Hansi Flick can still see room for improvement from his Bayern Munich side despite brushing aside Schalke 4-0 to move seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

The reigning champions capitalised on RB Leipzig's shock defeat at Mainz by seeing off Schalke, the division's bottom side, at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday.

Thomas Muller scored either side of Robert Lewandowski's record-breaking goal - netting in an eighth successive away league match - before David Alaba got in on the act in the final minute.

Bayern did not have things all their own way in the first half, though, with Manuel Neuer reacting well to keep out Mark Uth's header from the best of Schalke's opportunities.

Flick is pleased his side have rediscovered their form with three wins in a row since suffering back-to-back losses earlier this month, but he acknowledged there is still more to come.

"I'm not entirely happy with what we showed," he told Sky Sport. "We scored four goals, but we should have done better, especially with the way we positioned ourselves.

"However, I am very satisfied with the nine points with have obtained from the last three games. After defeats to Holstein Kiel [in the DFB-Pokal] and Monchengladbach, it was important to find stability.

"We now have a certain cushion, but it is still important that we approach every game the way we have approached the last few games, that we perform 100 per cent. 

"We're going to take two days off now. This is important to clear your head from time to time. From Wednesday, we will then prepare intensively for Hoffenheim."

Bayern have now kept clean sheets in successive league games for the first time this term, with Neuer making three saves in total - all in the first half.

Neuer's 197th shutout is a new Bundesliga record, surpassing Bayern great Oliver Kahn, but it was bittersweet coming against his beleaguered boyhood club.

Schalke are bottom of the division with one win from 18 games but Neuer is hopeful they can avoid the drop.

"Obviously, it's difficult for them against teams like us," he said. "I think that they have to beat two or three clubs that are in the lower half of the table, one after the other.

"I wish the Schalke players luck that they can stay in the league and that they can still turn the tide. Of course, I'll keep my fingers crossed for that."

Of his own team's display, which saw Bayern register a season-high 31 shots, Neuer said: "We improved and still had one or two more scoring chances. 

"We certainly would have signed for a 4-0 win beforehand."

Meanwhile, Muller's double took him to nine goals in 18 Bundesliga games this season, already beating his tally from the entirety of 2019-20.

The forward, who scored a clinical header in each half, echoed the thoughts of Flick in saying his side were slightly flattered by the margin of the scoreline.

"We neglected some aspects of our game," Muller said. "We besieged the opposing goal in the first half, played a few chances well, but the last action was missing.

"Overall, you noticed that when we increased the pace and played our game, we were always able to get ourselves into good final positions. 

"We have won all three games this week and made a giant leap forward in the table. That is what counts."

Robert Lewandowski became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in eight successive away games and Thomas Muller scored twice as leaders Bayern Munich cruised to a 4-0 win over Schalke.

Second-place RB Leipzig suffered a shock loss to Mainz 05 on Saturday and Bayern took full advantage at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday, moving seven points clear at the top.

Schalke are bottom of the table with one win all season but they more than matched the European champions before Muller's 33rd-minute breakthrough.

Muller doubled his tally late on after Lewandowski had scored his latest record-breaking goal early in the second half, before David Alaba added further gloss at the death.

The division's leading scorer Lewandowski glanced over the crossbar from close range early on before a better chance came and went for Mark Uth, who headed straight at Manuel Neuer from five yards out.

Ralf Fahrmann was called into action with a fine double save to keep out Lewandowski's free-kick and Serge Gnabry's follow-up attempt. 

Gnabry went close again when glancing the side-netting with a header he should have put away, but Bayern were in front seven minutes later through Muller's powerful header. 

The attacking midfielder met Joshua Kimmich's back-post delivery and made no mistake in beating Fahrmann for his eighth league goal of the campaign. 

Gnabry thought he had added a quickfire second after Leroy Sane's initial effort was parried, only for the offside flag to go up against the former Schalke winger.

But the Bavarian giants did double their advantage early in the second period as Lewandowski controlled Kimmich's long ball, held off two defenders and slotted under Fahrmann.

It is the 11th successive Bundesliga game in which Lewandowski has scored against Schalke and he nearly added another, dragging wide from 18 yards 20 minutes from time.

Schalke are now without a win against Bayern in 21 league matches and badly faded in the closing stages, with Muller heading in from another Kimmich delivery and Alaba adding a fourth with a 30-yard drive that squirmed under Fahrmann.

Robert Lewandowski has his work cut out to match Gerd Muller's Bundesliga goals record but Bayern Munich will do all they can to make it happen, Hansi Flick has said.

Muller hit 40 goals for Bayern in the 1971-72 season, a mark that is firmly in the sights of Lewandowski after he began the campaign with 22 goals in Bayern's first 17 games.

Speaking ahead of Bayern's trip to face Schalke on Sunday, in a clash of the top and bottom teams in the German top flight, Flick spoke of how he used to idolise the legendary Muller.

As leaders Bayern pursue a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, the prospect of Lewandowski challenging Muller is drawing plenty of attention, and Flick indicated the team would love it to happen.

"Gerd Muller was my role model," said Flick. "Unfortunately, I've never scored as many goals as he did, I wasn't as lethal, maybe at the beginning in the youth teams.

"He was a striker who was always ready to accept balls outside the box and you could combine together with him. He was wonderful in front of goal.

"For Robert to have scored more goals than him in the first half of the season shows his quality and that the team keep supporting him to end up in situations where he can score goals.

"I think about the 1-0 against Freiburg, which was a genius attacking move via Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller, who immediately passed the ball to him. Their alignment was perfect.

"We all know, and Robert knows this too, that a lot of things need to be in place to continue like this. We're working on it.

"We have to support Robert and he is important to the team. He has certain tasks within the team and if he does them well, it is easier for the team to assist him at goalscoring.

"I would wish he could manage 40 but Gerd Muller is really something special."

Muller is suffering with Alzheimer's disease and is said to be living in a nursing home.

"We all know how Gerd Muller is doing, that also makes you sad," Flick said.

Bayern will face a Schalke team who are showing flickers of life at the foot of the table, and who brought Klaas Jan Huntelaar back to the club this week from Ajax.

Huntelaar, at the age of 37 and ready to retire at the end of the season, has rejoined Schalke because he could not bear being unable to help them in the battle to avoid relegation.

He previously had a seven-year spell with the club and, much like Lewandowski, has a proven nose for goal.

The veteran Dutch striker could have a role to play this weekend, with Schalke coach Christian Gross saying on Friday: "I think that Klaas Jan will be part of the squad against Bayern. He's a good option for the bench."

Klaas Jan Huntelaar is heading back to Schalke for one last mission in his career after leaving Ajax to join a battle to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

The 37-year-old former Milan and Real Madrid striker recently announced he would retire at the end of this season, and Huntelaar now says he wants to "play my part" in saving lowly Schalke.

He previously played for Schalke from 2010 until 2017, scoring 126 goals for the Royal Blues before heading to Ajax, and he departs the Dutch giants to join a team now coached by Christian Gross.

Schalke sit bottom of the Bundesliga with seven points from 16 games, having won only once in the league this season.

Huntelaar told Schalke's website: "We need to win games and score goals to climb up the table. I want to play my part in the club staying up. Schalke belongs in the Bundesliga and it's our responsibility to make sure that we stay here."

The moves means Huntelaar's Ajax playing career is over after a second spell in Amsterdam, having first caught the eye there from 2006-08, opening the door to his San Siro and Santiago Bernabeu stints and a career in the Netherlands national team.

In all, Huntelaar scored 158 goals in 257 official games for Ajax. He won an Eredivisie title in the 2018-19 season.

Marc Overmars, director of football at Ajax, said it was the honourable thing to do to let Huntelaar ride to the rescue of his old team.

"It was Klaas Jan's wish to help Schalke avoid relegation in the last four months of his career," Overmars told Ajax's website.

"We thought it was important for him to let this move go through and fill his shoes internally with Lassina Traore and Brian Brobbey. We wish the best for Klaas Jan with this transfer and thank him very much for everything he has done for Ajax."

Real Madrid have reportedly agreed a deal with Bayern Munich defender David Alaba.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Alaba, 28, has been linked with Europe's biggest clubs.

And the Austria international looks set for the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – ALABA AGREES FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH MADRID

Alaba has agreed a four-year deal with Real Madrid, according to Marca.

The Bayern defender will make the move to the LaLiga giants ahead of 2021-22, the report says.

Alaba was also linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Real Madrid and the news is not so good when it comes to Lucas Vazquez. AS reports the midfielder has rejected the club's first contract offer, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Dele Alli is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain. The Sun reports the Tottenham midfielder is confident of getting a loan move to the Ligue 1 giants in January.

- Jesse Lingard's future at Manchester United is uncertain. ESPN reports the midfielder wants regular game time but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to keep him at the Premier League club. Lingard has made just three appearances in all competitions this season.

- After leaving the club in 2017, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar looks set to return to Schalke. SPORT1 reports the Ajax striker has undergone a medical ahead of a return to Schalke, who are bidding to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

Luka Jovic revelled in his two-goal return for Eintracht Frankfurt after struggling at LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

Jovic re-joined Eintracht on loan until the end of the season, having endured a difficult start to his Madrid career – the Serbia international only scored twice in 32 appearances under Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital, where he arrived for €60million in 2019.

But a return to Frankfurt appears to be the perfect tonic for Jovic, who came off the bench and scored twice in 28 minutes as Eintracht defeated Schalke 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Jovic matched his Madrid tally in the stunning cameo for Eintracht, where the 23-year-old netted 27 goals in 2018-19 before making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Amazing feeling! Victory, two goals. Couldn't have imagined a better comeback," Jovic wrote via Instagram post-match.

"I hope this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come. Thank you all for your support.

"I want to dedicate my first goal to a great professional, an amazing leader, a true friend, a great man that I've been honoured to share the field with, our captain @davidabraham1986 [who retired].

"The second goal I dedicate to a great Eintracht fan that has recently passed away and left his loving wife and three kids. Rest In Peace."

Jovic played a key role in Eintracht's remarkable 2018-19 campaign as the German club reached the Europa League semi-finals, after initially being shipped to Deutsche Bank Park in 2017 on a two-year loan deal from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica.

After scoring nine goals in his first season with Eintracht as the team celebrated DFB-Pokal glory, the Bundesliga club's sporting director Fredi Bobic eventually triggered a purchase option reportedly worth €6m in 2019 to sign Jovic before making a significant profit on that investment.

Eintracht head coach Adi Hutter added: "It was incredibly important for Luka to return to where he had his best period and feels happy. You can tell that's been the case from day one.

"For him to score two such lovely goals speaks volumes about his quality. That sort of thing isn't always easy to explain."

It was as if he had never been away.

Luka Jovic has endured a dismal start to his Real Madrid career but was quickly back among the goals at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Having failed to impress in a season and a half in LaLiga following a €60million transfer from Eintracht to Madrid, Jovic headed back to Frankfurt on loan this week.

And a second debut swiftly followed, with Jovic called from the bench after 62 minutes at home to Schalke.

The game was all square at 1-1 at the time, with Andre Silva's first-half opener immediately cancelled out by Matthew Hoppe, the teenager whose hat-trick last week had secured Schalke's first win in 31 Bundesliga matches.

There was to be no second straight success for the strugglers, however, as Jovic required only 10 minutes to restore Eintracht's lead, hammering Filip Kostic's cutback into the roof of the net.

The loanee then made the points safe in stoppage time as he moved inside past Ozak Kabak to again finish right-footed and clinch a 3-1 win.

"You can tell that the air here is good for him," sporting director Fredi Bobic told Sky Sport afterwards. "The goals were top class, the whole process. That is a great art.

"I always get annoyed that I always have to sell the best players. Now he's back for a short time. That's what I'm most happy about."

With just two LaLiga goals to his name, the brace meant Jovic had netted as many times in 28 minutes back in the Bundesliga as in 32 matches for Madrid in all competitions.

The strikes came from Jovic's only two shots on Sunday, while he also completed 17 of his 18 passes in a lively display.

Teenage striker Matthew Hoppe scored a stunning hat-trick to finally banish Schalke's winless run after 30 Bundesliga matches.

The German giants had not claimed a league victory since January 2020 heading into Saturday's home game against Hoffenheim.

Failure to win again would have seen Schalke equal Tasmania Berlin's record stretch of 31 Bundesliga matches without success from 1965-66.

However, an inspired outing from 19-year-old Hoppe set up a 4-0 triumph at the Veltins-Arena, ending that miserable streak and moving Schalke off the foot of the table.

The American had never previously netted a senior goal but repaid the faith shown in him by Christian Gross, Schalke's fourth coach of the season.

Hoppe's opener came in contentious circumstances three minutes before half-time, with a handball on the edge of the hosts' box unpunished before a rapid counter saw Amine Harit send the forward through to lift a superb finish over Oliver Baumann.

Harit created all three Hoppe goals, although the scorer did the majority of the heavy lifting on each occasion, rounding Baumann for the second in the 57th minute and beating the goalkeeper with another dinked effort six minutes later to complete his treble - the first by an American in the Bundesliga.

The goal Harit deserved completed the scoring 11 minutes from time, drilled beyond Baumann at his near post to end Schalke's drought in spectacular fashion.

Having avoided a share of Tasmania's unwanted piece of history, Schalke are above Mainz and now only three points away from the relegation play-off place, although 16th-placed Arminia Bielefeld play on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Schalke's clean sheet left opponents Hoffenheim as the only side yet to record a shutout in the top flight this term.

Jadon Sancho was once top of Manchester United 's wish list but now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to move for the Borussia Dortmund star's teammate  Erling Haaland .

Solskjaer had solidified his position at United heading into the January window following a 10-match unbeaten run and the Norwegian manager is determined to recruit his countryman.

After tracking ex-Manchester City youth product Sancho before the season, United are ready to switch their attention to Haaland, with reports suggesting he has a £70million release clause.


TOP STORY – UNITED TO SWITCH ATTENTION TO HAALAND AND CASH IN ON POGBA

The Mirror report Solskjaer is so keen on Haaland, he flew to Salzburg and attempted to hijak the goalscoring sensation’s move to Dortmund last January.

Borussia Dortmund have had no contact from Arsenal over a potential move for Julian Brandt.

The Gunners are looking for midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window and reports in Germany suggest Brandt is one option.

Arsenal technical director Edu craves creativity in the centre of the pitch, with Mikel Arteta's side having fashioned just 120 chances in the Premier League this season, more only than Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Burnley and West Brom.

Brandt would appear to provide that spark, having played a key role in a Dortmund side who have forged 162 opportunities in 2020-21 to lead the Bundesliga in this regard.

The Germany midfielder has accounted 18 of those key passes, ranking third for BVB behind Raphael Guerreiro (26) and Jadon Sancho (22). Left-back Kieran Tierney, with 17 chances, is Arsenal's top creator.

If Brandt is to move this month, though, Dortmund are still waiting to hear more - according to Michael Zorc, their sporting director.

"I read that, too," Zorc said of the Arsenal rumours. "I cannot say more about that. Nobody has contacted us. There is nothing on the table yet or even in the fax machine."

Discussing the January window in general, Zorc added: "We don't have any big plans right now.

"However, my years of activity have taught me that, at the beginning of the transfer window, I don't rule out anything."

Speaking on Saturday, Zorc was also asked about the troubles of rivals Schalke, who are bottom of the Bundesliga and winless in 29 matches, just two shy of Tasmania Berlin's all-time top-flight record.

"We have our own problems, in somewhat higher realms than Schalke," the Dortmund chief said.

"Basically, I would like Schalke to stay in the league. The traditional competition in this region is good for us all. We want that for next year as well."

Zorc was appearing alongside interim head coach Edin Terzic prior to Sunday's meeting with Wolfsburg.

Terzic and Dortmund will be without 16-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko but can welcome back Erling Haaland following a hamstring injury.

Haaland has averaged a goal every 65.1 minutes in the Bundesliga this season yet has not played since November and will not be rushed on his return.

"Erling is known for always being hungry," Terzic said. "So, we still have to be careful, slow it down a bit. But he makes a very good impression.

"Every team in the world depends on the player who has the last touch in front of the goal. Erling is extremely important to us - and not just because of his goals.

"He was missing, of course, but we tried to make up for it. Borussia Dortmund is not just Erling Haaland."

Wolfsburg's visit will be Edin Terzic's first home game in charge of Dortmund. Bert van Marwijk, in 2004, was the last BVB coach to lose on their home bow, although that also came against Wolfsburg.

Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac has returned to Bundesliga side Schalke on loan for the remainder of the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has been restricted to nine appearances in all competitions this season, just one of those coming in the Premier League.

Kolasinac has now been loaned to the team where he started his career before moving to Emirates Stadium in 2017, having spent five seasons in the German club's senior ranks.

Arsenal announced the news on their website on Thursday, with the loan deal set to officially go through on January 4.

"Sead needs to be playing regularly, so we have decided together that a move back to Germany with Schalke will benefit him at this moment," said Arsenal technical director Edu.

"We will be keeping in close contact with Sead, and wish him huge success for the remainder of the season with Schalke."

Kolasinac has made 113 appearances for Arsenal and was part of their FA Cup-winning squad against Chelsea in August.

The 27-year-old joins a Schalke side who sit bottom of the Bundesliga and are without a win in 13 league outings this season, but he is confident of keeping his boyhood side in the division.

"I'm happy and proud to be wearing the royal blue of Schalke 04 once again," Kolasinac told Schalke's website. "The club is currently in a difficult situation.

"Over the coming weeks and months I want to do my part in order to help us pick up as many points as possible.

"We will manage to stay up together, I'm 100 per cent convinced of it. I'm also very happy to be reunited with several familiar faces, both in the team and backroom staff.

"I never lost touch with FC Schalke 04. Returning to Gelsenkirchen was something I really wanted to do."

Kolasinac's departure could be the first of several for Arsenal in January, with manager Mikel Arteta revealing earlier on Thursday that trimming his squad is a priority.

Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have also been tipped to leave before the window closes on February 1.

Will Paul Pogba return to Turin?

Pogba's future at Manchester United is in doubt, with the World Cup-winning Frenchman reportedly looking to leave the Theatre of Dreams.

Juventus are keen to re-sign Pogba – who initially left United for the Italian giants in 2012 before returning to Manchester four years later.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE WANT POGBA REUNION

Signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba remains the dream for Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Pogba is eyeing an Old Trafford exit amid growing links to former club Juve and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

Juve are keen on reuniting with Pogba, though Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli, Lyon star Houssem Aouar, Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul and Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo are alternatives.

 

ROUND-UP

Relegation-threatened Schalke have appointed Christian Gross as their new permanent head coach.

Gross has signed a contract until the end of the season and becomes Schalke's fourth coach of the campaign, taking over from interim boss Huub Stevens.

Stevens oversaw two games following the dismissal of Manuel Baum, who lasted just 11 matches at the helm after replacing David Wagner.

Schalke are without a win in 29 Bundesliga matches – the record in Germany's top flight is 31 and was set by Tasmania Berlin in 1965-66 – and sit bottom of the table with four points from 13 outings this season.

"We have to be goal-oriented and work towards results. I want to feel the players' enthusiasm at all times," said former Tottenham, Basel and Stuttgart coach Gross.

"We need to have a good atmosphere in and around the team to be successful again. I will give everything so that we can accomplish our goals together."

Schalke's head of sport and communication Jochen Schneider added: "For Schalke 04, the next five months will be all about managing to stay in the Bundesliga. Christian Gross has shown in both Germany and England that he can successfully take on challenges like this.

"Christian Gross will give the team clear instructions and will set us on the right path with his unwavering expectations. We are sure of that."

Gross will take charge of Schalke for the first time away at Hertha Berlin on January 2.

The 66-year-old had been out of work since his third spell in charge of Saudi Arabian giants Al-Ahli ended in February.

Erling Haaland is Chelsea's number one transfer target, while a pair of Premier League giants are lining up January bids for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has netted 23 goals in 23 games since moving to the Bundesliga in January, leading to him reportedly being installed as Frank Lampard's top target for the off-season.

Will Haaland make the move to Chelsea?


TOP STORIES – CHELSEA WANT HAALAND

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has been identified as Chelsea's top transfer target along with West Ham's Declan Rice, according to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante.

Haaland has been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

But Haaland is wanted in London as Chelsea prepare for a clear-out, with seven players being made available – Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses.

Schalke are on the lookout for their third head coach of the season after announcing the sacking of Manuel Baum.

Baum was only appointed by Schalke on September 30 following the departure of David Wagner, who lost his job two games into the Bundesliga campaign.

Former Augsburg boss Baum was unable to turn around the club's terrible form, however, overseeing six defeats and four draws in his 10 league matches in charge.

And on the back of Wednesday's 2-0 home loss to Freiburg, which leaves Schalke bottom of the table with four points from a possible 36, the German side have taken action.

Schalke confirmed the news on their official website on Friday and added that board member Huub Stevens will take temporary charge for the remaining two games of 2020, with Mike Buskens named assistant.

The Royal Blues are winless in 28 league matches and face 16th-place Arminia Bielefeld in a huge Bundesliga clash on Saturday, before travelling to SSV Ulm in round two of the DFB-Pokal next Tuesday.

"The home game against Arminia Bielefeld is of immense importance for our club," Schalke director Jochen Schneider said in a statement. 

"The disappointing performance against Freiburg showed us that the team needs fresh impetus in order to be able to play the game successfully. 

"We trust Huub Stevens and Mike Buskens to do just that. We thank Manuel Baum for his tireless efforts and wish him all the best for his personal and professional future."

Stevens was voted Schalke's coach of the century for his success during the first of two permanent spells in charge, which included winning the UEFA Cup in 1997 and the DFB-Pokal in 2001 and 2002.

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