Borussia Dortmund boss Marco Rose has welcomed Gareth Southgate's decision to leave Jude Bellingham out of England's latest squad.

Teenage midfielder Bellingham was a surprise omission from Southgate's 23-man group on Thursday after impressing for Dortmund in his second campaign at the club.

Southgate explained he left out the 18-year-old due to fears of burnout, with Manchester United's Mason Greenwood overlooked for the same reason.

Bellingham's 802 minutes of playing time this term is the most of any England-qualified player in Europe's top five leagues when taking all competitions into account.

Since making his Dortmund debut on September 14 last year, the Birmingham City academy product has played 56 matches, 43 of those coming from the start.

Rose is therefore grateful that the youngster will be given a chance to rest up.

"I think it's a good decision," Rose said at a news conference on Friday previewing his side's Bundesliga clash with Augsburg. "The reason is obvious to me.

"In spite of his capabilities, he is an 18-year-old and has very little rest. We have to take care of the boys and not burn them out. That's why I welcome the decision."

 

Bellingham's team-mate Erling Haaland will play no part in Saturday's visit of Augsburg as he continues to recover from a thigh injury that has ruled him out of the last two games.

Haaland has been named in Norway's squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Montenegro, but Rose revealed the striker will not link up with his national side.

"We're going to keep him here for the time being and make the best possible use of the time," Rose said.

"He's asked every day when he can return, so the rest will do him good. He's going to stay here for the time being."

The loss of Haaland for another game will be a major blow for Dortmund, as he has scored 68 goals in 67 games since making his debut in January 2020.

Only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, with 86 goals in 71 games in all competitions, has scored more times during that period among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Dortmund have won their past three Bundesliga home matches against Augsburg, with their only defeat in the last 10 meetings coming in February 2015. 

After another busy off-season at Bayer Leverkusen, many would have tipped a slow start with a new face in the dugout.

With Peter Bosz relieved of his duties, Simon Rolfes and Leverkusen turned to Gerardo Seoane on the back of three consecutive Swiss Super League titles at the helm of Young Boys.

Star winger Leon Bailey also headlined the departures at BayArena, a year on from Kai Havertz's big-money move to Chelsea. Factor in major international tournaments prior to the 2021-22 campaign – Euro 2020, the Copa America and the Olympic Games – and it made for a challenging pre-season.

But Leverkusen have hit the ground running in the Bundesliga – a 4-0 rout of Borussia Monchengladbach and wins over Augsburg (4-1), Stuttgart (3-1) and Mainz (1-0) helping Die Werkself to second place through six games, three points behind leaders and champions Bayern Munich.

Leverkusen sporting director Rolfes told Stats Perform: "We're happy with the start of the season because it was a difficult summer for us but also the other teams who have a lot of international players. This summer with the Copa America, Euros, Olympic Games... there were a lot of players from us involved. A player from us won the Copa America and Olympics, so only the Euros we missed.

"That's why the pre-season was really difficult. The players step in, week by week, and I think one week before the start of the season, we had our final squad together. The transfer market due to coronavirus was also very different and late. That's why I'm very happy. We had good opponents."

"We were not happy with the last season," said Rolfes, whose Leverkusen finished sixth in 2020-21 while losing in the DFB-Pokal last 16 and Europa League round of 32. "A very good start but the end was difficult. We reached international competition okay, but we are ambitious and want more this season. You can imagine the Champions League is a big goal but also the DFB-Pokal and Europa League to go further.

"What's very important for our club is development. One thing is performance and also the result at the end of the season, but development is very important. Develop the players, make them better. Then we have the chance to also perform today in the best way. We have a lot of young players – we want to develop them to their best level. That's also good for the performance today."

 

Seoane's 13 points after six Bundesliga matches represent the best record of any Leverkusen head coach since Sami Hyypia (15) in 2013. For the North Rhine-Westphalia outfit, it is their best start to a top-flight season since 2019-20 (also 13), while they have only scored more goals after six matches in 2008-09 (18) than in the current campaign (16).

Leverkusen have exceeded their expected goals (xG) tally by almost eight goals this Bundesliga campaign – 7.7 (16 goals at 8.3 xG), a league best.

"One important point is football knowledge," Rolfes replied when asked what attracted Leverkusen to 42-year-old Swiss coach Seoane. "Also the leadership, that's very interesting. The leadership of the group as a head coach is very important. If you're in training, the assistant coaches can do things. If you don't feel so comfortable or don't have so many qualities, you can find the right team.

"The leadership as a head coach, you must have. That's a big strength, besides the football knowledge he has. He speaks six different languages – very good for an international squad to speak with the players in their language. That helps a lot to get the right connection to take them on their way and development."

Under Seoane, Leverkusen play a more patient brand of football, allowing their opposition more time on the ball in the Bundesliga rather than consistently pressing high up the field.

Through the first six games last season, Leverkusen allowed 11.1 passes per defensive action, compared to 12.2 with Seoane in charge, as Leverkusen look to instead create counter-attacks from deeper positions – their averaging starting distance at 38.6 metres from their own goal, compared to 42.2m previously. Their 17 direct attacks this term dwarf last year's six at the same stage.

Leverkusen recorded 8.7 high turnovers per match through six rounds last season, compared to 5.3 this time around, but they have scored four goals from such situations already in the Bundesliga – at least twice as many as any other side and more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues in 2021-22. They actually had fewer goals (three) from high turnovers after six games last time out, proving more ruthless this term.

Still, Leverkusen's philosophy remains the same, despite a new coach and altered approach, and it will continue to be the case with Seoane and beyond under Rolfes.

"We choose players, signing as a club," Rolfes said as he discussed the need to adopt a clear vision, instead of changing philosophy with every coach. "We sign the players for a specific style to get the most out of the squad, the player and to develop them in the best way. If you play in the totally other direction than you want to develop the players, you will not succeed. That's important to have a clear vision as a club. How you want to play and then choose the right coach in the best case.

"Every head coach of a pro team has their specific style. That's not the problem, but the main direction has to be clear. That's my task at the end to choose the right coach for the main direction. And then, the individual approach or quality of the coach, it's important you get something fresh in the club, team. The main direction is important and the club has to define the vision."

Leverkusen are one of Germany's biggest clubs, but not since the 1993 DFB-Pokal have they celebrated silverware.

They have come close on numerous occasions in the Bundesliga – runners-up in 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2001-02 and 2010-11 – while they also reached the 2001-02 Champions League final, succumbing to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane's iconic volley in Glasgow. There were Pokal final appearances in 2001-02, 2008-09 and 2019-20, too.

But an exciting and entertaining Leverkusen, even in the post-Havertz era, are on the right track amid Bayern's domestic and European dominance.

And that is thanks to teenage sensation Florian Wirtz.

The 18-year-old prodigy has continued to shine, filling the huge void left by countryman Havertz, amid rave reviews from across Europe.

Wirtz, who was prised from boyhood club Cologne last year, is the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 10 goals.

Leverkusen's Wirtz has already been directly involved in eight Bundesliga goals (four goals, four assists) in 292 minutes across the first six matchdays in 2021-22. Only Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has had more direct goal involvements this term than the teenager.

Since Opta's detailed data collection began in 2004-05, only Patrick Helmes in 2008-09 and Stefan Kiessling in 2013-14 had previously registered as many direct goal involvements for Leverkusen after the first six matches to a Bundesliga season

Setting the standard across Europe, the new face of Leverkusen averages 37 minutes per goal involvement, which ranks best among players in the top five leagues (minimum 100 minutes played), ahead of Madrid superstar Karim Benzema (41 minutes). The 34-year-old Frenchman is the only one of those players to have exceeded his xG by a larger margin (4.8) than Wirtz (3.2) this season.

Already capped three times at international level, Wirtz has scored in four straight games, including Leverkusen's Europa League win against Ferencvaros on matchday one.

 

As Wirtz soars to new heights, Leverkusen are reaping the rewards of a unified philosophy and their faith in the midfielder.

"I think it's a real good example of how the club is working and how the club is thinking," Rolfes, who made almost 400 appearances for Leverkusen between 2005 and 2015, said. "The situation with Kai and Florian. Florian was here or came in the winter [of 2020] and made eight appearances after the lockdown with the first team. Then at the end of the [2019-20] season, Kai went to Chelsea.

"For sure, we got a lot of money for Kai, but we decided to focus on Florian Wirtz for the number 10 position. We don't sign any player as a replacement for Kai. For sure, we had some money to spend on an experienced player in the number 10 position, but we didn't do that. We said okay, the young guy will be the future and has the potential to replace or play very good in that position. We have him already in the club, so we trust him and try to develop him. That's why we sign players in other positions, where we needed improvement.

"That was a big sign for the player and for the chance you have as a young player in Leverkusen. If you have the ambition and quality, we count on you and give you the chance to develop. With development, there is also performance. That's why it's a great story for Florian but also for us as a club."

Wirtz's exploits have not gone unnoticed, however, with Bayern reportedly trying to sign the Germany international, while the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have also been linked.

But Leverkusen have no plans to sell as Rolfes – who first watched Wirtz as a 13-year-old – added: "He has a long contract until 2026. We do not have to sell players early. We want to develop him, develop our team and club with him.

"So, there are rumours, okay. You cannot avoid that, but it's not our goal to sell him. The players at one time or point in their career make the next step to world-class level, that's okay for us, but not too early. He is a really young player. That was also with Kai – he was also extraordinary and some years with us and then maybe there's the next step. But not too early.

In February, Leverkusen extended their partnership with Stats Perform for the use of Edge Analysis – the most sophisticated football match preparation tool available.

Powered by tracking and event data, Edge Analysis applies unique AI models to unlock objective, dynamic and predictive insights to enhance pre and post-match analysis processes, delivering unique performance insights on all upcoming opponents. The platform uses over 100 AI-driven KPIs to deliver eight unique patented AI models, delivering objective insights within seconds, all linked to video.

"Data/sport technology is very important for us because I think there's huge potential in the future," Rolfes said of the deal. "Data will be better and better because the cameras/GPS tracking provides more precise data.

"We have now not only data in the computer and no one has the time to analyse it, we have the tools with AI, and find the right KPIs for you. That's very important for the match preparation and for the scouting process to be fast, really precise. That's why we invest in that topic here. That's through partnership and investing in our staff to get knowledge, to develop because, at the moment, we are only at the beginning. That's why you have to invest, to be a pioneer or leader in that topic."

Manchester United are in the market for a midfielder. 

With a long-rumoured target looking unlikely, United are shifting their gaze from one England midfielder to another. 

Could they prise another up-and-coming star from Leeds United? 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SHIFT SIGHTS TO PHILLIPS

Kalvin Phillips is Manchester United's latest target in an effort to shore up the midfield, the Daily Star reports. 

The Leeds star has gained favour at Old Trafford as United have given up hopes of adding West Ham's Declan Rice thanks to his reported £90million price tag.

Phillips, 25, is under contract at Elland Road through 2024 and reportedly is valued at £60m. 

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are still in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt and are prepared to offer Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Memphis Depay to Juventus in a deal for the Netherlands defender, who is valued at €75m, according to Calciomercato.

– Franck Kessie has turned down Milan's latest contract offer and is eyeing a move to the Premier League, 90min reports, with United and Liverpool said to be interested. 

– Juan Mata is considering a move away from Old Trafford in January due to a lack of playing time this season, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

– Everton are considering loan deals with Real Madrid for Isco and Luka Jovic, claims Defensa Central.

– West Brom teen Reyes Cleary is drawing attention from Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim, says the Daily Mail. 

– Steven Nzonzi is nearing a move from Roma to Al Rayyan, Calciomercato reports. 

Is the end nigh for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford?
 
Wan-Bisakka joined Manchester United in a big-money deal in 2019 but the Red Devils are reportedly ready to replace the Englishman.
 
A talented RB Leipzig defender could be the team's next right-back.

 

TOP STORY – NEW RIGHT-BACK SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are eyeing RB Leipzig right-back Nordi Mukiele, according Fichajes.net.

United are reportedly keen to sign a replacement after losing patience with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be interested in Leipzig's 23-year-old star Mukiele.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Milan and Juventus are interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi. The 18-year-old has also been linked with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Inter are willing to let Alexis Sanchez leave the Serie A champions, reports Calciomercato. Marseille, Real Betis and Sevilla are among the possible options for the 32-year-old Chilean.

Tottenham are weighing up a move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins, per Fichajes. It comes amid continued uncertainty over Spurs star Harry Kane, who has been linked with Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as well as United.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down, despite his advancing years.

But the evergreen 36-year-old is still planning for life once he decides to call it quits.

A coaching career in Manchester is believed to be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO DOESN'T WANT TO LEAVE OLD TRAFFORD

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to stay at Manchester United beyond his retirement, according to The Sun.

Ronaldo is back at United for a second spell after re-joining from Juventus before the transfer window closed, having left Old Trafford in 2009.

The 36-year-old, however, is already planning for life after football as he eyes a coaching role with United's youth team in order to work with his son Cristiano Jr.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are interested in Juventus star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund.

- Chelsea are preparing to make a big-money move for Juve centre-back Matthijs de Ligt after missing out on Sevilla star Jules Kounde, reports Diario AS.

- The Daily Mail says Arsenal and Tottenham are eyeing a January loan move for Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho.

- Staying in London and the Mirror claims Tottenham are considering an approach for Juve's Dejan Kulusevski.

Atletico Madrid are hoping to sign Fabian Ruiz from Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Determined to prise the Spain international, LaLiga champions Atletico could use Marcos Llorente as part of the deal. Fabian has also been linked with Real Madrid and Barca.

- Per Corriere della Serra, United, Chelsea and Juve are among the heavyweight clubs plotting a move for disgruntled Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has found himself on the bench since joining on a free transfer.

 

Manuel Neuer was full of praise for Thomas Muller and his "weird" celebrations after the Bayern Munich forward got a milestone goal in the 3-1 win at Greuther Furth.

Robert Lewandowski's long goalscoring streak ended at 15 consecutive Bundesliga games – one short of Gerd Muller's record – but the champions moved three points clear of Wolfsburg.

That is now 40 goals in their past eight matches for ruthless Bayern, who led 2-0 courtesy of great finishes from Muller and Kimmich at half-time.

Benjamin Pavard was given his marching orders for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak early in the second half, but a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal extended their lead.

Cedric Itten's header in the closing stages was too little, too late for bottom side Furth in the Bavarian derby at Sportpark Ronhof on Friday.

Muller, who also scored the opener in recent victories over Barcelona and Hertha Berlin, is now on 218 goals for Bayern, one more than Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Neuer was delighted for his long-time team-mate, although he joked the forward could be summoned to a meeting with the former Bayern CEO after taking his place in the all-time list.

"He doesn't get tired and has been around for a long time," Neuer said, as per Bayern's website.

"I've accompanied him for long stretches of this time, and I'm always happy about every one of Thomas' goals and celebrations, which sometimes look a bit weird with him.

"I'm especially happy for him personally, because we've been playing together for a long time, but I think he'll have to report to Kalle [Rummenigge] today."

Bayern, who next face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday, have started the season with eight consecutive victories under coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Neuer himself added: "It looks quite good. We scored three goals and showed a good attitude. In the first half, we didn't make enough of it when we had space. We wasted a lot of chances. That's annoying.

"Despite being a man down, we made it 3-0, which gives you a good feeling. Then we got in between the lines better, but sometimes we were too sloppy.

"It's nitpicking really, but we can still play more flowing football. We're happy with how it's going, but we always have to take the next step and improve."

Anthony Martial has reportedly been permitted to explore his options by Manchester United.

Martial has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford since Cristiano Ronaldo's return.

France international Martial scored four league goals for United last term, after netting 17 times in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND PLOTS MARTIAL MOVE

Borussia Dortmund are bracing for Erling Haaland's departure by plotting a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, claims 90Min.

Haaland, who has a release clause in his contract that activates in mid-2022, is being chased by a host of top clubs, including Premier League champions Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Liverpool and United.

Martial is still contracted to the Red Devils until 2024, having penned a five-year deal in January 2019, amid reported interest from Barca, Tottenham and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Window podcast claims City owner Sheikh Mansour wants to hijack Madrid's bid for PSG star Kylian Mbappe and sign him "at any cost". Mbappe has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

- Barcelona are looking at Reims' Spanish head coach Oscar Garcia as a replacement for under-pressure boss Ronald Koeman, per RMC Sport.

- Madrid midfielder Isco has held numerous rounds of negotiations with Serie A challengers Milan about a move to Italy, according to Todo Fichajes.

Barca are considering a move for Porto's Colombia international forward Luis Diaz next off-season, claims El Nacional.

- Diario AS says Theo Hernandez is ready to commit his long-term future to Milan amid interest from PSG and City.

Joshua Kimmich warned "hungry" Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich still have room for improvement after they beat Greuther Furth 3-1 despite Benjamin Pavard's red card.

Robert Lewandowski's long goalscoring streak ended at 15 consecutive Bundesliga games - one short of Gerd Muller's record - but the champions moved three points clear of Wolfsburg.

That is now 40 goals in their past eight matches for ruthless Bayern, who led 2-0 courtesy of great finishes from Thomas Muller and Kimmich at half-time.

Pavard was given his marching orders for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak early in the second half, but a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal extended their lead.

Cedric Itten's header in the closing stages was too little, too late for bottom side Furth in the Bavarian derby at Sportpark Ronhof on Friday.

Bayern have won eight consecutive matches in a great start to Julian Nagelsmann's reign and midfielder Kimmich says there is more to come.

 

The Germany international told DAZN: "The character of the team is great. We have players who want to develop, who are hungry.

"We want to win every game. We're in good form at the moment, but we haven't been able to manage all of the games this season with confidence. There's room for improvement."

Kimmich, who delivered the free-kick that was turned into his own net by Griesbeck, added: "It wasn't exactly a brilliant performance on our part, but we had the game under control even when we played with 10.

"We made mistakes in the first half, and we kept inviting Furth via set-pieces."

Robert Lewandowski's scoring streak ended and Benjamin Pavard was sent off, but Bayern Munich still cruised to a 3-1 victory over Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga.

In a Bavarian derby battle between top and bottom on Friday, Bayern were in control at half-time following goals from Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich at Sportpark Ronhof.

There was hope for Furth when France full-back Pavard was shown a straight red card early in the second half for a professional foul on Jeremy Dudziak.

The champions remained a class apart from their newly-promoted opponents despite Pavard's dismissal and a Sebastian Griesbeck own goal increased their advantage, with a late Cedric Itten header no more than a consolation for the home side.

Lewandowski was unable to match Gerd Muller's record of scoring in 16 consecutive Bundesliga games, but Julian Nagelsmann's moved three points clear at the summit.

Bayern wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game, with Leon Goretzka's early long-range drive flashing just wide.

The champions were in front in the 10th minute, when Thomas Muller finished clinically with his left foot after Maximilian Bauer could only divert Alphonso Davies's cross into his path.

Furth were unable to live with Bayern and Kimmich doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark with a measured right-footed strike from 25 yards out after Leroy Sane laid the ball back to him.

Lewandowski flicked Kimmich's corner against the crossbar as Bayern dominated, but they were a man down when Pavard was given his marching orders for upending Dudziak three minutes into the second half.

Bayern continued to pose a major threat despite their numerical disadvantage, Sascha Burchert getting down to keep out Lewandowski's first-time shot.

Nagelsmann was shown a yellow card for dissent before Kimmich's free-kick was turned into his own net by Griesbeck, under pressure from Lewandowski.

Itten nodded in Timothy Tillman's inviting cross with a couple of minutes remaining, but the points were in the bag by then for Bayern.

Barcelona need to add some attacking options to their squad, particularly with the Lionel Messi era now over.

Ferran Torres is among those on their wish list. 

Will Manchester City let him go? 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA STILL COVET TORRES

Barcelona are not ready to give up on their pursuit of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, the Sun reports.  

After being rebuffed in a previous overture for the 21-year-old Spain international, Barca are ready to try again next year.  

Torres has done them no favours with his impressive showing for Spain at Euro 2020, plus his in-form start to this season for City. 

 

ROUND-UP

Xavi could be in line to replace Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, Marca reports. The Barca legend is head coach at Al Sadd after finishing his playing career with the Qatari club.  

Liverpool plan to renew their pursuit of West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, the Liverpool Echo reports, after they reportedly bid £20million for him during the previous transfer window.  

Alexandre Lacazette will have no shortage of suitors when the time comes for him to depart Arsenal. Atletico Madrid are interested in the France striker, says Le10 Sport, while West Ham and Crystal Palace may also bid for the 30-year-old, according to 90min. 

Julian Nagelsmann has been impressed by Antonio Rudiger's development under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea but insists he has not yet discussed a move for the centre-back.

The Bundesliga champions are rumoured to be among a number of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, keeping a close eye on the Germany international.

Rudiger is into the final year of his Chelsea contract and will therefore be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January unless fresh terms are agreed.

According to reports that emerged on Thursday, Bayern have already been in contact with Rudiger's agent about an end-of-season switch to the Allianz Arena.

But Nagelsmann was unwilling to discuss his side's supposed interest in Rudiger any further during Thursday's news conference previewing the trip to Greuther Furth.

"I'm not talking about players from other clubs, particularly outside of the transfer window," he said. "But I will speak of him as a football fan: He has developed very well.

"Thomas Tuchel has coached him well. Before he was sidelined at Chelsea but now he is a crucial player. I can't saying anything else.

"Believe it or not, I haven't spoken to Brazzo [sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic] about it yet. Even if I had, I wouldn't give that away. 

"I have to see how long he still has to go on his contract. Then I will see if I have any money in my wallet."

Rudiger's importance to Chelsea since Tuchel took charge on January 26 is reflected in the statistics.

The 28-year-old has helped the Blues to 20 clean sheets in 32 matches in all competitions across that period – the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are next on the list with 15 each, highlighting Chelsea's defensive solidity under Tuchel.

Rudiger has played seven times this season and has won 0.55 tackles per 90 minutes, compared to 0.76 for Niklas Sule, 0.88 for Lucas Hernandez and 1.64 for Dayot Upamecano among Bayern's regular centre-backs.

The German's 73.77 touches per 90 minutes and 56.86 successful passes is also fewer than each of Sule, Hernandez and Upamecano have managed, albeit in different competitions.

Sule and recent acquisition Upamecano have been Bayern's most regular pairing at centre-back this term and may get the nod for Friday's trip to Trolli-Arena. 

Bayern enter the game on a seven-match winning run in all competitions, scoring 37 goals across that spell, and have lost only one of their last 48 league games against promoted opposition.

Nagelsmann has Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala back in contention following recent lay-offs, but he will not take any risks over the fitness of the attacking pair.

"The good news is that Gnabry and Musiala have both been able to return to training, with Hernandez also taking part today," Nagelsmann said.

"Serge and Jamal are both looking good and ready to play. But we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

"Both of their conditions could cause a reaction after training, so we have to wait and see how sensible it is to field them from the start. We also have a Champions League game coming up next week.

"Looking at today's training session alone, I'd say that both players can start tomorrow. But the probability they will both start is very low."

Erling Haaland is the name on everyone's lips.

Europe's elite are reportedly queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund and Norway sensation.

If Haaland leaves Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit have a replacement in mind.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND OUT, CHIESA IN AT BVB?

Borussia Dortmund see Juventus forward Federico Chiesa as a replacement for in-demand star Erling Haaland, according to Calciomercato.

Haaland is tipped to leave Dortmund at the end of the season amid links with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcelona, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

Should Haaland depart, Dortmund are eyeing Juve and Italy star Chiesa, who has previously caught the attention of Chelsea and Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Juve, Inter and Milan are interested in Madrid forward Luka Jovic, who has been linked with a January exit.

- A contract extension for Liverpool's Naby Keita is not as close as previously thought, claims Bild. It comes as Liverpool reportedly eye Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham.

Tottenham will make a January move for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato. The Serbia international forward has also been linked with City, Arsenal, Juve and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski believes he can continue improving with age and does not feel the need to prove himself in another league outside of the Bundesliga.

The Poland international was speaking on Tuesday after collecting the European Golden Shoe award as the continent's top-scoring player in the 2020-21 campaign.

Lewandowski scored an incredible 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games to surpass Gerd Muller's record for the most goals scored in a single German top-flight season.

That was 11 goals more than Lionel Messi managed in his final LaLiga season with Barcelona and 12 more than Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Serie A for then-club Juventus.

Reigning UEFA and FIFA Player of the Year Lewandowski only failed to score in four of his 29 top-flight outings and found the net more than once on 10 occasions.

He has picked up from where he left off last season by scoring 14 goals in 10 appearances for club and country, including a goal in every game Bayern have played.

Indeed, the 33-year-old has now scored in 15 successive Bundesliga games stretching back to last season, one short of another long-standing record held by the late Muller.

The former Borussia Dortmund man was linked with Real Madrid and Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, but he is in no rush to depart the Allianz Arena.

"I don't have to prove myself in another league," he said when collecting his latest award. "I can compete with the best from other leagues in the Champions League.

"I am 100 per cent focused on Bayern Munich. I don't think about anything else but my team."

 

Lewandowski may face competition from rising star Erling Haaland to finish as the Bundesliga's top scorer this term, with the latter having also scored five goals in seven games.

But Bayern's prolific striker has warned Haaland, who has been touted as Lewandowski's successor in Bavaria, that he may not have even reached his peak.

"I am still here – and I will be here for a long time," he said. "Age is just a number. I feel very good and I have the best stats I've ever had. 

"I know that with my body I can play at the top level for years to come. I'm like a good wine and I hope to get even better."

Could a Premier League switch be on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman is reportedly disgruntled at Bayern Munich amid talks over a new contract.

Liverpool and Chelsea are believed to be ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – COMAN WANTED IN ENGLAND

Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman, according to The Mirror.

Coman is contracted to Bundesliga champions Bayern until 2023 but the Frenchman has been previously linked with Manchester United.

The 25-year-old is tipped to leave Bayern as clubs reportedly queue up.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are dreaming of signing RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and United midfielder Paul Pogba, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Haaland has been linked with United, Bayern, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Pogba is also reportedly wanted by PSG, Madrid and Juve.

Paulo Dybala is close to signing a new contract at Serie A giants Juventus, reports TyC Sports.

- Tuttomercatoweb claims Roma are trying to prise Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

- Jaime Ojeda claims Bayern are among the teams interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi.

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels heaped praise on "goalscoring machine" Erling Haaland, who inspired a 4-2 Bundesliga win over Union Berlin.

Haaland maintained his red-hot form with a brace as Dortmund defeated visiting Union Berlin on Sunday – the 21-year-old becoming the youngest player in history to reach 47 Bundesliga goals in just his 48th appearance.

After Dortmund full-back Raphael Guerreiro opened the scoring in stunning fashion, Haaland doubled Dortmund's lead in the 24th minute via a header.

A Marvin Friedrich own goal seven minutes into the second half virtually put the result beyond doubt, though Max Kruse's penalty gave Union Berlin some hope.

After Andreas Voglsmanner netted a second for Union Berlin, Haaland then produced a stunning lob over Andreas Luthe with seven minutes remaining.

"Did he really score a header today?" German star Hummels told DAZN. "He's been practising a lot.

"He's got so many strengths, now he's also working on his weaknesses.

"When he came to Dortmund from Salzburg [in 2020], his aerial game was pretty bad. [Former head coach] Edin [Terzic], Erling and I spent a lot of time practising crosses, over and over again, and now you can see where that gets you.

"He's definitely going to get 10 more goals a season because of the fact he's improved his aerial game. He's just a goalscoring machine."

Haaland has 68 goals in 67 competitive games overall for Dortmund, including 11 in eight this season.

Hummels added: "Whenever he sees a chance to put the ball in the back of the net, his eyes light up. He's going to be one of the best forwards in the world for the next 15 years."

Haaland has already scored two headers in the Bundesliga this season, as many as he managed in all of 2020-21.

"If Erling scores those headers permanently now, then 'Wow!' and 'Congratulations!' to our upcoming opponents," said Dortmund head coach Marco Rose.

Rose's Dortmund scored for a 37th consecutive Bundesliga game, a club record and the third longest such run in the league's history.

Dortmund are third in the standings – a point adrift of champions and leaders Bayern Munich after five rounds.

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