Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer have been ruled out of Germany's first match under new head coach Hansi Flick.

Bayern Munich attacker Muller has returned to his club for treatment on an adductor problem, which will see him miss the games with Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland over the next week.

Club-mate Neuer has missed training this week with a minor ankle issue, meanwhile, and will be replaced by Bernd Leno in goal for Thursday's meeting with Liechtenstein.

But Flick, who took over as Germany boss following the exit of long-serving Joachim Low, is hopeful of having Neuer back for the visit of Armenia three days later. 

"We assume that 'Manu' will be back for Sunday," Flick said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing the Group J clash with minnows Liechtenstein.

"Everyone could see that he did not take part in practice. He won't be available for the match against Liechtenstein and Bernd Leno will take his place. 

"Thomas Muller will leave the camp. He's got an injury to the adductors. This won't heal fast enough for Sunday or next Wednesday. 

"Wednesday could have actually worked out according to our doctor, but the risk was simply too high. 

"He would not have been able to do a lot of work in practice which is why it makes sense to send him home. We have enough players on board and are able to replace him."

Thursday's match in St. Gallen will be Germany's first without Low in charge since July 2006, the World Cup-winning coach having officially stepped down after his nation's last-16 loss to England at Euro 2020. 

Flick previously worked as Low's assistant for eight years until after Germany's World Cup success in Brazil when leaving to become Die Mannschaft's sporting director.

He has more recently spent time in charge of Bayern and helped the Bavarian giants to seven major honours across two seasons.

The 56-year-old is now tasked with lifting Germany after a disappointing end to the Low tenure, which included a shock 2-1 home loss to North Macedonia in their most recent qualifier five months ago.

"I'm looking forward to my first international game and the responsibility for the nation," said Flick, who has still yet to decide who will captain the side.

"During the first training sessions we saw exactly what we imagined. The team was active and showed enormous intensity and quality. 

"What I liked was that they immediately tried to correct their mistakes, went into pressing straight after a lost ball. The whole coaching staff was extremely happy about that. 

"Those are the things we want to see: a mentality on the pitch where you can see from the beginning that the team is giving everything they have for Germany. 

"This is crucial for me. It was nice to see. That's why we are totally convinced of this team."

Flick is now an established manager in his own right, but he is open to taking inspiration from others as he embarks on his first managerial job on the international stage.

"All players have great coaches. Thomas Tuchel is doing exceptional work at Chelsea, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Marco Rose at Borussia Dortmund. I can name them all," he said. 

"All of them have an idea of football which is close to ours. We can implement certain parts in our game to improve. That is crucial. The communication with the coaches is top, I enjoy it very much. 

"We adapt from time to time. The decisive thing is that everyone is open to our idea of football and what we want to play. I was able to see that during the training sessions we've had so far."

Germany are third in Group J after three rounds of matches, level on points with North Macedonia and three points behind surprise pacesetters Armenia, with only the group winner guaranteed a place at Qatar 2022.

Julian Nagelsmann claimed his first piece of silverware at Bayern Munich as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller secured a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup.

In a frantic encounter between the Bundesliga champions and DFB-Pokal winners at Signal Iduna Park, it was Bayern who defended their crown in the third straight Supercup meeting between the Klassiker rivals.

Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single season with the final kick of 2020-21, and he fittingly opened the scoring two days after the Bayern great's passing.

Muller put Bayern in complete control and, though Marco Reus' stunner gave Dortmund hope, Lewandowski capitalised on Manuel Akanji's error to seal victory.

Dortmund were their own worst enemy from the off, with Serge Gnabry, Muller and Kingsley Coman all squandering gilt-edged chances after sloppy play from Marco Rose's team.

Yet it was Neuer who made the first save of the match. Hailed as "the best goalkeeper in the world" by Nagelsmann, the Bayern stalwart stuck out a leg to spectacularly deny Reus.

Dortmund were caught cold from a free-kick as the intensity continued, Lewandowski's effort blocked on the line by Axel Witsel.

Youssoufa Moukoko, the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, thought he had nosed Dortmund ahead in the 36th minute only for the offside flag to halt his celebrations, before Neuer kept out Erling Haaland.

Bayern made their fortune count, Lewandowksi floating into the area to direct a thumping header beyond Gregor Kobel.

Lewandowski was involved again as, four minutes after the break, Bayern doubled their lead, the striker doing enough to prevent Kobel from collecting Alphonso Davies' cross, with Muller turning home.

Dortmund seemed to have an immediate lifeline when Haaland raced through and slotted home, but the offside flag again came to Bayern's rescue.

Bayern's lead was cut in sensational style after the hour, Reus curling a sumptuous first-time strike into the top-right corner.

Despite the backing of much of the limited-capacity crowd, Dortmund's comeback hopes fell flat 16 minutes from time as Corentin Tolisso pressured Akanji and Lewandowski picked up the scraps to round matters off.

Thomas Muller has expressed the pain he is suffering after missing a golden opportunity in Germany's 2-0 Euro 2020 defeat to England.

Muller fired wide with only Jordan Pickford to beat when Joachim Low's side were 1-0 down with nine minutes to go in the round of 16 tie at Wembley on Tuesday.

The Bayern Munich forward had his head in his hands after that costly miss with time running out for Germany to stay in the tournament.

Harry Kane doubled England's lead with a header five minutes later and Muller cut a deflated figure when he was substituted in stoppage time.

Muller failed to score in the tournament after being recalled from the international wilderness by Low, managing only one shot on target in four games and missing his only big chance.

The 31-year-old opened up on his miss in a social media post.

 

"There it was, that one moment that you will remember in the end, that brings you sleep at night. For whom you work, train and live as a footballer," he posted on Instagram.

"That moment when you have it in your own hands to bring your team back into a close knockout game and to send an entire football nation into ecstasy. To get this opportunity and then to leave it unused, it really hurts me. 

"It hurts for the entire DFB team. My team-mates and our coach, who all gave me the confidence to be there right then. 

"But above all, it hurts because of all the Germany fans out there who stood by us and supported us during this European Championship despite difficult omens. Thank you for your support."

Joachim Low highlighted Thomas Muller's missed chance during the closing stages as a pivotal moment in the 2-0 Euro 2020 defeat to England that brought down the curtain on his 15 years in charge of Germany.

Second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane booked a place in the quarter-finals for Gareth Southgate's side at a raucous Wembley.

But, after Sterling's third goal of the tournament, the Manchester City forward played a wretched pass towards his own half that released Muller.

The experienced Bayern Munich star bore down on Jordan Pickford's area and looked certain to score, only to fire wide.

"We didn't take advantage of the two great opportunities that we had with Muller and [Timo] Werner," Low said.

"It was obvious no team wanted to take too many risks, especially in their defensive work. It was expected that not many opportunities would be created.

"But you need to take advantage and be clinical if you want to succeed. The English side scored on their first opportunity and we didn't, so it was difficult.

"We would have turned the match around with the chance of Muller, but then they got their second and it was not possible to turn the match around.

"The team threw in everything but we were not clinical enough, not effective enough. The team needs to mature as a team to be more successful."

 

Low's announcement before the tournament means that such next steps will occur without him and Tuesday's reverse at Wembley saw a glorious reign limped to a forgettable conclusion.

After taking over from Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006, Low led Germany to the final of Euro 2008, the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 before World Cup glory in 2014.

A youthful Germany team lifted the 2017 Confederations Cup after another semi-final exit at Euro 2016 but they failed to get out of the group stage during their World Cup defence in Russia and Low was unable to regain momentum.

"At the moment I haven't taken any decision yet," he replied when asked about his next move.

"When I took my decision to stop after this tournament, I had different thoughts back then.

"We will see in the next days and weeks. After 15 years in this job, with all the responsibility that is involved, taking a break is necessary.

"There will be a time when you find new energy for something else. At the moment, I do not have any concrete plans." 

Thomas Muller is back in the Germany starting XI for the Euro 2020 last-16 clash against England at Wembley, with Bukayo Saka retaining his place for the hosts.

Muller only featured from the bench when Joachim Low's side scraped a 2-2 draw against Hungary to emerge as runners-up in Group F as he nursed a knee injury.

But the Bayern Munich forward has been passed fit to start alongside wing-back Robin Gosens and defender Antonio Rudiger, both of whom had been struggling with cold symptoms.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is involved after suffering a cranial bruise, but only on the bench as Leon Goretzka partners Toni Kroos in central midfield.

Saka was a surprise starter in England's 1-0 win over the Czech Republic to top Group D and responded with a man-of-the-match display.

The Arsenal man forms a front three alongside captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, who has scored England's only two goals at the tournament so far.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has reverted to a back three of Kyle Walker, John Stones and Harry Maguire, with defensive midfield duo Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in front of them.

It means there will be an onus on recalled wing-back Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw to provide thrust from the flanks.

Germany playmaker Thomas Muller hopes striker Harry Kane's England goal drought goes on a little while longer.

England renew their rivalry with Germany next Tuesday in a mouth-watering Euro 2020 last-16 tie at Wembley with misfiring Kane set to lead the line for the Three Lions.

Kane started all three of England's Group D matches, but has just a solitary shot on target to show for his efforts.

The 27-year-old came into the tournament on the back of formidable season in the Premier League with Tottenham as he topped the goals (23) and assist (14) charts but has struggled so far.

He has managed five shots in total, three of which were deemed as 'big chances' by Opta. No other England player missed more than one across those three games.

"Great strikers are the best at being patient," Muller told a news conference.

"A striker is always waiting for his chances. He usually has the least contact with the ball, but the biggest picture in the newspaper after the game. 

"I don't know why he hasn't got into the final positions that he normally comes in. For us it wouldn't be a problem at all if the discussion lasts until Wednesday and we don't concede a goal.

"We're in the round of 16. We won against England World Cup 2010. That has nothing to do with Tuesday, but it might make one or the other feel good. We're looking forward to the big game with England."

Muller claimed he will be fit to face England having struggled with a knee injury during the tournament.

He added: "If I had problems I would not have trained today. The injury does not hinder me. I am experienced enough to deal with it. I am convinced that it will not be a problem for Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry has backed Leroy Sane to silence the fans who have jeered his performances for Germany at Euro 2020.

Sane has no goals, assists and just one attempt on goal so far in the tournament.

"With the talent and skill level that Leroy has, he will always prevail," Gnabry said.

"It hasn't been so smooth yet. But if he gets his chance, he has to take it. I don't notice anything in the game. He gave Hungary the run-around, worked defensively. He can build on that. 

"We never need whistles. I can't understand why people whistle."

England midfielder Declan Rice is "relishing" the opportunity to face Germany duo Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller in a mouth-watering Euro 2020 last-16 clash on Tuesday. 

Gareth Southgate's side came top of their group, taking seven points from games against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic without conceding a goal, ensuring they will begin the knockout rounds at Wembley Stadium.

There, they will face Germany for the third time at a European Championship and the first in a knockout match since the Three Lions lost on penalties in the semi-finals of Euro 96.

West Ham midfielder Rice has started all three of England’s games so far and is likely to be in from the start against two players who he has expressed admiration for in the past. 

After Bayern Munich's 2020 Champions League final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain last year, Rice tweeted: "Muller has to be up there as one of the most underrated players of all time! Serious footballer."

He followed this up in April with a tweet about Kroos after Real Madrid's 3-1 Champions League victory over Liverpool, saying: "Watching Toni Kroos is very special." Los Blancos midfielder Kroos replied: "Thanks mate."

Kroos has been exemplary for the 2014 world champions so far in this tournament. No player has completed more passes at the finals than the 31-year-old (280), with 217 of those occurring in the opposition half – by far the best return at the tournament.

Speaking at a media conference on Friday, Rice described Kroos as "world class" and said he cannot wait to go toe-to-toe with him.

 

"I can't remember what my tweet actually was but I woke up to him saying 'thanks mate'," he told a media conference. "It was a good moment to be fair and the lads at West Ham were giving me a bit [of stick] for it.

"If you go back to the tweets, I have always said I am a fan.

"When there are big games on and you are watching, you appreciate top footballers. Obviously that night I felt the need to say [what I did] about Muller and Kroos.

"I am relishing to go out there and put myself up against the best. It is England v Germany, round of 16, at Wembley, it is going to be proper, so I need to go out there and give a solid performance myself and as a team.

"Kroos is world class, other midfielders like me want to test ourselves. But we need to impose ourselves on the game and be physical and stop him spraying it around the pitch."

Tuesday's game will be the third meeting between England and Germany at the European Championship. Germany won 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the 1996 semi-final, before England won 1-0 in the group stages at Euro 2000.

England will be hoping to improve on a poor record in the knockout games in this competition, having never won one in 90 minutes (D4 L2). Four games have gone to penalties, with England only progressing once via this method, against Spain at Wembley in 1996.

Julian Nagelsmann will have "a lot of fun" with the quality at his disposal as Bayern Munich coach, according to his predecessor Hansi Flick.

Nagelsmann will replace Flick at Bayern ahead of next season, after two encouraging years at RB Leipzig.

Flick confirmed his impending departure from Bayern in April. He took over from Niko Kovac – initially on an interim basis – in November 2019 and will leave the club having won two Bundesliga titles, the Champions League, the DFL-Supercup, the DFB Pokal, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

The 56-year-old's next position will be as head coach of the German national team; he will succeed Joachim Low after Euro 2020.

And Flick promised his successor at Bayern will have much joy taking charge of such a talented squad.

"I think Julian Nagelsmann will have a lot of fun with this team because it is of enormous quality and a great attitude," Flick told Bayern's official media channels.

"I wrote that to him too. It's a top team that knows what's important. And here you have to support them as a trainer."

It is not just Flick who will be leaving Bayern.

There is something of a changing of the guard ahead of next season, with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and club stalwarts Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba also departing – the latter having agreed to join Real Madrid.

Nagelsmann will have to contend with the fact Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski – who broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single season – and Manuel Neuer are approaching the twilight of their respective careers, yet Flick hailed the performances of the three Bayern greats.

"Thomas [Muller] is a phenomenon for me," Flick said.

"He doesn't always get everything right in the game, but he brings you as a coach significantly more moments of joy than those in which you are upset about him – for example, when he goes out to the corner again, where he shouldn't be, loses the ball, and then a counter-attack emerges. 

"Sometimes I almost had to laugh and had the feeling that he was doing this on purpose to annoy me a little and get the adrenaline going again. But he means so much for the team and this club, someone like him will never be around again. What he has achieved in his career is unique."

Muller, along with Lewandowski, Neuer, Alaba and Joshua Kimmich, who has developed into a world class central midfielder, were five players Flick could always count on.

"For me and for all coaches, the central axis is the decisive element," he added. "And there has been nothing better in the world in the past two years. 

"I never really want to single someone out of my team because we can only achieve our goals together, but I could always rely on these five players 100 per cent, it was pure joy."

Bayern played 86 games under Flick, winning 70 and losing just seven, while only one of their nine draws finished goalless.

Flick's Bayern kept 34 clean sheets and scored 255 goals, averaging one every 30.4 minutes and outscoring their expected goals tally of 215.95, racking up 1,545 shots – the third-highest total in all competitions by a team from Europe's top five leagues, behind Manchester City (1,694) and Manchester United (1,557), though both of those Premier League sides played at least 17 more matches over the time in question.

Indeed, Bayern's goal tally under Flick makes them the top scorers from Europe's top five divisions in all competitions since he took charge, with Pep Guardiola's City (229) some way behind in second.

Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels made their first appearances for Germany since November 2018 as Joachim Low's side were held to a 1-1 draw by Denmark in a Euro 2020 warm-up clash on Wednesday. 

The duo were among the experienced players removed from Low's thinking in March 2019 as he plotted a new path forward following Germany's group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup.

But the pair have been trusted with helping Germany enjoy a successful tournament at the rescheduled Euros, which will be Low's final tournament in charge.

Die Mannschaft were comfortably the better side against Kasper Hjulmand's men, although they were denied a win when Yussuf Poulsen cancelled out Florian Neuhaus' opener 19 minutes from full-time at the Tivoli Stadion Tirol stadium in Austria. 

Germany started on the front foot, with Muller and Neuhaus forcing Kasper Schmeichel into saves inside the opening 15 minutes. 

Leroy Sane spurned a glorious chance to put Low's men ahead shortly before the half-hour mark, the Bayern Munich forward blazing a half-volley well over from 12 yards. 

Serge Gnabry went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock moments before the interval when his curled effort from outside the penalty area crashed against the crossbar.

Germany's pressure told three minutes after the restart when Neuhaus stroked home his second international goal following a goalmouth scramble.

Denmark pulled level after a rare surge into the Germany half, Poulsen firing past Manuel Neuer after being released by Christian Eriksen.

Muller almost capped his return with the winning goal late on, but his flicked effort from Sane's cross bounced back off Schmeichel's post.

Serge Gnabry believes he could be the answer to Germany's goalscoring problem at Euro 2020.

The Bayern Munich forward has spent most of his career in wide roles, but coach Joachim Low – who will step down after the tournament – has selected just two strikers in his squad.

That suggests the coach is looking for others to make themselves available for central attacking duties, and the likes of Gnabry and Kai Havertz could be made for the job.

Havertz's Chelsea team-mate Timo Werner and Monaco forward Kevin Volland are the two frontline strikers at Low's disposal.

Germany were thrashed 6-0 by Spain last November in the Nations League, and although they began their World Cup qualifying campaign in March with wins over Iceland and Romania, a subsequent defeat to North Macedonia pointed to shortcomings.

On Wednesday they will tackle Denmark in a friendly in Innsbruck, a penultimate game before Germany launch their Euro 2020 campaign with a June 15 clash against France in Munich.

"I don't know yet whether I'll play on the wing or in the middle," Gnabry said in a pre-game news conference. "I haven't had a concrete conversation with the national coach.

"I'll do my best when I play in the centre and imitate the striker. But we have so much potential on the offensive that it doesn't really matter who is up front."

Gnabry suggested he enjoyed the central role because it inflated his chances of personal glory.

"Because you're closer to the goal, that's the only reason," Gnabry said. "I just love to score goals."

The former Arsenal player warned, however: "I'm not a [Robert] Lewandowski or [Erling] Haaland."

Gnabry scored just 11 goals for Bayern in the season just ended, after a 23-goal campaign in 2019-20, while Werner netted 12 for Chelsea and Volland hit the back of the net 18 times.

Gnabry's goals came at a healthy rate of one every 216.55 minutes, behind Volland (one every 177.11 minutes) but well ahead of Werner (one every 318.83 minutes).

Germany's Champions League finalists are not available for the Denmark game, meaning Low must get by without Havertz, Werner, Antonio Rudiger and Ilkay Gundogan.

Toni Kroos, Jamal Musiala and Leon Goretzka are also expected to be absent, the coach seeing his 26-man squad depleted.

Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels should win their first caps since November 2018, having been frozen out over the last two and a half years as Low attempted to give his team a younger look.

The coach went cap in hand to both recently, beckoning them back into his squad, and the experienced pair accepted the invitation.

Asked about Bayern team-mate Muller, Gnabry said: "He absolutely deserves it. He is incredibly effective and particularly valuable in terms of motivation. It's good to have him here."

Muller was one of only five players from Europe's top five leagues to score at least 15 goals and have at least 15 assists across all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

He scored 15 times and set up 19 goals, with the others in that exclusive club being Tottenham's Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

Hummels also had a stellar season in defence for Dortmund. He is 32 and Muller is 31, and Gnabry sees their experience and leadership qualities as being a major boon for Die Mannschaft.

"It's always good to have leaders on your team," Gnabry said. "If we all pull together, we will be successful."

Mats Hummels revealed his exile from the Germany team "felt like a personal defeat" as he vowed to make up for lost time at Euro 2020.

The 70-cap defender was ousted from the national squad after the 2018 World Cup when head coach Joachim Low decided Hummels, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng belonged to Germany's past.

Low said the time had come for "a new beginning", but he performed a U-turn this year when asking Hummels and Muller to return to Die Mannschaft.

Now Hummels and Muller, former Bayern Munich team-mates, could have big roles to play in what will be Low's final tournament in charge.

Germany have upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Latvia before they begin their Euro 2020 quest with a titanic group-stage clash against France on June 15 in Munich.

"I want to be fully involved on the sporting side, but also as a man," Hummels said in a news conference. "I hope that I can take the role on the pitch. As a spokesman and leader, especially when things don't go well, I want to lead the way.

"In the last six months there have been phone calls and messages about what we think about it. Ultimately, it only became concrete in the last two weeks before the squad announcement. Jogi [Low] believes that I can give the team a lot for the tournament. I want to."

Speaking about his time in the international wilderness, Hummels said: "It felt like a personal defeat, it hurt. I have always been proud to play for the national team.

"It was my goal to come back. It's an honour to play for Germany. It is a nice confirmation of the work we have done over the past few years.

"It was nice [to return], I saw many familiar faces again. I was a little nervous and excited upon my arrival and felt a certain tingling sensation. I was looking forward to the day."

No defender won more aerial challenges (129) or made more interceptions (73) than Hummels achieved for Borussia Dortmund in the 2020-21 Bundesliga, and nobody scored more than his five goals among players in his position.

He was top 10 among defenders for duels won, clean sheets, tackles, blocks and headed clearances, and Low could not continue to ignore a player with such high numbers.

Hummels won the DFB-Pokal with Dortmund too, while Muller was a driving force behind Bayern's Bundesliga success.

Of all defenders who entered 150-plus duels in the Bundesliga, only Hummels (68.77) and Borussia Monchengladbach's Matthias Ginter (68.22) – another who features in Low's 26-man squad – had a success rate of above 65 per cent.

Opta defines a duel as a "50-50 contest between two players of opposing sides".

Hungary and Portugal also feature in Germany's group, a testing start to the tournament, but Hummels predicted: "If we bring our quality to the pitch, we will prevail in the group."

He also dispelled any suggestion of possible conflict as the old guard, with their leadership qualities, return to join a squad who had been attuned to their absence.

"We won't take anything away from them; we will act together," Hummels said. "It's about having a competitive spirit in training. Muller and I bring that in, but we're not the only ones."

There is the possibility of Hummels being paired with Antonio Rudiger, a Champions League winner with Chelsea, in Germany's backline.

"We have a lot of good central defenders. Toni has shown that he can be outstanding," Hummels said. "You can even use the word 'world-class' with him."

Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels have each received recalls to the Germany squad for Euro 2020.

Bayern Munich forward Muller and Borussia Dortmund defender Hummels have not featured for their country since November 2018.

They were among the experienced players removed from coach Joachim Low's thinking in March 2019 as he plotted a new path forward following Germany's group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup.

But the pair have been trusted with helping Germany enjoy a successful tournament at the rescheduled Euros, which will be Joachim Low's final tournament in charge.

Die Mannschaft face an extremely difficult group, having been pitted alongside world champions France, defending European champions Portugal and Hungary.

They start their Group F campaign against France at the Allianz Arena on June 15.

 

Hansi Flick and Thomas Muller both lavished praise on Robert Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker equalled a longstanding Bundesliga record.

Lewandowski converted a first-half penalty to open the scoring in the champions' 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Saturday, taking his tally for the season in the competition to 40 goals.

The Poland international now sits level with the great Gerd Muller for the most scored in a single Bundesliga campaign - and he still has one more game to go to move clear of the Bayern icon.

Flick feels the feat demonstrates just why Lewandowski is the best striker in the world right now, albeit his achievement would not have been possible without the efforts of the entire team.

"Robert had his most successful season last year - he won the treble with the team and the FIFA Men's Player Award," the Bayern boss - who will bring an end to his hugely successful reign next weekend - said.

"Now he has matched Gerd Muller's historic record. But that is always due to the performance of the team, they have to provide the opportunities.

"In the last few years, you would never have believed that the record would fall. But a lot is possible in football.

"Right now, Robert is the best striker in the world. We'll have to wait and see what comes next. The competition has to decide how long he will have his record."

Lewandowski had two glorious opportunities to add to his tally in the second half at Freiburg, including scuffing an attempt from point-blank range straight to goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Muller believes the uncharacterstic misses demonstrated how his team-mate is human after all, but made it clear the 32-year-old deserves his place among the club legend.

"It's hard to classify because it's kind of normal with Lewy," Muller said.

"He didn't just do it for one season, he has scored a huge number of goals in recent years. That's crazy.

"He had two huge chances even today. He's only human too, but one who is very, very good in front of goal.

"I can't put it in this historical context because I'm there myself. Gerd Muller helped make this club with his goals to where we are now.

"The club grew up through such players and that Lewy has now placed himself on that level, you can only tip your hat to that. The team has granted him that and appreciates what he does."

Lewandowski will hope to make it to 41 when Bayern host Augsburg in Munich in the final round of Bundesliga fixtures.

Thomas Muller joked Robert Lewandowski is "not normal" after the Bayern Munich star scored a hat-trick to close in on a Bundesliga record.

Bayern were crowned Bundesliga champions on Saturday before kicking a ball thanks to Borussia Dortmund's dramatic win over RB Leipzig.

Hansi Flick's side proceeded to put on a worthy celebration against Borussia Monchengladbach, hammering them 6-0 at Allianz Arena to mark their ninth straight title in sensational style.

Lewandowski was integral, scoring a hat-trick to take his tally of league goals to the campaign for 39, moving him to within one of Gerd Muller's all-time Bundesliga single-season record of 40 set in 1971-72.

With two games remaining – against Freiburg and Augsburg respectively – it seems almost certain that Lewandowski will etch his name into the record books, and current team-mate Muller remains in awe at his prowess.

"We do have to say, that we as a team try our hardest for him. But how he is able to score those goals is not normal as well," he joked.

Muller has now won 10 Bundesliga titles, though conceded it has not always been a smooth ride this season. Indeed, his fellow long-time team-mates Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and David Alaba, along with head coach Flick, are all leaving at the end of the campaign.

"I do have to say that the game was more championship-like than the actual championship," Muller said.

"It was a great game today. We were there from the first until the last minute. Thanks to all the emotions and the euphoria, we knew that we had won the championship before the actual match.

"If you look at the big picture, then it was very hard for us over the past two weeks to be honest. Through all the talks I had with the others, the elimination in the Champions League really hurt us.

"We felt like we could do something in the Champions League this season. But we were able to overcome that in the recent two weeks. We were able to properly take a deep breath.

"There is not a lot of romance in this business, but we tried to have as much romance at the end of the season today as we could.

"Jerome will leave, David will leave, Javi will leave and the coach will leave. I know that Hansi hasn't been here for so long, but the other three were my team-mates for nearly ten years now, so they were always there when we won the championship for nine times in a row."

When it comes to Lewandowski, however, Muller added: "Well that is not about romance. I don't know how many hat-tricks and braces this guy had. It is more like mathematics!"

It proved to be a bittersweet moment for Flick, who is entering the final two games of a short but hugely successful tenure in which Bayern have won seven trophies.

"It's outstanding what the team has achieved," he said. "You could see that we were ready. That's the mentality of this team. The game today was worthy of champions.

"The whole club creates this atmosphere that you can be successful. Bayern has always been my club, I was a big fan when I was young, Gerd Muller was my big idol, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"I have now experienced two fantastic years here. To experience this togetherness on a daily basis is outstanding. These two years have been very valuable for me."

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