Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has softened his stance on wanting new players in January as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry have returned to fitness.

Bundesliga top goalscorer Lewandowski had groin surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in December and could not take part in the mid-season training trip to Doha.

Gnabry hurt his Achilles during the camp and only returned to full training this week ahead of the second half of the Bundesliga season.

Flick had stated publicly he wanted new signings to bolster Bayern's trophy push, comments that left sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic "surprised".

However, with Lewandowski and Gnabry ready to face Hertha Berlin on Sunday, Flick no longer appears desperate to bring in new faces in the transfer window.

"The injury situation has improved. Robert Lewandowski is back, so too Serge Gnabry, with a new haircut!" he told reporters on Friday.

"Robert is close to 100 per cent. He is an absolutely top professional and, when we were in Doha, he worked very well individually. Even when he was shooting, he didn't feel any pain.

"Lucas Hernandez will train on the pitch today. Javi [Martinez] and Kingsley [Coman] are a few weeks away. The goal is to have everyone together again in February and March, because then the tough weeks begin.

"It's true that I said [we need signings], but something has changed in the meantime. With the return of Serge and Robert, we've got two additions.

"I had a good conversation with Hasan and we both want to work successfully. When it comes to arrivals, it's important that players come to help us. I trust Hasan and his scouting department to make it possible for us.

"But that also has to be done carefully. You can't do anything crazy."

Bayern head to the capital in third place in the table, and they could be seven points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig by the time they kick off if Julian Nagelsmann's side beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

"We have to make a strong start. It's very important we start the second half of the season well," said Flick.

"We're all looking forward to it. We face a difficult task against a team that are very compact defensively. We must be prepared for that.

"We have the quality to become champions. Bayern showed last year under Niko [Kovac] that they can catch up. But we have to think from game to game.

"I don't feel any more pressure now than I did before the break. I really enjoy working with my team and coaching staff, but of course you're always under pressure, regardless of the situation."

Peter Bosz is staying with Bayer Leverkusen for another two years after earning glowing praise from Rudi Voller.

The former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund head coach is 13 months into his reign at the BayArena, and earned swift acclaim last season by leading Leverkusen from mid-table into a Champions League place.

This term they sit sixth, just two points behind fourth-placed Dortmund.

Bosz is the coach Leverkusen believe will continue to deliver progress, prompting them to announce a new two-year deal for the head coach on Friday.

A statement on the club's website said: "Bayer 04 Leverkusen are keeping faith with head coach Peter Bosz and his fellow coaches. The Bundesliga club and the Dutchman extended the employment contract, which was due to expire at the end of the current season, until June 30, 2022."

Voller, the former Germany striker and head coach who is now Leverkusen's managing director of sport, praised Bosz's work.

He said 56-year-old Bosz had shown himself to be "a coach whose thumb print is evident in every training session and every game".

Voller added: "He has the crucial ability to continually develop a team.

"Peter's approach to the game fits in perfectly with us as Bayer 04 have played aggressive and high-tempo football with joy for many years.

"Both sides are happy that our partnership will continue after the end of this season. This mutual desire was evident early on. Now was the right time to make it happen."

Bosz welcomed confirmation of his new contract, saying: "We're working hard every day to create the conditions to win titles and look forward to continuing to make progress with Bayer 04."

The Bundesliga returns from its mid-season break this weekend, with Leverkusen away at Paderborn on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre will make a late call on whether to hand Erling Haaland a Bundesliga debut at Augsburg this weekend.

Dortmund beat off interest from a host of heavyweight European clubs to land the 19-year-old striker last month, paying a release clause of €22.5million to Salzburg.

Haaland netted 28 goals in 22 appearances for the Austrian champions this season but Favre conceded to concerns over his match fitness after missing the start of Dortmund's mid-season training camp.

"As I said, we'll see. Now, I can't say," Favre told reporters.

"But he didn't train from December 10 until the end of December. At the beginning of our training camp in Marbella he didn't train, too.

"The time for the preparation was also really short. But yesterday he ran a lot and it was okay."

Favre might be tempted not to rush Haaland with club captain Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard set to bolster his frontline, having returned from their respective muscular injuries.

"The injured players trained a lot. Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard trained every day," Favre added.

"They were every day here. We'll see if they can play.

"In terms of injury, Marcel Schmelzer can't play on Saturday, Tobias Raschl didn't train this week and Thomas Delaney can't play, too."

Dortmund sit fourth in an intriguingly poised Bundesliga table, three points behind champions Bayern Munich and seven shy of leaders RB Leipzig at the halfway stage.

Serge Gnabry completed full training on Thursday ahead of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with Hertha Berlin.

The champions head to the capital on Sunday for their first game in the second half of Germany's domestic season.

Gnabry was forced to miss part of the mid-season training camp in Doha due to problems with his Achilles tendon, which he sustained at the start of the month.

However, Bayern confirmed on their website that the 24-year-old winger completed the full 90 minutes of training on Thursday, including a match.

The news comes a day after top scorer Robert Lewandowksi returned to team training, the striker having undergone surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on December 21.

Gnabry has scored six times in the Bundesliga this season and set up a further six goals. Only Thomas Muller (11) has provided more league assists for Bayern this term.

Hansi Flick's side face Hertha knowing they could be seven points off the top of the table if leaders RB Leipzig beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

RB Leipzig star Timo Werner admits he considers the Premier League to be "the most interesting" of the major top flights in Europe.

The striker has been linked with a move away from Leipzig in 2020, such has been his form for the Bundesliga leaders.

Werner has scored 18 goals in 17 league games for Julian Nagelsmann's side, prompting talk of interest from a host of foreign clubs as well as domestic champions Bayern Munich.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are two of the most prominent sides said to be considering a bid for the 23-year-old, who reportedly has a release clause that could be activated in January.

While Werner has no desire to push through a move before the end of the season, he has suggested the Premier League could be tempting, as could following in the footsteps of former Madrid midfielders Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.

"The Premier League is certainly the most interesting league, you have to say," he told Bild. "There is a certain flair to watching the English league and playing there.

"But many Germans have also been very successful in Spain, such as Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

"As of now, I have no desire to look for a move elsewhere."

Leipzig are two points ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach at the top of the table ahead of the second half of the Bundesliga season, which gets underway this weekend.

They host Union Berlin on Saturday in their next match.

Jean-Clair Todibo has signed for Schalke on loan from Barcelona, with the Bundesliga club having the option to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

Barca signed centre-back Todibo from Toulouse in January 2019, but the Frenchman has played just four times in LaLiga.

He will now spend the rest of 2019-20 on loan at Schalke, who have paid Barca a €1.5million loan fee and will cover Todibo's wages for the remainder of the campaign.

Schalke will also be able to make the deal permanent should Todibo impress, with Barca confirming a fee of €25m – plus €5m add-ons – has been agreed. 

Should Schalke decide to sign Todibo, Barca – who on Monday replaced head coach Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setien – have included a buy-back clause of €50m, plus €10m in variables.

"We said during the training camp in Spain that we would only be active in the market if something opened up that would help us," Schalke coach David Wagner said.

"That's definitely the case for Jean-Clair, who is one of the best young central defenders in Europe. Since Benjamin Stambouli's recovery is taking a little longer than we had all hoped, it makes sense to bring in another central defender. He can also play in defensive midfield.

"We will all do our best to support him in the development of his clear potential. We’re looking forward to having him."

Todibo was also linked with Serie A side Milan, with negotiations reportedly collapsing due to Barca's insistence that a buy-back option was included.

Schalke sit fifth in the Bundesliga and face second-place Borussia Monchengladbach at home on Friday.

Napoli have bolstered their midfield options with the reported €24million signing of Stanislav Lobotka from Celta Vigo.

The length of the 25-year-old's contract is yet to be confirmed by the club, but he is said to have signed until 2024 and becomes Napoli's second signing of the month following Diego Demme's switch from RB Leipzig.

Napoli are reported to have paid an initial €20m, with another €4m in variables and clauses.

Lobotka joined Celta in 2017 from Danish side Nordsjaelland and the Slovakia international quickly established himself in Juan Carlos Unzue's team, playing every match in the 2017-18 campaign and starting 34 of them.

He remained a key player until his departure, often earning rave reviews with his enterprising blend of technical quality and combativeness.

The last Slovakian player to represent Napoli was Marek Hamsik, who went on to become a club icon after spending almost 12 years in Naples until last February.

Lobotka leaves a significant hole to fill for Celta, who are languishing just above the relegation zone in LaLiga, with goal difference the only metric keeping them out of the bottom three.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has been unable to take part in training with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen due to an unspecified muscular problem.

The 22-year-old winger has been plagued with injury issues for the last several months. After suffering a hamstring injury towards the end of last season, Bailey sat out of a full month of action early this season after suffering a thigh muscle injury during the Champions League.

After returning in November, the player again had a brief spell on the sideline.  The player’s latest minor set-back will not impact his chances of appearing for the club as the club resumes the Bundesliga campaign against Paderborn on the weekend. 

Bailey is currently serving a three-match after being sent off against FC Koln.  The card was the player’s second of the season after also picking one against Borussia Mönchengladbach earlier this season.  The player was also fined €20,000.  The dismissals were the first of the player’s career.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted no decision had been made on Mario Gotze's future at the Bundesliga club.

Gotze, 27, is coming out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move away, having made just five Bundesliga starts this campaign.

The 63-time Germany international is in his second stint at Dortmund, but Zorc said the parties would wait to make a decision on the attacker's future.

"That has not yet been decided," he told Ruhr Nachrichten.

"It is of course also the case with him that he would like to have more minutes. We are talking to Mario.

"I spoke to his father before Christmas. I spoke to him again in Marbella. We will surely get together in the spring and then make a final decision."

Another player linked with a move from Dortmund is Achraf Hakimi, who has impressed on loan at the club from Real Madrid.

Zorc said he would like to keep the Morocco international for longer, with Hakimi having joined on a two-year loan deal in mid-2018.

"I always like to stick to facts. According to the contract, he will return to Real Madrid in the summer because his contract will take effect on July 1," he said.

"Our contacts are himself and Real. Of course we would like to see him with us longer, that's clear too.

"But we cannot influence it alone. I think Achraf knows very well what development he has taken with us. He just took is from us, not anywhere else.

"According to his own statement, he also feels very comfortable. Everything else will clear up in the spring."

Thomas Muller will not make any decisions on his long-term Bayern Munich future until the end of the season.

The former Germany international has spent his entire professional career at the Allianz Arena, where he has won eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokals and a Champions League medal.

However, Muller admitted back in October he was considering his options after finding his game time limited under ex-boss Niko Kovac.

With Hansi Flick now at the helm, until at least the end of the campaign, the circumstances have changed again, though rumours suggesting Muller may fancy a new challenge persist.

The man himself does not plan to rush a decision.

Speaking to Sport1, he said: "My focus is exclusively on being successful this season.

"What will happen in the summer, I will talk to the club and consider my options. Then let's see in which direction things will go."

It was put to Muller that talk surrounding his future would be put to bed by signing a new deal, with his contract at Bayern due to expire in 2021.

He replied: "With such a thing, all parties have to put their arguments in the pot. Let's see if we can make an agreement there.

"You just have to compare what all parties want."

Bayern are third in the Bundesliga after 17 matches, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig.

Barcelona appear ready to turn to their next coaching target as the LaLiga giants eye Mauricio Pochettino.

Ernesto Valverde is under enormous pressure after the Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid, but Xavi has reportedly turned down the job – for now.

Amid contrasting reports over Barca's next decision, they may be lining up a move for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA CONTACT POCHETTINO OVER COACHING JOB

Barcelona contacted former Tottenham manager Pochettino to be their next boss, according to RAC1.

It comes as widespread reports in Spain say Al Sadd boss and former Barcelona star Xavi turned down the position.

Meanwhile, Catalunya Radio reported Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman also rejected the opportunity.

After a meeting on Sunday, Barca decided to stick with Valverde for now, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reports Manchester United had agreed to terms with Bruno Fernandes, the Mirror says the Premier League club are set to bid £65million (€76.1m) for the Sporting CP midfielder this week.

- Tottenham are set to sign Benfica's Gedson Fernandes as further details about a possible move emerge. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Spurs will sign the Portugal international on loan with an option to buy for between £42.7m (€50m) and £51.2m (€60m) in 2021.

- Jerome Boateng continues to be linked with a Bayern Munich exit. Milan are ready to challenge Arsenal for the defender, according to Sky Germany.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, it appears Layvin Kurzawa's future is away from Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe reports the left-back – who has made just five Ligue 1 starts this campaign – recently rejected Inter but the Serie A club remain hopeful of signing the 27-year-old this month.

- Juventus are looking to the future. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are keeping an eye on teenage Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and AZ forward Calvin Stengs.

Joshua Kimmich says Bayern Munich must dip into the transfer market after losing a string of key players to injury.

Bayern suffered another blow when Serge Gnabry sustained an Achilles injury during the mid-season training camp in Doha last weekend. 

Gnabry joined the likes of prolific striker Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman on a lengthy list of absentees.

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick has made it clear he wants to add to his depleted squad and defender Kimmich believes it is vital they bring in some new faces this month.

"At the training camp in Doha you can see that we've actually only got 12 or 13 professional players in the squad and the rest are youth," said the Germany international.

"The table for the youth players was full. That wasn't the case during my first year at Bayern.

"We might play until the end of the season in all three competitions and we have lots of international players too, so we need more players who are fit.

"Of course we have a lot of injured players. Gnabry couldn't train, Lewandowski and Coman will return soon.

"[Javi] Martinez also has a knock and [Niklas] Sule and [Lucas] Hernandez will take time. The club know that so they have to make a decision. At the moment, the squad is not big enough."

The Bundesliga champions are four points off the summit at the midway point this season and will return to league action with a trip to Hertha Berlin on January 19. 

Liverpool broke yet more records in their latest Premier League triumph over Tottenham, achieving a benchmark that not even Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich have previously managed. 

Roberto Firmino scored the first-half winner as the unbeaten Reds recorded their 20th top-flight victory in 21 games to take their tally to 61 points this term.

In the three-points-for-a-win era, that is the biggest points haul any team in Europe's top five leagues has ever managed after 21 games.

The likes of Barcelona, PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich have enjoyed spells as all-conquering giants in their respective domestic leagues, yet none of those sides have been able to achieve such a total at the same stage.

In avoiding defeat, Klopp's side also extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 38 games, the equivalent of a full season.

They have accrued 104 points in that time, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions, bettering the previous record totals Manchester City and Chelsea (both 102) managed across 38-match spells in 2017-18 and 2005 respectively.

Napoli have completed the signing of midfielder Diego Demme from RB Leipzig in a reported €12million move.

The one-cap Germany international joined Leipzig in the third tier in 2014 and has been a regular in their ascent to the Champions League, playing 17 times in the Bundesliga this season.

But Demme, who has an Italian father and was named after Napoli legend Diego Maradona, has now departed for the Partenopei.

The Serie A giants, who have struggled this term and replaced coach Carlo Ancelotti with Gennaro Gattuso, confirmed the signing of the 28-year-old on Saturday.

Holding midfielder Demme has previously described Gattuso, along with former Milan team-mate Andrea Pirlo, as his "idol".

He could soon be joined by another midfield signing as Stanislav Lobotka reportedly nears a switch from Celta Vigo to Napoli.

Erling Haaland said an immediate good feeling about Borussia Dortmund persuaded him to join the Bundesliga club instead of Manchester United.

Premier League giants United and Serie A champions Juventus – along with Dortmund's Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig – were interested in the 19-year-old.

However, the striker, who scored 28 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions for Salzburg in the first half of 2019-20, decided to sign for Dortmund, who had activated a release clause in his contract.

Presented to the media at Dortmund's training camp in Marbella on Friday, Haaland outlined the reasons for his decision, adding his belief that the Bundesliga is a perfect league for him to continue his development.

"It's been good, great guys, great staff. A good first week," Haaland told a news conference.

Asked why he picked Dortmund above United, Haaland said: "I chose Dortmund because my feeling was best here. It's a massive club. I've always liked this club.

"When I mention it, I start to smile because I like the club and how it is, so that's why. I like everything [the fans, the style of play], all of it.

"[The Bundesliga] is a good league with a lot of good players. It's a great league, the teams play nice football and I think it'll fit me."

Haaland is set to make his debut for Dortmund in a friendly match on Saturday. His competitive bow will not come until at least January 18, when Lucien Favre's side take on Augsburg.

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