Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has explained his reasoning for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Bayern swept Hoffenheim aside 4-0 at home, with Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman scoring the goals.

It was the second match in succession that fully vaccinated head coach Julian Nagelsmann missed due to testing positive for the coronavirus, with the 34-year-old also not present for the 4-0 victory over Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Kimmich explained that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

"I just want to wait for myself when it comes to long-term studies [about the vaccine]," Kimmich told Sky Deutschland after the game. "Nevertheless, I am aware of my responsibility.

"Of course, I adhere to the hygiene measures. It is also the case that we unvaccinated players at the club are tested every two or three days.

"Nevertheless, it is not now that I am in any way a corona denier or vaccination opponent. I don't say categorically that I won't be vaccinated at all. It's just about the fact that I still have a few concerns. That is why it is very possible that I will be vaccinated in the future."

The Germany international was asked about the initiative 'WeKickCorona' started last year by himself and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka, and Kimmich explained that his aim was to help those affected by COVID-19.

"'WeKickCorona' was about supporting charitable institutions and non-profit purposes that support people who are in need due to corona," Kimmich said. 

"We have also donated money to Unicef, which then makes vaccines available. The point is that there are countries that do not have access to the vaccine. 

"I think everyone should make the decision for themselves. It [should not be] possible that someone has no access."

Robert Lewandowski scored a stunning goal and Serge Gnabry also got on the scoresheet against his former club as Bayern Munich beat Hoffenheim 4-0 on Sunday.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were threatening from the off and Gnabry lashed in from an acute angle after making a good run into space in the box, but free-scoring striker Lewandowski stole the show, bending a powerful effort high into the net from long range to leave Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann with no chance.

Substitutes Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman made the scoreline comfortable late on as the visitors succumbed to Bayern's relentless pressure.

The result keeps Bayern top of the Bundesliga, one point ahead of title rivals Borussia Dortmund with nine games played.

Lewandowski and Gnabry both came close to opening the scoring inside the first eight minutes, with the former dinking just wide from seven yards and the latter finding the net but seeing it disallowed following a VAR check due to a foul from Jamal Musiala in the build-up.

Not to be denied, Gnabry rifled a low shot into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle on the right in the 16th minute after being found by Musiala and Lewandowski unleashed a ferocious strike into the top-right corner from outside the box on the half-hour mark after good work from Thomas Muller. 

Bayern had several more good chances at 2-0 up, but did not find the net again until Andrej Kramaric's poor clearance ricocheted off the back of Dayot Upamecano and into the path of substitute Choupo-Moting, who slotted home in the 82nd minute.

Fellow Bayern substitute Coman added further gloss to the scoreline five minutes later, racing onto a long ball in behind and lashing emphatically past Baumann to make it 4-0.

Julian Nagelsmann has set up a kitchen control room to guide Bayern Munich while he remains away from the team after a COVID-19 positive test.

Assistant head coach Dino Toppmoller will lead from the touchline when Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, having also stood in for the 4-0 win at Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Despite being fully vaccinated, Nagelsmann learned that the flu-like symptoms he was experiencing in Portugal were caused by coronavirus.

He said he feels "a bit weak" and is wary of getting in the way of the work being carried out by Toppmoller and fellow assistant Xaver Zembrod.

"Still, I am trying to take control if possible," said head coach Nagelsmann.

"In isolation, I have built myself a little analysis centre with a big screen, iPad and laptop. I have different technical abilities now, also when it comes to the scouting feed for the game.

"It looks like a big data centre, right in my kitchen so that I have a short way to the tea kettle. I am positive that we will have a good impact. For training rhythm, this is not so bad because we don't really have training right now."

With such a heavy game schedule, Bayern's players are only ticking over between matches, rather than going through major sessions on the training pitch.

Nagelsmann is optimistic of being back at his Bayern desk in a matter of days, and says his positive test came as a jolt, insisting he had been trying to stay out of danger.

"I think we are all being cautious basically. This is hard, you cannot always say 100 per cent where you get the infection from," Nagelsmann said.

"I haven't done anything illegal or been at this party in Berlin where you had 22 people positive. I wasn't there, as an example. Basically, you never know. I was also a bit shocked.

"I just thought that I had a flu like many people at that time. For vaccinated people like me, things get less restricted and then you can also get infected easier.

"Of course, I went to a restaurant last week but I don't know... I couldn't find out where I got it from. I don't think you can, this is really hard. The virus you have in your body doesn't come with a number that makes it trackable. That's just how it is."

Bayern head into the weekend with a one-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Nagelsmann is in his first season with the club, having left RB Leipzig at the end of last season to take over from Hansi Flick, who left Bayern to become head coach of Germany.

Before Leipzig, Nagelsmann cut his teeth with Hoffenheim, so he misses out on a reunion on Saturday.

Between 2016 and 2019, Nagelsmann managed Hoffenheim in 116 Bundesliga games, achieving a points-per-game average of 1.65, comfortably the best record of any coach of the club to have taken charge of at least five top-flight games.

On Saturday, Bayern will be looking to avoid a second successive home defeat in the Bundesliga, having been beaten 2-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt in their previous game at the Allianz Arena. The last time they lost consecutive league home games was in 2001 under Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nagelsmann was absent due to 'flu-like symptoms' as Bayern beat Benfica 4-0 in Portugal on Wednesday, maintaining their flawless Champions League group-stage record so far this season, with assistant manager Dino Toppmoller standing in.

The Bavarian giants have won each of their first three games in the competition, scoring 12 times and not conceding a single goal to sit five points clear at the top of Group E.

The club confirmed on Thursday morning that the 34-year-old, despite being fully vaccinated, had tested positive for the virus and will return to Munich separately instead of with the rest of the squad before isolating at his home.

As a result, Nagelsmann will miss Bayern's next league game at home against Hoffenheim on October 23, with Toppmoller set to continue filling in.

Bayern are one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

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. 

Chris Richards has signed a new contract with Bayern Munich to keep him at the club until 2025 before returning on loan to Hoffenheim.

The 21-year-old joined from FC Dallas in 2019, initially signing a contract until June 2023, and has penned a further two-year extension with the Bundesliga champions.

Richards spent the majority of last season on loan at Hoffenheim, starting 11 top-flight fixtures before a thigh injury cut his season short in May.

The United States international impressed as a ball-playing defender, ranking third among Hoffenheim defenders for recoveries per 90 minutes (6.37) and second for successful passes (55.98).

On confirming Richards' new deal, Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said on Tuesday: "We are very pleased with the development Chris Richards has taken with us, which is why we have also extended his contract.

"Chris is a young player who will now gain more Bundesliga experience in Hoffenheim, and that's exactly what he needs."

The loanee could feature as soon as September 11 for Hoffenheim after the international break as they host Mainz.

Julian Nagelsmann insists there have been no talks with Bayern Munich as he made clear his contract with RB Leipzig runs until 2023.

Hansi Flick has been hugely successful since taking charge at Bayern, but a strained relationship with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has led to speculation over his future beyond the current campaign.

Amid links to the upcoming vacancy with the Germany national team, Flick cryptically said after the Champions League exit to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday: "I have a contract with Bayern but you always have thoughts about how the future looks and if everything is working wonderfully here."

Lothar Matthaus claimed while working for Sky Deutschland's coverage of the Champions League second leg that Bayern had already "talked a bit" to Nagelsmann about taking over, should Flick leave his current post.

However, speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Leipzig boss denied having held any such conversations with the reigning Bundesliga champions.

"There were and are no talks with Bayern. I have no idea where Lothar got this information from. This of course also applies to my advisors, there were also no talks," Nagelsmann said.

"I have not spoken to the club because there will be nothing to discuss. I still have a contract with RB until 2023."

Nagelsmann was speaking to preview second-placed Leipzig’s home game against his former employers Hoffenheim on Friday.

The game offers the hosts a chance to increase the pressure on table-topping Bayern in the title race; the gap stands at five points with six games to play in the season.

"We still need eight points for this to be the most successful season in the club’s history," Nagelsmann said ahead of the run-in.

"We have to win our games – it is that simple. We are focusing only on ourselves in order to get as many points as we can. Then we will see whether Bayern stumble or not. Normally, it wouldn't happen.

"If we finish in second then it was still an outstanding season. 

"We still have room to develop as a team and we have had a really consistent season even though we have so many young players in our ranks. We have been good, you've seen that already. If we can now go from good to great then we would be more than happy."

Bayern Munich's display in their 4-1 rout of Hoffenheim set the standard for the rest of the season, according to Hansi Flick.

Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry struck as Bayern cruised to a fourth straight Bundesliga victory – their second-longest winning run of the season after they won five games on the spin between matchweeks three and seven.

Munich have now scored 57 goals in the league this term, a club record after 19 games, while the only other side to have scored more after the same amount of fixtures was Hamburg in 1981-82 (58).

It lifted Bayern, briefly at least, 10 points clear at the top of the table, with the signs looking ominous for the rest of the league as the Bavarian giants chase down a ninth successive title.

"You are used to the fact that both teams want to play football. Hoffenheim has also shown that and created opportunities, especially in the first half," Flick told Bayern's official website. 

"It is a very good result. We have now won four games in a row – 12 points. We played a good game, that is our benchmark.

"Certainly not everything was great, but I'm satisfied. We wanted to get back on track after the two defeats. That's what makes big teams. This is a good thing and gives you confidence."

Lewandowski was typically integral to Bayern's win, setting up Muller for his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season before the Poland star helped himself to a 24th top-flight strike of 2020-21 early in the second half, the most of any Bundesliga player in history after 19 games.

His strike partner Muller was also at his industrious best, with the 31-year-old having hit double figures in the league for the first time since 2015-16, when he scored 20.

"After four wins from four games you can say that we are on the right track," Muller said.

"In large phases of the game, we repeatedly showed serious actions both in the front and in the back. If we pick up the pace, we often end up in good situations. 

"Of course we would have liked to not concede a goal. It was good and creative up front. We would have deserved one more goal."

One player to miss Saturday's win was Corentin Tolisso, who has been fined by Bayern after breaching the club's coronavirus protocols in order to get a tattoo.

"We're grateful that games can currently take place in the Bundesliga despite the ongoing coronavirus situation. A condition of that is that players, coaches and staff must adhere to the DFL's hygiene concept in an exemplary manner," said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"Corentin Tolisso has now contravened these guidelines, although our sporting and medical leadership continuously and clearly communicate them. We won't tolerate violations like this. We will therefore hand Corentin Tolisso a heavy fine, which will be donated to charity."

Tolisso's omission from the squad came after Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez tested positive for COVID-19.

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.

Bayern Munich have confirmed Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez have tested positive for coronavirus.

The players are self-isolating at home after returning positive results this week, although the club described both as being in "good health".

They will be unavailable for Saturday's Bundesliga match at home to Hoffenheim.

The European champions then face Hertha Berlin away on February 5 before their Club World Cup campaign starts three days later.

Goretzka has made 20 appearances in all competitions this season, while Martinez, 32, has played 18 times, mostly as a substitute.

Bayern also confirmed goalkeeper Alexander Nubel is likely to be out of action for up to a month.

The former Schalke man, who has only played twice this season, suffered ankle ligament damage on Thursday.

Teenage striker Matthew Hoppe scored a stunning hat-trick to finally banish Schalke's winless run after 30 Bundesliga matches.

The German giants had not claimed a league victory since January 2020 heading into Saturday's home game against Hoffenheim.

Failure to win again would have seen Schalke equal Tasmania Berlin's record stretch of 31 Bundesliga matches without success from 1965-66.

However, an inspired outing from 19-year-old Hoppe set up a 4-0 triumph at the Veltins-Arena, ending that miserable streak and moving Schalke off the foot of the table.

The American had never previously netted a senior goal but repaid the faith shown in him by Christian Gross, Schalke's fourth coach of the season.

Hoppe's opener came in contentious circumstances three minutes before half-time, with a handball on the edge of the hosts' box unpunished before a rapid counter saw Amine Harit send the forward through to lift a superb finish over Oliver Baumann.

Harit created all three Hoppe goals, although the scorer did the majority of the heavy lifting on each occasion, rounding Baumann for the second in the 57th minute and beating the goalkeeper with another dinked effort six minutes later to complete his treble - the first by an American in the Bundesliga.

The goal Harit deserved completed the scoring 11 minutes from time, drilled beyond Baumann at his near post to end Schalke's drought in spectacular fashion.

Having avoided a share of Tasmania's unwanted piece of history, Schalke are above Mainz and now only three points away from the relegation play-off place, although 16th-placed Arminia Bielefeld play on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Schalke's clean sheet left opponents Hoffenheim as the only side yet to record a shutout in the top flight this term.

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