Mats Hummels insists there are no problems between himself and under-fire Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre.

Dortmund snapped a winless run of three matches in all competitions by beating Hertha Berlin 2-1 last Saturday, despite Hummels receiving a 45th-minute red card in the German capital.

On their return from last month's international break, BVB were forced to come from 3-0 down to claim a 3-3 draw at home to bottom side Paderborn.

Speaking after that match, Hummels appeared to question Favre's initial defensive setup when he said:  "Let's just put it this way, it would be easier to press in a 4-1-4-1 and I'll leave it at that."

But the 2014 World Cup winner told Sport Bild he remains behind former Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice boss Favre.

"There are no differences with the coach, this is nonsense," he told Sport Bild.

"We have a very good relationship and we talk a lot, we talk a lot.

"I like his ideas, I am very surprised if they interpret my words as criticising the coach. I do not think so at all."

Specifically addressing his post-Paderborn comments, Hummels added: "If we have to press and press, my opinion is that we are better in this system.

"I feel that the coach had the same impression against Paderborn, otherwise he would not have switched to it."

Bayern are fifth in the Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Gladbach heading into their weekend match against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Freddie Ljungberg's spell as Arsenal interim head coach starts away at Norwich City on Sunday.

If the Swede gets his wish, it will be the humble beginning of a long-term tenure.

The Gunners are reportedly receptive to the idea of keeping him in the dugout, at least until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – LJUNGBERG KEEN ON LONG-TERM ARSENAL CHANCE

Could rookie coach Freddie Ljungberg go from hugging the touchline at Highbury to patrolling it permanently at Emirates Stadium?

According to The Guardian, the 42-year-old is determined to prove he should succeed Unai Emery at Arsenal on a full-time basis.

Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are among the many men linked with the role, although club chiefs are reportedly prepared to let Ljungberg stay on for the remainder of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in the Premier League and Wolves will fight "tooth and nail" to keep Arsenal coaching contender Nuno Espirito Santo, says the Daily Mail.

- Inter have been linked with a South American double swoop. Antonio Conte wants more depth and the Serie A side are keen on Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and promising River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta, reports La Repubblica.

- Edinson Cavani knows a contract extension will not be forthcoming but the striker wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season, according to Le Parisien.

- West Ham CEO Karen Brady expressed her support of under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini in The Sun, although the Daily Mail reports he has just two games to save his job.

- Anything less than victory against Hertha Berlin on Saturday will likely spell the end for Lucien Favre at Borussia Dortmund, says Sky Sport Germany.

Lucien Favre insisted his circumstances at Borussia Dortmund were "not important" amid pressure on the coach.

Dortmund are winless in three matches in all competitions and sit sixth in the Bundesliga, five points adrift of Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke.

Favre, who has been in charge since May last year, is under increasing pressure, but the 62-year-old played down his circumstances ahead of a trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

"I'm trying to concentrate only on the game in Berlin. My personal situation is not important," he told a news conference.

"This is part of the game and happens very fast when you don't get results. That's how it is and I accept it.

"But I will keep going and am confident in the team and in myself."

Dortmund suffered a 3-1 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday and are third in Group F, level on points with second-placed Inter.

Jadon Sancho's issues at Borussia Dortmund have been dealt with and a January departure is not expected, insists sporting director Michael Zorc.

Sancho is Dortmund's star man but has endured a difficult spell this month, as he was hauled off in the first half of a 4-0 Klassiker rout at the hands of Bayern Munich and then started on the bench against Barcelona in midweek.

Under-fire coach Lucien Favre claimed he preferred to select players who are "focused and ready", although the England international scored after coming on.

However, Zorc is confident Dortmund have managed the issue, meaning Sancho - linked with a host of top clubs, including Manchester United - should remain at Signal Iduna Park at least until the end of the season.

"We've cleared everything internally in the team and with the player," Zorc told a news conference on Friday ahead of the trip to Hertha Berlin.

"It's done, we're looking forward. Jadon is another regular player and he is part of our team.

"I believe that when he came on against Barcelona, ​​we witnessed a good response and he did a very good job.

"I do not have the impression that he wants to prepare for a January move. We talked to him and his agency. We hope he shows his best possible performance tomorrow."

Zorc also reiterated his backing of Favre, who has Dortmund sixth in the Bundesliga and winless in three in all competitions.

"Everything has already been said," Zorc said. "We have faith in Lucien, he works very hard and wants to reverse the trend.

"We believe he can do it in this situation, we stay in the reality and do not go into speculation."

Lionel Messi was "simply incredible" for Barcelona in their 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund, according to Lucien Favre.

Messi scored and provided two assists as Barca secured top spot in Group F in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Making his 700th appearance for the LaLiga giants, Messi broke a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different team.

Favre, who is under pressure at the helm of Dortmund, was mesmerised by the star's performance.

"He played as a false nine and was simply incredible," he told a news conference.

"He waits really well for the ball and moves very well between the lines. And when he gets the ball, it gets pretty complicated.

"You have to commit a foul in order to stop him. Otherwise it's very, very difficult.

"He is speeding up so fast, his dribbling is so good and then his final pass is also very dangerous."

Dortmund are third in the group, level on points with second-placed Inter, and host Slavia Prague on the final matchday on December 10.

Lucien Favre reiterated his demand for renewed focus from Jadon Sancho despite the Borussia Dortmund sensation's goalscoring display off the bench against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Sancho was named among the substitutes before coming off the bench in the second half to reduce the deficit in Dortmund's 3-1 defeat to Barca at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Favre dropped Sancho – who was also hauled off in the first half of a 4-0 Klassiker rout at the hands of Bayern Munich earlier this month – for the midweek showdown after telling Sky Sports pre-game: "We need players on the pitch who are focused and ready".

The 19-year-old's axing prompted fresh questions over his future amid growing links to Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

After goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann put the Group F contest beyond reach, Sancho provided a reminder of his immense quality with a fierce 77th-minute strike.

Asked why Sancho was benched post-match, head coach Favre told reports: "I explained it before starting the game.

"I needed very focused players to press and that's why I named that XI."

Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels was also quizzed on England international Sancho and he said: "I don't want to talk about it. He played really well in the second half, was really involved and scored a great goal."

The result leaves Dortmund third and level on seven points with second-placed Inter heading into the final matchday.

Dortmund face Slavia Prague on December 10, while Inter welcome Group F winners Barca to Milan on the same day.

"The last 20 minutes were really good, we scored and could have scored when it was 2-0," Favre, who is under growing pressure at the club, added. "We then are in a one-on-one situation in defence, and that's tough when you are up against Suarez and Messi.

"It's difficult to play here, they have many players who can make the difference. It's a very tricky phase for us at the moment, but I am convinced we can manage to turn things around."

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has warned coach Lucien Favre the club's situation is "more than unsatisfactory" and demanded improvements against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Dortmund are struggling for results in the Bundesliga and a 3-3 draw at home against bottom club Paderborn on Friday left them with just two wins from their last eight league matches.

The Champions League has provided welcome respite for Favre's men this season and they sit second in Group F, just one point behind Barcelona.

Victory at Camp Nou would ease pressure building on the coach's position.

While there has been no explicit suggestion of a change in coach at Signal Iduna Park, Zorc made it clear the board are concerned.

"Obviously the topic will be discussed publicly because our situation is more than unsatisfactory," Zorc told Funke Sport.

"Of course we will analyse that very intensively. But we are going to the match in Barcelona with Lucien Favre and we expect to see a significant increase in performance there.

"We need a performance. We finally need a good performance on the pitch so you can look forward."

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke also chose to speak out after the Paderborn result, reassuring Favre he still has the club's backing.

However, he made it clear the team's current form would not be allowed to continue without consequences.

"Dear Lucien, you still have our trust," Watzke said at the club's AGM. "But in the end football is always defined by results.

"We all hope you and the team are able to turn this around. You have all the support we can give you."

Directing a stern message towards the club's players, he added: "Pull yourselves together and play like it is expected from Borussia Dortmund. You as a team must know that only words are not enough.

"It is your duty to let them be followed by actions."

Marco Reus said he was "ashamed" of Borussia Dortmund's performance in a 3-3 Bundesliga draw at home to Paderborn despite his late equaliser salvaging a point.

Dortmund, beaten 4-0 away to Bayern Munich in their last match before the international break, were 3-0 down at half-time in Friday's clash against the league's bottom side.

Streli Mamba struck twice and Gerrit Holtmann was also on target for Steffen Baumgart's side, while Dortmund lost striker Paco Alcacer to injury before the interval.

Dortmund improved after the break, with Jadon Sancho reducing the deficit two minutes after the restart, and Axel Witsel gave the hosts further hope by scoring with six minutes to go.

Sancho then crossed for Reus to nod home the leveller in the second minute of added time to spare Dortmund an embarrassing defeat, though the captain was unimpressed with his side.

"We can never play like that again," he told DAZN after Dortmund missed the chance to move up to second place in the table. 

"It was an absolutely poor performance and we are ashamed. We apologise to all our fans."

Pressure has been growing on Lucien Favre, whose side came from two goals down to beat Inter in the Champions League this month, but Reus defended the under-fire Dortmund coach.

"The coach puts us in a great position every time. We're responsible for putting our performance on the pitch, and we do not have to talk about the coach, but about us," the forward said. 

"If 80,000 people come here on a Friday night, we cannot offer that."

Dortmund will be eight points off the top of the table if Borussia Monchengladbach win at Union Berlin on Saturday.

Lucien Favre urged Borussia Dortmund to forget their Der Klassiker humbling as they prepare to host Paderborn on Friday.

Dortmund were crushed 4-0 by Bayern Munich in their final game before the international break and are sixth in the Bundesliga table.

Favre, who is under pressure at the helm, is eager for Dortmund to put that result behind them as they prepare to resume their campaign.

"We played badly against Bayern Munich, that is clear," the head coach told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We still had the previous victory against Inter [in the Champions League] fresh in our minds. Not all players, but some.

"But such a loss can happen. We have to look ahead. We still have eight games, we have to keep going and think about our performance from game to game."

Thomas Delaney (ankle) has been ruled out until January for Dortmund, while Favre was unsure about Nico Schulz's availability but said Marco Reus trained "OK" during the week.

With the international break over, Favre wants Dortmund focused on club duties for the rest of 2020.

"We still have eight games until Christmas. We have to focus on those games," he said.

"We have six league games and two Champions League games. Dortmund will be their sole focus now until the end of the year.

"The players should no longer have their national teams in mind. That is important."

Dortmund are sixth in the Bundesliga, but just six points off league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Jadon Sancho was substituted 36 minutes into Borussia Dortmund's heavy defeat to Bayern Munich because he "was not good enough", boss Lucien Favre has said.

The England international was replaced by Raphael Guerreiro early on at the Allianz Arena, where Dortmund were 1-0 down at the time and went on to lose 4-0.

His first-half exit was put down to a troublesome hamstring injury flaring up, but Favre revealed after the match it was instead a tactical decision.

"He was injured for a couple of days and could not train," Favre said at his post-match news conference. 

"Yesterday he returned to training, but I think you saw he was not good enough today. He was not injured."

Robert Lewandowski scored twice against his former club in Saturday's one-sided Klassiker, while Serge Gnabry was also on target before a Mats Hummels own goal late on.

Dortmund were also stuffed 5-0 by Bayern on their most recent visit to Bavaria in April and Favre had no complaints about the manner of this latest hammering.

"I have to say that we were clearly not there," he said. "It was a very very weak performance. You saw today that it was way too little from us, way too little."

Asked if he was more disappointed with the performance or the result itself, Favre responded: "With the performance. It was far too little. We can lose today but not like this."

Robert Lewandowski continued what has felt like a one-man argument for the Bundesliga's status quo as he inspired Bayern Munich to a 4-0 Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena.

On the face of it, these are changing times in Germany's top flight, not least for Bayern.

The reigning champions were playing their first league game under interim head coach Hansi Flick after Niko Kovac didn't so much run out of road as go careering off the autobahn during last weekend's miserable visit to his old employers Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lewandowski got Bayern's goal to briefly punctuate the misery at the Commerzbank-Arena. Of course he did.

Saturday's opener to begin another Dortmund ordeal in Bavaria continued his run of scoring in every Bundesliga and Champions League game this season.

The Poland star's coolly taken second 14 minutes from time moved him on to 23 in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20 before the November international break.

Lewandowski is an elite performer operating at the irresistible peak of his powers and a bedraggled BVB had no answer.

Julian Weigl criminally switched off as he ghosted in to head home in the 17th minute, although Dortmund had no more joy against the mighty number nine when their collective gaze was fixed upon him.

Kingsley Coman was unable to turn in after Lewandowski spun intelligently into the channel and he was also involved in both Serge Gnabry's offside effort before half-time and legal goal afterwards.

Back at Dortmund after his Bayern sojourn, it felt like Mats Hummels was fighting a futile battle against his own team-mate. The indignity of putting through his own net to complete the rout would have been a better fit for most of the other insipid performers in yellow and black.

Borussia Monchengladbach can go four points clear at the summit if they beat Werder Bremen on Sunday, while RB Leipzig remain ahead of Bayern on goal difference thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win at Hertha Berlin.

Marco Rose and Julian Nagelsmann are two exciting young coaches threatening to shake up the established order and it seems clear that is where the challenge to Bayern's supremacy now resides.

It is a task beyond Dortmund, who wear the scars inflicted under the yoke of their bitter rivals too visibly, while picking up fresh ones on each trip to Munich.

Jadon Sancho, the future superstar earmarked to end the suffering, was ignominiously substituted in the 36th minute of a loss that continued a hideous Bundesliga run at Bayern.

4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-1 and 5-1 are their past five league scorelines at the Allianz. The pain has become unrelenting.

Their previous win on enemy territory in the league was a 3-0 victory in April 2014, the only catch being Bayern had already won the title by that stage.

Jurgen Klopp was the Dortmund head coach that day. The seasons when he lifted the club to new heights and made Der Klassiker a European fixture to rank alongside the Spanish argument from which it cribs its name feel like they belong to a completely different era.

Incumbent BVB boss Lucien Favre would probably be joining Kovac in a period of enforced leisure time if not for Tuesday's stirring comeback against Inter in the Champions League, but his brittle squad are making a mockery of those pre-season tips for Bundesliga glory.

This is how they deal with Bayern in a time of crisis. They do not have a prayer. If things are to actually change, it's over to Gladbach and Leipzig.

From the moment Lewandowski brought them under his brutal spell, Dortmund's fate felt inevitable. A once vital fixture has become a painful procession to watch through your fingers or not at all.

Marco Reus is among the substitutes for Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich - but Jadon Sancho has recovered from a hamstring injury to start the game on Saturday.

An ankle injury meant Reus missed Dortmund's 3-2 Champions League win over Inter and coach Lucien Favre has opted not to risk him from the start at Allianz Arena.

Dortmund arrived in Munich unbeaten in four games in all competitions and Favre named Mario Gotze, Sancho, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard in an attacking line-up, with Reus and Paco Alcacer on the bench.

Bayern interim coach Hansi Flick kept faith with the side that beat Olympiacos in midweek, as he aimed to help the reigning German champions bounce back from a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in their previous Bundesliga outing.

That result was the final game in charge for Niko Kovac, who left the club on Sunday.

Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus are still doubts for Borussia Dortmund's Klassiker clash with rivals Bayern Munich on Saturday, according to coach Lucien Favre.

Reus was absent for Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Inter due to an ankle injury, while Sancho sustained a hamstring strain in the second half.

The pair have scored eight of Dortmund's 23 Bundesliga goals this term, while the England international also has five assists.

Both are at risk of missing the trip to the Allianz Arena, with Favre's men looking to keep the pressure on leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and potentially go four points clear of Bayern, who will be coached by Hansi Flick for the first time in the Bundesliga.

Favre confirmed Reus and Sancho will be assessed on Friday and seemed reluctant to risk either.

"We have to wait for both," Favre told a news conference. "We do not know if they'll train or not, we'll see tomorrow [Friday].

"We have two or three players still in that situation. We need them to be fit and then we'll decide which team to play in which system. A player has to be fit, no matter what the game."

Dortmund have a wretched recent record against Bayern, having not won a league game at the Allianz Arena since April 2014 and lost their two most recent trips 5-0 and 6-0.

But Favre insists BVB are not scared of the club that sacked Niko Kovac on Sunday as a result of their 5-1 humiliation by Eintracht Frankfurt, with his team seemingly back on track with three straight victories after a run of two wins in eight games.

"We have always stayed positive and have looked forward," Favre said. "It was a difficult phase, and if we draw once away, that is the end of the world in Dortmund. It was not as bad as it was said.

"It has been very difficult here in the last five years, we have nothing to lose, we respect Bayern a lot, they are a top team, but we are not afraid."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "It [Der Klassiker] is a bit special, it's very important clubs in the Bundesliga, it's a very important game.

"For many, it's the most interesting game of the season. It is a very special game. You can tell that in build-up and reaction, because the game has a special impact on the future."

Marco Reus and Mats Hummels are still yet to return to training for Borussia Dortmund.

Club captain Reus sat out of Wednesday's 2-1 DFB-Pokal win over Borussia Monchengladbach with a muscular injury.

The Germany forward had only returned from a bout of illness ahead of last weekend's 0-0 Revierderby draw at Schalke and centre-back Hummels is now laid low with a sickness bug of his own.

Goalkeeper Roman Burki, who has also been ill, is back working with his team-mates ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga game against Wolfsburg at Signal Iduna Park.

"Roman Burki trained and is feeling good. Marco Reus and Mats Hummels did not. We still have to wait on their progress," head coach Lucien Favre said.

Julian Brandt could be called upon to start if Reus remains sidelined and Favre praised the former Bayer Leverkusen star, who scored for the first time since the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season with a brace to down Gladbach.

"Julian Brandt stood tall and played a great game from [attacking] midfield," he said. "Not only did he score two goals, he also effectively helped out in defence."

Dortmund lie fifth in the Bundesliga, a point and a place behind Wolfsburg after nine matches.

Lucien Favre has acknowledged Borussia Dortmund should be satisfied they held onto a point in the goalless Revierderby against Schalke on Saturday.

Dortmund were under the cosh for much of their first encounter of the season with their fierce rivals, who hit the woodwork twice and squandered a glut of gilt-edged opportunities.

Schalke also saw what seemed to be a valid penalty appeal declined - a corner appearing to have strike Dortmund's Thorgan Hazard on the arm.

The draw lifted Dortmund into third, two points behind leaders Bayern Munich, while Schalke are one behind their local rivals in what is already a congested pack at the top of the Bundesliga.

And Favre conceded his side must accept they were fortunate not to go behind.

"It was a very difficult game for us, especially in the first half, where Schalke played very well and played very aggressively," Favre told a news conference. 

"They are the league's best tackling team, they did a good job. With 0-0 after the first half we could be satisfied. They had two big chances to score. We lost a lot of balls under pressure.

"The second half was much better. After 55 or 60 minutes we finally played football. Schalke could not keep up with this pace, but were still dangerous with their runs. At the end we can accept the draw."

Favre's counterpart David Wagner was frustrated by Schalke's failure to convert their chances.

"We would have been happy with one point before the game, but we're disappointed now," he told a news conference.

"You need a lot of courage to press that high up the pitch against Dortmund. We didn't manage to score today, but that was partly due to bad luck."

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