Julian Nagelsmann believes Bayern Munich are ready for Der Klassiker after digging deep for a 1-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld.

Bayern's clash with Bundesliga title rivals Borussia Dortmund is coming up next Saturday, with the great rivals sitting first and second in the German top flight.

Dortmund briefly occupied top spot on Saturday after a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg, in which Erling Haaland returned from injury with a goal.

But they were nudged off the summit later in the day when Leroy Sane's 71st-minute strike earned a depleted Bayern three valuable points. Eight days previously, Bayern were beaten by Augsburg, so a league win of any sort this time was to be welcomed.

Nagelsmann's squad has been hit hard by COVID-19 cases, but the head coach saw enough from the team he fielded against Arminia to be optimistic about the tussle with Dortmund.

The Bayern boss said: "I am very satisfied. It was a step forward after the Augsburg game.

"We had enough chances to win the game. We gave away a few chances in the second half. Dortmund won, so we were under a bit of pressure. It's a deserved victory. We don't always have to score three, four or five goals. One is enough.

"Overall, we defended well. Such games are important. If you lose those games, then it's not enough to just win games like next week.

"We are now heading to Dortmund as championship leaders and full of anticipation."

 

Sane's goal was Bayern's 102nd in the league this calendar year – a Bundesliga record, beating Cologne's mark from 1977.

Thomas Muller made his 396th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern, matching the great Franz Beckenbauer's total and going sixth on the club's all-time list, led by Sepp Maier (473).

Asked how many more games he could play, midfielder Muller told Sky Deutschland: "We'll see. If I stay fresh and fit, and well enough, then something is still possible. That is just a nice statistic, it simply shows the path I have already taken.

"But I am looking forward more to the road still ahead of me, which is certainly a bit shorter in comparison."

Leroy Sane broke Arminia Bielefeld's resolve as Bayern Munich battled to a 1-0 win at Allianz Arena to reclaim top spot from Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund's earlier 3-1 win at Wolfsburg saw them climb to the summit, but Bayern responded in Saturday's late kick-off to move a point clear ahead of next week's Klassiker. 

After failing to forge a breakthrough in the first half of a league game for just the second time this term, Sane finally found the net for Bayern with 71 minutes played.

That was Bayern's 102nd league goal this calendar year – a Bundesliga record – and proved enough to help the hosts bounce back from last week's 2-1 loss at Augsburg.

Reigning champions Bayern had 11 attempts in the first half, six of those on target, without finding a way past inspired Arminia goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

The visiting keeper did well to keep out a couple of Alphonso Davies efforts and a volley from Thomas Muller, who earlier had a header cleared off the line by Andres Andrade.

Sane continued Bayern's wastefulness by missing two big chances early in the second half, but the Germany international eventually provided the opener.

Collecting a pass from Muller outside the box, Sane whipped a shot past Ortega to give Bayern the goal they craved.

Arminia held Bayern 3-3 in their previous meeting in February, but the strugglers could not find a response this time and were fortunate not to concede a second when Serge Gnabry's shot came back out off the crossbar late on.

Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala will be back in the Bayern Munich squad to face Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday but Marcel Sabitzer is facing a spell on the sidelines.

Bayern have been hard hit by coronavirus, but Julian Nagelsmann revealed Gnabry, Musiala and Michael Cuisance will come out of quarantine on Friday.

The trio have been cleared to return after testing negative, but will not be considered to start.

Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic have stepped up their recovery from COVID-19 in training this week, but neither will start the Bundesliga encounter this weekend.

Joshua Kimmich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting remain in isolation after they contracted the virus.

Kimmich has come in for criticism for not taking the vaccine, but Nagelsmann has sympathy for the Germany midfielder.

Nagelsmann said in a press conference on Friday: "I have a lot of contact with him. He is extremely ambitious. It is a burden for him that he cannot play."

The Bayern boss revealed Sabitzer will be out for "a few weeks" due to a calf injury, while Tanguy Nianzou misses Bielefeld's visit to the Allianz Arena due to a torn ligament in his shoulder.

Leaders Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Augsburg last Friday before beating Dinamo Kiev by the same scoreline in the Champions League.

Bielefeld are second-bottom of the table with only one win this season, but Nagelsmann says they must not be taken lightly. 

"Bielefeld have shown a clear improvement to last year. Masaya Okugawa is playing very well, has a lot of confidence on the ball and is versatile. They have a strong shape and always look to play deep.

"I know their coach [Frank Kramer]. Arminia have grown in terms of their physicality and the way in which they play. There are some parallels that can be drawn with Augsburg. It's a very important game for us."

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Seven-time German champions Schalke have been relegated from the Bundesliga for just the fourth time in their history, as coach Dimitrios Grammozis lamented "a very bitter hour."

While football across the continent has been rocked by a tumultuous 48 hours centred on the seemingly doomed European Super League, one of Germany's most traditional clubs were condemned to the second tier on Tuesday with a 1-0 defeat to Arminia Bielefeld.

Fabian Klos scored and missed a penalty as Schalke's relegation was confirmed with four games to spare. They have won just two games this season, collecting only 13 points.

"It's a very bitter hour for all Schalke players – for all fans and for all employees who give everything for the club every day," head coach Grammozis told the club's official website.

"That's why we're brutally disappointed that there is now the certainty that we have to make it to the second division. 

"This was not sealed today, but by the sum of all games this season. For us, the remaining games are about saying goodbye in a sensible way. 

"We're not going to give up a game, we will prepare ourselves as well as possible for these tasks and once again give everything to represent the club worthily in these final games."

Bielefeld boss Frank Kramer – whose team moved four points clear of the relegation play-off place with their win – offered his sympathy to Schalke's fanbase.

"The heart of every football fan bleeds when such a large traditional club with as many members as Schalke is relegated," he said.

"The fact that such a club has to compete in the second division makes every football fan's eyes watery."

Borussia Dortmund interim head coach Edin Terzic lauded Jadon Sancho after he became the youngest Bundesliga player to reach 50 assists.

Sancho recorded his 50th assist in his 99th Bundesliga appearance as Dortmund defeated Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 on Saturday.

The 20-year-old England international, who continues to be linked with Premier League giants Manchester United, teed up Mahmoud Dahoud for the 48th-minute opener before converting a penalty 10 minutes later.

Reacting to the achievement, Sancho wrote via Twitter: "Solid win, goal and assist. Happy to be the youngest Bundesliga player to reach 50 assists."

After the match, Terzic told reporters: "I'm very happy how Jadon presents himself lately. He shows it as well with scorer-points.

"He scores again and gets assists in the recent weeks.  I talked about it a lot previously. It's not like he forgot how to play football. He's a young lad. We were very spoiled with how much he has done for the club in recent history.

"We tried to get him back into his form. There were two ways of doing that. First, via the way how we dealt with him personally, talking about a lot of things and having a lot of discussions in general. We also did individual analysis' of him. 

"Secondly we tried to help him as a team as well. We put him on the other side. He now comes a lot more from the left side instead. He does a lot of combinations here and there. Primarily today, with Giovanni Reyna, Jude Bellingham and Raphael Guerreiro.

"He has a lot of pace again. That's something that we missed in the past. Now he rewards himself again. We were able to create an atmosphere in training with him and everyone else where we can try and ask for a lot of aggression every day.

"He currently lives it and he rewards himself with his contributions and wins."

Dortmund, who have won back-to-back Bundesliga games, are fifth in the standings – three points adrift of the top four and 13 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Hansi Flick admits he was satisfield to settle for a share of the points after the 'madness' of Bayern Munich’s 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in a snow-covered Allianz Arena.

Four days after the German champions lifted the Club World Cup in Qatar, Bayern found themselves in the midst of a snowstorm and 2-0 down at half-time against the Bundesliga strugglers after goals from Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper.

Robert Lewandowski hit back three minutes after the restart with his 25th league goal of the season but, within a minute, Christian Gebauer restored the away side’s two-goal advantage in a chaotic start to the second half.

Bayern coach Flick was left breathing a sigh of relief after strikes from Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies saved the leaders’ blushes and kept the Bavarians five points clear of title rivals RB Leipzig.

"A lot came together in the first half and we didn't defend well," Flick told broadcaster DAZN.

"In the second half the team again showed a mentality, that was madness. 

"Today you just have to say that we have to be satisfied with the 3-3."

He added: "We always had the feeling that we could still turn the game around. 

"We could have reacted differently after [going 2-0 down], but our team is not like that."

Bayern Munich battled back to claim a 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in a storm-laden Bundesliga thriller. 

Greeted by heavy snow on their return from Club World Cup glory, Bayern were caught cold by their relegation-threatened opponents as debutant Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper stunningly gave Arminia a 2-0 half-time lead. 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 25th Bundesliga goal of the season in sumptuous fashion three minutes into the second period, although substitute Christian Gebauer swiftly replied for Uwe Neuhaus' men. 

Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies continued the flow of easy-on-the-eye goals, but Bayern could not find a winner. 

Manuel Prietl reacted quickest when Cedric Brunner's ninth-minute long throw was partially cleared and Vlap - a loan signing from Anderlecht - controlled his drilled pass superbly before emphatically smashing beyond Manuel Neuer. 

Bayern had the chance to regroup shortly afterwards as snow was swept off the pitch lines and the officials reverted to orange match balls. 

Tolisso almost capitalised when Leroy Sane swung a cross through the blizzard to cause confusion in the Arminia box. 

But Bayern were left with a snow-covered mountain to climb when Pieper was left unchallenged to head home Vlap's left-wing corner for his first ever Bundesliga goal. 

The groundstaff hurried along a half-time thaw, allowing Bayern to make their class tell early in the second half. 

Stefan Ortega Moreno got down sharply to thwart Sane before Lewandowski's exquisite chest control and volleyed finish from David Alaba's chip left the goalkeeper with no chance. 

Remarkably, Arminia restored their two-goal advantage within a minute - Andreas Voglsammer tearing past Bouna Sarr to deliver a pinpoint low cross that gave Gebauer - another man opening his account for the club - a simple finish. 

Sane and Tolisso combined again for the latter to head home before the hour, while Kingsley Coman was providing a similar threat from the other wing as he had a venomous drive tipped over. 

In the 70th minute Sane got to the byline and his right-footed cross was cleared only as far as Davies, who fizzed a magnificent half-volley into the bottom left corner.

Back came Bielefeld and a marginal offside against Fabian Klos denied Sergio Cordova a fourth, before they held out for the point their endeavours deserved.

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