is just the second player in Bundesliga history to reach a treble century of goals, after Gerd Muller, who scored a record 365.

Last season, Lewandowski scored 42 times to break Muller's record for goals in a single Bundesliga season, and he could now have the outright leading tally in his sights.

"After the defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach, it was just important for us to get our first points of the year, and that's what we did," Neuer told Sky Sport.

"We're happy and grateful that we have Robert. He's a machine up front."

 

There was a curious moment after the match, when Neuer exchanged his shirt for the flat cap of Cologne head coach Steffen Baumgart.

"His cap is legendary!" he said.

The game was Bayern's first since it was confirmed that full-back Alphonso Davies will have to sit out training after being diagnosed with inflammation of the heart.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann said the Canada international will be out of action for at least the next month.

"It could be that it goes away quickly, but it's at least four weeks – and everything is possible for an indefinite amount of time," he said prior to the match.

"If you suffer from something like this, you usually don't notice it. You only notice that you're not 100 per cent when you move.

"[It is important] that we do the examinations meticulously, and that's how we diagnosed it. It's important for him to heal, but it's a shape because Alphonso had just come back."

Robert Lewandowski hit a hat-trick as Bayern Munich set a Bundesliga record in Saturday's 4-0 away win over Cologne.

The Poland striker's ninth-minute opener meant the champions scored in a record 66 consecutive league games, a feat never before achieved in Germany's top tier.

Corentin Tolisso scored a fine second before two more Lewandowski goals in the second half secured a ninth league win in a row over Steffen Baumgart's side.

Fittingly, it was Lewandowski who set Bayern's latest goalscoring record, the striker side-footing past Marvin Schwabe from Thomas Muller's pass and a VAR check overruling the offside call.

The visitors doubled their lead in spectacular fashion, Tolisso controlling Muller's lay-off before rifling left-footed into the top-right corner from the edge of the box.

Cologne thought they had pulled a goal back through Mark Uth, but another VAR check showed an offside, and the hosts finished the half without another shot on target.

Marcel Sabitzer had an effort saved and Jamal Musiala's turn and shot clipped the outside of the post as Bayern stepped up their pressure after the interval.

Cologne offered a slight threat of a comeback with a good period of pressure, but it was promptly Lewandowski quelled 62 minutes in, Lewandowski drilling home his 22nd Bundesliga goal of the season after being played through by Leroy Sane.

The pair combined again for Bayern's fourth, Muller releasing Sane on a zig-zagging run before he prodded through for Lewandowski to finish with aplomb.

 

What does it mean? Bayern respond to Dortmund pressure

You have to go back to February 9, 2020, and a goalless draw with RB Leipzig, to find the last occasion in which Bayern played a league game without scoring a goal.

Their latest two helped them to a comfortable win that stretched their lead at the top back to six points, Borussia Dortmund having closed the gap with a 5-1 thumping of Freiburg on Friday.

Cologne sit eighth in the table, but just two points off the top four.

 

Magnificent Muller

Lewandowski's goalscoring exploits can often overshadow Muller, but two assists and four chances created here were a reminder of his importance to Bayern.

The Germany star has now directly set up 150 Bundesliga goals since his debut back in August 2008. In that time, only Lionel Messi (180) has made more assists in Europe's top five leagues.

No sniff of a Cologne goal

Cologne managed only one shot on target throughout and starting strikers Uth and Anthony Modeste were substituted even before Lewandowski netted Bayern's fourth.

They had promising moments in the final third but this was a surprisingly toothless performance from a side whose 28 points from their first 18 games was their second-best return this century.

What's next?

Bayern are back in action next Sunday away to Hertha Berlin. Cologne host Hamburg in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday before resuming league duties at Bochum four days later.

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent at the end of this season.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has stalled on signing a new deal with the French giants.

Madrid have long courted Mbappe with a view to signing him, but PSG remain determined to keep their man.

TOP STORY – PSG RE-ENTER TALKS WITH MBAPPE

PSG have launched a determined attempt to retain Mbappe after making the France frontman a new contract offer, claims Telefoot.

The Parisians are said to have offered Mbappe a massive two-year deal to fight off attempts to woo him by Real Madrid.

Mbappe is reported to be unwilling to make a decision yet and could let his contract expire. It runs only until the end of June.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Repubblica reports Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic, with Fiorentina said to be considering accepting a £58million offer from the Gunners.

- Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claims both Barcelona and Bayern Munich are keen to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen at the season's end.

- Manchester United are interested in Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi taking over as their manager next season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Southampton have contacted Manchester United about signing goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports Football Insider. Saints also want to sign Chelsea's Armando Broja permanently but will stiff competition, claims Sky Sports.

- Lille are pursuing former Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa, reports L'Equipe. Ben Arfa left Bordeaux at the end of last season.

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