Timo Werner acknowledges he has little hope of outscoring Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga this season, as the Bayern Munich forward's form can only be matched by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

RB Leipzig striker Werner has scored an impressive 11 league goals so far in 2019-20, yet he lags behind the remarkable Lewandowski.

The Bayern and Poland superstar has struck 16 times in the Bundesliga and leads the way among players in Europe's top leagues this season, with 23 goals in 18 games in all competitions – including in each top-flight and Champions League match.

Indeed, Werner believes only all-time greats Messi and Ronaldo can reach the extraordinary standards set by Lewandowski.

"It's hard [to be top-scorer]," Werner told a news conference on Thursday.

"When you score two goals against Hertha Berlin and then watch the game evening game, having scored four or three goals less than Robert Lewandowski this season, and he scores twice against Borussia Dortmund...

"Against whom is he not going to score? That's very hard.

"How he is playing at the moment, maybe only one or two players on the planet are on this level. That's the category of Messi and Ronaldo."

Werner was speaking alongside Germany team-mate Joshua Kimmich on international duty.

The duo each came through the Stuttgart academy before moving on to Leipzig, but Werner claimed he was not discussing a next move with Bayern's Kimmich, despite repeated talk of him switching to the Allianz Arena.

"We don't really talk about it at all," he said. "It was also a coincidence that I came to Leipzig when he was there. I don't imitate everything that Joshua Kimmich does.

"If he goes to Real Madrid, I'm not going to Real Madrid also. Leipzig was the perfect step for me as well as for him.

"He took the step to Bayern Munich relatively early, which was also a good step. Now I'm still a player at Leipzig. That was the right step for me.

"I don't know what the future will bring. But I won't imitate Joshua and go wherever he is."

RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban has been ruled out until 2020 due to a knee injury, the Bundesliga club have confirmed.

The 27-year-old has undergone an arthroscopy to correct a problem and will be sidelined until after the mid-season break.

Orban is set to miss the league matches with Cologne, Paderborn, Hoffenheim, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg.

He will also be unavailable for the Champions League games against Benfica and Lyon, with Leipzig top of Group G on nine points from four matches.

The Hungary defender has made 14 appearances in all competitions for Julian Nagelsmann's side this season, scoring once.

Leipzig, who are four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach in the table, begin the second half of the Bundesliga campaign at home to Union Berlin on January 18.

Bayern Munich youngster Jann-Fiete Arp has been diagnosed with another injury just two days after returning to full training with the Bundesliga champions.

The 19-year-old, who joined from Hamburg in July, was welcomed back to a team session at Sabener Strasse on Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on a broken left wrist in September.

However, the forward is now expected to be sidelined for a time after damaging his left forearm.

Bayern confirmed on Thursday that scans showed Arp had suffered "minor damage to the radial bone in his left forearm during training", adding that he will need to wear a cast.

The Germany youth international has yet to make a competitive senior appearance for Bayern, although he was an unused substitute for the 1-1 league draw with RB Leipzig in September and the DFL-Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund in August.

 

Bayern Munich youngster Jann-Fiete Arp has been diagnosed with another injury just two days after returning to full training with the Bundesliga champions.

The 19-year-old, who joined from Hamburg in July, was welcomed back to a team session at Sabener Strasse on Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on a broken left wrist in September.

However, the forward is now expected to be sidelined for a time after damaging his left forearm.

Bayern confirmed on Thursday that scans showed Fiete Arp had suffered "minor damage to the radial bone in his left forearm during training", adding that he will need to wear a cast.

The Germany youth international has yet to make a competitive senior appearance for Bayern, although he was an unused substitute for the 1-1 league draw with RB Leipzig in September and the DFL-Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund in August.

 

Joshua Kimmich says he would not be against the return of Pep Guardiola to Bayern Munich.

The Manchester City manager is being linked with a possible return to the Allianz Arena at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Guardiola, who was a rumoured target for Juventus before they appointed Maurizio Sarri, is said to be one of Bayern's top candidates as a permanent successor to Niko Kovac, who left in the wake of the 5-1 Bundesliga defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Although Hansi Flick appears likely to stay on as interim boss for the time being, and perhaps until the end of the season, Kimmich would not be averse to Guardiola's return next year.

Speaking at a news conference while on Germany duty, the Bayern full-back said: "Regarding Pep Guardiola. I have no idea what Bayern's plan is with Hansi Flick.

"At first you thought that we would get a new coach after the international break. Now, we won both games with Flick and it sounds like he will stay until winter or even the entire season. What happens then is the business of the club – we players have nothing to do with it.

"But of course, I know [Guardiola] and have a lot to thank him for. He took me from the second division and let me play in the Bundesliga. We won the double together and after that season I became a player for Germany. So, of course, I won't be against him coming back."

Kimmich joined from RB Leipzig ahead of 2015-16, Guardiola's final season in charge of Bayern, and won the domestic double.

In total, Guardiola guided Bayern to three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in his three years in charge.

He could not deliver the Champions League, though, losing to Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the semi-final stage in each of his three seasons in Germany.

Gareth Southgate vowed to help Jadon Sancho through a difficult period in his Borussia Dortmund career following a lengthy discussion with the young winger.

Sancho was dropped from Dortmund's squad for a Bundesliga fixture last month and suffered the indignity of being withdrawn before half-time of the club's 4-0 Der Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich.

Fresh transfer rumours are now linking the England international with a move away from Signal Iduna Park amid suggestions he has become unsettled.

"Any young player is going to have ups and downs," Three Lions boss Southgate said.

"Jadon has played a lot of football. A couple of games lately he's gone into physically fatigued. His club have taken the decision to keep playing him because he is a highly important player.

"It was a bit of a mixed bag recently. He was very good against Inter, he had a difficult game against Bayern, but the whole team did.

"I know what has gone on. He came to me at the beginning of the week and we had 25 minutes chatting about everything.

"We have a duty of care, almost, to him, to help him to progress and to develop as much as we can."

Sancho is in his third season in Germany after leaving Manchester City in 2017.

"It's an enormous challenge that Jadon has taken on, to go to another country," Southgate added. "There's the football of course, but he's also adapting to life and the language.

"He's done incredibly well, and it's inevitable that there are going to be games where he's maybe not as effective. 

"But he still has a high level of assists, a high level of goals. He's a great talent and part of our job is to help him to succeed."

With Raheem Sterling not considered for selection, Sancho could start Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is another option.

The 19-year-old has impressed since returning from an Achilles injury, having spurned interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern in favour of signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

"I wasn't saying I was definitely going to sign or I wasn't going to sign," Hudson-Odoi told reporters. "It was just because of times last year where I felt a bit of frustration or times when I wanted to play more because I love the game.

"I made the right decision to stay at Chelsea."

Jadon Sancho could be about to spark a bidding war.

The England international is reportedly ready to leave Borussia Dortmund, a development that will have his numerous European suitors on red alert.

Manchester United have long been linked to Sancho, but could face stiff Premier League competition for his signature.


TOP STORY – SANCHO SEEKING DORTMUND DEPARTURE

Jadon Sancho has become unsettled at Borussia Dortmund and wants to leave, according to the Daily Mail.

The exciting teenage winger is said to have grown dissatisfied with life at Signal Iduna Park after being dropped for a Bundesliga fixture last month for disciplinary reasons.

Head coach Lucien Favre further tested their relationship when he withdrew the Manchester City product before half-time of the heavy Der Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich.

News of Sancho's decision to depart will be noted at Old Trafford, but the report claims Manchester United's bitter Premier League rivals Liverpool are also showing strong interest. 

LaLiga giants Real Madrid appear to be another potential destination for one of the continent's most coveted young stars.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sancho could be heading in the opposite direction to Leroy Sane. The Daily Mirror says Bayern Munich have reignited their interest in the Germany international, who has been sidelined since the start of the season due to a knee injury.

- Granit Xhaka is not the only Arsenal midfielder on AC Milan's radar. According to Calciomercato, the Rossoneri are even more eager to land Lucas Torreira, and will make a move in June after failing to prise him away from north London at the end of last season.

- Chelsea are set for another fight to keep in-form winger Willian as Juventus and Barcelona circle the 31-year-old, the Daily Mirror reports. Frank Lampard wants to keep the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge but Willian's contract is up at the end of the campaign.

- Manchester City captain David Silva could follow in the footsteps of Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres and David Villa by seeing out his career in Japan. Spanish television programme El Chiringuito says the 33-year-old is in talks to join Vissel Kobe following the completion of his 10-season spell at the Etihad Stadium.

- Leicester City and Aston Villa have been linked to Alfredo Morelos but Rangers are in no rush to sell. That is the assurance of the Scottish side's new sporting director Ross Wilson, who "categorically" stated that an annual loss of £11.3million would not impact the club's determination to keep their Colombian striker.

Lionel Messi has earned his first inclusion in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week this season following his stunning hat-trick in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo.

Barca – who went into the game having not won either of their previous two matches – appeared to be in a spot of bother on Saturday when Lucas Olaza cancelled out Messi's penalty.

But two stunning free-kicks either side of the break lifted a generally sloppy Barca and Sergio Busquets completed the scoring late on.

Messi is joined in the TOTW's attack by arguably Europe's deadliest striker in Robert Lewandowski, whose brace in the 4-0 crushing of his former club – and Bayern Munich's bitter rivals – Borussia Dortmund took him to a remarkable 16 Bundesliga goals from 11 matches.

Salzburg hotshot Erling Haaland is enjoying a similarly incredible campaign. The Norwegian youngster netted hat-trick number five of the season at the weekend, but he only takes a place among the substitutes.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is now up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) – 87

RB: Ander Capa (Athletic Bilbao) – 82

LB: Alex Telles (Porto) – 86

LB: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) – 86

RB: Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) – 84

CM: Nicolo Barella (Inter) – 83

CDM: Donny van de Beek (Ajax) – 84

LW: Dimitri Payet (Marseille) – 84

CAM: Radja Nainggolan (Cagliari) – 86

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 91

RW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 95

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ben Foster (Watford) – 83

CB: Sergiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk) – 81

LM: Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb) – 82

LM: Denis Bouanga (Saint-Etienne) – 81

RW: Patrick Herrmann (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

ST: Erling Haaland (Salzburg) – 82

ST: Rouwen Hennings (Fortuna Dusseldorf) – 80

RESERVES

CF: Henry Martin (Club America) – 80

LM: Victor Rodriguez (Seattle Sounders) – 79

RWB: Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin) – 79

ST: Cyriel Dessers (Heracles) – 76

ST: Christian Doidge (Hibernian) – 75

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach have signed 16-year-old Joe Scally from New York City, sending the defender back to the MLS club on loan for the 2020 season.

The right-back has yet to appear in MLS but was the second youngest player in league history – after Freddy Adu – to sign a professional contract when he did so in March 2018, aged 15.

Scally, who will move to Germany in January 2021, made his professional debut in the US Open Cup against rivals New York Red Bulls in June 2018, replacing then NYCFC captain David Villa.

The MLS club reported the undisclosed fee for Scally's transfer, depending on bonuses, "could rise significantly to become one of the highest transfer fees received for a MLS player being transferred to a European club".

Scally said: "I was very excited when I heard the news about the transfer to Borussia Monchengladbach. As a kid you always want to play in Europe and in one of the best leagues in the world. I couldn't be happier."

Gladbach are top of the Bundesliga heading into the international break, four points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig with 25 points after 11 matches.

NYCFC lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the 2019 MLS season and are looking for a new head coach following Dome Torrent's departure.

They have been linked with former Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Eintracht Frankfurt captain David Abraham has been given a seven-week ban for "punching" Freiburg coach Christian Streich during Sunday's Bundesliga match, the German Football Federation (DFB) has confirmed.

Abraham sparked a melee during the closing stages of Frankfurt’s 1-0 defeat as he charged towards the touchline to retrieve the ball for a throw-in, only to floor Streich with an outstretched arm.

The 33-year-old defender was sent off and the DFB decreed he merited a harsher punishment for an act that left the 54-year-old Streich splayed on his back.

Abraham's suspension will run until December 29, meaning he will not be back in Bundesliga action until the season resumes in January following a mid-season break.

He has featured throughout Eintracht's Europa League campaign, which resumes away to Arsenal on November 28.

Freiburg midfielder Vincenzo Grifo - who had been substituted during the second half - confronted the Argentine centre-back and was also sent off.

The DFB has banned Grifo for three matches "after he first hit the Frankfurt player David Abraham in the neck and then with his hand in the face".

Both men are permitted to lodge an appeal with the DFB sports court within the next 24 hours.

Eintracht are ninth in the Bundesliga and host Wolfsburg when they return to action after the international break.

Freiburg, meanwhile, are flying high in fourth. They sit level on points with reigning champions Bayern Munich, who are in third place, and have a trip to Bayer Leverkusen next on the agenda.

Arsene Wenger has been confirmed as FIFA's chief of global football development.

Wenger, 70, spent 22 years in charge of Arsenal until 2018 and had been linked with the vacant managerial position at Bayern Munich in recent weeks, but instead he will take up a new position with the global governing body. 

During his time with the Gunners, Wenger was widely considered one of the world's greatest managers and among the most influential in Premier League history.

The Frenchman built a strong reputation for his forward-thinking style of play and for developing young players, and in his new position Wenger will be tasked with "driving growth" for men and women across the globe.

Manuel Neuer would not be drawn on a potential reunion with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, saying only that "things are going very well" under Hansi Flick.

Bayern are without a permanent head coach following Niko Kovac's sacking, with former assistant Flick in caretaker charge for impressive wins over Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester City manager Guardiola, Bayern coach from 2013 to 2016, could potentially make an incredible return, according to Sport Bild.

Thomas Tuchel, at Paris Saint-Germain, and Erik ten Hag, at Ajax, have each reiterated their commitment to their current clubs, while the report claims Guardiola "does not seem happy" at City, where he has won back-to-back Premier League titles.

The seemingly unlikely prospect of Guardiola linking up with Bayern again was put to goalkeeper Neuer while on international duty with Germany.

The Bayern stalwart preferred to focus on Flick's fine start, though, saying: "Of course, I can't comment on the rumours.

"We are now here with the national team, I hear [about Guardiola] for the first time. You will see what happens and how those responsible decide.

"At the moment, things are going very well. In the last six days, Hansi Flick has invested everything with his coaching team. We have been very successful twice.

"The people in charge will take a stand [by appointing Guardiola instead] if they want to."

Guardiola won the Bundesliga title in each of his three seasons with Bayern but, having twice triumphed in Europe at Barcelona, failed to deliver the Champions League.

Bayern had been European champions when he arrived in Munich in 2013, replacing Jupp Heynckes.

Neuer was speaking ahead of Germany's Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Belarus and Northern Ireland, where they will hope to secure their place in next year's finals.

Various scenarios could see Germany through after the first match but Neuer said: "Of course, we want to win the home games and get six points. That's our clear goal."

Leroy Sane could once again become a target for Bayern Munich during the January transfer window.

Manchester City winger Sane was heavily linked with a move to the Bundesliga champions but damaged his anterior cruciate ligament during August's Community Shield encounter against Liverpool.

Sane underwent surgery and is targeting a return in the new year, when interest from Bayern could also re-emerge.

“There were discussions over Sane,” Bayern board member Edmund Stoiber told Sport Bild.

"The unfortunate injury and the surgery he required for it broke the deal up.

"We'll see how things develop. As chairman of the advisory board and a member of the supervisory board, I have great faith in the sporting leadership.

"If they propose a transfer of this magnitude, that is justified."

Sane joined City from Schalke in August 2016 for a fee in the region of £37million.

The 23-year-old has scored 25 goals and supplied 28 assists over the course of 89 Premier League appearances, winning back-to-back titles in the past two seasons.

His contract at the Etihad Stadium expires at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

"We want him to stay here because we [have been trying] to extend the contract for more than one year," City manager Pep Guardiola said in August when speculation over Bayern moving for Sane was at its height.

"We were quite close a month ago and now it's a little bit different but that’s the reality - I can’t say any more. That's where it is."

Julian Brandt feels Borussia Dortmund lacked courage during their humbling 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski continued his prolific form against his former employers with a brace, while Serge Gnabry was also on target before a Mats Hummels own goal completed the rout.

A close-season arrival from Bayer Leverkusen, Brandt found his first experience of the iconic Bundesliga fixture tough to take.

"It happens that we've lost. That's okay. But the way it happened was difficult for me," the forward said at a news conference ahead of Germany's concluding Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland.

"It's hard to digest it like that. For everyone it's okay to lose games. It's human. Every team is not perfect and that you have bad days is okay. But that wasn't so good."

Brandt saw attacking colleague Jadon Sancho hauled off before half-time for a sub-standard display and added: "We just weren't there that day. Everything was missing.

"The courage to go up front, the aggressiveness to go into the duels. If you don't have that in the end, then something like that happens."

Bayern's interim head coach Hansi Flick was the mastermind of Dortmund's downfall, taking charge of two matches heading into the international break following Niko Kovac's sacking.

Germany boss Joachim Low knows Flick well after he served as his assistant from his appointment in 2006 up to and including Die Mannschaft's 2014 World Cup triumph.

"I know Hansi by heart," Low told reporters. "We worked together for eight years. The players also profited a lot from him.

"I talked to him on the phone last week. He was very calm and very balanced.

"Of course, Hansi has a clear idea of what he wants to convey to the team. So it was clear to me that he would have a good start.

"He has so much experience in so many areas. He has great competence and empathy. I believe Bayern will give him confidence."

Hasan Salihamidzic is to be promoted to Bayern Munich's executive board from July 2020, the club have confirmed.

The former Bayern midfielder was appointed as the club's sporting director in July 2017 and he was influential in the signings of Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies.

Bayern's supervisory board met on Monday and an official statement Die Roten's official website confirmed Salihamidzic is to be board director for sport.

"At today's meeting, the Supervisory Board of FC Bayern Munchen AG considered the personnel matter of Hasan Salihamidzic," the statement read. 

"Hasan Salihamidzic has been the FC Bayern Sporting Director since summer 2017 and has done an outstanding job during this time. 

"This applies not only to first-team matters, in which he has played a key role in the sporting success of recent years, but also to the area of youth promotion at FC Bayern's youth performance centre. 

"The supervisory board therefore intends to continue its cooperation with Hasan Salihamidzic and to appoint him to the Board as of 1 July 2020."

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