Thomas Muller will not feature when Bayern Munich meet Borussia Dortmund on Saturday after continuing to suffer from COVID-19 symptoms, Julian Nagelsmann has revealed.

Joshua Kimmich, however, is in contention to return after recovering from the virus, as Bayern bid for a ninth consecutive win over their rivals.

Muller and Kimmich missed Tuesday's 5-0 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen after testing positive for the virus last week, but both players have now returned negative tests.

However, Nagelsmann revealed on Friday that Muller was still experiencing symptoms and would miss the trip to BVB, although he was more positive regarding Kimmich's chances.

"Though they have both tested negative, Thomas Muller still has some cold symptoms, so he won't be in the squad," Nagelsmann said.

"Joshua Kimmich, everything looks good. He has no symptoms, he was asymptomatic the whole time. 

"He'll travel with the squad and then we'll see how far off he is after five days on the sidelines, whether he can feature in the starting lineup.

"It's a special game and that might mean there are special circumstances, but we'll see how training goes and how he feels.

"At the end of the day, both are now free from the constraints, which is good news."

With surprise packages Union Berlin and Freiburg setting the pace at the Bundesliga summit, Saturday's game will represent the first time in 13 years that neither Bayern or Dortmund has topped the league table ahead of a head-to-head meeting.

Though Dortmund's eight-match losing streak against Bayern is their joint- longest against any opponent in their history, Nagelsmann is wary of the threat posed by Edin Terzic's men. 

"They have made some good signings and have put together a strong team," he added. "Overall, I think they are having a solid season.

"They are a tough opponent and it will definitely be a good game. They're going to be a top opponent and it will be a really good game.

"We want to win more than anything. Dortmund like to defend deep and remain compact while waiting for opportunities to counter. They always have a clear shape when they counter.

"There's not really any sense of extra anticipation or tension, the preparations are the same. We don't want to let the tension come in too early, because if it comes too early, it can be hard to carry through."

Saturday's match will also see two of Europe's most highly rated prospects go head-to-head, as Bayern and Germany creator Jamal Musiala faces in-form England midfielder Jude Bellingham.

Nagelsmann praised both players as he hailed Musiala's development before adding: "Bellingham is having a very good season, he's very active, a different player to Jamal.

"He's more of a box-to-box player. With Jamal, it's all about the danger he can pose in front of goal, the passes he can play, and we're very happy that we have him.

"He has developed really well. He also developed well last season but didn't really hit that top level. Now, we're starting to see him do that.

"They both also have good standings in their national teams as well, so I think we can all enjoy the fact they are in the Bundesliga." 

Lautaro Martinez's agent Alejandro Camano is not surprised by reports linking the Inter forward with Bayern Munich, insisting the Argentine is one of the world's top 10 players.

Martinez scored 21 goals in 35 league outings as Inter finished as Serie A runners-up last season, and has begun the new campaign with three strikes in eight top-flight appearances.

With Bayern struggling in the Bundesliga after opting against signing a direct replacement for Robert Lewandowski in the recent transfer window, the Bavarian giants have been touted as potential suitors for Martinez.

Camano told TyC Sports such interest does not come as a surprise and revealed the 25-year-old rejected transfer offers in the latest window in order to focus on Inter.

"I wouldn't be surprised because there are always requests, but Lautaro has very clear ideas," he said about the Bayern reports.

"Today he thinks about Inter and the World Cup.

"In the last market there were possibilities to leave for impressive figures, but he has understood that it was better not to change.

"Lautaro is among the top 10 players in the world, and although I have many calls, he has two priorities by the end of the year: Inter and the national team. 

"He is mature, with a nice family to accompany him, with an atmosphere of tranquillity, which is always important. He feels loved by Italians and Argentines.

"He started the year with a beautiful project, with an Inter that was built in a powerful way. The truth is that winning the World Cup would be the icing on the cake for him."

Alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, Martinez has impressed in a fluid Argentina attack recently, with Lionel Scaloni leading his side to a 35-match unbeaten run.

Argentina are just two games short of matching Italy's record 37-match unbeaten run in international football, and Camano believes they will be serious contenders at the World Cup.

"Not only are Argentina a candidate, but those of us who know Lionel Scaloni know that he has the same leadership mentality he had when he played," he added. 

"Lautaro's hope is the same as the others - they want to make people happy.

"Winning a World Cup is not easy, but the team is ready to reach this goal."

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn labelled Jude Bellingham "an excellent player" as he addressed speculation over a potential move for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

The England international has been tipped as the next of the Black and Yellow's young superstar breed to depart, following Erling Haaland's exit to Manchester City ahead of the current campaign.

A return to his native country and the Premier League has been heavily mooted, though Dortmund – who handed Bellingham the captaincy for their 3-2 loss to Koln over the weekend –hope he will yet remain.

But despite their admiration for the player, the 19-year-old will not be moving to the Bundesliga champions, with Kahn insisting they are already well-stocked for his position.

"Of course, I think Bellingham is an excellent player," Kahn told Sport Bild when asked if there would be any interest in a swoop for the teenager.

"But we've got Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Ryan Gravenberch, Marcel Sabitzer. I can say we're well-equipped in that position. We're not worried about that at all."

Bellingham is anticipated to be a starting member of Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, having been a member of their Euro 2020 party which finished as runners-up.

News that City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, a mainstay of the England midfielder, will undergo shoulder surgery has cast doubt on his place, with Bellingham having deputised during the September international break.

Julian Nagelsmann feels Bayern Munich's resounding 5-0 win over Viktoria Plzen was "another step in the right direction" for his side ahead of facing Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern followed up Friday's 4-0 Bundesliga thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen with an even more emphatic victory in Tuesday's Champions League tie with Czech champions Plzen.

It marks the first time the Bavarians have won back-to-back matches in all competitions since August, having gone four league games without a win prior to the international break.

Nagelsmann is pleased with what he saw from his side against Plzen, with Bayern returning to form at just the right time ahead of Saturday's Klassiker showdown with fierce rivals Dortmund.

"The boys did well today," Nagelsmann told DAZN. "That's how you have to approach a game. We decided it quickly then controlled it. 

"With a view to Saturday, that was important, serious and well deserved. It was another game that shows we are taking steps in the right direction."

 

The hosts were three goals up inside 21 minutes, with Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane netting after Leroy Sane had opened the scoring at the Allianz Arena.

Sane doubled his tally early in the second half before substitute Eric Choupo-Moting rounded off the scoring for the leaders in a one-sided Group C contest.

It is the 26th time Bayern have scored five or more goals in a Champions League match, which is five more than next-best Barcelona.

Mane wasted some promising chances to add to the scoring, netting from just one of his six attempts, but the forward was happy with his side's performance.

"The team played a great game, with a lot of chances created," he said. "We deserved to win. 

"The past few weeks have been tough. It was important we reacted. We reacted well after the international break. Hopefully we can continue like this until the end of the season.

"We have nine points from three Champions League games and a good goal difference. We are in a good place. 

"We were disciplined today. We were well prepared for the opponent and that's where most of the goals came from."

Bayern have now gone 31 games without defeat in the group stage of the Champions League, overtaking the record of 30 set by Real Madrid in 2017.

"We rightly received criticism during the international break," said Leon Goretzka, who set up two of the goals against Plzen.

"We used the time well and focused on our game again. Our aim is to perform on a regular basis. We're still extremely upset about the games before that."

Julian Nagelsmann may shuffle his pack for Bayern Munich's Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday, with the depleted Bavarians set to host Borussia Dortmund four days later.

Bayern have started their Champions League campaign with back-to-back wins over Inter and Barcelona, and lead the duo by three points at the top of Group C.

Should they record another European win at the Allianz Arena next time out, Bayern will have won their first three Champions League matches for a fourth season in succession.

On the domestic stage, however, Bayern trail surprise pace-setters Union Berlin and Freiburg after an inconsistent run of results, and host rivals Dortmund on Saturday.

With Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich set to miss the Plzen match after contracting COVID-19, Nagelsmann is aware of the need to manage his squad.

"We need to rotate because of Joshua and Thomas, so there are different ways, there are so many options," Nagelsmann said at his pre-match press conference.

"You'll see tomorrow which I decide. We're still in a situation where we need to grab points. 

"It's important for the Champions League to win the game against Plzen, and also to keep the rhythm for the game against Dortmund, where there might be more pressure than in the Champions League.

"Plzen like to play defensively and counter-attack, and that could be a challenge. We'll try to get into our optimum phase considering what is still ahead."

Bayern have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 recently, with Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka withdrawing from the Germany squad after contracting the virus last month.

Nagelsmann offered a positive update on the conditions of Muller and Kimmich, and hopes to have them back after Tuesday's match, adding: "Thomas and Joshua don't have any symptoms, they're doing well. Of course, they would love to play, but nothing has changed.

"We can do the tests on Friday and if those go well, they are candidates against Dortmund. It depends on the tests we will do.

"In general, the incidence is high in Munich so it's a factor that concerns us. We've talked with the players. 

"They've had the suggestion that they're not going to go to the Oktoberfest since the officials took part, so no partying there!

"Outside of the pitch, professional players are normal people. Everybody's looking after themselves."

Nagelsmann also revealed Kingsley Coman will not feature against Plzen despite recovering from a muscle injury, but said Serge Gnabry had his full support if selected to start out wide.

"First of all, with Kingsley, he is doing well," Nagelsmann said. "He practiced well, he was great, but he's not going to be a part of tomorrow's game.

"We'll try to heighten that [his condition] in the next couple of days and then he's an option against Dortmund, but he's not going to start, that's for sure.

"He is doing well. I have good expectations that he can fill a position in the squad against Dortmund, it would be great to have him, and not so great for the opponent.

"I haven't decided 100 per cent, but Serge is certainly a candidate there. We have to see also what we will do against Dortmund, and what happens with Thomas.

"I've known Serge for ages and I think a lot of him. He doesn't worry too much on the field and plays freely. We have a good connection with each other."

Bayern Munich pair Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich have gone into isolation after testing positive to COVID-19.

The German champions announced the news on Saturday, with Muller and Kimmich having both been in the starting XI for Friday's 4-0 Bundesliga win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern said the pair had tested positive on Saturday, were asymptomatic, doing well and isolating at their respective homes.

The Bundesliga outfit are due to face Czech club Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League at Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

The positive tests come after Bayern pair Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka were withdrawn from Germany camp last week after their own infections.

Kimmich has started every game in all competitions this season for Bayern, netting two goals and providing four assists.

Muller has started all bar one of Bayern's games in all competitions, scoring twice and providing four assists.

Bayern Munich proved they can handle the persistent pressure they face, Jamal Musiala said after a 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen that boss Julian Nagelsmann described as "satisfying".

The Bundesliga champions snapped a four-match top-flight winless streak with a rampant showcase at Allianz Arena.

Germany international Musiala got on the scoresheet, alongside Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane and Thomas Muller, as the hosts inflicted further misery upon their visitors, led by Gerardo Seoane.

Musiala acknowledged there is seldom an unburdened moment at Bayern, and that it is their resolve when under the microscope that helps them succeed.

"The pressure was on us all," he told DAZN. "We are focused on ourselves. We all want to win and be number one, and we showed that today. The pressure is always there at Bayern. We need to deal with it."

Nagelsmann meanwhile alluded to reports of dressing room unrest in his post-game comments.

"I've always said you can tell, when players leave the dressing room, if they respect the manager," he added.

"You can see in each game that the players are fully into it. That was very satisfying today."

Opposite number Seoane meanwhile was left to question how his Champions League side continue to slip towards the bottom of the Bundesliga table, with a leaky defence causing no shortage of problems.

"It is a question of will," he mused. "We didn't have the necessary aggression. It is a mental process."

A brusquely assured first-half demolition job from Bayern Munich reaffirmed their Bundesliga title defence credentials in a 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Goals from Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Sadio Mane all before the interval put the champions firmly in the driving seat for a deserved victory at Allianz Arena on Friday, before Thomas Muller added a fourth close to the end.

After a dismal domestic run saw them go four league games without a win, questions had been asked about Julian Nagelsmann's side and their purported chances of claiming another top-flight crown.

But for now, they have been emphatically silenced, while Gerardo Seoane's side saw their horror-show start to the campaign worsened in painful fashion on the road.

It took Sane just three minutes to split open the visitors, fed off the right wing and able to roll a deflected strike beyond the wrong-footed Lukas Hradecky.

Musiala followed suit just after the quarter-hour mark, playing a one-two with Muller off a long ball before squeezing a shot in, and Sane added a third from the edge of the box six minutes from the break.

Mane saw a second overturned 10 minutes after the interval when VAR deemed Odilon Kossounou to have been fouled, but that call was likely scant consolation for Leverkusen.

Yet Bayern were not done, and when Muller pressed Hradecky late on, a tragicomic slip from the goalkeeper left an open net for the veteran to turn home and round off a comprehensive win.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has backed Sadio Mane to shine, expressing his empathy after his recent struggles with the Bundesliga champions.

The Senegal international arrived from Liverpool for a reported €32million fee and initially started strong in his new surroundings, scoring three goals in his opening three Bundesliga appearances.

However, a dip in goalscoring form for Mane has seen the forward fail to score in his last four league matches and has coincided with poor results for Bayern, who are without a win in those games.

Indeed, Mane's only goal in his last seven Bayern appearances came in a routine 5-0 win against Viktoria Koln in the DBF-Pokal at the end of August.

Salihamidzic is not concerned, however, identifying the struggles he himself went through after leaving Bayern for Juventus and backing Mane to excel this season.

"Sadio still needs a bit of time. He has to get used to the Bundesliga, but he will. I know how it is to join a new team, in another city, another country with another football culture," he told BILD.

"I joined Juventus at 30 years old. I had won the Champions League, Bundesliga and Pokal with Bayern, but even as an experienced successful player, you need a while to get used to your new environment in order to fully focus on football and perform consistently.

"Sadio is still in this process. Everything will soon be more familiar to him and we'll soon see it on the pitch.

"I speak regularly with him, but I also give him space. He has to organise himself in a way that he feels at home in Munich - he's doing that. Sadio is one of the best players in the world. He'll bring very good performances. We'll still have a lot of joy with him.

"Sadio plays for the team. His teammates can see that. They all know that Sadio is an important member of the group. They will help him because, when in top form, he helps us achieve our goals."

Bayern resume their campaign after the international break on Friday against Bayer Leverkusen, which is followed by a home match against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League and Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund.

Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka are back in training with Bayern Munich after the pair were forced to withdraw from Germany duty with COVID-19.

The duo were named in Hansi Flick's squad for the final two Nations League group games against Hungary and England, but were ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus.

However, Bayern goalkeeper Neuer and midfielder Goretzka were back on the training field on Tuesday. 

Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch, Marcel Sabitzer and Josip Stanisic have all also returned to the fold for Julian Nagelsmann's side.

In Neuer and Goretzka's absence, Germany slipped to their first defeat since Flick took charge with a 1-0 loss to Hungary, before playing out a 3-3 draw with England at Wembley on Monday.

Champions Bayern will go in pursuit of a first Bundesliga win in five games when they resume domestic action against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.

Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has opened up on how he experienced depression during the coronavirus lockdown.

The France international explained in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien that isolation became a heavy burden and he sorely missed normal social contact.

Pavard, now 26, was in his first season with Bayern when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, having joined from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart.

When players went into isolation in late March of 2020, Pavard said it became a challenge to stay positive.

He said: "It was difficult for everyone, for me too. To be alone, in a country other than mine, I was really not well. In my head, something was wrong.

"At the beginning, you tell yourself that it's nothing, that it will pass, but when you see that it persists, that you go to training and that you don't have a smile on your face, you have to react."

The Bundesliga became the first major league in Europe to resume, as it started up again in mid-May 2020, albeit behind closed doors.

Pavard sought and found support to help him through the trying times.

He said: "I am human like everyone else, and even if I have a super nice house with a weight room, I needed contact with others.

"I got up, I had no appetite. I tried to keep busy, to cook, to watch series. But Netflix is ​​fine for two minutes… I don't like the word depressive, but that was the case."

The former Lille player explained that he turned a corner and now feels "much better".

“I came out of all this as a man, it changed me," he said. "I was on my own like many football players and I had to surround myself well to raise my head. I managed to bounce back from difficult times."

Bayern Munich's honorary president Uli Hoeness has hit out at criticism of the World Cup being staged in Qatar.

Conditions for migrant workers are among the human rights issues that have been in the spotlight long before the tournament starts in November.

Hoeness is insistent that workers are "better and not worse off" with the country hosting the World Cup, however, and argues things are getting better in the nation compared to other Gulf states.

"The World Cup will lead to better working conditions for the people," he told Sport1.

"One thing is also clear, the workers in Qatar are better and not worse off through the World Cup. You should finally accept that and not constantly hit out at people on it.

"When the problem was in Afghanistan, the people were only flown out via Qatar. The World Cup, the commitment of Bayern and other sports activities in the Gulf region will lead to better working conditions for the people there.

"I have never heard criticism of Dubai, Kuwait etc. Only Qatar is being talked about. The only country where things are really getting better because this discussion is taking place is Qatar."

Bayern's own links with Qatar have been a source of frustration for many fans, leading to a hostile atmosphere in the team's AGM in November.

The Bundesliga champions signed a five-year sponsorship with Qatar Airways in 2018 and have often travelled to the nation for training during their winter break.

Julian Nagelsmann will turn around Bayern Munich's form after the international break and has the club's "full backing", sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has pledged.

A run of three draws in the Bundesliga for Bayern was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg before many of Nagelsmann's players headed off on national team duty.

Bayern sit fifth after seven rounds of games, five points adrift of early pace-setters Union Berlin, and they face Bayer Leverkusen next.

Leverkusen have made a much worse start than Bayern, with the team that finished third in the Bundesliga last season winning just once so far this term.

But almost all the focus is on Bayern, who have won the last 10 Bundesliga titles, and Salihamidzic has admitted the early form is a concern, but something that can be resolved.

Salihamidzic told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "Julian is very clear. He and his team of coaches know exactly what to do.

"Above all, Julian knows that he has the full backing of FC Bayern, that doesn't have to be emphasised again and again."

Bayern's shot conversion rate in the Bundesliga has dipped from 14.41 per cent last season to 11.8 per cent this term, and it would be easy to point to the sale of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona and suggest that has been a factor.

It might well be; however, there are signs that Bayern are doing plenty right.

 

They have already hit the woodwork seven times in seven games, three times more than any other side, which suggests they have been unfortunate. Over 34 games last season, they hit the woodwork 21 times.

Their goal tally is closely tracking their expected goals (xG) score, and both being league highs can be interpreted as another healthy sign. Bayern have netted 19 from an xG of 17.48, so they are exceeding expectations, based on the quality of chances they have had, over the course of the seven games. Last season they finished with 97 league goals from xG of 96.67.

A worrying sign is that Bayern have twice conceded a goal when an error has been committed, having done so only three times in the 2021-22 campaign.

 

Salihamidzic said Bayern chiefs had spoken to Nagelsmann about "all aspects" of the opening weeks of the season, including the encouraging Champions League group wins over Inter and Barcelona.

What is clear is that Bayern expect greater tenacity from the team after the disappointing derby effort against Augsburg.

"We will appear differently after the international break. And I expect that too," Salihamidzic said. "Physical intensity, greed and the willingness to push yourself to the limit in every game are the prerequisites for success."

Matthijs de Ligt believes he took a "step up" in his career by leaving Juventus to join Bayern Munich.

The Netherlands defender was one of football's most exciting prospects when he joined Juve from Ajax for a reported €75million, winning Serie A in his first season with the team before disappointment in the two subsequent league campaigns.

De Ligt then moved to Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season for a reported €77m and believes the switch put him on an upward trajectory.

"Bayern Munich is closer to the philosophy of what the national coach wants on the pitch. You also have to take risks in football," he told NOS.

"For me, it's a step up in terms of team. Juventus is a very good team. Only I think Bayern has everything to win the Champions League in terms of selection and ambition. I had the feeling that it was just a little less at Juve.

"I had a great time, really enjoyed it, but I felt like it was time for a new challenge."

De Ligt has had to be patient for opportunities with Bayern, initially finding it difficult to break into the starting line-up, but has no concerns as he highlighted the amount he has played in recent matches.

"I'm not worried at all. I barely played the first three games, because I came in with a training deficit. That was what they had told me the first week," he added.

"Of the last eight games, I've played six all the way. So, I'm actually satisfied with my playing time and how the first two months have gone."

Joshua Kimmich has mixed feelings about playing a World Cup in Qatar but insisted players cannot be expected to boycott the finals at this late stage.

The Germany and Bayern Munich player says the time for action was 12 years ago, when Qatar was awarded the tournament, rather than now, two months out from the opening game.

Kimmich spoke at a Germany press conference on Tuesday, ahead of Nations League games against Hungary and England, the last get-together of Hansi Flick's squad before the coach chooses his players for the World Cup.

The November and December dates for the tournament are unusual, and all part of the package that has come since Qatar was surprisingly awarded hosting rights in December 2010.

Concern about the country's human rights record has persisted and is sure to continue into the tournament itself.

Kimmich said: "As a player, you're always extremely keen on a World Cup. There's a lot of discussion about it this year, and rightly so."

He stressed issues such as climate, which has forced the tournament to be shunted to late in the year, were known about before Qatar was handed the tournament.

He added: "At the end of the day, players are always asked for a boycott. We're 12 years too late. Something like that has to be taken into account beforehand.

"It's a balancing act. On the one hand, you're looking forward to the huge event; on the other hand, there are these grievances that we address again and again."

Midfielder Kimmich will have little time to step back and look closely at the Qatar situation because the demands on players this season are extreme.

As well as domestic league and European commitments being crammed tightly together ahead of the World Cup, there is also the Nations League, where Germany have won one game and drawn three so far.

"You have in mind that this is preparation for the World Cup," Kimmich said. "But after that we have a block of club football where we need to get our points. Of course, it's all preparation for the World Cup, but as a footballer you want to be in form every three days."

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