Thomas Muller has declared himself ready to return to international duty after Germany boss Joachim Low hinted at a recall for the Bayern Munich attacker ahead of Euro 2020.

Low said last week he is considering a U-turn that would see Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng return from the wilderness in time for the rescheduled tournament.

The World Cup-winning trio were told by Low in March 2019 that they would no longer be part of his plans, which left Muller – a regular up until that point – "dumbfounded".

However, with Low under pressure on the back of November's 6-0 thrashing against Spain, the long-serving coach has reiterated the door is once again open for the trio.

Speaking to Sky Sport Germany on Saturday, Low said: "The European Championship is a separate competition and our job is to bring the best players and the best team with us in order to guarantee the greatest possible success."

The three players have a combined 246 caps and have impressed at club level since last featuring for Germany, with Muller and Boateng helping Bayern to six major trophies since the start of last season.

Muller, who has a combined 50 goals and assists in the Bundesliga since the start of last season – only team-mate Robert Lewandowski (75) has more – would welcome the chance to represent his country again this year.

"I feel comfortable in the team. Standing on the pitch with the boys is fun, and there are a lot of national team players on the pitch," he said.

"I feel like chasing titles in the summer. We will see if it is the end for me after the Champions League final or whether I will play for the national team. I'm definitely ready."

Muller played 91 minutes of Bayern's 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in Saturday's Der Klassiker, a game in which Boateng was forced off in the second half with a knee injury.

Boateng has had numerous setbacks in the past and Bayern boss Hansi Flick is awaiting news on the severity of this latest injury.

"We don't know exactly what he has done," Flick said. "He said he thought he twisted his knee a bit, but we have to wait for the diagnosis. He is having a scan."

Erling Haaland was only substituted as a precaution in Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich, interim coach Edin Terzic said.

Superstar striker Haaland looked to have set BVB on course to a fine victory when he netted twice in the opening nine minutes at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Those efforts took his tally against Bayern this season to four goals across all competitions, the most in matches with the Bavarian giants over the course of a single campaign since Cristiano Ronaldo netted five in 2016-17.

But by the time Haaland made way after 60 minutes, nursing a cut to his ankle, Bayern were back level.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice before the break and then, following Haaland's departure, a crucial, controversial Leon Goretzka volley preceded the home forward's hat-trick goal.

Images of Haaland wincing in pain on the bench were unlikely to lift the mood among Dortmund supporters, already unable to watch Jadon Sancho following a muscle injury in midweek.

Yet Terzic said Haaland, now with 19 league goals to his name at a rate of one every 84 minutes this term, was merely being protected.

BVB host Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday, aiming to protect a 3-2 first-leg advantage, with Haaland set to start for the 28th time this season.

"He played a very good game," Terzic said. "He got a little kick, but that wasn't the problem.

"He's been playing every game for weeks; we've got to protect him a little bit. We expect him to be able to play against Sevilla."

Haaland's double took him to 32 Bundesliga goals across 34 matches this season and last.

Uwe Seeler is the only player in the history of the competition to score more often in his first 34 appearances (33).

Marco Reus believes Borussia Dortmund were denied "a very clear foul" that would have been given had it been for Bayern Munich just before their rivals scored the pivotal third goal in a thrilling Klassiker.

Dortmund surrendered a two-goal lead given to them by an early Erling Haaland double as they went down to a dramatic 4-2 away defeat to Bayern on Saturday.

It looked like they would still hold on for a point until Leon Goretzka scored a volley two minutes from time, before Robert Lewandowski struck again for Bayern to seal his hat-trick.

Dortmund captain Reus had been substituted by the time Goretzka struck, but he was adamant the crucial goal should not have stood after Emre Can claimed to have been fouled by Leroy Sane in the build-up.

"It's a very clear foul," Reus said to Sky Germany.

"I tell you quite honestly that if that had been for Bayern, it would have been whistled. 

"That's just the way it is. There is nothing to add. That's the way it is."

Responding to Reus' comments, Bayern attacker Thomas Muller insisted it was not the type of incident he would have liked to see whistled for either team.

"When you lose a game, it's clear that you focus on an incident like that," said Muller. "But you'll have analysed that. 

"We don't want these duels to be whistled at the halfway line, otherwise we only have stop-start games. 

"So I wouldn't have whistled that as a foul against us. I really, very much like the way Marco Fritz refereed today."

Despite the controversy about the key goal, Bayern had dominated much of the contest, racking up 27 attempts to just four from Dortmund while having 66 per cent of the possession.

The win moved Bayern two points clear of RB Leipzig atop the Bundesliga and left Dortmund sitting sixth, four points adrift of the top four.

Bayern Munich have rarely been shy about coaxing players to cross the divide and make the move from Der Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Their willingness to do so ensured Dortmund's last spell at the top of German football, when a vibrant young side gegenpressed their way to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2011-12 and a Champions League final a year later, was an ephemeral one, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze each making the move to Bayern in 2013 and experiencing varying degrees of success.

And the build-up to the most famous fixture in Germany was partially defined by Bayern seemingly beginning a charm offensive to attract one of Dortmund's most prized assets, Erling Haaland, to eschew potential moves elsewhere in favour of following Lewandowski's path.

"Haaland is what a centre-forward has to be," Bayern coach Hansi Flick said in his pre-match media conference. "He has an enormous hunger for goals. The future could belong to him because he has everything he needs for it."

The Norway forward's agent, Mino Raiola, has claimed only 10 clubs in the world would be able to afford to sign Haaland, who has a release clause that does not become active until 2022.

But Bayern president Herbert Hainer told Sport1 this week: "We will go even more down our successful path of signing young players with outstanding skills. We are an economically very strong and healthy club.

"Although we're also suffering massively from the pandemic, we can always bring in players when we're convinced about them."

Bayern clearly have no doubts about their financial capability to sign Haaland, and they may be convinced to make a concerted push to do so after his first-half salvo in Saturday's Klassiker, which forced Flick's men to produce a stirring comeback.

Haaland had two games without a goal prior to Dortmund's trip to the Allianz Arena.

He ended that 'drought' in the space of a minute and 14 seconds, taking a few touches to steady himself on the edge of the Bayern box and power an effort that deflected off Jerome Boateng beyond Manuel Neuer and into the bottom-right corner.

Fewer than eight minutes later, he made it 2-0, his goalscorer's instinct again shining through with a much more simple finish as he popped up in the box to turn home Thorgan Hazard's pull-back from point-blank range at the end of a wonderful Dortmund move.

His double took his tally against Bayern for the season to four goals, but he would ultimately be denied the chance to become the first player since Cristiano Ronaldo (5) in 2016-17 to score more than four in a season versus Die Roten.

A second-half ankle injury forced Haaland off, the looming second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla likely playing a role in his withdrawal on the hour.

That blow followed a first-half fightback from Bayern, which was fuelled by a predictable source in Lewandowski, who diverted a shot-turned-cross from Leroy Sane into the net before rolling home a penalty after Mahmoud Dahoud's foul on the ever influential Kingsley Coman, taking his tally of Bundesliga goals against Dortmund to a league-record 19.

Dortmund's rearguard action in a one-sided second half looked set to frustrate Bayern and keep RB Leipzig top of the Bundesliga.

But their resilience wilted late on, Schalke product Leon Goretzka hitting home on the volley in the 88th minute and Lewandowski making it 20 against his former club by completing his hat-trick with an unerring finish from the edge of the area.

It was the kind of rapid collapse from Dortmund that illustrated why Haaland, having hastily adapted to life in the Bundesliga following his move from Salzburg last year, could be keen to make a swift departure to a team better prepared to compete at the sharp end of European football, even with the highly touted Marco Rose set to take over as coach next season.

Dortmund are four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the race for the top four, and have a fight on their hands if they are to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

Haaland appeared set to steal the show 10 minutes into this storied fixture, but his 20-touch contribution was ultimately overshadowed by the man who reigns supreme as the Bundesliga's most potent goalscoring threat.

With Lewandowski maintaining this kind of form, Bayern have no rush to find the successor for a player under contract until 2023.

But after Haaland produced two goals from a game where had four touches in the box, his supporting role in the latest thrilling episode of this classic rivalry could compel Bayern to open the chequebook and add to what is arguably European football's most extensive embarrassment of riches.

Robert Lewandowski outscored Erling Haaland with a Klassiker hat-trick as Bayern Munich recovered from two goals down to again beat Borussia Dortmund in a 4-2 victory.

Bayern reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga hours after being knocked off the summit by RB Leipzig, despite an awful start to another epic encounter on Saturday.

The champions were two behind inside nine minutes following Haaland's brace, but Lewandowski had them level by half-time and Dortmund, already missing Jadon Sancho, saw their two-goal talisman hobble off with half an hour to play.

BVB still looked set to hold on and end a run of four league defeats to Bayern, only for Leon Goretzka to break their resolve before Lewandowski's treble-clincher capped another outstanding outing.

Borussia Dortmund do not expect to see their resolve to keep Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho tested by huge bids this close season.

Haaland and Sancho continue to be Dortmund's outstanding performers, predictably prompting transfer speculation.

Twenty-year-old striker Haaland has 29 goals in all competitions this season, a tally only topped by Robert Lewandowski (34) across Europe's 'top five' leagues.

Luis Muriel (one every 79 minutes) is the sole star to have scored 10 or more times at a faster rate than the Bundesliga pair; Lewandowski nets every 80 minutes, with Haaland marginally slower at every 86 minutes.

Meanwhile, winger Sancho ranks joint-fourth with his 13 assists and third with 82 chances created.

Haaland is expected to interest Europe's leading clubs, while Sancho was widely linked with Manchester United ahead of the 2020-21 campaign before staying in Dortmund.

BVB entered Saturday's game against Bayern Munich four points outside the Champions League places in the top flight, potentially increasing pressure when it comes to the futures of their leading stars.

But the coronavirus pandemic will limit spending again this year, according to BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.

"I do not believe that 'immoral' offers will come because I know the situation in the European leagues very well, also through my work in the ECA (European Club Association)," he told Sky Sport.

"The clouds are getting darker rather than brighter and I don't expect an extraordinary transfer summer.

"There are, of course, always two or three clubs, with whole states behind them, who find the means to pump money in. But in its entirety, I don't think crazy things happen [in the window].

"At the end of the day, it's our decision anyway [with Haaland and Sancho].

"But of course we always do it in such a way that we discuss it with the players. We would also like the players to be there with conviction and we will discuss every single case with the players if really extraordinary things happen.

"That is Michael Zorc's and Sebastian Kehl's task above all and we will get there. But I don't think it's going to be a huge transfer summer."

A fifth consecutive Bundesliga win against Dortmund would take Bayern back to the summit, but Saturday's visitors are well outside the title picture.

That is not a concern to Watzke, though, who added: "Oh, we honestly didn't have that on our radar this year. We saw it very defensively from the start.

"The times will come again, when we will be closer together again.

"Two years ago we had a huge opportunity. Unfortunately we didn't take it and then we finished second, but there was definitely the possibility.

"This year we are still in all three competitions. You have to see that and we have every opportunity to make another good season out of it."

Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic said anything is possible as he weighs up his future during his loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Jovic re-joined Eintracht on loan until the end of the season, having endured a difficult period at LaLiga champions Madrid.

The 23-year-old Serbia international only scored twice in 32 appearances under Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital, where he arrived from Eintracht for €60million in 2019.

Jovic has impressed in his second spell with Eintracht, scoring three goals in eight Bundesliga appearances this term.

Amid speculation Eintracht could sell star Andre Silva to help fund a permanent deal for Jovic, the loanee told Bild: "I will think about my future when the season is over.

"Right now, I only think about Eintracht and I work hard to play in the next matches as best as I can.

"Anything is simply possible, because you never know what will happen in professional football.

"Coming back [on loan] was the right decision because a lot of things fit for me here.

"But, most important is the success of the team. If the team is doing well then that's positive for me.

"Each win for the team is a step forward for me. Of course, I want to play my part and help the team."

 

Will Kalidou Koulibaly leave Serie A's Napoli?

Koulibaly is one of Europe's finest defenders and the 29-year-old has attracted interest from across Europe.

Bayern Munich are reportedly eyeing the Senegal international.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN FRONTRUNNERS FOR NAPOLI STAR

Bayern Munich are leading the race to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Il Mattino.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a move away from Napoli, though the club's valuation has deterred suitors.

But Koulibaly's asking price has reportedly dropped to €45million (£39m), alerting Bayern, as well as Manchester United and Liverpool.

Bild, however, claims Bundesliga champions Bayern have not made an offer for the Napoli star.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild reports Manchester City are favourites to sign Erling Haaland if Borussia Dortmund sanction an off-season exit. Haaland has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Liverpool, ChelseaUnited and Bayern.

- As City target Haaland, Sport Mediaset says Serie A champions Juve are considering a move for veteran forward Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international is out of contract at season's end.

Barca have been offered Bayer Leverkusen star Edmond Tapsoba, claims Sport. Tapsoba is valued at around €40m.

- Wolves are open to selling Adama Traore at a reduced price, according to the Daily Mail. Barca, Liverpool and City have been linked with Traore previously.

- The Sun reports United are considering the sale of star goalkeeper David de Gea. It comes as Dean Henderson expects to become number one next season. The Transfer Window podcast, meanwhile, says United are seeking a new number one amid links to Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Chelsea remain interested in RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, according to Bild. Konate is not short of admirers, linked to the likes of United and Arsenal.

United have not contacted Eintracht Frankfurt's Andre Silva as an alternative to Haaland, claims Bild.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick made no secret of his admiration for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland ahead of Der Klassiker, backing the Norway international to dominate the future of the sport.

Haaland has enjoyed a rapid rise since establishing himself as first choice at Salzburg for the start of the 2019-20 season, his remarkable haul of 28 goals in just 20 matches for the Austrians propelling him to top of many big clubs' transfer shortlists.

But, while the likes of Manchester United were keen on Haaland, Dortmund persuaded him to make the move to Signal Iduna Park, where he has been an overwhelming success.

In 45 matches across all competitions, Haaland has 43 goals, while he outperformed his xG (expected goals) by 4.2 in the second half of 2019-20 after joining Dortmund, meaning not only is he scoring frequently but he is also finishing more difficult opportunities – by comparison, Robert Lewandowski has not boasted such a strong xG differential since 2016-17 (7.8).

In three previous games against Bayern – two in the Bundesliga and one in the DFL-Supercup – Haaland has two goals, but he is yet to end up on the winning side against them with BVB.

Nevertheless, Flick is well aware of the threat posed by the Molde youth product, with Bayern facing the prospect of potentially being replaced at the Bundesliga summit by RB Leipzig if Dortmund leave the Allianz Arena with all three points on Saturday.

"Haaland is what a centre-forward has to be," Flick said.

"He has an enormous hunger for goals. The future could belong to him because he has everything he needs for it.

"He's fast, has a strong finish and the right mentality. When you see the intensity with which he puts on a sprint over 80 metres – it's great. He's someone you always have to watch out for.

"It's very important to close the spaces for him. We have to cut off those passes to him."

 

Flick was also asked about the situation of backup goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, who arrived on a free transfer from Schalke last year having established himself as one of the world's most-promising young goalkeepers.

It was always seen as a potentially risky move for Nubel given the presence of Manuel Neuer, who has gone on to put his injury nightmares behind him and once again cement himself as Bayern's number one.

Nubel's agent recently underlined his client's frustration with the situation and suggested he would look to secure a loan move away from Bayern if things did not change, and Flick showed little sympathy in his response.

"Those are things that we talk about internally – we will have an exchange," Flick said. "But we have no business talking about that here.

"His point of view is his right. Alex knew what he was getting into when he came to Bayern Munich. My job as coach is to pick the players who are currently the best team. He played two games and now he's injured.

"The clear number one is Manuel Neuer."

Jamal Musiala has signed his first professional contract with Bayern Munich.

The rising Germany star has pledged his future to the Bundesliga champions until 2026, just a week after turning 18.

Musiala has made swift progress since joining from Chelsea two years ago and has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season for Hansi Flick's side.

At 17 years and 363 days old, he became Bayern's youngest Champions League goalscorer when he netted in the 4-1 last-16 first-leg win over Lazio.

"I'm really pleased to have signed my first professional contract at FC Bayern," Musiala said via the club's website. "I just feel very good at the club and in the team, I'm playing with the best players in the world and I can learn from them every day in training.

"Hansi Flick, [sporting director] Hasan Salihamidzic and [chief scout] Marco Neppe, along with the whole club, have believed in me and given me the chance very early on.

"I just want to repay that faith with good performances, keep getting better and win a lot more titles with FC Bayern. My aim is to become an important player for this club."

Salihamidzic said: "We're very happy that Jamal has decided to sign his first professional contract at FC Bayern on a long-term basis. This has been a joint effort.

"Before Jamal came to FC Bayern in summer 2019, we had to and were able to convince him and his family about our project. I am very pleased that our system of finding talented players, developing them and then integrating them into the first team is bearing fruit.

"Our chief scout Marco Neppe has played a significant role here. Now we must all ensure that Jamal continues to be nurtured and challenged. I am sure that he will bring a lot of joy to FC Bayern."

Musiala, who last month declared he will play for Germany at senior international level, has been tipped for a call-up to Joachim Low's squad for the coming international break.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is attracting interest from across Europe.

Donnarumma's Milan contract expires at season's end and the star goalkeeper is yet to commit.

Premier League giants Chelsea are reportedly ready to prise the Italy international to London.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LAUNCH DONNARUMMA BID

Chelsea are ready to make a move for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Libero Quotidiano.

Donnarumma's contract expires at the end of the season and Premier League giants Chelsea are set to submit an offer worth £9million (€10.5m) per season, despite already boasting the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy.

The Italy international has also been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky reports teenage sensation Jamal Musiala has signed a long-term contract extension with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The new deal is reportedly worth €5m per year and will tie him to Bayern until 2026.

Manchester City have joined the race for Atalanta star Robin Gosens, according to Virgilio. Gosens has had interest from Serie A rivals Inter and Juventus but Atalanta are understood to want €40m (£34m) for his services.

- The Daily Mail says Leicester City are planning for Jamie Vardy's long-term replacement by targeting a £15m move for Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

- Santiago Arias is being circled by EvertonRoma and PSG this off-season, according to Kicker. Arias is currently on loan at Bayer Leverkusen from Atletico Madrid.

- InterLive claims Inter are keen on Juve goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who is currently on loan at Genoa, and may use Matias Vecino in exchange. The Nerazzurri are looking for goalkeeper cover for Samir Handanovic.

When Borussia Dortmund parted with a reported €20million to sign Erling Haaland from Salzburg a little over a year ago, they'll have been acutely aware of the coup they'd just struck – but whether they expected him to be quite this good is another matter entirely.

Those explosive first few months of the 2019-20 season at Salzburg left most of Europe's biggest clubs clamouring for the Norwegian, but Bayern were seemingly not among them. At least, not in the final straight.

While you can't necessarily have too many great players, few at the time or since have decried Bayern's lack of interest in the striking sensation, and that purely comes down to the presence of Robert Lewandowski.

Eleven months on from Haaland's Dortmund debut, Lewandowski won the FIFA Best Men's Player award having scored 60 goals across the qualifying period and led Bayern to a treble.

But the fact Haaland - named the Golden Boy soon after - was seen as unfortunate not to be nominated for the major gong ultimately won by Lewandowski is testament to the former Molde youngster's frightening potential.

Saturday's Der Klassiker is unlikely to have much bearing on Dortmund's Bundesliga title hopes given they'll still be 10 points behind Bayern even if they win, but the game does provide the opportunity to see the two sharp-shooters pitted against each other, like gunslingers in an old Western movie.

Haaland, along with Kylian Mbappe, is being outlined as the world's next great number nine, but is he already ahead of even Lewandowski?

LEWY'S LONG ROAD

It's easy to forget Lewandowski's backstory and route to the top, simply because he has been one of Europe's most-feared strikers for so long.

But Lewandowski's tale is one of rejection, perseverance and mastery – to say he always looked destined to reach the level he has would be revisionist. After all, the early years of his career in Poland were impacted by the death of his father, being cast aside by Legia Warsaw, a serious injury and failed transfers.

Sporting Gijon turned him down and the 2010 eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull resulted in the collapse of a move from Lech Poznan to Blackburn Rovers.

 

He joined Dortmund in June of that year, a couple of months before his 22nd birthday – by comparison, Haaland was still six months from turning 20 when he signed for BVB.

On top of that, Haaland's early impact on the Bundesliga has been far superior to that of Lewandowski, whose first season yielded only nine goals in 42 games across all competitions. The Norwegian managed 24 in 27 matches.

Looking at that alone, it's easy to make the assumption that Haaland is destined for even greater things than Lewandowski, but it's worth pointing out the Pole was played out of position a lot in his first campaign.

"I was annoyed having to play as a number 10 instead of playing up front as the number nine," Lewandowski told the Daily Mail in 2016. "I played the whole season as number 10. The following season I thought about why I was in that position, then I realised my game had improved. I learned a lot and, when I played up top again, I realised playing as a number 10 had made me a better player."

The data backs him up as well. Not only did his overall productivity in front of goal improve from nine goals to 30, he was proving more consistent generally in those decisive moments, his conversion rate increasing from 8.5 per cent to 19.5.

DIFFERENT BEASTS

When looking at – or comparing – any player in relation to Lewandowski, you have to consider the two different versions of him; pre-26 and post-26.

It was around this age that Lewandowski began to harness the fitness and nutrition expertise of his wife Anna, and it's quite easy to spot when that appeared to start paying dividends, as his goals haul rocketed from 25 to 42 in 2015-16.

He has not gone below 40 in any full season since then and already has 34 to his name in 2020-21 (32 appearances) – he is also just four behind Klaus Fischer (268), the second most-prolific player in Bundesliga history.

Haaland's long-term future isn't at Dortmund and, by extension, doesn't appear to be in the Bundesliga, so matching Lewandowski's record in Germany's top-flight looks unlikely.

But what's clear is he has found this 'world-class' level much earlier than Lewandowski – Haaland has more goals (55) across all competitions than any other current under-21 player in Europe's top five leagues despite playing just 57 games. Jadon Sancho is his closest rival with 46 in 130 appearances.

 

Haaland's first Bundesliga season with Dortmund saw him score 13 times, outperforming his expected goals (xG) by 4.2 – that's a greater differential than Lewandowski has recorded since 2016-17 (7.8), though the youngster's figure here has dropped to 2.5 in 2020-21.

While that is 0.7 less than Lewandowski's 3.2 xG differential, either way he's scoring a lot of goals and more than he would ordinarily be expected to over a long period of time, which speaks for his clinical nature.

Further to that, Haaland – who earlier this term became the youngest player to net four in one Bundesliga game (20 years, 123 days) – boasts a stunning conversion rate at Dortmund. Last season's 41.4 per cent (all competitions) is better than Lewandowski has ever managed, though it was of course limited to half a season.

In 2020-21 he hasn't quite found the same standard, yet his 29.7 conversion rate in all competitions is still better than any other Bundesliga player with 10 goals or more. By comparison, Lewandowski's 28.3 per cent will be a career-high for a single season if he maintains it.

BRILLIANCE IN LONGEVITY

At the very least, Haaland is already a contemporary of Lewandowski's – his effectiveness in front of goal is utterly devastating and, as demonstrated, seemingly a level above that of the Bayern talisman during his early Bundesliga days.

But the challenge for Haaland is to maintain that level and keep kicking on, as Lewandowski clearly did around the age of 26 when analysing what he could do better, taking himself from an excellent number nine to arguably the best of his generation.

Haaland is building from a higher platform than Lewandowski ever was, therefore one has to suspect he has the potential to surpass his exploits.

Maybe he could be this generation's standard-bearer. If he has half the amount of perseverance as Lewandowski, that'd be a good start.

As for whether he's already better than Lewandowski – well, part of the Bayern man's brilliance is his longevity and consistency, how he seems to be getting better with age. But for Haaland to be rivalling the world's best before he's even 21 is an achievement in itself.

Jadon Sancho can be compared to Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi with his performances for Borussia Dortmund, according to former Germany international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

After a slow start to the campaign amid talk of a move to Manchester United falling through, Sancho's form has picked up of late and he is on course to hit double figures for goals and assists for the third Bundesliga season running.

The England international last week registered his 50th assist in the German top flight, becoming the youngest ever player to do so in what was his 99th appearance in the competition.

Sancho has now been directly involved in 12 Bundesliga goals in 2021 - six goals and six assists - which is behind only Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski (11 goals and two assists).

In Europe's top five leagues, Barcelona forward Messi (15) is the only other player to have been directly involved in more goals this calendar year than Sancho, who is level with Atalanta's Luis Muriel.

Lehmann has been impressed by the 20-year-old's form and has backed the youngster, as well as compatriot and BVB team-mate Jude Bellingham, to remain in the Bundesliga, despite ongoing talk of a possible move to the Premier League.

"He's done very well," Lehmann told the Daily Star. "Right now his stats can be compared to Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski, and I think the third best in the whole of Europe. It's fantastic for English football."

Asked about the future of Sancho and Bellingham, Lehmann said: "Right now, I think they're staying. Most of the big clubs have full squads anyway.

"You'd have to be really, really outstanding if a bigger club tries to get you. But if you can imagine a club like Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City, there is already 30 or 35 players plus the players on loan.

"It's not that easy to make a decision for guys like Bellingham and Sancho at this early stage in their careers. Would they add something? We're not sure, but first of all they need to decrease their own squad size."

Sancho, who scored the winning goal for Dortmund in their DFB-Pokal win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday, is a major doubt for this weekend's Der Klassiker showdown with Bayern due to a leg injury.

Bayern Munich would have the financial strength to sign Erling Haaland, club president Herbert Hainer says. 

Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland is likely to be one of the most in-demand players over the coming transfer windows as he continues to thrive at Signal Iduna Park. 

Haaland has scored 27 goals and provided seven assists in 27 games in all competitions this season. Among Bundesliga players, only Robert Lewandowski (42) has more direct goal involvements. 

Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona have all been linked with the 20-year-old, while former Germany star Lothar Matthaus suggested Haaland's next logical step would be to join Bayern if he chooses to stay in Germany. 

A release clause of €75million will reportedly come into effect next year, and Hainer believes Bayern will be in a position to compete with others for Haaland's signature despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Insisting Bayern will "go even more down our successful path of signing young players with outstanding skills", having already agreed a deal to bring in Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig this year, Hainer told Sport1: "We are an economically very strong and healthy club. 

"Although we're also suffering massively from the pandemic, we can always bring in players when we're convinced about them." 

Hainer also confirmed plans to discuss new contracts with midfielder Leon Goretzka and defender Niklas Sule, whose deals expire in 2022. 

Goretzka has regained form recently after recovering from a coronavirus infection, while Sule, who had been linked with Chelsea, has enjoyed a positive run as a makeshift right-back. 

"Leon Goretzka has developed hugely in the last 12 months," said Hainer. "He's become one of the most important players for us. Yes, we want to extend with him." 

He added of Sule: "He's an important player for us. We'll sit down with him in the spring."

Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro will be assessed before a decision is made on whether they can play any part in Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga showdown with rivals Bayern Munich.

England international Sancho hobbled off the pitch two minutes after scoring what proved to be the winning goal in Tuesday's 1-0 DFB-Pokal quarter-final win against Borussia Monchengladbach.

He watched the final 22 minutes from the bench with an ice pack on his upper leg, with interim head coach Edin Terzic confirming after the match the 20-year-old had sustained a muscular issue.

Guerreiro, used 29 times in all competitions this season, limped off in the opening five minutes of the cup tie and both players are now doubtful for Saturday's Klassiker at the Allianz Arena.

"Jadon and Raphael were examined immediately after the Gladbach game and we have to carry out further examinations," Terzic said at a pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"It could be tight for both of them, but we're not giving up hope that they will fly to Munich with us tomorrow."

Being without Sancho would be a major blow for Dortmund, who are looking to avoid losing a fifth league game in a row against Bayern for the first time since between 1968 and 1970.

After a largely underwhelming first half to the campaign, the attacking midfielder has been directly involved in 12 Bundesliga goals in 2021, finding the net six times and setting up six more.

Only Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has scored and assisted more this calendar year (13 in total – 11 goals, two assists), with Eintracht Frankfurt duo Filip Kostic and Andre Silva next on the list with 10 goal involvements apiece.

Lewandowski has 28 Bundesliga goals to his name in total this campaign - just 12 short of Gerd Muller's long-standing record in a single season - for a Bayern side on a 36-game run since last failing to score in the league.

No team in Europe's top five leagues has found the net more times than Bayern (67) in 2020-21 and Terzic, who will be replaced by Marco Rose at the end of the campaign, acknowledged his side will have to be alert at the back this weekend.

"It is clear that the toolbox of the opposition is very large," he said. "We will try to support each other and block the flanks and cover the posts. 

"They score a lot of goals. It would be best if we don't let them get into the final third of the field.

"There will be phases where we have to suffer. That counts when you play in Munich, but it does not rule out being brave yourself and being dangerous. Small things will make the difference in such close matches."

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