Borussia Dortmund have confirmed the signing of Germany international Karim Adeyemi from Salzburg ahead of Erling Haaland's imminent departure to Manchester City.

Boyhood Dortmund fan Adeyemi completed a medical on Tuesday and has signed a five-year deal with the Bundesliga side, who are reported to have paid an initial €30million.

The 20-year-old's arrival was announced around an hour after City confirmed an agreement has been reached to sign Haaland from Dortmund at the end of the season.

Adeyemi becomes Dortmund's third signing ahead of the transfer window officially opening, following the additions of defensive duo Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck.

"After the transfers of Sule and Schlotterbeck, we are getting another very exciting player for next season with Karim Adeyemi," Sebastian Kehl, who will take over as sporting director from 2022-23, told the club's website.

"What is more, he is someone who has a strong affinity for BVB, who supported the Black and Yellows as a youngster and who decided to sign for Borussia Dortmund amidst several offers from Europe's top leagues. 

"His speed and goal-scoring ability are impressive, and although Karim, at just 20 years old, is already at a very advanced stage in his development as a footballer and athlete, we still see enormous potential for more."

Haaland leaves a huge void to be filled at the Westfalenstadion, having scored 85 goals in 88 games since joining the club – also from Salzburg – at the start of 2020.

Replacement Adeyemi has himself made a big impact in his three seasons with Salzburg, the past two of those as a first-team regular.

He has scored 27 goals in 66 Austrian Bundesliga appearances, also netting five times in 13 Champions League outings.

The young forward, who was wanted by Manchester United, leads the scoring charts in the Austrian top flight this season with 19 goals in 27 games.

Adeyemi's performances for Salzburg earned him the first of his three Germany senior caps in September's World Cup qualifier against Armenia, a game in which he scored as a late substitute.  

And having helped Salzburg to six trophies, he is now seeking more success with Marco Rose's men.

"As a young boy I was fascinated by the Black and Yellows' fast-paced football," he said. "That's why, as soon as I heard Dortmund were interested in me, I knew I wanted to sign with BVB. 

"I made the conscious decision to sign a long-term deal because I'm convinced we're going to form an exciting team that, with the support of the amazing fans in Dortmund, will be able to compete for and win titles in the years to come."

Borussia Dortmund are "on the right track" to secure the prized signing of Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi, according to Sebastian Kehl.

Kehl, who will move from a player licensing role at Dortmund to become sporting director next season, expressed optimism that the Bundesliga giants will acquire a talent who has also been linked to Manchester United.

It may be that Adeyemi directly replaces Erling Haaland, who looks set to leave Dortmund after two and a half highly successful years with the club.

Haaland is another Salzburg old boy who has flourished in the German Bundesliga since leaving behind its Austrian equivalent, with Manchester City emerging as favourites to sign up the Norway striker in a big-money deal.

Adeyemi is 20 years old and already a full Germany international with three caps and a three-time Austrian Bundesliga winner, so his signing would be a coup for Dortmund.

Kehl told Sky Sport: "The gut feeling got better over the week. We're on the right track."

Recent reports in England have claimed United made a move for Adeyemi but were rebuffed by the player, who was said to prefer a return to his homeland rather than a Premier League switch.

A technically gifted and rapid forward, Adeyemi has long been considered one of Germany's most promising young players, having cost Salzburg a reported €3million when he was 16 and joined from Unterhaching. Adeyemi had left Bayern Munich's youth ranks six years earlier.

This season, he is the leading scorer in Austria's top flight, with 17 goals in 26 games, while he also netted three times and had one assist in eight Champions League games – a European campaign that ended with a last-16 defeat to Bayern.

While Haaland's departure would undoubtedly harm Dortmund, the potential arrival of Adeyemi continues what looks to be a strong transfer window for BVB, who have already reached agreements with centre-backs Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck.

Ralf Rangnick has described the evolution of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp as "no coincidence" – because his own career has involved developing a number of their key talents.

The Manchester United interim boss, whose future beyond the end of this season appears unclear, can point to a host of Liverpool players and say he had an important role in their careers.

Rangnick, 63, is regarded as one of football's best strategists, and during his various roles with the Red Bull group, which includes RB Leipzig and Salzburg, he helped to bring through the likes of Naby Keita, Ibrahima Konate, Sadio Mane and Takumi Minamino.

Before that, he was coach when Hoffenheim signed Roberto Firmino from Figueirense, albeit leaving within weeks of that deal being agreed, while Rangnick coached Joel Matip at Schalke.

It is remarkable, therefore, that Rangnick has ended up in charge of Liverpool's most fierce rivals, whom United will face at Anfield in the Premier League on Tuesday.

"They are good, they are extremely good. It's no coincidence that they're as good as they are," Rangnick said of Liverpool.

"Jurgen has built that team over the last six and a half years. Six or seven of those players used to be my – or our – players."

Klopp's Liverpool play a similar high-tempo game to the Leipzig and Salzburg teams that Rangnick oversaw, meaning the players acquired have been a natural fit for Klopp's Reds.

"We signed them for our clubs when nobody knew them," said Rangnick, "and again it's no coincidence that this is probably the club with the highest number of players from our former clubs.

"Their approach, their style of football, the way they want to play is pretty similar."

Rangnick's United side beat Norwich City 3-2 on Saturday in the Premier League thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, and it vaulted them to fifth place in the table.

That treble papered over some rather major cracks, however, and Rangnick warned afterwards there would need to be a big improvement against Liverpool.

United were chaotic at times, particularly in defence, and Rangnick said: "Even the reason why the club contacted me in November was the fact we just conceded too many goals too easily.

"We reduced the number of goals conceded, but the way that we defend is still not the standard we need in order to be a top-four club."

Along with Brenden Aaronson and Luka Sucic, Karim Adeyemi is part of a young core enjoying a breakout season at Salzburg.

In his third season in the Austrian Bundesliga, the 20-year-old has come up with 16 goals and three assists in 24 league appearances, and earned his first international cap for Germany last September.

Reports also suggest that a return to Germany at domestic level is imminent.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND CLOSE IN ON ADEYEMI

Borussia Dortmund and Salzburg have reached a basic agreement over the transfer of Karim Adeyemi, according to reports from Sky Sport Germany.

After several rounds of talks, this week has finally seen a breakthrough between the two clubs, with €35million the reported fee the two clubs have agreed on.

However, Dortmund are still to arrive at a point that satisfies Adeyemi and his representatives on personal terms.

According to the report, all three parties are looking to finalise the deal, but RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain also remain interested.

ROUND-UP

Harry Kane is set to turn down a move to Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag reportedly due to take over at Old Trafford instead of Kane's former boss Mauricio Pochettino, the Mirror reports.

– United have been given a boost in their pursuit of Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger however, as talks with Barcelona have reportedly stalled, according to the Sun.

Newcastle United have targeted Sevilla's Diego Carlos as a viable alternative if Sven Botman opts to join Milan, per the Chronicle.

– Football Insider reports Villarreal are seeking to permanently sign Giovani Lo Celso from Tottenham, having had the 26-year-old on loan since January.

– Meanwhile, Football Insider also reports that Manchester City have made Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni their top priority to replace Fernandinho.

The best teams in the world are circling Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who has 23 goals and six assists in 23 club appearances this season.

The 21-year-old Norwegian was ruled out of Barcelona's price range earlier this week by president Joan Laporta, but there are some clubs who can stomach the asking price.

While there will be an array of suitors investigating if a move will be possible for their club, Manchester City and Real Madrid are the most likely to put their money where their mouths are.

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER CITY HAVE UPPER HAND IN HAALAND SWEEPSTAKES

ESPN is reporting City are "optimistic they can see off competition from Real Madrid" in the race for Haaland's services.

City are said to be in the market for a striker, and are confident they can pay the reported €75million release clause in Haaland's Dortmund contract.

After the departures of Angelino, Ferran Torres and Jack Harrison for a combined €85m, City are in a position of financial strength heading into the upcoming transfer period.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have reignited their chase of Villareal defender Pau Torres, according to 90min. Torres was a target for the Red Devils before they ultimately signed Raphael Varane back in August.

Barcelona will look to bring in French forward Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer after his contract expires at Arsenal after this season, reports Diario SPORT.

– Football Insider is reporting Aston Villa are planning on spending more than £150m in the next transfer window, breaking their previous spending record.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is confident in retaining the services of defender Antonio Rudiger with a new contract, according to Goal.

– El Nacional is reporting Real Madrid believe they can land Arsenal target Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Salzburg.

Robert Lewandowski scored a record-breaking hat-trick as Bayern Munich thrashed Salzburg 7-1 to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday. 

After struggling in their 1-1 draw in the first leg three weeks ago, Lewandowski hit the ground running and had a treble by the 23rd minute. That made it the earliest hat-trick in Champions League history. 

It crushed Salzburg after a bright start and Serge Gnabry was on target as Bayern registered four first-half goals in a Champions League knockout game for the fourth time – as many as all other clubs combined. 

Substitute Maurits Kjaergaard pulled one back for Salzburg between a double from Thomas Muller, with Leroy Sane having the final say in a one-sided encounter.

Lewandowski buried a penalty after his excellent turn drew a foul from Maximilian Wober, who then saw a free-kick he gave away following a tackle on the Pole upgraded to a spot-kick following a VAR review. It resulted in another cool finish into the bottom-left corner from the striker. 

The hat-trick was completed when Lewandowski blocked Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn's clearance and bundled the ball home with his thigh after it came back off the post. 

The onslaught continued as Mohamed Camara was caught in possession on the edge of Salzburg's box by Kingsley Coman and Gnabry drilled home from the Frenchman's pass. 

Muller rifled a fine finish into the bottom-right corner as Bayern continued to dominate after the restart, but Kjaergaard pulled one back for Salzburg nine minutes after replacing Chukwubuike Adamu. 

Sane set up Muller for his second of the game in the 83rd minute and was on target himself two minutes later, steering Lewandowski's flick home at the near post to complete a resounding victory.


What does it mean? Lewandowski back on song in Europe 

After failing to register a single effort on goal in Bayern's two previous Champions League games – the first time that has happened in his career – Lewandowski hit the ground running at the Allianz Arena. 

He took little time to score his fifth hat-trick in the competition, a tally that is only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (both eight). 

Neuer returns 

Manuel Neuer made his 104th Champions League appearance for Bayern – surpassing Oliver Kahn as the Bayern goalkeeper with the most appearances in the competition. He was unable to mark the occasion with a clean sheet, though. 

Woeful Wober 

Salzburg were always going to be up against it in Munich, but Wober's clumsy challenges all but ended their hopes of progressing before the midway point of the first half had been reached. 

What's next? 

Bayern have a tricky trip to top-four chasing Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while Salzburg are up against Sturm Graz on Sunday. 

Robert Lewandowski made Champions League history with his first-half hat-trick in Bayern Munich's last-16 second leg against Salzburg on Tuesday. 

Poland international Lewandowski scored three goals in the opening 23 minutes. It was the earliest in a Champions League game that a player has registered a hat-trick, surpassing Marco Simone's 24-minute treble for Milan against Rosenborg in 1996. 

The 33-year-old put the Bavarian giants in front from the penalty spot in the 12th minute after drawing a foul from Maximilian Wober. 

He sent a second spot-kick into the bottom-left corner in the 21st minute after another foul from Wober was upgraded from a free-kick to a penalty following a VAR review. 

Lewandowski completed his hat-trick when he bundled home with his thigh after his block of goalkeeper Philipp Kohn's clearance came back off the post. 

It was Lewandowski's fifth treble in the competition – only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (both eight) have managed more. 

If you want an underdog story in the Champions League last 16, then Tuesday's action should not disappoint.

Salzburg are likely to have the support of most neutrals when they visit heavyweights Bayern Munich in the second leg of their tie, having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Austria.

Inter are less used to being the team trying to spring the upset, but their task is a much taller one against a Liverpool side holding a 2-0 lead from the game in Milan.

And as the Opta data reveals, neither Salzburg nor Inter have much statistical reason for hope of progression.

Bayern Munich v Salzburg

Bayern staved off a surprise defeat in the first leg thanks to Kingsley Coman's late equaliser, and history is firmly on their side in the return match.

Indeed, Bayern have won all five of their games in European competition when hosting an Austrian opponent, scoring 15 goals and only conceding three in return. They have also progressed from five of their previous seven Champions League knockout ties when drawing away from home in the first leg. 

Should Salzburg do what is considered close to the impossible and prevail at the Allianz Arena, they will end a long wait for Austrian sides in Europe's top competition. They are looking to become the first Austrian side to progress beyond the last 16 in the European Cup/Champions League since Austria Wien in the 1984-85 campaign.

Salzburg are, however, winless away from home in the Champions League this season (D1 L2) and have only won once away from home in the competition across the last two campaigns (D1 L4) – a 3-1 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow in December 2020.

Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski was kept abnormally quiet in the first leg. He did not attempt any of Bayern's 22 shots, marking the first time in his career he has not recorded a shot attempt in consecutive Champions League appearances (77 minutes played v Barcelona and 90 minutes v Salzburg – zero shots).

Keeping Lewandowski under wraps for a third successive game in the competition seems highly unlikely, but Salzburg will almost certainly need to do so if they are to defy the odds.

Liverpool v Inter

Jurgen Klopp was keen to reject any talk of Liverpool being in a comfortable position in this tie following a 2-0 win at San Siro.

But all the signs are against Inter pulling off a turnaround at Anfield. Only one team in Champions League history has lost the first leg of a knockout stage tie by two or more goals at home and still gone on to progress, with Manchester United doing so against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018-19 last 16 (0-2 at home, 3-1 away).

Inter's record in England does not inspire optimism. The Nerazzurri have lost four of their previous five away games against English sides in the Champions League (W1), although their victory in this run did come the last time one of these fixtures came in the knockout stages of the competition – 1-0 v Chelsea in the last 16 in 2009-10; a season in which they went on to lift the trophy.

If they are to turn the tie on its head, then Edin Dzeko may be the man to provide the goals. He has scored in three of his last four starts at Anfield across all competitions, including the most recent two.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina forward has not finished on the winning side in any of these three games, however, drawing 2-2 in 2012 and losing 2-1 in 2015 with Manchester City and losing 5-2 with Roma in 2018.

And as they discovered in the first leg, Inter will be coming up against one of Europe's stiffest defences. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Liverpool have kept more clean sheets in Champions League home games than any other team (15 in 24 games). In fact, among teams who have played more than 10 home matches in the competition in this period, their clean sheet percentage of 63 per cent is also the best of any side.

Julian Nagelsmann is aiming to have Manuel Neuer back in his Bayern Munich team for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Salzburg.

Neuer has missed more than a month with a knee injury, last playing against RB Leipzig on February 5.

Since then, Bayern have kept only one clean sheet in five matches, conceding four at Bochum in the first match without their captain.

Stand-in Sven Ulreich has still been steady – saving only 61.1 per cent of shots on target faced but preventing 0.4 goals and not committing any errors leading to goals – yet Nagelsmann is keen to have Neuer available.

"If there is no reaction in his knee overnight, he will be able to play," Nagelsmann told a pre-match news conference.

"We are all very happy about that – even if Ulle [Ulreich] has done well."

If the identity of his goalkeeper is dependent on medical advice, Nagelsmann has trickier calls to make in attack, where Leroy Sane's past two appearances have come from the bench.

Sane has 13 goals and 12 assists in 34 games this season, although 12 of his goals have come in his 27 starts – and he has made every Champions League XI so far.

"He's a player I don't like to leave out because he has the quality that has already won us games," Nagelsmann said of Sane.

"I haven't decided yet what the first XI will look like. Of course, he is a candidate.

"I hope he's in the best shape if he plays from the start. He's an incredible player who can't really be defended when he plays to the limit. He has my confidence, even if he doesn't start."

Nagelsmann accepted Bayern can only have a "special season" if they continue their Champions League run beyond this tie, which is level at 1-1 ahead of the home leg.

And he will not allow his team to be complacent against Salzburg, who threatened an upset in Austria, where Kingsley Coman equalised in the 90th minute.

"Salzburg have been a good team for years – they have a very clear idea about how to win the ball," Nagelsmann added.

"It's never easy to defend that. It may not be the prettiest, but it is very dangerous.

"They have a lot of interesting individual players and have the quality to play football.

"They would also do well in the German Bundesliga because they have a lot of good players who are hungry and want to win something. They are a dangerous team who will demand everything from us."

Julian Nagelsmann acknowledged Bayern Munich made too many mistakes in the first half of their Champions League last-16 first leg against Salzburg but believed they deserved their last-gasp equaliser.

Bayern looked set for another shock result following the weekend defeat to Bochum when Salzburg's Junior Adamu scored in the 21st minute.

That was the first time Bayern had trailed in the Champions League this season, making them the final team in the competition to have done so.

They salvaged a draw in the 90th minute, though, when Kingsley Coman popped up at the back post to put Bayern in control ahead of the return leg in Munich next month.  

The France international's goal saw Bayern extend the longest unbeaten streak away from home by a team in Champions League history to 22 games (W17 D5).

While Nagelsmann was unimpressed with his side's first-half display, he said their performance after the interval warranted at least a draw. 

"We did better in the second half, just like in Bochum," he told DAZN. "In the first half we were too prone to making mistakes in the opposing half. We lost too many balls. 

"The rest of our defence wasn't good, as was the goal we conceded, which is actually relatively easy to defend. A very avoidable goal. We weren't aggressive enough when pushing. It's a balancing act. 

"The equaliser was deserved, we defended with more risk. I saw a lot of cramps in the Salzburg side. That's probably also an indication that we didn't do so badly in the second half."

The average age of Salzburg's starting XI was 23 years and 242 days – the youngest in the knockout stages of the Champions League for any team in almost 19 years, since Ajax in April 2003 against Milan (22 years and 205 days).

Bayern forward Thomas Muller was full of praise for Salzburg's young guns, but he believed the German giants deserved to leave Austria with a draw.

"It's mixed feelings," he said. "Salzburg are a good team and the atmosphere was great. Compliments to the crowd, that's how you imagine football. 

"The general conditions were great, which is why it was fun even though we suffered a lot. In the second half we not only showed a reaction, but were also overwhelmingly superior. 

"It was a good move how we came back. However, it was certainly not our desired result. Sometimes we still lack the courage to position ourselves. In attack, we have to blame ourselves for not making good use of the spaces that were there. 

"We made wrong decisions there. Hats off that we still managed to draw 1-1. I think, to be honest, that was okay."

Kingsley Coman scored a 90th-minute equaliser at Salzburg to salvage a 1-1 draw for a below-par Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Julian Nagelsmann's side received a wave of criticism after a sensational 4-2 Bundesliga defeat to Bochum at the weekend, and they were almost on the wrong end of another upset in Austria on Wednesday.

Junior Adamu looked to have scored the decisive goal after 21 minutes in what was the hosts' first ever game in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Salzburg were denied a famous win late on, though, as Coman stole in at the back post to put Bayern in control ahead of the return leg next month.

 

Four more teams begin their Champions League knockout-stage campaigns on Wednesday when Inter host Liverpool and Bayern Munich travel to Salzburg for the first leg of their last-16 ties.

The clash between European heavyweights Inter and Liverpool at San Siro could potentially be a landmark one for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who is one short of becoming the eighth coach – and the first German – to reach 50 wins in the competition.

Salzburg's meeting with Bayern will be a special occasion regardless as the Austrian Bundesliga champions are competing at this stage of the competition for the first time ever.

Bayern are unbeaten in their last 21 away games in the Champions League since September 2017 – the longest-such run in European Cup history – and they beat Salzburg by a combined 9-3 scoreline in last term's group-stage meetings.

With the help of Opta, Stats Perform picks out some of the best of the numbers ahead of Wednesday's pair of last-16 ties.

Inter v Liverpool

Each of the four previous encounters between Inter and Liverpool have come in the knockout rounds of the European Cup and Champions League. Inter advanced over two legs in the 1964-65 semi-finals en route to being crowned the kings of Europe, while Liverpool emerged victorious at this very stage in 2007-08.

Liverpool have won their last two away games against Italian opposition in European competition – just one win fewer than they managed in their previous 14 such encounters – after beating Atalanta in 2020-21 and Milan earlier this season 

Inter have been eliminated from two of their three two-legged knockout ties against English opponents since the Champions League changed format in 2003-04, losing to Liverpool in 2007-08 and Manchester United in 2008-09, before eliminating Chelsea in 2009-10.

The Nerazzurri have won their last two Champions League home matches, which is one more than they managed in their previous nine between November 2018 and September 2021. However, not since between December 2009 and November 2010 – a run of seven victories – have they won three in a row in San Siro in the competition.

Mohamed Salah is in line to make his 50th Champions League appearance for Liverpool. The Egypt international has scored 32 goals in 49 games to date – only Cristiano Ronaldo (51 for Real Madrid) and Robert Lewandowski (36 for Bayern Munich) have ever netted more as of their 50th game for a single club.

Inter will hope Edin Dzeko can continue his good record against Liverpool, having netted in each of his past three meetings with them, scoring once for Manchester City in 2015 and twice for Roma in the semi-finals of this competition in 2017-18. 

Salzburg v Bayern Munich

Bayern are facing Austrian opposition in the knockout stages of a European competition for the fourth time. The German giants have advanced on each of the previous three occasions – against Rapid Vienna in the 1966-67 Cup Winners' Cup and Austria Vienna in successive European Cup campaigns in 1985-86 and 1986-87.

That does not bode well for Salzburg, who have won only one of their last six games against German teams in European competition, conceding 18 goals at an average of three per match. However, that solitary win did come in their most-recent home match – a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg in the group stage.

Julian Nagelsmann's side are one of only three teams with a 100 per cent record in the Champions League this term, along with Liverpool and Ajax. Only three sides prior to this campaign have ever won their first seven games of a Champions League campaign, with Bayern the most recent to do so three seasons ago.

Salzburg will be hoping to follow Atalanta, RB Leipzig (both in 2019-20) and Wolfsburg (2015-16) as only the fourth team to win their first game in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski is set to make his 50th away appearance in UEFA's showpiece competition. The Bayern striker has scored 37 goals to date in those games, which is already the most of any player to have reached that landmark, three more than next-best Lionel Messi.

Lewandowski's 11 direct goal involvements in the group stage were the second-most of any player, behind Ajax's Sebastien Haller (12). Next on the list is team-mate Leroy Sane, who scored five and assisted four more in six appearances.

It's November 25, 2020. A young German winger stands on the touchline anxiously waiting to step on to the Allianz Arena pitch for his Champions League debut in his hometown.

But as he waits to be allowed on, there are people watching both on television and in the largely empty stands who know this isn't how it should've been.

Rather than wearing the all-red of Bayern Munich, Karim Adeyemi jogs on in the all-black of Salzburg with the Austrian champions 3-0 down.

A technically gifted and rapid forward, Adeyemi has long been considered one of Germany's most promising young players, having cost Salzburg a reported €3million when he was 16.

Adeyemi had left Bayern six years earlier. It's a detail that has dominated much of his early professional career, with questions about why he left never far away.

Now 20, Adeyemi has previously spoken at length about his attitude as a kid, how learning wasn't much to his liking and distraction was a regular nuisance to him. These factors certainly didn't help at Bayern.

Neither, Adeyemi alleged in the past, did the club, who he said showed little support to players who strayed from "the plan". The collective, rather than individualistic talents, was prioritised.

He and Bayern were simply not a good match at the time. He left Die Roten and, while such a disappointment might've been enough to derail other ordinary kids, Adeyemi has since proven he is rather extraordinary.

A move to a smaller local club, Unterhaching, soon followed. It was there that, according to youth coach Marc Unterberger, Adeyemi was able to develop with a greater degree of individual emphasis and that eventually translated into him becoming a better asset for the team as a whole.

"He had his own thoughts on how to deal with things," Unterberger told Stats Perform in 2021. "We never wanted to change him completely, and I think we succeeded quite well. Karim is a really great guy and a great person.

"Until the time Karim came to us, we had never had such an exceptional player in our youth division.

"Of course, as a young person, you benefit from being accepted for who you are, but I would like to make it very clear that there was no situation within the team in which Karim behaved in such a way that we as a club were forced to act.

"On the contrary, over time he developed more and more towards putting himself at the service of the team. He was easily distracted, that's right, but let's be honest, something like this is normal when young people develop."

Unterberger arguably knows Adeyemi better than any other coach, given he was there for the youngster's entire six-year stay at Unterhaching.

"I can still remember it very well, the first time I saw him play in an Under-11 tournament," he recalled.

"Back then he was still playing for TSV Forstenried. My first thought was: 'We absolutely need this player'. Fortunately, it worked out later!"

That might be something of an understatement in reality. The €3m fee that Unterhaching received made him the most expensive Under-18 German player ever at the time, while 2019 saw him win the Fritz-Walter Gold Medal, an award handed out to Germany's best youth player. Previous winners include Timo Werner, Emre Can and Mario Gotze.

But most importantly, that move proved an unequivocal success for the player, as did his next.

Adeyemi confirmed to Stats Perform last year that he rejected the chance to join Chelsea from Unterhaching in his teens, instead opting to move just over the border to Salzburg. Had he gone to London, maybe he would've broken into their first-team – but it's probably just as likely that he'd have been lost among the Blues' army of loan players.

That's not to say loans can't work. Adeyemi's Salzburg career was carefully mapped out for him even before he joined, and that included an initial 18-month stint with Liefering, who essentially act as a B team. A haul of 15 goals and eight assists in the second tier provided strong evidence the teenager was ready for the step up in 2020.

His introduction to top-tier football wasn't quite so explosive, only having a hand in goals in six of his first 29 Austrian Bundesliga matches, but a key factor here was the need to remain patient – only nine of those 29 games were as a starter.

It wasn't until the final three months of 2020-21 that Adeyemi began to nail down a starting role, with seven of his 11 starts coming between mid-February and the end of May. This period also yielded six of his seven league goals.

This proved the final push he needed – with Patson Daka leaving for Leicester City, Adeyemi went from being the forwards' supporting act to the leading man in attack.

As you'd expect, this led to a bit of a change in his role, but there's no doubt he's thriving, securing his first senior international cap in September and finding himself linked heavily with Borussia Dortmund.

 

Sure, chance creation frequency is down (2.7 per 90, to 1.6), but the pay-off in terms of his effectiveness in front of goal is more than worth it.

His 14 goals is a league high, while only Kelvin Yeboah (11.2) – who has since joined Genoa – can better Adeyemi's 10.1 non-penalty expected goals (np-xG). Though on a per-90-minute basis, Adeyemi ranks first in the division with 0.72 np-xG (minimum 650 minutes played).

But it would be doing Adeyemi a huge disservice to give the impression he's 'just' some poacher. He's an immensely exciting player characterised by his explosive pace, low centre of gravity and silky ability on the ball. Yeboah (21) is the sole forward with more carries leading to shots and chances created than Adeyemi (21), though the Ghanaian's total comes from nearly 300 minutes more on the pitch.

It's a similar story in the Champions League. His carries led to a combined total of eight shots and chances created in the group stage – the only Opta-defined strikers to better that were Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo (both nine) and Arnaut Danjuma (14).

 

Even if it's reductive to just look at that metric, there's no doubt his performances have translated to European football's biggest stage – Sevilla's Diego Carlos will have been hoping to never see the youngster again after terrorising the Brazilian in the group.

Adeyemi's displays were a major factor in Salzburg reaching the knockouts of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

It would be a truly inspirational tale were it to be him, the young Bavarian cast-off, who plotted Bayern's downfall this time.

Julian Nagelsmann has backed Bayern Munich to bounce back from hitting rock Bochum.

The Bayern boss will send out his team to face Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday after a wave of criticism in the wake of a shock 4-2 weekend defeat.

Such are the sky-high standards at German giants Bayern that the 4-2 loss to mid-table Bochum in the Bundesliga has seen the team exposed to criticism and questioning, mostly but not exclusively from outside the club.

Bayern still hold a six-point lead at the top of the German top flight, and they will be strongly favoured to fend off Salzburg over two legs at the last-16 stage in Europe.

"If you concede four goals, the defence is of course criticised," Nagelsmann said. "Before Bochum we were good. We are by far the team with the most ball wins in Europe."

Nagelsmann said he had been looking at how Bayern's opponents were able to open up a 4-1 interval lead and added: "You can anticipate many things if you're greedy. We didn't have that against Bochum.

"Most of the time we're able to score more goals than we concede. In the Champions League and in the cup, of course, the impact is greater when that happens. So we are all willing to get a better result than we got on Saturday."

Bayern have come under fire from club legend Lothar Matthaus, who now works as a television pundit. Matthaus pointed the finger at Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez, saying they are not providing good value for money.

Nagelsmann said he would not comment "on every expert opinion that comes out without pressure from the leather chair", adding: "In the end, it's about us delivering such a performance that this kind of thing doesn't even come up."

Bayern honorary president Uli Hoeness suggested there was perhaps "not enough friction" in the team, and Thomas Muller responded to that and similar verdicts on Tuesday.

Muller said: "At the end we are judged on our results. It was a disastrous result against Bochum.

"We've already discussed that, we're very self-critical. We already have friction. Many of us have known each other for years. The powers that come from that trust unleash more powers. I see us on the right track."

Looking at the Bochum result, Muller said: "We don't close our eyes and tick it off, we're very analytical and self-critical."

Bayern Munich have announced that midfielder Jamal Musiala has tested positive for coronavirus.

The 18-year-old was absent from training on Tuesday and it was confirmed by Bayern on Wednesday he has contracted the virus.

Musiala will serve a period of self-isolation and is set to sit out Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Bochum, as well as next week's Champions League last-16 first leg with Salzburg.

That is a blow for Julian Nagelsmann as Musiala has played in 27 of Bayern's 30 matches in all competitions this season – only five others have featured more regularly.

The Germany international has been directly involved in 10 goals – six of his own and four assists – which is the sixth-most of any Bayern player in 2021-22.

Musiala's 53 dribbles completed this season, meanwhile, is behind only Leroy Sane (71) and Alphonso Davies (83).

Nagelsmann is well accustomed to dealing with player absentees through COVID-19, however, having had to make do without nine first-teamers at the start of the year.

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