David Raum has confidently described his move to RB Leipzig as "the most important transfer" in the Bundesliga ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The wing-back has gone from strength to strength in recent seasons, leading the 2. Bundesliga with 15 assists in Greuther Furth's 2020-21 promotion campaign before adding another 11 in the top flight last term after joining Hoffenheim.

Raum led all Bundesliga defenders in assists, as well as chances created (83) and expected assists (13.9), earning another transfer – this time to Leipzig.

And the Germany defender believes his arrival significantly boosts his new side in their bid to hunt down champions Bayern Munich.

"With the new additions that Bayern has brought in, they are probably clear favourites for the championship," he told a news conference.

"But I think we have a team that can also win titles. I want to strengthen this team, and then we'll see how much we can annoy Bayern. 

"Of course, the others have strengthened well. But I think the most important transfer was mine to RB Leipzig."

Raum's move comes ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, where the nine-cap Germany international is looking to secure a spot in Hansi Flick's side, and he revealed he spoke to the national team coach about his transfer.

"I was in close contact with national coach Hansi Flick, called him and took him with me on my way," he added.

"He is a coach who always wants to know what is going on in the players' minds, what the next step will be. 

"He was immediately convinced of the idea that I fit in well here and can take the next steps. I am firmly convinced that I can assert myself here and hopefully go to the World Cup."

RB Leipzig have announced the signing of David Raum from Hoffenheim on a five-year contract.

Raum was the standout attacking wing-back in the Bundesliga last season, leading all defenders in chances created (83), assists (11) and expected assists (13.9).

The Germany left-back also scored three times in 32 games to attract the attention of a number of leading clubs.

It is Leipzig who have landed Raum, with the right-footed Benjamin Henrichs having played on the left in Saturday's 5-3 DFL-Supercup defeat to Bayern Munich.

Raum appears set to compete with Angelino on that flank, with Nordi Mukiele's departure for Paris Saint-Germain leaving an opening on the right.

Bayern Munich could be nearing further additions to their squad after Oliver Kahn confirmed talks with Mathys Tel, Konrad Laimer and David Raum. 

The Bundesliga champions have already signed big-name duo Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt, while the promising Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui have arrived from Ajax. 

Speaking at a news conference to present De Ligt to the media after his €80million arrival from Juventus, Kahn revealed he expects there to be further movement. 

Teenage Rennes forward Tel, experienced RB Leipzig midfielder Laimer and Germany international Raum have all been linked with a switch to the Allianz Arena. 

"We have had further discussions with these players and now we just have to wait and see," said Bayern CEO Kahn on Wednesday. 

"The transfer window is still open for a while. Sometimes things move very quickly. 

"After analysing last season, we thought we should make a few statements. We want to continue to be among the top four teams in Europe." 

Bayern have lost star striker Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona, with the Catalan giants continuing to make significant outlays in the transfer market despite questions about their finances. 

Julian Nagelsmann openly questioned the situation at Barca but Kahn was far more cautious on the subject. 

"You can't be fooled by all the transfers from Barcelona. I'm not a fan of judging things from the outside," said Kahn. 

"None of us can really judge how the situation is. I find that a bit difficult. They'll know what they're doing because they're the only ones who really know the numbers." 

Hoffenheim have parted company with coach Sebastian Hoeness by mutual consent.

The decision comes after Hoffenheim's dreadful end to the Bundesliga season, which they finished on a nine-game winless run.

Hoffenheim took just three points from the final 27 on offer, their last win coming at Cologne on March 6.

As a result of that streak, Hoffenheim missed out on a European spot, ending the campaign in ninth, six points behind Cologne in seventh – the Bundesliga's Europa Conference League qualification place.

Appointed before the 2020-21 season after leading Bayern Munich's reserves to the 3. Liga title, Hoeness guided Hoffenheim to 11th and the Europa League round of 32 in his first season in charge.

Hoffenheim had at one point been firmly in the mix for Champions League qualification this season, but their slump and failure to qualify for Europe altogether reportedly led to owner Dietmar Hopp losing patience.

Hoeness said: "In the past few weeks we have carried out an intensive analysis of our joint work and have not found any consensus on the future direction. Therefore, from my point of view, an amicable separation is logical."

After excelling in the Champions League for Benfica, Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez has attracted interest from Newcastle United.

Darwin, who turns 23 in June, has scored 24 goals in 24 Primeira Liga games, as well as six goals in 10 Champions League appearances. No Benfica player has ever scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign.

While some of the world's biggest clubs – including Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United – are hoping to sign the breakout star, they will have to contend with an aggressive offer to bring him to St James' Park.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE MAKE £50M BID FOR DARWIN

Newcastle have been linked with all kinds of big-name signings for the upcoming transfer window, but Footmercato is reporting that they have made a £50million bid for Darwin in an effort to fend off the challenge of rival clubs.

At such a young age, he could be the kind of marquee signing the new Newcastle board can build their future side around as they also chase more experienced players, such as Christian Eriksen from Brentford on a free transfer.

The Footmercato report also mentions that if Darwin is to leave, Benfica plan to replace him with Petar Musa, who is on loan at Boavista from Slavia Prague.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min is reporting Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri is very interested in reuniting with Jorginho, as he is unlikely to be offered a new contract at Chelsea beyond 2023.

– Erik ten Hag would like to bring Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni to Manchester United when he takes over as manager, according to ESPN.

Arsenal, Leeds United and Newcastle are set to compete for the signature of Hoffenheim's Florian Grillitsch when his contract expires after this season, per the Daily Mail.

– The Sun is reporting Kalvin Phillips will reject Manchester United's advances and sign a new deal with Leeds.

Burnley are targeting Sam Allardyce to take over as manager after the sacking of Sean Dyche, per The Sun.

Julian Nagelsmann lamented the lack of a "lucky punch" as Bayern Munich were held 1-1 by his former club Hoffenheim.

Bayern needed an equaliser from Robert Lewandowski in first-half stoppage time to come away with a point, after Christoph Baumgartner fired the hosts ahead.

Hoffenheim are in the mix for a place in next season's Champions League, sitting fifth for now, but Bayern's only objective is sealing another title.

It would be a 10th consecutive Bundesliga triumph, and their lead at the top over second-placed Borussia Dortmund reached 10 points after Saturday's result.

Dortmund have two games in hand, however, including a tussle with Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday, and cannot yet be counted out.

Bayern finished with an expected goals tally of 3.4 in Hoffenheim, according to Opta, which is a reflection of the quality of chances they had. That was double Hoffenheim's xG score, and underlined how Bayern had abundant opportunities to take maximum reward.

Head coach Nagelsmann said the lively game had been "fun", adding: "The lucky punch didn't happen and that's why it's 1-1 at the end.

"I think we were slightly closer to the three points than our opponents, but today it's not undeserved at the end. it was an interesting game and we have to live with that. Next week we'll try to be three times as good."

Bayern thrashed Salzburg 7-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday, when their finishing was almost faultless, but it will not be like that in every game.

Asked whether his team would give him grey hairs, Nagelsmann said: "I don't get grey hairs. They don't grow in me, they just drop out. I don't have too many of them."

Bayern led the shot count 18-9, but some wayward finishing and outstanding goalkeeping from Oliver Baumann, who made six saves, meant a second goal was beyond them.

"I think without criticising too much, the pitch was very, very dry," Nagelsmann said. "The ball bounced weirdly because the pitch was so dry.

"You have to hit the ball a bit lower than usual and that's why Oliver Baumann was able to hold onto the balls well, but contact on the pitch was a little bit rough.

"If any hairs fell out, I'll have a look tomorrow."

Thomas Muller had three goals disallowed as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim.

Robert Lewandowski headed Bayern level in first-half stoppage time after the hosts snatched a shock lead through Christoph Baumgartner.

The second half was dominated by Bayern, but their finishing was often wasteful, and there was almost a shock for Julian Nagelsmann's team late on.

Andrej Kramaric had a glorious chance for Hoffenheim as the teams tired, but he could not find a way past Manuel Neuer.

Neuer had earlier made a terrific save from Kramaric in the fifth minute after Hoffenheim sliced through a sleepy Bayern defence, before the visitors went close when Muller's prodded effort was pushed aside by Oliver Baumann.

Muller thought he had headed Bayern in front just before the half-hour mark, but Serge Gnabry had strayed offside before teeing up his senior team-mate. Muller had a second strike disallowed for another offside soon afterwards.

Hoffenheim snatched the lead in the 32nd minute when Baumgartner volleyed David Raum's cross from the left past Neuer from close range, but Lewandowski's thumping header from Kimmich's right-wing corner brought Bayern back to level terms.

Muller completed a hat-trick of disallowed goals early in the second half, after another offside, as Bayern pushed hard to get ahead.

Serge Gnabry smashed a shot against the left post after dashing clear of the dawdling home defence and shooting across Baumann, while Jamal Musiala failed to convert from a tight angle after going wide of the goalkeeper. Muller then saw a shot squirm through Baumann's grasp, kept out almost on the line by the elbow of sliding defender Stefan Posch, with nothing given.

Hoffenheim had one last great chance to snatch all three points when Neuer saved superbly from Kramaric's 12-yard strike, after Jacob Bruun Larsen got free down the right and played a smart cutback.

Julian Nagelsmann acknowledged the differing challenges between his current Bayern Munich role and former club Hoffenheim ahead of his return on Saturday.

Nagelsmann became the youngest Bundesliga head coach in history when he took charge of Hoffenheim in February 2016, before guiding them to their first-ever Champions League qualification the next season.

The 34-year-old managed 116 top-flight games at the Hoffenheim helm, more than any other coach in the club's history, before his departure to RB Leipzig in 2019.

He averaged 1.65 points per game in the league during his tenure - the best points average of any Hoffenheim boss in Bundesliga history - with his successor, and current head coach, Sebastian Hoeness ranking second (1.46).

Hoeness' side sit fourth in the league this term and are looking to equal a club record with a fifth straight top-flight victory, while they are also on the current longest winning run in the Bundesliga (four).

Hoffenheim have also collected three wins in their last five league home games against Bayern - in the first eight, they had remained winless (D3 L5) - but despite the challenge Nagelsmann is looking forward to his return.

"Of course, when you grow up in a club and take your first steps, you have formative moments there," he told reporters on Friday when asked about his memories of Hoffenheim. 

"As a Bayern coach, you're more a manager than a coach. Maybe that's not the case in Hoffenheim because you have to train the players a bit more there.

"You don't have a ready-made team there, you have to develop them. Of course, I miss [Hoffenheim director of football] Alexander Rosen too, we have a very good relationship.

"The Heidelberg area is the only region I can imagine living in long term - next to Munich.

"Hopefully the whistling [at the PreZero Arena] is over, that would certainly have been louder a few weeks after my departure. I'm looking forward to it, also because fans are here for the first time."

 

Nagelsmann, whose side sit nine points clear at the Bundesliga summit, also detailed his relationship with his successor Hoeness as he heaped praise on Hoffenheim's recent form.

"They have won their last four matches and are strong in a number of different rankings as well," he added. "They tried to play a lot of balls behind our backline earlier this season, so we will need to be prepared for that.

"[Hoeness] is doing very, very well. He's both a good coach and a good guy. We talk on the phone from time to time.

"He's one of those colleagues with whom you can exchange ideas and not shy away from exchanging ideas about content. I'm really happy for him about the current situation."

Manuel Neuer returned in midweek for the 7-1 crushing of Salzburg in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash, but Nagelsmann remains without the injured Corentin Tolisso, Leon Goretzka and Alphonso Davies for the next league fixture.

However, he will be able to call upon Jamal Musiala once more in the middle and the Bayern boss has been impressed with the youngster's development.

"He's developing very well and becoming more consistent and reliable," Nagelsmann said of Musiala. 

"We know that he's a very talented attacker. He's extremely important to us, and we are glad to have him here."

Real Madrid saw Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos leave in the off-season.

The Spanish champions have fared well without them, leading LaLiga comfortably.

But Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti wants to add to their backline.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID CONSIDER GOMEZ MOVE

Madrid are lining up a potential move for Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, according to the Daily Mail.

Madrid will monitor the England international defender who has recently returned to fitness ahead of an off-season move.

Los Blancos' priority after 2021-22 is their attack and landing Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, but they do want to bolster their defensive options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are genuine contenders to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland according to Sky Germany. Madrid, Manchester CityManchester United and PSG have been heavily linked with the Norwegian, but the Reds are in the race.

- Mundo Deportivo claims that Manchester UnitedBarcelona and Madrid are all keeping tabs on Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman.

- United forward Anthony Martial wants to join Sevilla on loan in January and will hold talks with the club, claims Sky Sports.

- Hoffenheim midfielder Florian Grillitsch is drawing interest from both Tottenham and Roma who will jostle for his services, reports Sky Germany.

- Everton will look to sign Rangers right-back Nathan Patterson again but will need to pay £10m, reports the Daily Mail.

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has explained his reasoning for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Bayern swept Hoffenheim aside 4-0 at home, with Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman scoring the goals.

It was the second match in succession that fully vaccinated head coach Julian Nagelsmann missed due to testing positive for the coronavirus, with the 34-year-old also not present for the 4-0 victory over Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Kimmich explained that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

"I just want to wait for myself when it comes to long-term studies [about the vaccine]," Kimmich told Sky Deutschland after the game. "Nevertheless, I am aware of my responsibility.

"Of course, I adhere to the hygiene measures. It is also the case that we unvaccinated players at the club are tested every two or three days.

"Nevertheless, it is not now that I am in any way a corona denier or vaccination opponent. I don't say categorically that I won't be vaccinated at all. It's just about the fact that I still have a few concerns. That is why it is very possible that I will be vaccinated in the future."

The Germany international was asked about the initiative 'WeKickCorona' started last year by himself and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka, and Kimmich explained that his aim was to help those affected by COVID-19.

"'WeKickCorona' was about supporting charitable institutions and non-profit purposes that support people who are in need due to corona," Kimmich said. 

"We have also donated money to Unicef, which then makes vaccines available. The point is that there are countries that do not have access to the vaccine. 

"I think everyone should make the decision for themselves. It [should not be] possible that someone has no access."

Robert Lewandowski scored a stunning goal and Serge Gnabry also got on the scoresheet against his former club as Bayern Munich beat Hoffenheim 4-0 on Sunday.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were threatening from the off and Gnabry lashed in from an acute angle after making a good run into space in the box, but free-scoring striker Lewandowski stole the show, bending a powerful effort high into the net from long range to leave Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann with no chance.

Substitutes Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman made the scoreline comfortable late on as the visitors succumbed to Bayern's relentless pressure.

The result keeps Bayern top of the Bundesliga, one point ahead of title rivals Borussia Dortmund with nine games played.

Lewandowski and Gnabry both came close to opening the scoring inside the first eight minutes, with the former dinking just wide from seven yards and the latter finding the net but seeing it disallowed following a VAR check due to a foul from Jamal Musiala in the build-up.

Not to be denied, Gnabry rifled a low shot into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle on the right in the 16th minute after being found by Musiala and Lewandowski unleashed a ferocious strike into the top-right corner from outside the box on the half-hour mark after good work from Thomas Muller. 

Bayern had several more good chances at 2-0 up, but did not find the net again until Andrej Kramaric's poor clearance ricocheted off the back of Dayot Upamecano and into the path of substitute Choupo-Moting, who slotted home in the 82nd minute.

Fellow Bayern substitute Coman added further gloss to the scoreline five minutes later, racing onto a long ball in behind and lashing emphatically past Baumann to make it 4-0.

Julian Nagelsmann has set up a kitchen control room to guide Bayern Munich while he remains away from the team after a COVID-19 positive test.

Assistant head coach Dino Toppmoller will lead from the touchline when Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, having also stood in for the 4-0 win at Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Despite being fully vaccinated, Nagelsmann learned that the flu-like symptoms he was experiencing in Portugal were caused by coronavirus.

He said he feels "a bit weak" and is wary of getting in the way of the work being carried out by Toppmoller and fellow assistant Xaver Zembrod.

"Still, I am trying to take control if possible," said head coach Nagelsmann.

"In isolation, I have built myself a little analysis centre with a big screen, iPad and laptop. I have different technical abilities now, also when it comes to the scouting feed for the game.

"It looks like a big data centre, right in my kitchen so that I have a short way to the tea kettle. I am positive that we will have a good impact. For training rhythm, this is not so bad because we don't really have training right now."

With such a heavy game schedule, Bayern's players are only ticking over between matches, rather than going through major sessions on the training pitch.

Nagelsmann is optimistic of being back at his Bayern desk in a matter of days, and says his positive test came as a jolt, insisting he had been trying to stay out of danger.

"I think we are all being cautious basically. This is hard, you cannot always say 100 per cent where you get the infection from," Nagelsmann said.

"I haven't done anything illegal or been at this party in Berlin where you had 22 people positive. I wasn't there, as an example. Basically, you never know. I was also a bit shocked.

"I just thought that I had a flu like many people at that time. For vaccinated people like me, things get less restricted and then you can also get infected easier.

"Of course, I went to a restaurant last week but I don't know... I couldn't find out where I got it from. I don't think you can, this is really hard. The virus you have in your body doesn't come with a number that makes it trackable. That's just how it is."

Bayern head into the weekend with a one-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Nagelsmann is in his first season with the club, having left RB Leipzig at the end of last season to take over from Hansi Flick, who left Bayern to become head coach of Germany.

Before Leipzig, Nagelsmann cut his teeth with Hoffenheim, so he misses out on a reunion on Saturday.

Between 2016 and 2019, Nagelsmann managed Hoffenheim in 116 Bundesliga games, achieving a points-per-game average of 1.65, comfortably the best record of any coach of the club to have taken charge of at least five top-flight games.

On Saturday, Bayern will be looking to avoid a second successive home defeat in the Bundesliga, having been beaten 2-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt in their previous game at the Allianz Arena. The last time they lost consecutive league home games was in 2001 under Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nagelsmann was absent due to 'flu-like symptoms' as Bayern beat Benfica 4-0 in Portugal on Wednesday, maintaining their flawless Champions League group-stage record so far this season, with assistant manager Dino Toppmoller standing in.

The Bavarian giants have won each of their first three games in the competition, scoring 12 times and not conceding a single goal to sit five points clear at the top of Group E.

The club confirmed on Thursday morning that the 34-year-old, despite being fully vaccinated, had tested positive for the virus and will return to Munich separately instead of with the rest of the squad before isolating at his home.

As a result, Nagelsmann will miss Bayern's next league game at home against Hoffenheim on October 23, with Toppmoller set to continue filling in.

Bayern are one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Manchester United are in the market for a midfielder. 

With a long-rumoured target looking unlikely, United are shifting their gaze from one England midfielder to another. 

Could they prise another up-and-coming star from Leeds United? 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SHIFT SIGHTS TO PHILLIPS

Kalvin Phillips is Manchester United's latest target in an effort to shore up the midfield, the Daily Star reports. 

The Leeds star has gained favour at Old Trafford as United have given up hopes of adding West Ham's Declan Rice thanks to his reported £90million price tag.

Phillips, 25, is under contract at Elland Road through 2024 and reportedly is valued at £60m. 

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are still in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt and are prepared to offer Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Memphis Depay to Juventus in a deal for the Netherlands defender, who is valued at €75m, according to Calciomercato.

– Franck Kessie has turned down Milan's latest contract offer and is eyeing a move to the Premier League, 90min reports, with United and Liverpool said to be interested. 

– Juan Mata is considering a move away from Old Trafford in January due to a lack of playing time this season, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

– Everton are considering loan deals with Real Madrid for Isco and Luka Jovic, claims Defensa Central.

– West Brom teen Reyes Cleary is drawing attention from Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim, says the Daily Mail. 

– Steven Nzonzi is nearing a move from Roma to Al Rayyan, Calciomercato reports. 

Chris Richards has signed a new contract with Bayern Munich to keep him at the club until 2025 before returning on loan to Hoffenheim.

The 21-year-old joined from FC Dallas in 2019, initially signing a contract until June 2023, and has penned a further two-year extension with the Bundesliga champions.

Richards spent the majority of last season on loan at Hoffenheim, starting 11 top-flight fixtures before a thigh injury cut his season short in May.

The United States international impressed as a ball-playing defender, ranking third among Hoffenheim defenders for recoveries per 90 minutes (6.37) and second for successful passes (55.98).

On confirming Richards' new deal, Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said on Tuesday: "We are very pleased with the development Chris Richards has taken with us, which is why we have also extended his contract.

"Chris is a young player who will now gain more Bundesliga experience in Hoffenheim, and that's exactly what he needs."

The loanee could feature as soon as September 11 for Hoffenheim after the international break as they host Mainz.

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