Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Muller vented their frustration at Bayern Munich's shock defeat to Augsburg by questioning the team's collective effectiveness in defensive situations.

Bayern were dominant for almost the entire match on Friday but still lost 2-1, with Mads Pedersen and Andre Hahn putting Augsburg 2-0 up before Robert Lewandowski pulled a goal back just before half-time.

While the second half was even more one-sided in Bayern's favour than the first, they did not exactly pepper Rafal Gikiewicz's goal, with the visitors' expected goals (xG) value only reaching a modest 1.4.

On the other hand, Augsburg scored twice from an xG value of just 0.6, highlighting just how clinical they were – though questions look set to be asked of the Bayern defence.

 

This was the fourth time in five matches – a run that includes a 5-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal – Bayern have conceded at least twice in a match, while they have now let in 13 Bundesliga goals from 9.8 xG against.

Only Greuther Furth (8.6) and Hertha Berlin (6.6) have worse xG against differentials than Bayern (3.2) this season, and Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) data suggests Manuel Neuer is a big part of the problem, putting him at fault for roughly 3.4 goals – the fourth-worst in the division.

Neuer failed to keep out Hahn's header despite getting a hand to it on Friday, though Muller and Nagelsmann pointed the finger at the defence as a collective.

 

"The first half was bad, very bad and in the second half you could see that we wanted to turn it around, but maybe we didn't deserve that little bit of luck in front of goal," Muller told DAZN.

"This is a bitter setback for our confidence… [but] what wasn't good today should get better.

"I think when you have the feeling in every game that you can score three or four goals, you lose a bit of hunger defensively. We noticed that over and over again in the past few games."

Head coach Nagelsmann added: "We're conceding the goals the same way throughout the season.

"We discussed it yesterday, and today we conceded both goals the same way again. The opponent didn't really have any moments of brilliance and still scored two goals. It was the same against Frankfurt.

"I think the important thing is that if there's not much going on in attack in a game, you must be more stable at the back. One impacts the other. 

"Overall we didn't create enough and didn't have enough shots on goal."

Joshua Kimmich will miss Bayern Munich's Bundesliga match at Augsburg on Friday as he is self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

Julian Nagelsmann on Thursday revealed that Kimmich missed training as a precautionary measure as Bayern awaited the results of his PCR test.

The Bundesliga champions confirmed on Friday that Kimmich, Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic are in isolation.

Germany midfielder Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, had recently been forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Niklas Sule.

Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Croatia defender Stanisic's positive test was revealed this week following his return from international duty.

Nagelsmann stated that Kimmich had come into close contact with an individual "in his private sphere" who may have the virus.

Kicker reported that Kimmich, Gnabry and Musiala – who are all unvaccinated – are being split up for the rest of the Bayern squad due a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Kingsley Coman misses the clash with Augsburg due to a minor muscle problem.

Bayern Munich are waiting to discover if Joshua Kimmich will be available to face Augsburg on Friday after he was in close contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed Kimmich missed training on Thursday as a precautionary measure and the Bundesliga champions are awaiting the results of his PCR test.

Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, was recently forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Niklas Sule.

Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Kicker reported that Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala – who are all unvaccinated – are being split up for the rest of the Bayern squad due a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Josip Stanisic was the latest Bayern player to return a positive COVID-19 test this week, with the Bavarian giants stating on Wednesday that the fully-vaccinated Croatia defender is isolating at home but feels "fine".

Nagelsmann revealed Kingsley Coman will miss the clash with Augsburg due to a minor muscle problem, but Leon Goretzka is fully fit.

The Bayern head coach will make a late decision on whether Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Alphonso Davies feature on Friday after they only returned from international duty on the eve of the game.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann backed Robert Lewandowski to continue to be the world's best forward as he highlighted the milestone man's longevity following his Champions League hat-trick.

Lewandowski marked his 100th Champions League appearance with a hat-trick as Bayern eased past Benfica 5-2 to seal their last-16 progress in Group E action on Tuesday.

The Ballon d'Or contender became the sixth player to score on his 100th appearance in the Champions League, after Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrea Pirlo and Toni Kroos, while the Poland captain is the first player to score more than once in the milestone game.

Lewandowski also celebrated his fourth Champions League hat-trick – the third-most in Europe's premier club tournament after Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (eight each). At 33 years and 73 days, he is the fourth-oldest hat-trick scorer after Olivier Giroud (34 years 63 days), Ronaldo and Claudio Pizarro (34 years 35 days).

Nagelsmann showered Lewandowski in praise post-match, telling reporters: "Ninety-eight times involved, 81 goals in 100 Champions League games. Something new?

"Today most of the people talk about his three goals. Or many people write about his three goals. But you have to see his joy to play in the last 30 minutes. He played every offensive position, wanted to have every ball. He started good attacks."

When asked to compare Lewandowski to superstar pair Ronaldo and Messi, Nagelsmann added: "I think it's very difficult to compare because they are different types of players. I don't know the character of the other two, I also only know them out of the TV, as do you, I guess. I think all three were very impressive players in the last years.

"[Lewandowski] I also know as a person. He is a very nice guy which whom it's very nice to work with. I heard that also about the other two guys when I talked about them with their former coaches. I believe that Lewy can achieve a lot, also at a high age, because of his physique and his lifestyle and the way he lives as a footballer.

"He will continue to be the best forward in the world because he does everything to keep it that way."

Julian Nagelsmann conceded Bayern Munich's 5-0 thrashing by Borussia Monchengladbach will take a while to heal.

Nagelsmann – who was absent again from the touchline for a fourth game due to a positive COVID-19 test – saw his side miss out on the DFB-Pokal last-16 stage after a crushing loss at the hands of Gladbach.

Wednesday's demolition was the first time since December 1978 that Bayern had lost by a five-goal margin as the Bavarian giants look to bounce back against Union Berlin in Saturday's Bundesliga clash.

However, Nagelsmann warned that a defeat of that magnitude will take a while to heal from as they look for a fourth consecutive victory on the road in the German top flight.

"We didn't cry to ourselves on the phone about how bad everything is," said Nagelsmann on Friday.

"It was important to me that the players not only look for mistakes in themselves but also in me. At the end of the conversation, I had the feeling with everyone that we could get this out of their heads – but also that it would take a while.

"Our aim is to solve it playfully, but it is easier on a good day. We need solutions that we will use again and again in the future in order to survive such moments.

"That was one new experience for us. With that we can close the Wednesday book."

 

Nagelsmann will be hoping for improvements against Union Berlin, who have not won any of their first four matches against Bayern in the Bundesliga.

The former RB Leipzig head coach also revealed he held important conversations with some of his key players after the Gladbach game as they quickly looked to resolve issues.

"The conversations were yesterday," he continued. "I won't tell you which players I spoke to. That remains a trade secret. I have tried to send messages that can also be passed on [to other players].

"I try to have the best possible influence. As a head coach, being able to hand over responsibilities is a great asset.

"There was a lot received, but that stays between us. Everyone has different issues. In the end we all agreed that this shouldn't happen to us again. Simply because it hurts. It doesn't work about what other people write about us.

"It's not about making amends. Experiences are shaped by uniqueness, you can no longer eradicate something like that in life. The stone from Wednesday will lie there forever."

 

Nagelsmann, who confirmed he will return to the touchline for the Champions League clash on Tuesday against Benfica, also insisted he can handle the pressure of the Bayern role.

"I always feel pressure, it hasn't changed much," he added. "I know how Bayern Munich works. I've prepared myself for it.

"It's not about life and death, but about making good games and learning from them. The pressure is no different now than it was before."

Julian Nagelsmann claimed Kingsley Coman is "one of the top wingers in the world" when fit and said the Frenchman must remain patient for a chance at Bayern Munich.

Coman, 25, joined Bayern initially on a two-year loan from Juventus in 2015 and subsequently made the move permanent.

The France international underwent a minor heart operation in September and has managed just 84 minutes in the Bundesliga this term with the Bavarian giants.

Nagelsmann, however, insisted that Coman ranks among the best in his position on his day as he addressed questions over his rotational policy ahead of Bayern's DFB-Pokal clash with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

"I've emphasised many times that King [Coman] is an amazing person who I really enjoy working with," Nagelsmann, who is self-isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test, told reporters on Tuesday.

"I think he's one of the top wingers in the world when he's fit. I would like to work with him for many years to come."

Among Bayern players, Coman leads the charts for dribbles completed across all competitions (500) since his debut on September 12, 2015 – Thiago Alcantara ranks second on that list, some 124 behind the Frenchman.

Indeed, the former Juventus attacker has attempted 276 more dribbles than any of his other team-mates in that same period while scoring 42 times and recording 40 assists.

 

Coman also ranks fifth at the club in this time-span when it comes to chances created, sitting behind Thiago (279), Robert Lewandowski (305), Joshua Kimmich (521) and Thomas Muller (605), with the 274 opportunities he has worked for Bayern.

However, starting chances under Hansi Flick and subsequently Nagelsmann have diminished as Coman seemingly falls behind Serge Gnabry, Muller, Leroy Sane and now Jamal Musiala.

Nagelsmann appreciates the quality of depth he has in that position with his new side, as he attempts to utilise the abundance of talent he has at his disposal.

"We're very well positioned on the wing positions," Nagelsmann said.

"All the players are in exceptional form. It takes a lot of courage, everyone plays or with a certain workload control. Not everyone agrees. I can understand that. But they are all healthy and we want to take advantage of that.

"In the last few years this has not always been the case, so we mustn't complain now. And maybe they will play at the same time."

Julian Nagelsmann revealed he contacted Joshua Kimmich after the Germany midfielder hit the headlines as he admitted he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Bayern Munich, who are preparing to face Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal second round, have been without Nagelsmann after the former RB Leipzig head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

However, it was Kimmich who was the main point of interest after Bayern defeated Hoffenheim 4-0 as the 26-year-old explained he had not been vaccinated because he wanted further research to be conducted first.

Former Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was quick to assure Kimmich should do the responsible thing and get vaccinated, though Nagelsmann attempted to put an end to the saga at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"A lot of topics are often chewed through," Nagelsmann told reporters from his home during his virtual conference. "It is important that there is an exchange of views. Everyone then has to decide for themselves whether they have to give their mustard to everything.

"There are experts, they should express their opinion. Whether the federal government has to do that now, it has to know for itself. I am happy when everyone can concentrate on their job again."

Nagelsmann, who has been operating from his homemade "data centre", then revealed he had contacted Kimmich to discuss the interview while admitting it was up to the individual whether they should get vaccinated or not.

"I wrote to him after the interview," he continued. "I told him that there are certainly easier interview topics. That is the price you pay when you are in public.

"Enough has been said about it now. I also gave my opinion of what I thought about the vaccination – I now know how the symptoms progress.

"From this and in exchange with doctors I also noticed that the disease behaves differently after the vaccination. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide whether he can be vaccinated."

Nagelsmann will not be fit enough to return for the visit to Gladbach, though he could return against Union Berlin on Saturday.

His side have won all three games in his absence, dispatching Leverkusen, Benfica and Hoffenheim by an aggregate score of 13-1.

However, the 34-year-old revealed he finds comments that Bayern do not need a coach in his absence disrespectful, pointing towards the crucial interventions that are sometimes required on the touchline.

"The team is very good, no question about it," he added.

"I also have a very well-functioning coaching team. They are a tight-knit bunch, and we know each other very well.

"But I don't lie around at home and don't work on anything. I think it is sometimes a bit disrespectful when you claim that the team doesn't need a coach. There are always moments when you should intervene."

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."

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.

Dino Toppmoller hailed the way Bayern Munich's players overcame the absence of Julian Nagelsmann to clinch a 4-0 win over Benfica.

Bayern head coach Nagelsmann pulled out of the Champions League Group E game three hours beforehand with flu-like symptoms and handed the reins to assistant Toppmoller.

Two goals from Leroy Sane, one from Robert Lewandowski and an own goal from Benfica's Everton wrapped up a comfortable victory in Lisbon on Wednesday for the six-time winners.

It ensured Bayern have earned nine points from their first three games and are sitting pretty at the top of Group E, five points clear of second-placed Benfica with Barcelona further point behind.

Bayern have scored 12 goals and conceded none to give them their best start to a Champions League season and the joint-best overall in the competition.

"The boys were sensational, especially in the second half," Toppmoller told DAZN.

"Huge compliments to the team. It's not easy for the boys when the head coach pulls out at the last moment."

Benfica have never beaten Bayern in any of their 11 European meetings (drawn three, lost eight). 

But despite the scoreline, Bayern did not have it all their own way and were indebted to two fine saves from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer when it was 0-0.

The Germany international managed a clean sheet on his 100th appearance in the Champions League as he became only the fourth player to reach a century of appearances for the club in the competition, and only the second goalkeeper after Oliver Kahn (103).

"It's gigantic, I never would have believed it," Neuer said of the milestone.

"If someone had said that to me at the start of my career, I never would have thought it was possible. It's a great time and we had a great crowd today.

"I think the second half was incredible. We gave very little away and had the control, but we couldn't really break through. When the first goal went in, things became easier for us. It was a great evening for us."

Bayern Munich’s nine unbeaten matches against Benfica in the European Cup/Champions League (won six, drawn three) is the most by a team against an opponent since the tournament began in 1955.

Sane opened the scoring with a 70th-minute free-kick then rounded it off six minutes from time and acknowledged Bayern could have won by an even greater margin.

"I think we played a really, really good game," Sane said.

"Even in the first half. In attack, we could have finished off our chances a little better. But I am really happy with the performance. We had just had to play our game and be patient; in the end it worked out."

Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano may be fierce in the heat of battle, but Julian Nagelsmann says his centre-back is so peaceful he would hesitate to swat a fly.

Both Upamecano and Nagelsmann joined the Bayern ranks in the close season, leaving RB Leipzig to join the nine-in-a-row Bundesliga champions.

On Wednesday, Bayern take on Benfica in the third round of Champions League group games, looking to extend a dazzling start that has seen them beat Barcelona 3-0 and score a thumping 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.

Manuel Neuer is in line for a 100th appearance in the competition with the Bavarians, which would make him the fourth player for the German giants to reach the landmark.

In front of Neuer, Upamecano is establishing himself as a fixture at the heart of the Bayern backline, and head coach Nagelsmann is convinced there is a hardman element to his game, as well as the nature of a gentle giant.

"Upamecano has taken an incredible development, he has an incredible defender's gene," said Nagelsmann.

"He loves to defend. Obviously, he has a good physique. He seems mad when looking at him but he's the opposite. He is a really kind and peaceful person that has a great character. I like working with him. He's rather shy and introspective but he is a great human being.

"He looks a lot more evil than he is. I think he has never in his life hit a mosquito on the wall and probably won't do that in the future. Also from his family, he got a lot of positive things on his way while growing up. You still notice that today."

Bayern thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday, scoring all their goals by the 37th minute as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both hit doubles.

The result sent Bayern to the top of the table, their now familiar position.

"There's always potential to improve," said Nagelsmann. "The question is if you have to improve or stay at your level. We'd be happy if we could keep the level of the minutes seven to 45 from the Leverkusen game. Then we could have a great away game in the Champions League."

Speaking in his pre-game news conference, the Bayern boss added: "I expect Benfica to be typically like a great team from Portugal with great footballers. They have two, three key players who I don't want to mention here because then they could prepare accordingly. But basically they're a team that like to have the ball and are used to it from their league. They had different possession stats in the first two Champions League games than in the league."

Bayern have never lost to Benfica in European competition, posting seven wins and three draws in their 10 previous games, including two victories in the Champions League.

In the history of the European Cup and its subsequent Champions League guise, Bayern's eight unbeaten games against Benfica (W5 D3) is the joint most achieved by one team against an opponent since the tournament began in 1955. That means a record could be achieved on Wednesday, surpassing Bayern's eight-game undefeated record against Spartak Moscow (W5 D3) and Barcelona's proud record in clashes with Lyon (W5 D3).

The omens are good: Bayern Munich are on a run of 19 unbeaten away matches in the Champions League (W15 D4), since losing 3-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017.

They must be wary, though, that Benfica drubbed Barcelona 3-0 last time out in this competition.

Nagelsmann addressed the question of whether the Bundesliga might be becoming boring, given Bayern are clearly so strong compared to their rivals. It would be a major surprise were they not to carry off the title again this season.

"I don't know, I'm on the other side now," said Nagelsmann, previously boss of a Leipzig team that fought to challenge the Bavarian giants. "I think it is always easier to do everything yourself to be successful and not get into whining mode. I always acted like that and I think it's better that way.

"Of course, it is easier to speak from my position as Bayern manager now. It is easier managing a team with this quality, this greed and the desire to confirm your victories. I think that our team is being rated unfairly, leaving out the lack of tension in the league.

"But first, you have to give credit if a team is able to become champions 10 times in a row and still having this greed after [the treble-winning campaign of] 2020 and wanting to continue. I think it is remarkable to talk about our effort of character and not just the quality that we have, that's for sure."

Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with Bayern Munich's display in their 5-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen but felt his side should have added even more goals to their tally.

The reigning champions responded to their first defeat of Nagelsmann's tenure two weeks ago against Eintracht Frankfurt with a superb attacking display at BayArena on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry each scored a first-half double and Thomas Muller was also on target in between those braces, all in the space of 37 minutes.

It marked the first time Bayern have scored five goals away from home in the first half of a Bundesliga match as they reclaimed top spot from Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern also hit the post through Leroy Sane, whose eight shots was the most of any player in a game this campaign in the German top flight.

And with Patrik Schick getting a consolation for Leverkusen in the second half, Nagelsmann does not believe the scoreline was a true reflection come full-time.

"We had an incredible number of closing situations and an outstanding structure," he told DAZN. 

"It sounds strange at 5-0, but we also had a chance of scoring sixth, seventh and eighth goals in the first half. We could have scored more.

"The second half was more calm and that's completely normal from both teams' point of view. 

"A lot of things we didn't do well against Frankfurt worked out today. In the end we are very happy to win the game."

 

Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

Leverkusen are no strangers to one-sided first halves, meanwhile, as they are the only team to have scored six goals in the opening 45 minutes of a match in the division since the turn of the millennium, doing so in their 6-1 win over Frankfurt in 2018-19.

"It was a terrible beginning," Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky added. "We have to ask ourselves whether we gave it our all. There was something missing from everyone today."

Lewandowski's two goals came from three shots as the Poland international brought an end to his mini drought.

His run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland's double-header of October fixtures.

The 33-year-old has now scored two or more goals in 73 different Bundesliga games – a tally bettered only by late Bayern great Gerd Muller (87) – and was happy to joke about his short-lived scoreless run after getting back on the scoresheet.

"Four games without a goal... which four games? Do you mean training? I scored in the Champions League game before the Frankfurt match," Lewandowski pointed out.

"Personally, I'm happy when people ask when I'll score my next goal. That shows what expectations they have of me.

"Sometimes there are phases when the ball doesn't fall to you, you have to be patient. Today it worked out twice.

"We scored five goals in 45 minutes. At the break it was clear we would take all three points with us to Munich. We can be satisfied with the performance."

The 29 goals scored by Bayern in their opening eight Bundesliga matches equals their previous highest tally at this stage in a campaign from the 1976-77 season.

Julian Nagelsmann expects normal order to be restored against Bayer Leverkusen as he backed Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski to get back on track this weekend.

Lewandowski's run of netting in 15 successive Bundesliga matches came to an end prior to the international break as he failed to find the net against Greuther Furth and then Eintracht Frankfurt.

It is the first time since November 2019 that the 33-year-old has gone scoreless in consecutive league games, and he also failed to find the net in Poland's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Albania over the international break.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker will be looking to put that right when Bayern travel to the BayArena, but his average of a goal every 225 minutes against Leverkusen is his worst record against all current German top-flight teams.

However, Nagelsmann is convinced the prolific marksman will return to the scoresheet in Sunday's top-of-the-table showdown, with Bayern only ahead of their opponents by virtue of a superior goal difference going into the weekend.

"Normally the situation takes care of itself when you take into the equation his quality and the number of chances we create," Nagelsmann said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "I expect things to return to normal again on Sunday.

"Of course I speak to him, like I do every other player, but mostly about the things that he can bring onto the pitch. Even a player like Robert can go a few games without scoring a goal." 

 

Bayern's unbeaten start to Nagelsmann's tenure came to a surprise end in their most recent match as they fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Frankfurt, with that also their first league loss at the Allianz Arena since November 2019.

The reigning champions now face a tricky trip to Leverkusen, but the omens are on the visitors' side.

In the past eight such meetings between the first and second-placed teams in Bundesliga, the league leaders have lost only once – Leverkusen against Bayern in this corresponding fixture last season.

Nagelsmann is not seeking excuses on the back of the Frankfurt loss, a game in which opposition keeper Kevin Trapp made 10 saves – the joint-most of any keeper in Europe's top five leagues this season – with full focus now on Leverkusen.

"It would be too cheap for me to say it was simply a case of the ball not going in in the last match," Nagelsmann said. "We played very similar to our other games this season, but on this occasion we didn't score four or five goals.

"We've spent time working on that. Over the course of several games, we will continue to work and deal with issues in the same way. On Sunday we can take the next step in our development.

"You can see Leverkusen have had good results and they have as many points as we do. I prepare for such a game by watching the opponents' matches, reading about them, watching interviews.

"I've learned about the good spirit they have. They have a good feeling of togetherness in their camp. But in the end we are looking forward to a top game and it is one we want to win."

Nagelsmann confirmed Lucas Hernandez is in contention to start against Gerardo Seoane's side, despite facing a six-month prison term for breaching a restraining order following a 2017 conviction of domestic violence against his then girlfriend.

Hernandez will attend court next week, but Nagelsmann has no concerns over the defender's mindset.

"I've experienced a normal player, not one with any negative effects," Nagelsmann said when asked about Hernandez. "If I hadn't read about the story, I wouldn't have asked about it.

"He's trained well again today and made a good impression. If he's healthy then he will play both in this game and the Champions League match against Benfica on Wednesday."

Julian Nagelsmann fired a warning to defences across Europe by claiming Robert Lewandowski has a long time left at the top level – insisting the Ballon d'Or should come his way this year.

Although Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski turned 33 in August, there is no indication age is catching up with the Poland international.

His record haul of 41 Bundesliga goals last season came at a rate of one every 60.07 minutes.

That was the fastest rate of scoring across a campaign, in terms of minutes per goal, for any player with 10 or more goals in a Bundesliga season since the league was founded in 1963.

After missing out on Ballon d'Or recognition last year, when the award was cancelled due to the pandemic's impact on the global game, there is little doubt Lewandowski is a serious contender this time.

Bayern did not match up to their 2019-20 treble-winning feats, but they carried off a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title and Lewandowski was their spearhead.

"He deserves the Ballon d'Or – and in my opinion he has to win the award, because he has played more consistently than anyone else over the past three years," Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said.

Speaking to Munich newspaper Abendzeitung, Nagelsmann predicted Lewandowski would continue to thrive at the highest level into his late thirties.

"If Robert Lewandowski's body stays like this, it is far from over," said Nagelsmann.

"He is extremely dynamic, has no injuries, he can train a lot: I definitely trust him to play at the top, top level for a few more years – also because he aligns everything in his life accordingly, to be in the best physical condition."

 

In Bayern's triumphant 2019-20 Champions League campaign, Lewandowski netted 15 times, scoring on average once every 59.13 minutes. This term, he has four goals already in that competition from just 169 minutes on the pitch.

Lewandowski has said it "would mean a lot" to scoop the individual honour, and after being shortlisted his chief rival appears to be six-time winner Lionel Messi, who helped Argentina to Copa America glory.

Nagelsmann, meanwhile, is sitting tight when it comes to the future of Bayern defender Niklas Sule, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Sule has been linked with Chelsea and Newcastle United, and Nagelsmann is taking a wait-and-see approach to what comes next for the Germany international.

"It depends on his development and also on the market situation whether he wants to extend the contract or not," Nagelsmann said. "Then we'll see if it works for both sides.

"Niki still has to develop a little with his potential and then make the most of it as a very good central defender."

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