Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will miss his country’s upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures against Hungary and England after the Bayern Munich star tested positive for Covid-19.
Neuer’s Bayern teammate Leon Goretzka has also returned a positive test and will miss out as well, with the duo now isolating away from the rest of the squad.
Uncapped Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann has been added the squad to replace Neuer, although either Marc-Andre ter Stegen or Kevin Trapp are more likely to deputise against Hungary on Friday and then England a few days later.
England have their own injury problems ahead of their Nations League double-header, with Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips forced to withdraw. He could require shoulder surgery, which would make him a serious doubt for the World Cup in Qatar.
However, that blow has been lessoned by Jordan Henderson’s unexpected recovery from the hamstring injury he sustained earlier this month.
The Liverpool captain was initially thought to be facing a lengthy absence, but he has recovered in time to be added to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the matches against Italy and Germany.
England are currently bottom of their Nations League group and in urgent need of positive results to avoid being relegated from League A.
Hasan Salihamidzic expects ‘different’ Bayern Munich after international break
Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has insisted Bayern Munich will be a ‘different’ team after the international break.
The German champions have endured a surprisingly mediocre start to the new campaign domestically, winning just three of their seven league games and losing to Augsburg in their match prior to the break. This poor form means Bayern are currently five points adrift of table-toppers Union Berlin.
Speaking to Bild, Salihamidzic addressed this form, revealing that the club held discussions with Julian Nagelsmann to review the start of the season, but insisted that the manager has his full backing: “We talked to Julian about all aspects of our start to the season, including the positive ones, because there was not only the defeat in Augsburg, but also a lot of goals at the beginning and two wins without conceding a goal in the Champions League.
“Julian is very clear. He and his team of coaches know exactly what to do. Above all, Julian knows that he has the full backing of FC Bayern, and that doesn’t need to be emphasised again and again.”
Salihamidzic also discussed potential reasons for why Bayern has struggled this season thus far, stating that the winter World Cup has some part to play: “For me, there is no question that in this extraordinarily demanding season with a world championship in the middle, only those teams have a chance of winning the title that find a rhythm as an entire squad group, that develop their rotation style and push themselves as a unit. Our players have quality, mentality and character, they want and will show that.
“We will appear differently after the international break. And I expect that too. Physical intensity, greed and the willingness to push yourself to the limit in every game are the prerequisites for success. We also need a much better, more focused exploitation of opportunities.”
Thomas Muller suggests Bayern Munich’s struggles are hurting Germany national team
Thomas Muller has hinted that Bayern Munich’s slow start to the season was a factor in Germany’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Hungary on Friday evening.
Die Mannschaft fell to a 17th-minute Adam Szalai goal to knock Hansi Flick’s side out of contention to reach next summer’s Nations League finals.
Speaking after the loss in Leipzig, Muller suggested that players’ struggles at club level have been carried into the national setup.
“The first half was very disappointing,” he said. “We made far too many mistakes and you could feel that many in their clubs are not going through the easiest phase. Without pressure we made mistakes and almost everyone was affected.”
Four of Germany’s starters on Friday – Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane – hail from Bayern Munich, who have won just three of their opening seven Bundesliga games so far this season. Gnabry was hooked at half-time by Flick for West Ham defender Thilo Kehrer, while Muller came off for Wolfsburg striker Lukas Nmecha with five minutes remaining.
Centre-back Niklas Sule departed Bayern for Borussia Dortmund this summer, and while BVB sit second in the Bundesliga table, the 27-year-old has started just once for his new club and is understandably lacking in match sharpness.
Germany travel to England on Monday in each side’s final game before the World Cup.
Bellingham’s preferred destination; Man Utd chasing Kane
Jude Bellingham would prefer to join Real Madrid if he chooses to leave Borussia Dortmund next summer. Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are all keen on the England midfielder. (El Chiringuito)
Liverpool tried to sign Bellingham in 2012 and offered £9,000 for the then-Birmingham midfielder, whose family rejected the chance to move. (The Athletic)
There is an option in Gerard Pique‘s contract allowing Barcelona to terminate it in 2023 if he plays fewer than 35% of the minutes available to him this season. The plan is to replace Pique with Athletic Club’s Inigo Martinez. (Mundo Deportivo)
Ousmane Dembele‘s contract also has a €50m release clause which will become active next summer (L’Equipe)
Manchester United are the latest side to reach out to the representatives of Tottenham striker Harry Kane over a possible transfer next summer. (Fichajes)
Arsenal have made contact with Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom over a possible January transfer. The 22-year-old is expected to cost around £17m. (Bild)
Graham Potter is considering recalling winger Callum Hudson-Odoi from his loan with Bayer Leverkusen in January. The new Chelsea manager is a massive fan of the young winger and believes he can earn minutes at Stamford Bridge. (Bild)
Barcelona have spoken to Rennes midfielder Lovro Majer about a possible transfer. The Croatia international has been hailed as ‘the new Luka Modric’. (Foot Mercato)
Tottenham remain interested in Inter centre-back Alessandro Bastoni, whose negotiations over a new contract have stalled. (InterLive)
Another Inter centre-back, Milan Skriniar, is being urged by Paris Saint-Germain to allow his contract to expire in the summer so he can join on a free transfer. (Tuttosport)
With his contract up in 2023, N’Golo Kante has been contacted by Juventus, AC Milan and Inter over a possible pre-contract agreement in January. (Tutto Juve)
Manchester City have been scouting Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo, whose contract expires at the end of the season. (Calciomercato)
There are no plans for Bayern Munich to sign a new striker in January, with club officials adamant that Julian Nagelsmann will figure out a way to get his new-look attack gelling soon. (Sky Germany)
France defeated by Denmark; Poland edge past relegated Wales
Swiderski winner sends hosts to Nations League relegation ahead of World Cup
Player ratings as Les Bleus’ Nations League campaign ends in defeat
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