Jerome Boateng has left Bayern Munich's Club World Cup squad to return to Germany following the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Kasia Lenhardt, 25, was found dead in her Berlin apartment on Tuesday. Her death is not being treated as suspicious by authorities.

She and Boateng had separated last week, the latter confirming in a since-deleted social media post.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick confirmed Boateng had asked to leave the squad for personal reasons on the eve of their Club World Cup final against Mexican side Tigres, and he will be absent indefinitely.

Flick told a news conference: "This has stunned us.

"Jerome came to me and asked me to return home. After a negative [COVID-19] test, he will return home and not be available until further notice."

Boateng had played the 2-0 semi-final win over Egypt's Al Ahly on Monday and would have likely started again when Bayern go up against Tigres.

His experience and physical prowess will have been key in potentially nullifying the threat of in-form Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has netted in each of his previous six matches across all competitions.

Flick would not give any hints as to his selections, but has urged Bayern to take the initiative.

"It is up to us to put pressure on our opponents and to play our game when we have possession," Flick continued. "We did it well in the semi-final. I have full trust in my team.

"We have to be alert. Tigres are very quick in their build-up. They work well down the wings and have players in the centre who score.

"We have to be there from the start and convert our chances this time."

Flick's Tigres counterpart, Ricardo Ferretti, was in a bullish mood ahead of the match, adamant people are underestimating them ahead of this contest just because they are not from Europe.

He said: "You mention Bayern of Europe and nobody denies their achievements, but why do people only want to see things from one side?

"In 10 years we have won 11 titles. If you want to predict it [the game] because they are European and we are North American, it would be underestimating us.

"We know the capacity of Bayern, but as I have always said, we are not afraid of anyone. We will try to do our thing, very well, in order to be champions."

Germany should only call up Bayern Munich sensation Jamal Musiala if he "really wants" to change allegiances, according to former captain Michael Ballack.

After making his debut in June 2020, Bayern teenager Musiala has become a regular fixture in the Bundesliga champions' first-team squad, featuring in 15 games and scoring three goals this season.

The 17-year-old switched from Chelsea's youth academy to Bayern in July 2019 - aged 16 - before becoming Bayern's youngest ever senior player and their youngest goalscorer. 

Born in Stuttgart to a German mother and an English-Nigerian father, Musiala moved to London aged seven and represented England from Under-15 to U21 levels, as well as Germany U16s.

Although he last played for England against Albania in November 2020, Musiala remains eligible for both nations and it has been reported that a tug-of-war has been ongoing for some time.

The highly rated youngster has reportedly been contacted by England manager Gareth Southgate and Germany head coach Joachim Low, but Ballack insisted Musiala should only play for Die Mannschaft if he is fully committed.

"We talk about the German national team. It should consist of players that meet the requirements and really want to play for this team," Ballack, who earned 98 caps for Germany, told Stats Perform News.

"It also needs to meet the rules and everything else needs to be decided from the national coach."

Hansi Flick believes success in the Club World Cup will be "very special" as he closes in on a sixth trophy in just 68 matches as Bayern Munich coach.

Bayern comfortably dealt with CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly in their semi-final on Monday, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals in a 2-0 win.

The Polish striker, who moved to 29 goals for the season with that brace, made it 1-0 in the 17th minute and eventually put the game beyond Al Ahly in the latter stages, though the Egyptian champions rarely looked a threat to Die Roten.

In Thursday's final Bayern will face Tigres, who defeated Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras 1-0 on Sunday to become the first CONCACAF side to reach the final of the Club World Cup.

French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac got the winner from the spot against Palmeiras, his sixth successive goal-scoring appearance, and Bayern know they cannot afford to be complacent.

"I watched their semi-final, Tigres are a very dynamic team, very athletic, with a lot of power. We have to counter that well in the final," Flick said when asked about Ricardo Ferretti's team.

"If we win the final on Thursday, the team will have finished an outstanding season with a sixth title.

"That would be a very special success in the successful history of FC Bayern. We now have to collect ourselves as quickly as possible and recover quickly in order to be able to be again at 100 per cent on Thursday."

Thomas Muller echoed the sentiment of his coach, reminding the rest of the Bayern team that their mission still needs to be accomplished.

"We are happy that we did not miss anything and have achieved our [first] goal," he added. "Now we have the chance that we really wanted to work for: winning the Club World Cup."

Bayern won the competition in their only previous participation in 2013.

That was the beginning of streak of European dominance in the Club World Cup, with all six iterations since then won by teams from the continent.

Chelsea were the last European side to lose out in the Club World Cup in 2012, as they were defeated 1-0 by Corinthians in the final.

Bayern Munich secured their place in the Club World Cup final thanks to a straightforward 2-0 win over Al Ahly, with Robert Lewandowski getting both goals.

The German and European champions were not at their spectacular best but looked comfortable throughout, doing enough to earn a shot at lifting the trophy for a second time.

Bayern dominated the first half almost from start to finish but could only take a 1-0 lead into the break, Lewandowski getting his 28th goal of the season, and Al Ahly appeared encouraged after half-time.

However, the Egyptians did not have the quality to cause Bayern any sustained worries and Lewandowski sealed the win late on, with Hansi Flick taking his team to another final as he looks to make it six titles won in just 68 matches at the helm when they meet Tigres of Mexico in the showpiece.

It did not take Bayern long to establish control, as Serge Gnabry received Kinglsey Coman's cross and showed great awareness to calmly tee up Lewandowski for a simple finish in the 17th minute.

Further Bayern chances came thick and fast for the remainder of the first half, but the Germans were wasteful – Marc Roca shot wide and then also straight at Mohamed El-Shenawy in a two-minute spell, before Alphonso Davies dragged a right-footed effort past the left-hand post just before the break.

But Lewandowski was the surprising culprit a few moments prior to Davies' chance, as the Best FIFA Men's Player award winner lifted a chipped effort over the goal from inside the box after a clever release from Joshua Kimmich.

Ah Ahly looked a little more dangerous during the early stages of the second half, though Bayern were still unfortunate not to increase their lead when Thomas Muller agonisingly failed to reach David Alaba's across-goal header.

Bayern began to up the pressure again towards the end, with Ayman Ashraf almost slicing a cross into his own net, before Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting headed at El-Shenawy and Corentin Tolisso shot just over from distance.

Although an equaliser looked unlikely, Bayern made sure of the win five minutes from time as Leroy Sane dug out a cross from the right and Lewandowski was on hand for the simplest of headers.
 

 

Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich reign went from 0-60 at break-neck speed, as within 11 months of being appointing as caretaker boss, he'd essentially won everything.

It was the kind of impact that makes managers club legends, his influence all the more notable given the how underwhelming performances had been during Niko Kovac's ultimately ill-fated spell at the helm.

All that remains for Flick to win now of course is the Club World Cup, which Bayern will make their return to for the first time since 2013 when they go up against Al Ahly in the semi-finals on Monday.

While Bayern's preparations for the tournament haven't been ideal, given they were only in Bundesliga action on Friday and had their departure significantly delayed, they've arrived in Qatar as clear favourites.

It may well prove a welcome distraction for the time being, with talk over Flick's future beginning to become a minor irritant for all involved.

While the outcome of their efforts in this tournament won't directly lead to Flick leaving, failure will surely see the issue thrust into the spotlight.

An ally's departure

It seems astonishing that there is even a hint of doubt regarding Flick's future at Bayern given the trophies he's won and the swift implementation of a vibrant brand of football.

But with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the club's chairman, set to vacate his position at the end of the season, reports in Germany suggest Flick will lose his closest ally in the hierarchy.

Additionally, Rummenigge's incoming replacement – Oliver Kahn – is not someone Flick is said to be particularly close with, while his relationship with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has been called into question.

Flick eased links with the Germany job last week when he insisted he wouldn't leave Bayern "for that", but considering his strong impact on Bayern in a short period of time, the German Football Federation won't be the only interested party if the 55-year-old decides to move later this year.

Clashing over signings

Much of the speculation relating to Flick's supposedly poor relationship with those above him is centred on Salihamidzic, the man in charge of the signings. Even if the rumours are wide of the mark, it's easy to see why there might be disagreements.

None of Bayern's pre-season signings can claim to have tied down a regular place in the starting XI this season, not even Leroy Sane, who has made just nine Bundesliga starts.

Marc Roca and Bouna Sarr have played just six times between them, Douglas Costa has started three league games and Alexander Nubel – perhaps unsurprisingly – hasn't ousted Manuel Neuer between the posts.

But it goes back further than that. Lucas Hernandez, an €80million purchase in 2019, is still not a regular pick in defence (10 starts this season) despite such a significant outlay.

In the case of Sane, he is proving to be less effective as a creative outlet than all of his fellow wingers in the Bayern squad, with his 1.6 chances created per 90 minutes fewer than Costa (1.7), Serge Gnabry (1.9) and Kingsley Coman (2.4).

If Rummenigge's departure leaves Flick without significant backing higher up, perhaps he'll opt to jump before he's pushed.

The distraction

Regardless of what happens in Qatar, or in the remaining months of the season for that matter, Flick will have a CV unlike many other managers in the game should he take the opportunity to follow Rummenigge out of the door.

They enjoyed a clean sweep last season with their Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble, before adding UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup at the start of 2020-21.

The Club World Cup is the only one that remains, and if they manage to lift the trophy it will be Flick's sixth title in 68 champions – that's one every 11 matches on average.

It's hardly make or break, with this competition arguably inconsequential when it comes to Bayern's major targets at the start of the season.

But from Flick's perspective, the opportunity to complete the set is one he won't want to pass up.

Bayern Munich's preparations for their Club World Cup campaign may not have been ideal but head coach Hansi Flick will not use a seven-hour travel delay as an excuse against Al Ahly. 

Bayern boarded a plane for Doha immediately after Friday's 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin but did not depart until the following morning after their clearance for take-off was denied. 

The European champions eventually left for the Middle East on Saturday morning and were unable to train when arriving at their destination. 

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hit out at the local authorities in Berlin for "mucking about" ahead of Monday's semi-final against Al Ahly. 

However, Flick's squad were able to train on the eve of the game and the Bayern boss is ready for the showdown with the reigning CAF Champions League holders. 

"It's not the best preparation, without question," he said at a news conference on Sunday. "Ultimately, the decisive factor is we arrived safely and won't allow any excuses.  

"Of course, it would have been better if we could have arrived sooner. But this morning we did what was planned for yesterday.  

"This afternoon we will have the final training session and will prepare the team for tomorrow's game.

"We will go through the same process as every game. We have an analysis department that prepares information on each opponent for us. 

"The coaches then do the final preparations. We know that they are very offensive with their full-backs and have an impressive coach, whose approach I like very much." 

Bayern are seeking to win the Club World Cup for a second time, having last prevailed in 2013 when beating Raja Casablanca in the final. 

They secured a domestic treble last season and lifted the DFL-Supercup and UEFA Super Cup earlier in this campaign, but Flick insists his players are still hungry to win more trophies. 

"In football, you set goals and then you move on," he said. "We have won five titles and yet you can tell that the team and the coaching team want to take the next step.  

"Success is a process, everyone is involved. We have a very good mentality in the team. They handled the journey very professionally and want to tackle the next goal. 

"We really wanted to play the tournament and it is also our goal to win this tournament. We know that it is associated with a certain burden.  

"But we want to be motivated and it is a big goal to crown the outstanding season with the sixth title. Our goal is to become the best team in the world. 

"The journey yesterday is a thing of the past, we were ready in time. It wasn't nice, but we are looking ahead.  

"The team should use all their strength today so that we can win the semi-final tomorrow move into the final." 

Bayern made the trip to Doha without midfield pair Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez, who both recently tested positive for coronavirus. 

Opponents Al Ahly knocked out Al Duhail to advance to the semi-finals.

David Alaba could well be on his way out at Bayern Munich but Michael Ballack does not believe Dayot Upamecano is ready to replace him.

Versatile defender Alaba will be out of contract at the Allianz Arena at the end of June and has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Bayern have been tipped to bring in Upamecano should the Austria international opt to leave, with the RB Leipzig centre-back reportedly available for €42million.

Prior to Saturday's Bundesliga games, Upamecano had been involved in more clean sheets (seven to four) and made more tackles (22 to 14), recoveries (149 to 110), blocks (11 to nine) and clearances (41 to 38) than Alaba in the top flight this season.

While he has contested significantly more duels than Alaba (134 to 79) their success rate is similar, with the Bayern defender having the slight edge at 55.7 compared to 54.5.

Ballack acknowledges Upamecano's physicality would be useful and thinks he could improve at Bayern, but he does not see him as someone capable of immediately filling the void Alaba would leave.

"He is a completely different kind of player to David Alaba, who had a substantial part in building this new era of Bayern. He was a flagship for them, after all he was a product of their youth system and played there from a very young age," Ballack told Stats Perform News.

"He is now at an age where he wants to try out something different. You have to respect that and accept it as well. Of course, you can talk about the reasons, but this is the way it is.

"He is a very versatile player who lately played as a centre-back. He fulfilled this role completely. He can also play in the midfield and is therefore an all-round player who is hard to replace for Bayern due to his character and standing within the team. If Bayern will lose him, then it will be a significant loss for them.

"Upamecano is a player on their wish list. I heavily doubt whether he is ready for the role at Bayern. He is still very young and has outstanding moments, primarily due to his physicality.

"I'm very, very certain that he will improve a lot at Bayern. When you play together with high-class players, then you will improve automatically even in training.

"If it comes to an agreement, then this will be expected from Bayern. In terms of physicality, he brings in enough qualities to be of value."

Upamecano has shown he is good with his feet, starting on average 14.6 open play sequences per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga this season prior to kick-off in Leipzig's match against Schalke; that compares to 11.3 for Alaba.

He also ranks closely to Alaba (54.1) in terms of open play build up involvements with 53.6 per 90 minutes, suggesting he could fit in quite nicely with Bayern's style of play.

Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez were not part of the Bayern Munich squad that departed for the Club World Cup on Friday.

Bayern caught a flight to Qatar after their 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin, which was secured by a deflected first-half strike from Kingsley Coman.

Hansi Flick's side kept a clean sheet thanks to Manuel Neuer's seven saves but they looked vulnerable on the counterattack with Joshua Kimmich anchoring the midfield alone at the Olympiastadion.

Goretzka and Martinez were absent following positive coronavirus tests and they did not travel to Doha with their team-mates.

"We have to look from day to day how things are going for both of them," Flick said.

"Leon is looking a little better, Javi will probably not make it. If not for the first game, then maybe for the second."

Bayern take on Al Ahly on Monday and will contest either the third-place play-off or the final against Palmeiras or Tigres UANL three days later.

The European champions left Germany after opening a 10-point advantage at the Bundesliga summit, though a missed penalty from Robert Lewandowski in the first half against Hertha meant the match was tighter than expected.

"You could tell it would be fiercely contested. Pal Dardai's team fight for every square centimetre," Thomas Muller, who set up Coman to become the first player to reach double figures for goals and assists in the Bundesliga this season, told DAZN.

"We should definitely have scored one or two more goals, so it was a close run thing in the end.

"You can't celebrate in every game. What is striking is that the clean sheet is becoming more and more common."

Kingsley Coman's deflected goal gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin in their final Bundesliga outing before the Club World Cup.

Amid heavy snowfall at the Olympiastadion, Coman scored in the 21st minute after the returning Rune Jarstein – making his first league appearance since June – became just the second Bundesliga goalkeeper to save a penalty from Robert Lewandowski.

Dodi Lukebakio and Krzysztof Piatek had chances for Hertha in Pal Dardai's first home game since taking over as head coach for a second time but Bayern held on for the win.

Hansi Flick's side consequently opened up a 10-point lead at the summit over RB Leipzig, who face bottom side Schalke on Saturday.

Manuel Neuer did well to keep out Lukebakio and Jarstein matched him by denying Leroy Sane, but he tripped the former Manchester City winger to concede an early penalty.

Lewandowski was unable to score from the spot, though, as his run of 16 straight converted penalties in all competitions ended with a redeeming moment for Jarstein.

However, there was nothing the Hertha keeper could do when Coman's shot from just outside the box deflected off Niklas Stark and looped into the back of the net.

Lewandowski was denied by Jarstein before World Cup winner Sami Khedira came off the bench to make his Hertha debut.

Matheus Cunha had a chance to snatch a point for the hosts when he was released by Matteo Guendouzi in the 89th minute but his dink over Neuer drifted just wide.


What does it mean? Bayern show vulnerability

With Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka absent following positive COVID-19 tests, Joshua Kimmich anchored the midfield alone behind a quartet of Coman, Sane, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry while Corentin Tolisso, Marc Roca and Jamal Musiala sat on the bench.

Unsurprisingly that left Flick's side vulnerable on the counter-attack and Neuer was forced to make five saves in the first half of a Bundesliga game for just the second time in his Bayern career.

Hertha were unable to take their chances and Flick will likely have his experienced options available again when they return to Bundesliga duty against Arminia Bielefeld a week on Monday.

No beating Neuer

Things could have been very different had Neuer not got a foot to Lukebakio's third-minute effort. The Germany international made seven saves in total to record his 16th Bundesliga clean sheet against Hertha – a record for any goalkeeper against one particular opponent, having surpassed Oliver Reck's 15 against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Lewandowski runs end

After scoring in nine successive Bundesliga matchdays, Lewandowski failed to find the back of the net against Hertha despite taking a penalty. He was also unable to extend his record run of scoring in eight consecutive top-flight away matches.

What's next?

Bayern go from the snow of Berlin to the sun of Qatar with a Club World Cup semi-final meeting with Al Ahly on Monday. Hertha will look to end their six-game winless run at Stuttgart on Saturday week.

Bayern Munich will face Al Ahly in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup after the African champions knocked out home favourites Al Duhail on Thursday. 

The clash at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan was settled by a fine strike from Hussein El Shahat 30 minutes in, the winger finding the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box after Bassam Hisham had lost possession. 

Walter Bwalya, who forced the defensive error, tucked away a composed finish but saw the goal disallowed for offside following a VAR review. 

Qatari champions Al Duhail improved after the break, but Pitso Mosimane's men were relatively comfortable as they saw out the 1-0 victory. 

Al Ahly will meet Bayern on Monday as the European champions bid to win the tournament for the second time. 

The other semi-final will see Copa Libertadores holders Palmeiras face Tigres, who defeated Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 in the earlier game. 

The K League 1 side, who won their second AFC Champions League in 2020, went ahead through Kim Kee-hee's 24th-minute header. 

Andre-Pierre Gignac equalised from close range and Tigres' all-time leading goalscorer made it 2-1 from the penalty spot just before half-time. 

The CONCACAF champions will be back in action against Palmeiras on Monday.

Bayern Munich are still waiting on Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez to return negative coronavirus tests so they can resume first-team duties.

The midfield duo are set to be absent once again for Friday's Bundesliga match at Hertha Berlin after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference, head coach Hansi Flick confirmed Martinez's spell of self-isolation is set to end on Wednesday, with Goretzka having to wait until Friday.

After the Hertha game, European champions Bayern will fly to Qatar to commence their Club World Cup campaign.

"With Javi and Leon it is the case that we do a test after the quarantine, I can't comment on that because I don't have the results," he said.

"Javi has to take the test and then it will be determined if he still has the virus in his body. We have to wait from day to day.

"We also know with Leon that it takes a few days longer. He also has to be tested, everything will depend on that."

With or without Goretzka and Martinez, Flick conceded the Club World Cup will place an additional strain upon Bayern within an already condensed schedule.

"Qatar is very stressful, we have the flight and the games on Mondays and Thursdays. It was clear to us that we would not have time for proper training," he said.

"The team, coaching team and club want to win the next title, we all know that it is not easy.

"In addition to getting some vitamin D [sunshine], it is also a change from everyday life, even if the journey is dangerous.

"We want the sixth title in a year, the team would make history."

Flick had some words of encouragement for Niklas Sule, the defender who has only started two of Bayern's past six Bundesliga matches and was recently linked with a move to Chelsea.

"Niklas is an absolute option, whether in the centre or full-back position," he said of the Germany international, who suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament last season.

"He did well at Schalke [last month's 4-0 win where Sule played at right-back]. Don't forget that he had a long injury.

"Niklas is a fast player who is serene on the ball and helps shape the game from behind. Given his size, he has absolute strength and I'm glad he's on our team.

"We will see how everything develops and how he sees his future. I am satisfied with his development, you can rely on him."

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed Premier League champions Liverpool and Chelsea are battling the Bundesliga holders to sign RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano.

Upamecano is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, with Rummenigge previously stating Bayern's interest in the France international centre-back as David Alaba prepares to leave Munich on a free transfer at season's end.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with moves for the 22-year-old, who has a release clause.

With Bayern determined to bolster their defence, Rummenigge said the German powerhouse are facing serious competition from England for Upamecano.

"In addition to Bayern Munchen, there are at least two quite attractive clubs interested," Rummenigge told Sky in Germany.

"The fact is that the player is interesting, and the fact is that we will almost certainly lose David Alaba at his position. I can't say if there will be other departures at the position," Rummenigge told Sky.

"You have to let things grow in peace. We have a good relationship with Mr. Struth. The player will know what he wants at some point. We have a good relationship with RB Leipzig as well. I have had a conversation with Oliver Mintzlaff. When things become concrete, we'll talk again.

"The fact that Chelsea and Liverpool are also interested in him proves that he has very good qualities. He can replace David Alaba."

Bayern's interest comes as Alaba looks set to swap the Bundesliga champions for LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

Barcelona have also emerged as a possible destination for the 28-year-old, but Rummenigge hinted at a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

"I am 99.9 per cent sure Alaba will leave the club at the end of this season," Rummenigge added. "We will part in a friendly way and I hope he can say goodbye to us with more titles.

"He is fully committed to us and he is a nice guy that we all like. He deserves to be treated well until his last day at Bayern.

"David can sign for the club he wants. I do not know if he will arrive at an agreement with Real Madrid, but it is a great club and I can understand that it is interesting for him."

Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and made another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

The defending champions nosed, briefly at least, 10 points ahead of RB Leipzig as they aim to secure a ninth successive title.

Hoffenheim offered plenty of threat and Ihlas Bebou should have done better with two gilt-edged chances, with his profligacy punished by Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller.

Bebo atoned by teeing up Andrej Kramaric to volley in his first away league goal at Bayern on the stroke of half-time, but quickfire strikes from Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry ensured a fourth straight Bundesliga win for Hansi Flick's team.

Hoffenheim stunned Bayern 4-1 early in the campaign and Bebou could have put them ahead in the opening stages on Saturday, but Manuel Neuer came to the hosts' rescue.

Though Muller hit the crossbar at the other end, it was Hoffenheim who should have taken the lead – Bebou heading wide from close range – and he was made to pay in the 32nd minute when Boateng headed in Joshua Kimmich's outswinging corner.

Bayern seemed to be heading into half-time with a two-goal cushion when Muller's rather scuffed effort at the culmination of Lewandowski's mazy run found its way into the bottom-right corner, yet Hoffenheim struck back 74 seconds later when Kramajic steered Bebou's cross beyond Neuer.

Unperturbed by conceding, Bayern were straight back on the front foot after the restart and their third goal came shortly before the hour, with Lewandowski on hand to capitalise on poor defending.

Kingsley Coman's cross had caused havoc in the build-up to Lewandowski's 24th league goal of 2020-21 and the Frenchman turned provider again six minutes later as he slipped in Gnabry to wrap up the points.

Benjamin Pavard thought he had added further gloss with a sensational strike from 20 yards out, only for VAR to disallow it due to Leroy Sane drifting offside, with Neuer pulling off an exceptional save to deny Pavel Kaderabek a late consolation.


What does it mean? Bayern looking ominous

With RB Leipzig featuring in Saturday's late Bundesliga game, Bayern could enjoy, however briefly, the feeling of being 10 points clear.

Despite some defensive lapses proving costly this season, Bayern simply have far too much going forward for the rest of the league to handle. They have already scored 57 goals across their 19 Bundesliga games, and they have never let such a big lead slip in the second half of a season since the introduction of three points per win.

Muller and Lewy lead the way

Lewandowski is still Bayern’s talisman, but he is being superbly supported by Muller, whose resurgence under Flick has been a joy to behold.

Poland star Lewandowski toyed with Hoffenheim's defence before laying it off to Muller to drag in Bayern's second. Muller has now hit 10 goals in the league this season, his best tally since the 2015-16 season (20).

Bebou shows his best and worst

Bayern struggled to cope with Bebou's pace and power in the early exchanges, but the Hoffenheim forward really should have done better with his chances – the two attempts he managed.

On the other hand, Sebastian Hoeness will take the positives from the 26-year-old creating a joint team-high three opportunities, including his superb assist for Kramaric's volley.

What's next?

Bayern travel to Hertha on Friday, while Hoffenheim host Eintracht Frankfurt two days later.

Robert Lewandowski scored one goal and made another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

The defending champions nosed, briefly at least, 10 points ahead of RB Leipzig as they aim to secure a ninth successive title.

Hoffenheim offered plenty of threat and Ihlas Bebou should have done better with two gilt-edged chances, with his profligacy punished by Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller.

Bebo atoned by teeing up Andrej Kramaric to volley in his first away league goal at Bayern on the stroke of half-time, but quickfire strikes from Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry ensured a fourth straight Bundesliga win for Hansi Flick's team.

Hoffenheim stunned Bayern 4-1 early in the campaign and Bebou could have put them ahead in the opening stages on Saturday, but Manuel Neuer came to the hosts' rescue.

Though Muller hit the crossbar at the other end, it was Hoffenheim who should have taken the lead – Bebou heading wide from close range – and he was made to pay in the 32nd minute when Boateng headed in Joshua Kimmich's outswinging corner.

Bayern seemed to be heading into half-time with a two-goal cushion when Muller's rather scuffed effort at the culmination of Lewandowski's mazy run found its way into the bottom-right corner, yet Hoffenheim struck back 74 seconds later when Kramajic steered Bebou's cross beyond Neuer.

Unperturbed by conceding, Bayern were straight back on the front foot after the restart and their third goal came shortly before the hour, with Lewandowski on hand to capitalise on poor defending.

Kingsley Coman's cross had caused havoc in the build-up to Lewandowski's 24th league goal of 2020-21 and the Frenchman turned provider again six minutes later as he slipped in Gnabry to wrap up the points.

Benjamin Pavard thought he had added further gloss with a sensational strike from 20 yards out, only for VAR to disallow it due to Leroy Sane drifting offside, with Neuer pulling off an exceptional save to deny Pavel Kaderabek a late consolation.

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