Leon Goretzka says he is "annoyed" by reports about unrest within the Bayern Munich squad which he claims are not true.

Bayern and head coach Julian Nagelsmann have come under pressure following three straight Bundesliga draws, but they maintained their winning start in the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Barcelona on Tuesday.

There have been reports of friction within the Bayern squad towards Nagelsmann, with issues including rotation and game time.

Goretzka came off the bench at half-time and played a key role in Bayern's win over Barcelona, with both goals coming in the second half. The appearance was only the 27-year-old midfielder's fifth of the season in all competitions after missing six weeks late in pre-season following knee surgery.

Bild claimed this week that the Germany international, along with new Dutch addition Ryan Gravenberch, were unhappy with their playing time this season, with the former specifically irritated when he learned he was not starting against the Blaugrana.

The report claimed that Goretzka felt his training performances warranted a starting position but Nagelsmann preferred Marcel Sabitzer in midfield to offer defensive stability to allow Joshua Kimmich to be more offensive minded.

"I promised myself that I'd not say anything about it because my words might be interpreted in a different way," Goretzka told reporters after Tuesday's win. "I have no problem with the coach not starting me today.

"I was out for six weeks and it was clear that I wouldn't play from the start. Sabi did a great job.

"These alleged problems in the dressing room are conveyed in a way that really annoys me. We get along really well in the team."

Leroy Sane, who netted Bayern's second goal in the 54th minute, threw a bottle in frustration after being substituted off in the 80th minute.

Sane embraced Nagelsmann along with teammates on the bench before throwing the bottle and going down the tunnel.

"I wasn't angry about my substitution," Sane explained.

"The bottle had to suffer a bit because I didn't play a good game. The goal was nice, but I wasn't entirely happy with my performance today."

Julian Nagelsmann expressed his desire to see Robert Lewandowski receive a warm welcome on his Bayern Munich return, as he backed the striker to continue his fine start to life at Barcelona.

Lewandowski, who scored 238 Bundesliga goals during an eight-year spell with the Bavarian giants before heading to Camp Nou in July, has made a scintillating start to his Barcelona career. 

The Poland international has scored six goals in his first five outings in LaLiga, and turned on the style with a hat-trick in Barca's 5-1 Champions League thrashing of Viktoria Plzen last week.

Lewandowski will make a swift return to Munich with his new club for Tuesday's huge Champions League fixture, and despite the less-than-amicable nature of his departure, Nagelsmann believes he should be received warmly.

"If I see him before [the game] then I'm certainly going to give him my hand. I'm not sure if I'll see him beforehand, usually I don't," Nagelsmann said.

"I'm looking forward to our fans welcoming him back. When a player has been so strong for the team over the years, I think it's important. 

"He was an important part of the Bayern family. We had a personal exchange a couple of weeks back, not regarding football. I am looking forward to seeing him again."

Asked about Lewandowski's start to life in Spain, Nagelsmann added: "I think he can still continue to play at that level for a couple of years, I'm not sure how many goals he can score this season, I'm no genie. 

"I think it will be plenty. He has scored 40 plus usually, so I think he can do that in the Spanish league as well.

"I'm not sure if he's the most dangerous, but he's certainly one of their most dangerous players, the one that can score the most goals. They have great solutions there.

"Lewandowski always has great runs and positions inside the box. He's the most dangerous in front of goal, but if he doesn't get a lot of balls, it's difficult [for him]."

Having coached Lewandowski when he brought up a half-century of goals in all competitions last term, Nagelsmann is acutely aware of his talents, and believes Dayot Upamecano's past experiences of facing him could aid Bayern. 

"I have plenty of positions that I'm already pretty clear on," Nagelsmann added. "Upamecano has memories of playing against Lewandowski, back when he was at RB Leipzig. He knows him from our practice as well."

While Upamecano is set to start at the Allianz Arena, Leon Goretzka will not, as Nagelsmann looks to ease the midfielder in following his injury lay-off.

"The position next to Joshua [Kimmich] is going to be [Marcel] Sabitzer," Nagelsmann said. 

"I've had a chat with Leon, it was my decision to keep him on [against Stuttgart on Saturday]. We decided to keep him on for 94 minutes, that was a long time for him after the injury. He reacted well to it and is feeling good. 

"Him having to play from the start is not going to happen, we need him for the whole season and don't want to give him too many minutes at the start."

Meanwhile, Barcelona have suffered eight Champions League defeats to Bayern – twice as many as they have lost against any other opponent (4 vs Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain).

Bayern also boast a 100 per cent record against the Blaugrana in the group stages and beat them twice in the competition last term, but Nagelsmann is keen to draw a line under those past meetings.

"We know Barcelona. They have a completely new mindset. You can delete the last few games against Barca from your memory, it's a whole different team, very aggressive," he said. "It reminds us of when Xavi still used to play himself. 

"In Gavi and Pedri they have great number eights that have great pressing actions as well. There's a great development there for the team, Xavi did a few things really well in the last weeks and months.

"They want to attack in a new way, and they're going to be very difficult opponents tomorrow."

Ryan Gravenberch and Mathys Tel scored their first Bayern Munich goals as Julian Nagelsmann's side cruised past Viktoria Koln 5-0 in their DFB-Pokal first-round tie.

Signed from Ajax in June, Gravenberch opened his Bayern account 10 minutes before half-time, while 17-year-old Tel – an arrival from Rennes – added a superb second.

Sadio Mane made it 3-0 shortly after the restart with a simple tap-in, before substitute Jamal Musiala added a fourth. 

Leon Goretzka then marked his first appearance of the season with a goal eight minutes from full-time as Bayern swept aside their third-tier opponents with little fuss. 

Viktoria goalkeeper Ben Voll made a string of impressive saves in the opening half-an-hour but he was powerless to prevent Bayern from going ahead in the 35th minute.

The ball fell kindly to Gravenberch just inside the penalty area and he coolly slotted into Voll's bottom-right corner.

Bayern cemented their dominance on the stroke of half-time – Tel cutting in from the left and unleashing a fizzing strike into the far corner.

Mane extended Bayern's advantage in the 53rd minute with a close-range finish after he had been picked out by Serge Gnabry, before Voll made smart stops to deny the former Liverpool man and Musiala. 

The latter was not to be frustrated again in the 67th minute, though, as he slid home after an incisive move involving Thomas Muller. 

Goretzka, on as a substitute, then wrapped up the scoring late on with a crisp finish into the bottom-left corner after a surging run from midfield. 

Robert Lewandowski deserves to receive a positive reception when he returns to Bayern Munich as a Barcelona player, according to Julian Nagelsmann.

Lewandowski is set for a swift visit to his former club after Barca were drawn to face the Bundesliga champions in Group C of the Champions League, alongside Inter and Viktoria Plzen.

The Poland international, who scored his first competitive goals for Barca in a 4-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad last week, left Bayern in somewhat acrimonious fashion after declaring that something had "died" within him in Germany.

But Nagelsmann believes Bayern's fans will give Lewandowski a warm welcome on his Allianz Arena return, declaring: "I think there will be applause.

"I never like it when someone gets whistled. I don't know all of the processes [leading to his exit], the fan in the stadium are even further away.

"There is always a second truth, that things are exaggerated, mistranslated."

On Bayern's tough-looking European draw, Nagelsmann added: "It's a challenging group, but we can and want to come through it."

 

Before Bayern turn their attentions to the Champions League, they will look to maintain a scintillating start to the Bundesliga campaign when they host Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

With nine points and a goal difference of +14 (15 goals scored, one conceded) after three games of the new season, Bayern have made the best start in the competition's history at this stage.

And they have been handed a further boost after midfielder Leon Goretzka returned to full training for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in July, although he will not play any part in Bayern's next outing.

"[Eric Maxim] Choupo-Moting was training again but had a few problems today," the Bayern boss added at a pre-match press conference on Friday. 

"Leon was also back today and completed parts of team training. Neither of them are options to play tomorrow."

Bayern's tally of 15 goals in their first three games of the Bundesliga season is also unmatched in the competition's history, and Jamal Musiala has played a key role, matching new arrival Sadio Mane with three league goals this campaign.

Bayern and Germany great Lothar Matthaus recently declared the 19-year-old could become the best player in the world within the next few years, but Nagelsmann is keen to keep the youngster grounded.

"He doesn't have a starting eleven guarantee," Nagelsmann said of Musiala. 

"Lothar's comparison is an honour. Lionel [Messi] has played at a high level for many years and he has yet to prove that. I trust him. But he's not quite at 100 per cent yet. 

"I'll be spoiled for choice tomorrow. He has no guarantee that he will play, like everybody else."

Julian Nagelsmann has revealed Leroy Sane is unhappy with his lack of game time at Bayern Munich, but the coach sees no reason to change his team following a flying start to the Bundesliga season.

Nagelsmann's side have begun his second season at the helm in stunning fashion, beating RB Leipzig 5-3 in a thrilling DFL-Supercup before racing to a 6-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt in their Bundesliga opener last week.

Bayern were 5-0 up before half-time as they tore the Europa League winners apart last Friday, the biggest half-time lead a team have ever had in their opening Bundesliga game, while only one side have ever netted more than their six goals on matchday one – also Bayern in an 8-0 thrashing of Schalke in 2020. 

The Bundesliga champions' terrific start was made all the more impressive by the strength of their bench, with Sane and Matthijs de Ligt restricted to roles as second-half substitutes.

Sane, who went on to assist Bayern's sixth goal, has been linked with a move to Manchester United as Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane start in Nagelsmann's attack, yet the coach is not concerned.

"I don't see any reason to change anything. We're still in the kind phase of the season, so you don't have to make big changes," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Wolfsburg.

On Sane, he added: "He is not satisfied that he does not start. Others are doing better, like Jamal Musiala recently. 

"He needs to impose himself in training. He handles it well."

Mane has quickly made his mark, scoring 29 minutes into his Bundesliga debut and finishing the first weekend with the joint-most sprints (39) across the division, showing his seamless adaptation to Bayern's high-energy approach.

"He's very humble, an extreme team player who lets others shine," Nagelsmann said of the former Liverpool forward. "When dealing with him, you don't realise that he's a superstar. That makes it comfortable with him."

Meanwhile, Leon Goretzka has missed out entirely for Bayern so far this season, having undergone knee surgery ahead of a pre-season tour of the United States in July.

The Germany midfielder only made 19 Bundesliga appearances during a troubled 2021-22 campaign, but Nagelsmann revealed his recovery is progressing nicely.

"He's done some running but will need a bit longer before he can join team training," Nagelsmann said. 

"I will give him all the time he needs. The knee hasn't reacted badly at all, and the healing process is going better than we'd expected."

Leon Goretzka will miss Bayern Munich's pre-season tour of the United States after undergoing surgery on his troublesome knee injury.

The Germany international only managed 19 Bundesliga appearances in the 2021-22 season after battling an issue with his left knee.

Goretzka has subsequently gone under the knife on Monday, ruling him out of clashes with D.C. United and Manchester City before the DFL-Supercup final against RB Leipzig on July 30.

Reports suggest the 27-year-old could be out for up to two months, leaving Julian Nagelsmann short of midfield options for the early part of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season.

Goretzka would likely have partnered Joshua Kimmich in midfield, with Marcel Sabitzer or new arrival from Ajax Ryan Gravenberch among the potential replacements for the Bundesliga champions.

Bayern may look to push through on their reported interest for Leipzig's Konrad Laimer as another option in midfield, as they prepare for the campaign without Robert Lewandowski, who is set to join Barcelona.

Leon Goretzka hopes Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich can find "a fair solution" amid uncertainty over the striker's future.

The Poland captain has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona after revealing he is eager for a new challenge.

Lewandowski reported for pre-season medical tests with Bayern on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen if he will play for the Bundesliga champions again.

Bayern midfielder Goretzka wants a resolution that suits both Lewandowski and the club.

He told Sport Bild; "I can only say that I would be happy if Bayern and Robert found a fair solution for both parties.

"The last time I was asked and answered this question, it immediately made headlines."

Goretzka believes the Bavarian giants are fortunate to have such an array of attacking talent.

He added: "Bayern is a team that is usually in the opposition box. Players with qualities in tight spaces also help.

"When I see the names we have in attack, it is absolutely first class."

Leon Goretzka says Germany are not setting any firm World Cup targets after two disappointing tournaments, but hopes Die Mannschaft can "make a good impression" in their upcoming UEFA Nations League games ahead of their trip to Qatar.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has won 41 caps for his country, scoring 14 goals, but has enjoyed limited tournament success with the national team, featuring in underwhelming campaigns at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

Germany crashed out in the group stages in Russia in 2018 before being eliminated by England in the last 16 at the Euros last year, also missing out on qualifying for the Nations League semi-finals in 2020-21.

Goretzka, who missed Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph after suffering an injury in a pre-tournament friendly, recalled those negative experiences as he insisted Hansi Flick's side had yet to set any targets for their trip to Qatar.

Asked by Sky Sports Germany whether winning the tournament was a realistic aim, the 27-year-old said: "Answering the question doesn't do us much good. 

"We'll play our Nations League games first and see that we make a good impression and can go to the World Cup free. 

"I've already taken part in tournaments where we were considered one of the favourites and we failed quite a bit. Then there were tournaments where nobody expected us [to perform well] and we won. 

"Basically, we are an absolute footballing nation with great successes in the past, and accordingly we have our expectations in such a competition."

Germany have been drawn into a tricky Group E for the tournament, alongside Japan, Costa Rica or New Zealand, and Spain, having lost their last meeting with La Roja 6-0 in November 2020.

Before that, Flick's side face several tough Nations League fixtures, including a home clash with England and a double-header against European champions Italy, and Goretzka believes those contests will provide Germany with a real test after Flick won eight of his first nine games at the helm. 

"The opponents we have now are much more important," he added. "These are top games at the very highest level.

"We haven't had one under Hansi yet, so [with] many games against top opponents, which is why we made a good impression. Now we can prove that at another level, higher up."

Meanwhile, at club level, Goretzka endured an injury-hit campaign with Bayern, making just 19 league appearances as Julian Nagelsmann's men won the Bundesliga title, fewer than fellow midfielders Marcel Sabitzer (25), Joshua Kimmich (28), and Jamal Musiala (30).

Despite their domestic dominance, the midfielder said Bayern's Champions League quarter-final exit against Villarreal meant the team's season "wasn't satisfactory", and is targeting better things next term.

"We have a lot of things to improve. We played a pretty good, if not excellent, first half of the season. We were in the flow then," he added.

"You can't say that about the second half of the season. We weren't up to par in the important games - that wasn't Bayern-like. Getting kicked out in the Champions League hasn't happened to us against such an opponent in recent years. 

"That's why this season overall wasn't satisfactory, but that's what makes many in the club extremely motivated to do better next year."

Bayern Munich could pay a high price for their substitution blunder at Freiburg after briefly playing with 12 men in Saturday's Bundesliga game.

The leaders were 3-1 ahead and on the way to a 4-1 away victory when head coach Julian Nagelsmann elected to make a late double change, removing Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman and sending on Marcel Sabitzer and Niklas Sule.

However, Coman did not realise he was being replaced after his number was not raised, and he did not leave the field immediately, with referee Christian Dingert resuming the game before this was noticed.

The game continued for several seconds before being halted as all concerned attempted to make sense of the situation, and the incident may even see Bayern forfeit the win.

German football association (DFB) rules appear to suggest Freiburg could be declared 2-0 winners.

According to paragraph 17, article 4 of the rulebook: "If a player was not eligible to play or be fielded in a game, the team that culpably fielded this player lost the game 2-0 and the opponent won 2-0."

This rule is only to be deployed if the match is allowed to proceed by the referee, as it was on this occasion. A 12th player on the field would be considered ineligible to take part.

Nagelsmann said of the bizarre incident: "The wrong number was on the board, not Kingsley's 11. Mistakes happen. From the point of view of both teams, from the point of view of a fair sport, there was nothing that speaks against it being fair. You play a good game here and then everyone stands there and asks about the rules."

Freiburg coach Christian Streich, appearing alongside Nagelsmann at a post-match news conference, said rules should not be ignored.

Streich said: "I'm sure there won't be an objection, an appeal, from us, but there are rules to be followed.

"There is a rule and there's plenty of speculation, but we have a rulebook and that's what we have to abide by. Everything else, I'm not going to say anything about it, because there's nothing for me to say."

Referee Dingert, quoted by TZ, said: "It was a totally confused situation: It was a double change from Bayern Munich. An incorrect number was initially displayed, which is why the player Coman did not feel addressed with the number 11.

"That's why a 12th player was on the field for a short time, which shouldn't be. We noticed and then stopped the game.

"It's annoying for us because of course that scene is the focus now. We will note this in the game report. The game had 12 [Bayern] players for 15, 16 seconds. No goal happened. We will note that, everything else will be decided by the DFB."

Leon Goretzka, on his return from injury, scored Bayern's opening goal, with Serge Gnabry, Coman and Sabitzer also on target. Nils Petersen's reply was his 100th goal for Freiburg in all competitions.

Victory kept Bayern sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga, taking them nine points ahead of Borussia Dortmund who were not in action until later on Saturday against RB Leipzig.

Leon Goretzka returned from his long lay-off with a goal as Bayern Munich won 4-1 at Freiburg in the Bundesliga – where the leaders briefly had 12 players on the pitch.

Freiburg are in the hunt for a Champions League place and were far from pushovers, despite having won just one of 37 previous Bundesliga clashes between the teams.

Their resistance was broken when Goretzka, back from a hip injury that had kept him sidelined since December, headed a 58th-minute opener.

Freiburg's Nils Petersen scored within moments of coming off the bench to bring Freiburg level, only for Serge Gnabry to do just the same for Bayern in the 73rd minute, and Kingsley Coman drilled in the third before Marcel Sabitzer hit a fourth in stoppage time.

Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane and Goretzka threatened early on from Bayern half-chances, before Manuel Neuer comfortably saved a daisy-cutter from Roland Sallai at the other end.

It was just the sixth time this season that Bayern had failed to score in the first half of a Bundesliga game, but they had not drawn a blank over 90 minutes.

Therefore, it was hardly a surprise when Goretzka made a 58th-minute breakthrough, heading in Kimmich's free-kick after Mark Flekken made a misjudged charge off his line and failed to claim the ball.

Goretzka came off after 62 minutes, receiving a hug from Julian Nagelsmann, who also removed Robert Lewandowski. But within seconds it was a Freiburg substitute, fresh from replacing Sallai, who stunned Bayern with a fine equaliser.

Petersen made a bright run between Bayern defenders to meet Christian Gunter's clever pass and drill a left-footed strike across Neuer, finding the bottom-left corner.

Gnabry pulled off the same trick of scoring within seconds of entering the action when he restored Bayern's lead, taking advantage of charitable defending from Nico Schlotterbeck to fire left-footed into the bottom-right corner after Lucas Hernandez's cross. Coman struck when Flekken could only push his skidding 20-yard strike into the net.

Play was held up for several minutes when Bayern briefly had 12 players on the field, after an apparent substitution bungle, but the game continued when that was resolved and Sabitzer struck late on to add gloss.

Julian Nagelsmann said Bayern Munich "won't take any chances" with Robert Lewandowski's fitness when they face Freiburg on Saturday, with the striker nursing a rib injury.

The Bayern boss offered a promising update on Leon Goretzka's fitness, saying he would "love" to let the midfielder play, but could be left without Joshua Kimmich due to the imminent birth of his child.

Lewandowski netted a second-half penalty to set Poland on their way to World Cup qualification on Tuesday, opening the scoring in a 2-0 play-off win over Sweden.

The 33-year-old's last club outing saw him net twice against Union Berlin to reach 30 Bundesliga goals for a fifth time, a feat only previously achieved by the legendary Gerd Muller.

Ahead of the trip to fifth-placed Freiburg, Nagelsmann said that while Lewandowski is in the squad and in contention to feature, the club would act with caution after he picked up a rib injury. 

"We'll have to see how his rib reacts," Nagelsmann said.

"I assume he's in the squad and playing, but we won't take any chances."

If Lewandowski is deemed fit enough to feature, he could set an outright record for the most away goals scored in a single Bundesliga campaign. 

His current tally of 17 is a joint single-season record, shared with Jupp Heynckes (set in 1973-74 as a Borussia Monchengladbach player), and Timo Werner (2019-20 with RB Leipzig).

Meanwhile, Nagelsmann offered updates on the availability of two key midfielders, indicating that Goretzka is in line for his first appearance since December's 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund.

He also revealed he has set a deadline for Kimmich to join up with the team as he awaits his child's birth.

"Goretzka reacted a bit on the hip, [but] otherwise he trained exceptionally well, and I would love to let him play," Nagelsmann added.

"I discussed with him [Kimmich] that if everything stays calm, he can travel later. We have set a deadline. The most important thing is that everyone stays fit. 

"We have a good squad and we have to control the players' workloads. At the same time, we need to keep our foot on the gas."

Bayern's tally of 81 goals from their 27 Bundesliga games is the best return at this stage of a season in the competition's history. Meanwhile, the perennial champions have scored in 74 consecutive Bundesliga matches, also a German top-flight record.

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka may require surgery to rectify the troublesome knee injury that has kept him out of action for over a month, according to Die Roten coach Julian Nagelsmann.

The Germany international, who has two goals and two assists in 12 Bundesliga appearances this term, has not taken to the pitch since Bayern’s 3-2 win over rivals Borussia Dortmund on 4th December, in which he managed just over an hour after struggling with a previous knock. 

Speaking ahead of the champions' home match against Borussia Monchengladbach, revealed that a decision on whether he requires surgery is due in the next couple of days.

"It's complicated." Nagelsmann said of the situation. "He [Goretzka] had two good days of training, then we had to decrease the strain [on him]. His physical condition was a lot worse.

"We examined him again and we did an MRI scan, but we couldn't detect anything.

"So, we sent him to another specialist, who will examine him again and decide what we're going to do; whether we can keep treating it conservatively, or if we have to open it up and have a look.

"In the next two days we'll decide what we need to do."

Any long-term absence for the former Schalke midfielder, who has won three Bundesliga titles and one Champions League since arriving at the Allianz Arena in 2018, would be a severe blow to the hopes of Nagelsmann's side, whose preparations for their return to Bundesliga action have been hampered by a number of players contracting COVID-19. 

The former Hoffenheim coach did not hide his frustration at Goretzka's situation.

"What is clear is that we can't keep going this way. The situation is bad for him, and bad for the club.

"Of course, we all want him to play, and he wants to play, but that's not possible. We have to think about a couple of new paths that we could go down."

Bayern have won their past five Bundesliga matches to open up a nine-point lead at the summit, but will still be keen for the return of their midfield mainstay, who was named in the Bundesliga team of the season last campaign.

Leon Goretzka was delighted to send Bayern Munich into the international break on a high as his goal helped them to a 2-1 win over Freiburg.

The Bundesliga leaders ended Freiburg's unbeaten start to the season at the Allianz Arena, Goretzka's opener and a second-half strike from Robert Lewandowski proving enough for maximum points.

Julian Nagelsmann's team lost at home to Eintracht Frankfurt prior to the last international break.

But they were dominant this time around against Freiburg, Bayern's 29 shots their most of the season so far.

Goretzka, who also hit the post in the second half, underlined the importance of approaching the break with a positive result.

"We shouldn't forget that we played against a good team today," Goretzka said to Sky. "The most important thing was to win the game, which we did.

"It was incredibly important to score the second goal, because you can always concede at any time. Our goal was to win today as it's the last game before the international break.

"It wasn't a good feeling when we lost just before the last international break. Therefore we are very happy today."

Germany's midfield partnership of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich is "one of the best duos in the world", according to Hansi Flick.

The Bayern Munich pair have started together in each of their country's last three matches and are likely to anchor the midfield in the World Cup Qualifying Group J clash against North Macedonia on Monday.

Goretzka and Kimmich have also partnered each other in all seven of Bayern's Bundesliga outings this season, helping Julian Nagelsmann's side to the top of the table in the process.

Ahead of Germany's trip to North Macedonia, where victory could see Die Mannschaft secure their place in Qatar with two matches to spare, Flick lauded Kimmich and Goretzka, who also formed a key part of his dominant Bayern team.

"Everyone knows they get along well off the pitch," he told a news conference. "They complement each other and are top professionals. 

"We need them to dictate our game. They harmonise well in midfield and we're glad we have them. 

"It's one of the best midfield duos in the world."

Manuel Neuer could return in goal for Germany, having missed Friday’s win over Romania with an adductor injury. Flick also revealed that defender Antonio Rudiger is a doubt after missing training on Sunday.

Meanwhile, winger Serge Gnabry has defended team-mate Timo Werner, who received criticism after a subdued performance against Romania.

Although involved in an early penalty incident, the Chelsea striker was substituted in the 67th minute having amassed just 24 touches and 19 passes – the lowest tallies recorded by any of Germany's starting outfield players – while also seeing both of his shots go off target.

Nevertheless, Gnabry was full of praise Werner's work rate and determination, insisting the former RB Leipzig star was simply unfortunate.

"We know there are periods when a striker doesn't always score," Gnabry said. "Then, there's criticism, but we stand behind Timo. 

"He did a good job in the last game; he missed a little bit of luck, but he's giving everything, and that's the most important thing.

"Timo is not [Robert] Lewandowski and not a classical striker, but he also has his qualities; he's quick and can also score goals."

Bayern Munich's unbeaten start to Julian Nagelsmann's tenure came to an end on Sunday with a shock 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Bavarian giants had won nine in a row since an opening-game draw and looked set for another routine victory at Allianz Arena when Leon Goretzka deservedly put them in front.

But Martin Hinteregger equalised for Frankfurt before the interval and Kevin Trapp made a number of saves to put the visitors on course for a fifth successive 1-1 league draw.

Not content with only a point, Filip Kostic rifled in a winner seven minutes from time to inflict a first home Bundesliga loss on stunned champions Bayern since November 2019.

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