Bayern Munich

  • 'Hudson-Odoi is an outstanding talent' -...

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has been hailed as an "outstanding talent" by former Germany star Michael Ballack. Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi is a transfer target for Bayern Munich, as first revealed by Goal, with the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirming last...

    'Hudson-Odoi is an outstanding talent' - Ballack talks up Chelsea starlet amid Bayern talk

    Callum Hudson-Odoi has been hailed as an "outstanding talent" by former Germany star Michael Ballack. Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi is a transfer target for Bayern Munich, as first revealed by Goal, with the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirming last week that talks remain ongoing between the clubs. The 18-year-old has earned 10 first-team appearances for the Blues this season but is yet to make a Premier League start and is reportedly tempted by the prospect of greater opportunities with Bayern. "We're talking about a player who just came recently from the youth level. He's trying to achieve the step to the professional level in a top club," Ballack told Omnisport. "This makes it a lot more difficult for a young player because the standard is very, very high. It's hard to say whether the player is good enough for this demand or not. It's a fact that he's an outstanding talent. "Chelsea have to evaluate whether they want to keep him or maybe send him on loan. I think that's the philosophy of all top teams - to educate young, top players and to give them the possibility to play. "It's the most important thing during that young age, to play without losing the player. Bayern had their focus on Hudson-Odoi very early. We will see if the transfer is happening or not." Ballack was a far more established performer when he swapped Bayer Leverkusen for Bayern in 2002, having inspired Germany's run to that year's World Cup final, and he is reluctant to impart any pearls of wisdom upon Hudson-Odoi. "I don't have any advice for him. He has to see if he has a realistic chance at Chelsea in the first team or not," he said. "[Recently] he was often part of it and showed his qualities. Is it the right time to go to another top club like Bayern? Every player has to decide this on his own. There's no special recipe." The success of 18-year-old England international Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund has been viewed, to a certain extent, as a motivation for Bayern's interest in signing Hudson-Odoi. Arsenal's 19-year-old forward Reiss Nelson has also impressed on loan at Hoffenheim this season and England manager Gareth Southgate welcomed the openness to such opportunities among his next generation. "I think Jadon and Reiss Nelson are the obvious ones who have trodden that path, there are some other young players who have done that and haven't yet appeared in first-team football," Southgate said, speaking courtesy of William Hill at a Football Writers Association dinner held in his honour in London on Sunday. "I think it's good that the opportunity is there. Young people now in our country are less restricted in their decision making. They don't view travelling the world in maybe the way we did when we were younger. "They're more secure in themselves and they're ready to go if it gives them an opportunity to play. For all young players, that opportunity to play first-team football is really important."

  • We're the hunters! - Kovac's Bayern read...

    Niko Kovac said "hunters" Bayern Munich are desperate to chase Borussia Dortmund and seal the title after increasing the pressure on the Bundesliga leaders. German champions Bayern moved within three points of Dortmund following a 3-1 victory at Hoffenheim as the Bundesliga retu...

    We're the hunters! - Kovac's Bayern ready to chase down Dortmund

    Niko Kovac said "hunters" Bayern Munich are desperate to chase Borussia Dortmund and seal the title after increasing the pressure on the Bundesliga leaders. German champions Bayern moved within three points of Dortmund following a 3-1 victory at Hoffenheim as the Bundesliga returned on Friday. Leon Goretzka's first-half double and Robert Lewandowski's late sealer saw Bayern to their sixth successive league victory. Speaking afterwards, Bayern head coach Kovac said: "The first half was sensational. That was our ambition, that's what we're able to do. "The result is good, we got off to a good start to the second half of the season and increased the pressure. "We're the hunters, we want to chase Dortmund. We want to chase and seal the championship title. The decisive thing is to be at the top at the end of the season." In their first fixture of 2019, Bayern reigned supreme thanks to Goretzka's maiden Bundesliga brace away. Goretzka struck in 12 first-half minutes to put Bayern in control before Hoffenheim - who were riding a 10-match unbeaten streak - reduced the deficit via Nico Schulz approaching the hour-mark. Bayern, though, made sure of the points when Lewandowski added a third goal with three minutes remaining. "Taken altogether we put in a good fight," Goretzka said. "It was a superb performance in the first half. We were in control and deservedly took the lead. "The second half was a bit hectic but the game would have been over if we had rounded off a counter. This way Hoffenheim bounced back, we had to give it everything. We wanted to get off to a good start to the second half of the season, and it was important to turn in a good display." And Goretzka echoed his manager's opinion on the title race.  "Our goal is to clinch the championship title. We were six points short after the first half of the season. We're the hunters now."

  • Hoffenheim 1 Bayern Munich 3: Goretzka g...

    Leon Goretzka's maiden Bundesliga brace guided Bayern Munich to a hard-earned 3-1 win at Hoffenheim in their first fixture of 2019. Victorious in each of their final five league matches last year, the defending champions picked up where they left off as Goretzka struck twice in ...

    Hoffenheim 1 Bayern Munich 3: Goretzka goals close gap on Bundesliga's return

    Leon Goretzka's maiden Bundesliga brace guided Bayern Munich to a hard-earned 3-1 win at Hoffenheim in their first fixture of 2019. Victorious in each of their final five league matches last year, the defending champions picked up where they left off as Goretzka struck twice in 12 first-half minutes. Hoffenheim took a 10-match unbeaten streak into Friday's encounter but were unable to build on Nico Schulz's fine 59th-minute strike in Julian Naglesmann's 100th match at the helm in Germany's top flight. Robert Lewandowski provided the knockout blow three minutes from the end to trim Borussia Dortmund's advantage back to three points ahead of the league-leaders' tricky trip to fourth-placed RB Leipzig on Saturday. Bayern began brightly and threatened through Lewandowski and Thomas Muller inside the opening 20 minutes. Mats Hummels should have gone one better, but failed to poke past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann amid a scramble in the box. Goretzka eventually made the dominance count with a quickfire double. He broke the deadlock in the 34th minute with a deflected close-range finish after Baumann saved Lewandowski's initial header, before David Alaba's inch-perfect cross enabled the midfielder to cap a swift counter-attack in first-half stoppage time.   Hoffenheim were more competitive after the interval and it did not take long for Joelinton to draw Manuel Neuer into a smart low save, the follow-up to which Kerem Demirbay dragged wide. Neuer, though, was given no chance with the next effort as wing-back Schulz speared an unerring drive into the bottom-left corner from 20 yards. The hosts pressed with renewed hope and an Adam Szalai header drew a crucial denial from the Bayern captain, but the comeback was extinguished when Muller intelligently turned James Rodriguez's dinked pass into Lewandowski's path for the sealer.   What does it mean? Bayern back in the groove Having lost on their past two Bundesliga visits PreZero Arena, this appeared a tough initiation into the new year for a Bayern side that was less than convincing across the first half of the campaign. They were certainly made to toil victory but, after a fluent first 45 minutes and second period full of perspiration, Kovac will view this result as a significant step forward in his team's attempt to overhaul BVB. Goretzka gets among the goals He has now had half a season to adjust to life with Bayern and two-goal Goretzka appears increasingly comfortable with his surrounds. The 23-year-old was at his box-to-box best on Friday, bringing industry in the midfield of the pitch and a nose for goal that saw him unleash six shots in total. Demirbay hooked after less than an hour Hoffenheim midfielder Demirbay was one player perhaps still stuck in holiday mode as he struggled to get to grips with the pace Bayern set. The Germany international fluffed a good opportunity to score early in the second half and, with 39 touches in 56 minutes, was unsurprisingly replaced by Dennis Geiger. Key Opta Facts - Bayern manager Niko Kovac has won six Bundesliga games in a row for the first time in his career as a manager.  - No other team collected as many points away from home in this Bundesliga season as Bayern (24).  - Goretzka scored his first brace in his 131st Bundesliga game.  - The midfielder has scored all four of his Bundesliga goals for Bayern away from home and in the 12 minutes before half time. - Javi Martinez celebrated his 100th win in his 120th game, earlier than any other player in the competition's history.   What's next? Bayern return to Allianz Arena next Sunday for a date with relegation-threatened Stuttgart, while Hoffenheim have a day fewer to prepare for their trip to Freiburg.

  • James is playing for Bayern future – Kov...

    Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac expects James Rodriguez to retain his motivation and focus for the rest of the season because he is "playing for his future" at the club. James joined Bayern on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid at the start of last season, and while he ha...

    James is playing for Bayern future – Kovac

    Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac expects James Rodriguez to retain his motivation and focus for the rest of the season because he is "playing for his future" at the club. James joined Bayern on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid at the start of last season, and while he has impressed in spells, consistency has been lacking. Bayern officials suggested in James' first season that they had every intention of exercising their purchase option, but with that still to happen and more recent comments hinting at a change of mind, the Colombia international's future remains in the air. James has started just five times in the Bundesliga this term, as he has struggled with a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Novermber.  As Bayern prepare to return from Germany's mid-season break away to Hoffenheim on Friday, Kovac is urging the playmaker to kick on and force the club into a decision. "The competition is very big, but anyone can earn [their place]," Kovac told reporters on Wednesday. "All the players signing a contract here know that you can be out of the team. "James is playing for his future. I expect him to keep pushing. I see that he is motivated and focused, he wants to play more than in the past. "As a coach, I can only rate what I see on the pitch, which is the standard for him, but also for everyone else. Nothing else matters."

  • 'You'd be perfect for Barcelona!' - Xavi...

    Xavi believes Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich would be an ideal signing for Barcelona as the Germany international's reputation continues to swell. The 23-year-old has been an ever-present for the Bavarian giants this season, making 26 appearances in all competitions. Despite pl...

    'You'd be perfect for Barcelona!' - Xavi talks up move for Kimmich after Guardiola recommendation

    Xavi believes Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich would be an ideal signing for Barcelona as the Germany international's reputation continues to swell. The 23-year-old has been an ever-present for the Bavarian giants this season, making 26 appearances in all competitions. Despite playing most of his career at right-back, Kimmich - who was named among the Goal 50 - has been moved into a central midfield role of late. And that display of versatility makes him well-suited to moving to Camp Nou, according to the Spaniard. Speaking alongside Kimmich at a training camp in Doha, Xavi told Bild : "I spoke to Pep Guardiola, my ex-coach from Barcelona, ​​about him. "Pep said: 'I have a player in the team who can play in every position!'  "I asked, 'Who is the boy?' He told me something about a man named 'Kimmitsch', whom I honestly had never heard of before. "Since that day, when I talked to Pep, I have followed your career. After all, Pep says that for a reason.  "I knew right away, when I saw you playing, that you could become a great player. And that's you today!  "Joshua is the present and future of FC Bayern and the German national team. And you really can play in any position." Since Dani Alves left the club in 2016 , both Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto have failed to make the right-back position at Barcelona their own. Kimmich would solve Ernesto Valverde's problems at the back but Xavi is conscious that Bayern play at a similar level. The Al Sadd  midfielder and Qatar World Cup ambassador added: "You would be the perfect player for FC Barcelona!  "In my career, I have always kept my eyes open to find players who would suit Barca well.  "As previously with Philipp Lahm, Joshua Kimmich could without any problems play at Barcelona. ​​That would fit well.  "But Bayern Munich play on the same level as Barca, and you can achieve a lot there." Across his 22-year career Xavi has won 31 major honours, including the World Cup and two European Championship titles with Spain. He developed a reputation as a metronomic passer in midfield and was the central pillar of Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona team between 2008 and 2012. But Xavi believes Kimmich's flexibility means he could even eclipse him as a player. "I thought before I met Joshua that he wanted to be a defender," he stated. "But he already told me that he has another big wish. Joshua can play perfectly in midfield as a number six.  "Definitely [he can be the next Xavi]. He can make the difference.  "He can be one of the best players in world football in several positions, maybe he already is.  "That distinguishes him from me: I could play in one position, he is versatile."

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