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Gnabry may head home early as injuries hit Bayern

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DOHA, Qatar — Bayern Munich has been hit with a string of injuries, including one which may force winger Serge Gnabry to head home early from the team’s training camp in Qatar, coach Hansi Flick said.

Besides Gnabry’s Achilles tendon problem, Bayern must also contend with a knee injury to winger Kingsley Coman and ongoing problems for defensive midfielder Javi Martinez and defenders Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule.

However, top-scorer Robert Lewandowski is expected to be back soon after undergoing groin surgery last month.

“The personnel situation is really poor,” Flick said at the camp in Qatar, according to a report from German news agency dpa on Wednesday.

Bayern’s first Bundesliga game after the break will be at Hertha Berlin on Jan. 19. Fullback Joshua Kimmich will miss the Hertha game with a suspension for collecting five yellow cards.

Bayern, which is in third place and chasing an eighth consecutive German title, will be back in European competition on Feb. 25 against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Report: Chelsea in pursuit of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba

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A new, natural left-back may be on his way to Stamford Bridge this winter.

Chelsea are weighing in on placing a $78-million (£60 million) bid for Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, according to a report.

Longtime left-back favorite, Marcos Alonso, has fallen in Frank Lampard‘s pecking order, making just eight Premier League appearances this season. As a result, the 41-year-old has recently instead shifted captain Cesar Azpilicueta from his natural right-back position to the left side.

20-year-old Reece James now features as the Blues’ right-back, a glaring indicator that Lampard isn’t sold on either Alonso or 25-year-old Emerson Palmieri.

Alaba, 27, has a contract with the German giants until the summer of 2021, meaning that the transfer price is not coming at a reduced price.

Debuting for Bayern’s first team in 2010, Alaba has since made 250 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 22 goals and jotting 25 assists. This season, he’s featured 17 times for the champions throughout all competitions.

At the age of 17, Alaba earned his first cap with Austria; since then, he’s registered a total of 72 caps.

The Blues are free to engage in the transfer market after their appeal on a two-window transfer ban was ratified by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in early December.

Does Boateng to Arsenal make sense?

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Arsenal have admitted they need a new center back after Calum Chamber’s ACL injury and reports suggest that Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is their top target for January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Our partners at Sky Sports in Germany claim that Boateng wants to leave in the winter window and the 31-year-old will be able to leave the Bundesliga giants for around $16.7 million.

However, there’s a caveat in this deal as Bayern are currently short of fit center backs and Lucas Hernandez is struggling with his recovery from injury, so they may not be willing to sell Boateng in January.

Would Boateng to Arsenal make sense?

His quality over the years is clear for all to see as the 2014 World Cup winner has won every major trophy possible since joining Bayern in 2011. But does new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta need another experienced center back a la David Luiz? They probably need to focus on bringing in younger players and they already have William Saliba arriving from Saint-Etienne in the summer after he was signed last summer and then loner back for 2019-20.

Boateng is a more conventional center back and pairing him with one of Luiz or Sokratis would probably work pretty well. Arteta has improved Arsenal in midfield and attack in his first few weeks as boss but Shkodran Mustafi looks set to be on his way out and they need a dominant center back to try and push them on to an unlikely top four finish this season.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano but he is likely to stay with the German side until at least the summer, as they are pushing for the Bundesliga title and are in the UCL last 16.

As for Boateng, he has been pushing for a move away from Bayern for a few years now and after he was axed by German coach Joachim Low after Die Mannschaft’s failure at the 2018 World Cup he’s been out injured and his form has been inconsistent.

But Boateng’s quality remains and with former Germany teammates Bernd Leno, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertescaker at Arsenal, this could be a good fit for everyone involved.

Arteta wants to sign a new center back, Boateng wants to leave and for a player with his experience and quality it is very small transfer fee.

This deal makes so much sense for Arsenal.

Bundesliga wrap: Adams returns, Leipzig goes top; Bayern teen strikes again

Tyler Adams Bundesliga Leipzig
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American midfielder Tyler Adams returned to the field for the first time since the summer as RB Leipzig held onto the table’s first position on Saturday in the Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig blasted Augsburg and has a little breathing room after Jurgen Klinsmann’s Hertha Berlin drew Gladbach to continue his fine early tenure

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Bayern Munich again got teenage heroics to move third.

RB Leipzig 3-1 Augsburg

Adams’ first action in more than a half-year saw the 20-year-old go 86 minutes at right back. The New Yorker had two interceptions and won 7 of 10 duels while making 84 touches and being fouled four times.

He didn’t factor in the scoring, as Leipzig trailed to an 8th minute Florian Niederlechner goal until breaking out for three in the second half. Konrad Laimer, Patrik Schick, and Yussuf Poulsen scored, and RBL leads the table by two points.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Wolfsburg

USMNT center back John Brooks and the visitors put a scare into the reigning champs, but late heroics came from a familiar place as Bayern broke through for all three points.

Teenager Joshua Zirkzee came on as a late sub and again scored with one of his first touches, just like he did at midweek.

The 83rd minute marker was followed quickly by a Serge Gnabry goal, also just like midweek.

Hertha Berlin 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

The new manager bounce is real in Berlin, where Jurgen Klinsmann has led Hertha to a 2W-2D-1L mark. The club was 3-1-7 when he took over, and this time got a point against second place Gladbach. Hertha kept Gladbach from manufacturing a single “big chance,” according to SofaScore.

The fixtures haven’t been easy: Borussia Dortmund (loss), Eintracht Frankfurt (draw), Freiburg (win), Bayer (win), and now Gladbach.

Elsewhere
Hoffenheim 2-1 Borussia Dortmund — Friday
Koln 1-0 Werder Bremen
Mainz 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Schalke 2-2 Freiburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf v. Koln — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Paderborn v. Eintracht Frankfurt — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 17 11 4 2 48 20 28 5-2-1 6-2-1 37
 Mönchengladbach 17 11 2 4 33 18 15 7-1-1 4-1-3 35
 Bayern Munich 17 10 3 4 46 22 24 6-1-2 4-2-2 33
 Borussia Dortmund 17 8 6 3 41 24 17 5-3-0 3-3-3 30
 FC Schalke 04 17 8 6 3 29 21 8 4-4-1 4-2-2 30
 Bayer Leverkusen 17 8 4 5 23 21 2 3-4-2 5-0-3 28
 1899 Hoffenheim 17 8 3 6 25 28 -3 4-1-4 4-2-2 27
 SC Freiburg 17 7 5 5 27 23 4 4-2-2 3-3-3 26
 VfL Wolfsburg 17 6 6 5 18 18 0 3-4-2 3-2-3 24
 FC Augsburg 17 6 5 6 28 31 -3 4-2-2 2-3-4 23
 1. FC Union Berlin 16 6 2 8 19 22 -3 5-0-4 1-2-4 20
 Hertha BSC Berlin 17 5 4 8 22 29 -7 3-1-4 2-3-4 19
 Eintracht Frankfurt 16 5 3 8 26 27 -1 4-3-2 1-0-6 18
 FSV Mainz 05 17 6 0 11 25 39 -14 3-0-5 3-0-6 18
 1. FC Köln 17 5 2 10 19 32 -13 3-1-4 2-1-6 17
 Werder Bremen 17 3 5 9 23 41 -18 1-2-5 2-3-4 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 16 3 3 10 16 35 -19 2-1-4 1-2-6 12
 SC Paderborn 16 2 3 11 18 35 -17 1-1-6 1-2-5 9

Transfer rumor roundup: Sane, Havertz moving; Foxes’ Pereira to Spurs

Sane Pereira transfer news
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Leroy Sane has returned to the soccer pitch in his bid to recover from an injury suffered in August.

Whether the Manchester City star’s next game is for the Premier League outfit is another story.

German outlet Bild says Sane has already decided that he wants to go back to Germany, where he’ll join summer courters Bayern Munich.

[ MORE: Zlatan to Everton? ]

The 23-year-old was arguably City’s best player in their record run to the title in 2017/18, but last season was a step back for him.

Bild also says that Manchester City and Manchester United have engaged in “concrete talks” with representatives for Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz.

He’s likely wanted by every team on the planet and has also been linked to Liverpool, but it’s notable that the Mancunian rivals are in the news.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur may be entering the transfer market in January despite Daniel Levy’s claims that he doesn’t expect much.

Reports out of Belgium say Spurs will chase Leicester City full back Ricardo Pereira, with the trickle down forcing the Foxes to turn southeast.

Twenty-year old Aurelio Buta would make the move from Royal Antwerp to Leicester. Buta has a goal and five assists in 18 league outings this season.

The move, of course, could still wait for the summer.