Bayern trio step up recovery efforts at Säbener Strasse

Bayern Munich trio Leon Goretzka, Rafinha and David Alaba could be available for selection following the FIFA break as they stepped up their recovery efforts from injury.

Bayern's non-international players were handed a break on Monday by coach Niko Kovac, however, the three injured stars were present at training and were put through their paces at Sabener Strasse.

The Bavarians are set to face Wolfsburg on 20 October at the Volkswagen Arena and will be desperate for a win after a slump in form.

The German champions have not won in four matches in all competitions which includes humiliating Bundesliga losses to Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Nonetheless, should Goretzka, Rafinha and Alaba be passed fit - it would present Kovac with a wider array of options.

The team's official website said: "The squad had the day off on Monday, but three Bayern pros did not take a breather. Convalescent trio Leon Goretzka, Rafinha and David Alaba turned in extra work at the Säbener Strasse in the morning to be fit after the international break.

"Alaba completed a running session on an adjacent pitch about one week after sustaining a small muscle fibre tear in the match against Gladbach. Goretzka (muscle hardening sustained last week) and Rafinha (ankle injury, mid-September) are more advanced in their sports rehab programmes and trained with the ball under the auspices of fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi. The Brazilian had resumed parts of the squad programme last Thursday."

RB Leipzig have brutal quality says Kampl

RB Leipzig midfielder Kevin Kampl believes that his side have unbelievable quality and have a number of ways to hurt teams in attack.

Following an opening day defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga as well as a loss to Salzburg in the Europa League, Leipzig have reeled off four wins in a row in all competitions and are now second in Germany's top flight.

In their last league match before the FIFA international break, Die Bullen crushed Nuremburg 6-0 and are now the second highest scorers (16) in the division behind Dortmund (23).

Speaking to SportBild, the 28-year-old Slovenia international said: "We definitely have a great attack. Almost all of our strikers have scored. This versatility makes us dangerous.

"We have a brutal quality in the team. However, we conceded too many goals at the start of the season. Especially defensively, we've improved enormously.

"Due to the many goals we conceded at the start, we lost our timing when we were pressing. The players didn't always know when it was worth pressing an opponent. It caused uncertainty."

Ahead of his side's next game against Augsburg on 20 October, he concluded: "We would readily accept it if we can hold our current second place. But the season is only seven games old, so you can't read too much into it. I can only warn against complacency. Things can quickly turn against you."

Report: Bailey pulls out of Jamaica squad over brother

Highly-rated Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey pulled out of the Jamaica side that beat Bonaire 6-0 last Saturday reportedly because his brother Kyle Butler was not chosen in the squad.

The forward appeared set to commit his international future to Jamaica, after previously saying he wanted to play for Germany.

Bailey had turned down previous calls to join the Reggae Boyz squad citing the fact he was interested in representing Die Mannschaft.

However, it seemed he had changed his mind after honouring the latest call-up he received from the nation of his birth.

The 21-year-old flew out for Jamaica's game against Bonaire in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifier last weekend, but pulled out of the squad allegedly due to his sibling not being selected.

The player was previously said not to be keen to play for the Caribbean island nation due to concerns about the standard, as well as issues he reportedly experienced with the Jamaican Football Association.

As such, it appears further issues have arisen with the Jamaica Gleaner suggesting it was around his brother's non-selection. His brother plays for FC Juniors in Austria's second tier.

Bailey told the publication: "Obviously, I came to Jamaica because of the international call-up. I did agree to come based on the agreement we had. But when I got here, it was a totally different scenario.

"They didn’t keep their end (of the deal), therefore, I decided not to play this game. I am here for one reason: to represent the country. But they (JFF) didn’t keep their end. Once they are willing to do that, I am ready to put on the national team jersey.

"So if they can’t help me, I won’t be able to help them. It is in their hands. Once they do what they are supposed to, come November, I can represent the country. So I hope they rethink and be clever. I want to represent the country. It’s in their hands to make it happen."

In 2017/18 the talented star recorded nine goals and six assists for Leverkusen in 30 Bundesliga appearances. In 2018/19 he has started slowly with just one goal in seven matches.

Pavard stayed with Stuttgart for 'love of jersey'

VfB Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard has revealed he turned down offers to leave the struggling Bundesliga side as he has a genuine love for the team.

Pavard became one of the hottest prospects in world football after his starring performances for France at the 2018 World Cup helped Les Bleus win the global showpiece in Russia.

In addition, he won the goal of the tournament after his stunning strike against Argentina helped his national team into the quarter-finals.

Nonetheless, the 22-year-old reportedly turned down a host of offers from bigger clubs to leave ahead of 2018/19 as he says he feels he owes a debt to Die Roten.

Speaking to Telefoot, he said: "I haven't forgotten that they came looking for me in Lille at a time when few people believed in me.

"I signed for them when they were in the second division. They showed faith in me, and it's also down to them that I am where I am.

"I have a love for the jersey. I'm not going to hide that I had a huge number of offers but in my head it was clear. I had to stay at least one more season at Stuttgart because I love the jersey. I like the club and their supporters, so I owe them that much."

Pavard has played and started in all seven league games in '18/19 for Stuttgart, who are currently rock-bottom bottom of Germany's top flight.

Werder hail Rashica after first international goal

SV Werder Bremen attacking midfielder Milot Rashica was hailed by his club after scoring his first international goal for Kosovo in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Faroe Islands.

Earlier this season the forward helped his nation make history when they recorded their first ever international victory over the same opponents with a 2-0 win.

The tiny nation only became a member of UEFA and FIFA in May 2016 and in 11 competitive matches had till that point yet to taste victory against any opponent.

Nonetheless, the Werder star was once again key for Dardanet as he bagged a stunning opening goal from 25-yards out in the Nations League Group Three encounter.

René Joensen did manage to level matters for the North Atlantic archipelago, though Kosovo are unbeaten so far in the competition.

Die Werderaner's official website said: "The evening could not have started better for Milot Rashica. He was not only in the starting-11 as Kosovo drew 1-1 with the Faroe Islands but he also scored nine minutes into the game and what a goal it was.

"The 22-year-old scored from 25 meters out into the top right hand corner. It was not only his first international goal but also his first full ninety minutes in his 18th game for Kosovo. Thanks to the draw, Kosovo remain unbeaten in the Nations League. Two wins and two draws leave Rashica and Kosovo top of Group 3 in the D league."

Boateng won't play against France

Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng has been ruled out of Germany's UEFA Nations League clash with France with a calf injury.

The 30-year-old Bayern Munich defender picked up the knock during the 3-0 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday.

Having seen five senior players already withdraw from his initial squad, German boss Joachim Low is now seriously short of key players.

Die Mannschaft were heavily criticised for their defeat to Holland and a heavy loss to the world champions could have severe ramifications for the head coach.

For Bayern though the situation is not so severe, despite their poor run of form, with manager Niko Kovac rotating his centre-back pairing between Boateng, Matts Hummels and Niklas Sule.

A statement on Germany's Twitter account read: "JB17Official has left the team hotel in Amsterdam and won't be available for #FRAGER due to a calf problem."

Tedesco has high hopes for McKennie

Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco is excited by the development of American midfielder Weston McKennie.

The 20-year-old joined the Bundesliga club from FC Dallas as a youth player in 2016.

After a year in the academy he was promoted to the first side where he has shone brightly ever since.

McKennie played 25 games in total for Schalke last season and this term he has made eight appearances, scoring a goal in the Bundesliga and Champions League.

Tedesco told the Bundesliga website that he has high hopes for McKennie.

He said: "Weston isn't just important to us for his goals. Even during those phases when it’s not going so well, he embodies everything that we strive to stand for. He has a good mentality, he's powerful, down-to-earth and works hard - and he can play as a six, eight or ten.

"As long as he continues to work hard and keeps his feet on the ground, he’ll only get better. He's just great!"

Sporting director Christian Heidel added: "Weston is a very good footballer, but he also has a lot of traits that are very, very important to Schalke.

"The fans love the way he plays, and the work he puts in. His body language is extraordinary. There are players in the team that already measure themselves against him, and let's not forget that he's still a raw talent. It's not like he's reached his full potential at 20. I'm sure he'll only get better. He can become one of the faces of Schalke."

McKennie has six caps for the United States national side.

Hummels slams German media

Mats Hummels has hit out at the German media for slamming the German defender's assessment of the 3-0 loss to the Netherlands.

Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum were all on target at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday.

After the match, Hummels said that the Mannschaft played well and could have won the game if they had converted their chances.

But, the majority of people who watched the game, felt Germany massively under performed against the Dutch.

Hummels told the press: "We are the best at what we do. We’re being treated in part like complete amateurs."

He added: "It’s a question of failing to convert chances. Clearly. I don’t know whether you can see it differently, but we lost a game 0-3 that in my opinion we should have won. That’s how it goes sometimes.

"It’s not the case that one person is blowing all the chances. Everyone sometimes has a chance; sometimes it’s bad luck, sometimes inability. My header was cleared off the line — a thousand situations.

"The opponent scores his first goal — as so often — with his first chance. Now we’re standing here with a 0-3, we’ll definitely get an earful, but we can’t blame ourselves that much today.

"We played a game in Holland in which we should have scored at least two, probably three or four goals. In the end, we were countered twice after simple ball losses; that of course drags the result down."

Rafinha excited to be back in training

Rafinha has expressed his delight at making a return to training with Bayern Munich after being sidelined following an ankle injury.

The 33-year-old Brazil right-back has been out of action for close to four weeks having suffered a partial tear of the ligaments in his left ankle.

The injury happened in the Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen. Rafinha though was back in training with Bayern this week where he took part in the warm up and passing drills.

Speaking to the club's official website, the former Coritiba, Schalke and Genoa defender said: "Finally! I was sidelined for almost four weeks because of my ankle injury, and I was very glad to complete the first few parts of team training. It's good for me.

"Thank God I'm not too far behind, I'm fit. Of course the situation is different when you haven't been on the pitch for three weeks. But I've worked well with Thomas Wilhelmi, it's going well. I think I'm ready for next week."

He added: "I'm very happy to be back on the pitch. And now we'll go full throttle again because we must return to winning ways!"

Tah proud of German call-up

Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah has been drafted into the Germany squad by head coach Joachim Low.

The 22-year-old has three call-ups to the senior side, having featured at all levels in the junior ranks.

He was not part of the 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup but has a chance to force his way into the reckoning as Low begins revitalising his squad after their poor showing in Russia.

Germany play against the Netherlands on Saturday evening and France on Tuesday in Nations League fixtures.

Tah links up with the team in Amsterdam after helping the Germany under-21 qualify for the Under-21 European Championship with a 2-1 win against Norway on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the game, Tah was reported on FourFourTwo as saying: "I am very happy about the nomination for the senior national team, and it is a great sign from the national coach that he wants me for the match in France.

Thommy says Weinzierl can make VfB competitive against BVB

VfB Stuttgart winger Erik Thommy is optimistic new manager Markus Weinzierl can get the side ready for his first game in charge against Borussia Dortmund on 20 October.

Weinzierl was recently appointed to take over from Tayfun Korkut after the Turk guided VfB to a poor start to the 2018/19 campaign.

Die Roten are rock-bottom of the Bundesliga standings with five points from their opening seven matches, and they also lost to third tier outfit Hansa Rostock in the DFB Cup first round.

Nonetheless, Thommy believes Weinzierl is making an immediate impact and he is hopeful the side can deliver the goods against high-flying BVB after the FIFA international break.

Currently, Die Borussen lead the German top flight although this hasn't shaken the confidence of the 24-year-old attacker.

He told his side's official website: "We still have to get to know the processes and the game-philosophy with which we are to approach the up-coming tasks.

"Due to yesterday's test friendly, today was just our third training session together with him. Things worked out well for us, scoring three goals against Sandhausen.

"We want to pick up exactly there when the internationals return next week. The players that are here during the international break are really giving their all, so that we are well-equipped for the home game against Dortmund. I have a good feeling."

Rafinha delighted to step up injury recovery work

Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha says he is delighted to be stepping up his recovery from an ankle injury and is looking forward to a full return to action.

The 33-year-old suffered torn ligaments in his ankle against Bayer Leverkusen in a Bundesliga encounter just around a month ago.

However, he has since started training with the first team squad during the FIFA international break and could be available to manager Niko Kovac in the near future.

Speaking to his club's official website, the Brazil defender said: "Finally! I was sidelined for almost four weeks because of my ankle injury, and I was very glad to complete the first few parts of team training. It's good for me.

"Thank God I'm not too far behind, I'm fit. Of course the situation is different when you haven't been on the pitch for three weeks. But I've worked well with Thomas Wilhelmi (rehab coach), it's going well. I think I'm ready for next week.

"I'm very happy to be back on the pitch. And now we'll go full throttle again because we must return to winning ways!"

Rafinha is expected to increase the intensity of his recovery ahead of the Bavarians next league clash with Vfl Wolfsburg on 20 October.

Nelson: Nagelsmann the reason I joined Hoffenheim

Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson has revealed that he decided to join Hoffenheim on loan due to his admiration for the German club's head coach, Julian Nagelsmann.

The 18-year-old left the Gunners at the end of August and has made three Bundesliga appearances for Nagelsmann's side thus far, scoring two goals in the process.

"A loan wasn't always my first option, but when I heard the Bundesliga and Hoffenheim was an option for me and working with the manager there, it was something I wanted to do," Nelson told the FA's official website.

"Julian's a great manager and he's got belief in young players so it's a good place for me to go and play.

"He's [Nagelsmann] very young, he's only 31 and I think it's important to go to a team and a coach who believes in you, so he was the main reason because he is willing to play us."

Nelson will return to the Emirates Stadium at the end of the current campaign. The teenager is yet to make his first-team debut for the north Londoners.

Zakaria: Plea is 'ice cold' in front of goal

Borussia Monchengladbach striker Alassane Plea has the finishing talent to lead the Bundesliga outfit to great heights, according to teammate Denis Zakaria.

Plea has hit the ground running this campaign, after signing from Nice in July, and has already scored five Bundesliga goals in only seven appearances.

Monchengladbach are sitting third in the standings after a 3-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last weekend, and Zakaria believes they can continue doing well with Plea scoring the goals.

Asked about Borussia's greatest strength this season, Zakaria told the official Bundesliga website: "First, the club has strengthened really well in signing Alassane Plea, Michael Lang and Andreas Poulsen. But above all, it's our discipline that distinguishes us this year. We don't want to leave anything to chance. Our squad is also deep, we're well-equipped."

Shifting the focus to Plea, Zakaria added: "He's not only a good goalscorer, but he really works hard for the team. His defensive contribution in Munich was excellent. Every time we lost the ball, he sprinted back to win it back as quickly as possible.

"He can also hold the ball up very well and he's ice-cold in front of goal. I hope he builds on his strong form week upon week, then we'll have a successful season. He can help us have a good season."

Kimmich: I was happy to be moved into midfield

Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich has revealed that he was happy when Germany head coach Joachim Low asked him to play as a defensive midfielder.

Kimmich was moved by Low for Die Mannschaft's 0-0 UEFA Nations League draw with France, which saw him play alongside Toni Kroos in the middle of the park. He then played there again during the 2-1 friendly win over Peru.

The 23-year-old is now following in the footsteps of Bayern legend Philipp Lahm, who starred as a right-back, left-back and defensive midfielder.

Kimmich continues to play on the right side of defence under Niko Kovac at Bayern, as the coach has told him they have all the midfielders they need, but not many players who can play in his current role.

However, Kimmich told Sport Bild: "I was really happy when I last played there (as a midfielder). It was a surprise to me. There was a bit of tension because I hadn't actually played in that position for three years."

He has closely studied Bayern midfielders past and present, having been at the club since January 2015.

"Javi Martinez is about defensive stability, aggression in his defensive movements, his aerial challenges and his heading ability," Kimmich added.

"Xabi Alonso was brilliant strategically and in terms of his passing, whether it was short passing or his incredible long-passing game. His volleys were crazy.

"Thiago is more of a technician, who looks for one-on-ones in tight spaces. He can finish things by himself."

Oczipka excited to return to training

Schalke full-back Bastian Oczipka is delighted to be back in training after spending months on the sidelines following groin surgery.

The 29-year-old has been out of action since early July, when he picked up the injury, but has returned to training this week and is relishing the chance to get back into the swing of things.

"I'm excited like a small child to finally return to training. Although not all the Schalke players are at the club at the moment due to international duty, it is still a great feeling to be able to train with the rest of the squad," he told the club's official website.

Asked about how difficult the recovery period was, the German defender added: "It wasn't easy, that's for sure. You cannot exactly tell how long you will be out for when you suffer a groin injury.

"We actually thought that I would be out of action for even longer. Luckily, I've been able to return to fitness quicker than I expected to. I don't suffer any pain and I feel good physically."

Oczipka was a regular starter for the Royal Blues last season and made 33 appearances across all competitions, providing five assists.

Report: Bayern tracking Inter centre-back

Bayern Munich are said to be monitoring Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, whose performances in Serie A have reportedly caught the attention of other top clubs in Europe.

The Slovakia international proved himself to be one of the best defenders in Italy's top flight last season and has produced some fine displays for the Nerazzurri this term.

Manchester City and Barcelona have previously expressed an interest in Skriniar and now it appears Bayern have him in their sights.

According to Tuttosport, the 23-year-old centre-back is being looked at following a poor run of form by the German giants in which they have conceded six goals in three Bundesliga matches.

The publication report that the Bavarians are looking to strengthen in the January transfer window and are considering buying Skriniar for an estimated 80 million euros.

Inter have been locked in negotiations for months with his representatives about a contract extension, however, no agreement has been reached.

The Italian club are said to be offering 2.5m euros a season whereas Skriniar wants 3.5 million. As such, Bayern are monitoring the situation with interest and could potentially make an offer in January.

Sancho: I was a bit surprised to get England call

Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho says his inclusion in the England squad for the UEFA Nations League matches with Croatia and Spain came as a surprise.

The 18-year-old has impressed since joining BVB from Manchester City and admitted he did not expect to get a call-up for his country so soon in his career.

Sancho has made more assists than any other player in Europe's top six leagues so far this season.

"I was at training when I first got the call-up and straight away I called my parents. Obviously they were delighted for me and I couldn't stop smiling the whole day," the teenager said at a press conference.

"I was a bit surprised to be fair because obviously I'm so young, I've got a lot to learn, I'm just grateful he's (Gareth Southgate) seeing my progress in the Bundesliga and I'm just very thankful."

Commenting on his move to Germany, Sancho added: "I like it a lot. Obviously the culture's different and the fans have so much passion for the game and obviously support me every week. It's a dream come true.

"From a young age I was moving away from home (from London to Manchester), so that's what made me take that step further to move outside of England."

Streich hopeful of Ravet return for Freiburg

Freiburg coach Christian Streich believes winger Yoric Ravet is close to nearing full match fitness following an injury ravaged start to 2018/19.

Since joining the side in 2017 from Swiss Super League outfit Young Boys, the 29-year-old has endured poor fortune with injuries and played just 11 times last season.

The player battled with Achilles tendon complaints in that campaign and then was ruled out because of a torn muscle.

The former France U20 international was said to have worked hard on his conditioning during the off-season but was then hit with a hamstring injury in a pre-season match.

Nonetheless, in his latest comeback the Echirolles-born star has had some competitive action under his belt in the Regionalliga, where the forward managed two goals for the reserve team.

As such, Streich is hopeful of his return sooner rather than later. He told Kicker: "He's on the way up, but he needs the games, he needs fitness and 100% athletic freshness, so he can go full in the Bundesliga match and no new injury comes.

"You realize that he still needs time. He missed a lot in terms of meters, units and intensity, as you've seen in the game."

On Thursday Ravet will play in another friendly match behind closed doors and the manager takes the view that this is another positive sign.

He concluded: "Then he has three games in his legs, then you can look forward."

Rafinha steps up recovery from ankle injury for Bayern

Bayern Munich's veteran right-back Rafinha has started stepping up his recovery from an ankle injury he suffered against Bayer Leverkusen on 15 September.

The 33-year-old is yet to re-join full training with the first team squad but has started doing ball work and more intensive conditioning work as he works his way back to full fitness.

The Bavarians are down to a skeleton squad during the FIFA international break with just 12 first team players available to coach Niko Kovac at the Sabener Strasse training complex in Munich.

Nonetheless, the Brazil defender could be available soon to Kovac as the German champions look to put to an end a poor run of form in the Bundesliga.

The side's official website said: "On one of the adjacent pitches, Rafinha continued to work on his comeback. The Brazilian, who sustained an ankle injury in the game against Bayer Leverkusen a month ago, had already begun working with the ball the day before with fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi and continued to slave away at returning to full training as soon as possible.

"A total of six sessions are on the agenda up to Friday, including another open session on Thursday morning.

"Kovac has given his men the weekend off so that they are rested and fresh going into the preparations for the important Bundesliga match at VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday 20 October."