Flingeraner snap up Barkok on loan

Bundesliga returnees Fortuna Dusseldorf have snapped up young Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Aymen Barkok on loan for the 2018/19 Bundesliga season.

The highly-regarded 20-year-old made just nine league appearances for Eintracht in the previous campaign, with only two of those coming as starts.

Nonetheless, Die Adler believe the player has the talent to develop into a top performer and renewed his deal with the side from Hesse until 30 June 2021.

Barkok has been sent to Dusseldorf in the hope he gets more regular first team action, and can then learn from the experience.

Flingeraner coach Friedhelm Funkel said of the Germany U21 international's arrival: "At his young age Aymen already has experience in the highest German league.

"He is a strong midfielder who convinces with a good technique and a great willingness to run, he will help us in the coming season and also has a great development potential."

In addition, Frankfurt sporting director Bruno Hubner believes the loan move could be a positive one for Barkok's development, saying: "Last season, Eintracht did not give him the opportunity to make the leap to the starting line-up, so we think it's a good idea for Fortuna Dusseldorf to get the chance to make a lasting impact."

Lewandowski: I'm constantly working on my game

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has revealed his ambition to keep playing at the highest level for years to come and is working hard to achieve his aims.

The 29-year-old, who is currently at the World Cup with Poland, has been one of Europe's top goalscorers over the last few years and has showed no signs of slowing down.

Lewandowski scored a staggering 41 goals in 48 games for Bayern across all competitions this past season and clinched the Bundesliga's Golden Boot award.

"I have a plan to play at the top level at least until 35. I feel I'm just starting the best period for a striker. I'm mature and have a lot of experience. If I'm healthy, I will play in Europe as long as possible and then move on. We will see," he told The Guardian.

The striker also added that he is always working on improving specific aspects of his game, adding: "At the moment I'm trying to improve my long-distance shooting with my left foot.

"I have to reach a point with that where my head doesn't have to think; I just react and that helps me to make quick decisions. It's called the automatics. To do something because you just know how to do it. There is no wasting time on thinking.

"In football you don't learn everything at the same time. You have to work on yourself all the time."

Leno to join Arsenal

Arsenal have reportedly agreed to sign Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for £19.3m.

The 26-year-old German international is set to join the Gunners after 304 appearances for Leverkusen, who he joined from Stuttgart in 2011.

He helped them to a fifth-placed finish in the recently completed Bundesliga season.

Arsenal have already signed Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus and are also reportedly chasing Sampdoria's Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund.

Petr Cech and David Ospina are the Premier League club's two first-choice goalkeepers

Leno was part of the Germany squad that won the Confederations Cup in 2017, although he missed out on going to the World Cup in Russia.

Dortmund linked with Celtic ace Dembele

Borussia Dortmund are reportedly lining up Celtic forward Moussa Dembele as a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who departed for Arsenal in January.

Dortmund were said to be keen on buying Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi after his superb loan spell at Signal Iduna Park, but cooled their interest due to a hefty asking price.

Nonetheless, French publication Foot Mercato report that Die Schwarzgelben are in the market for Dembele and they have made contact about acquiring his services on a number of occasions.

The 21-year-old has made a massive impact in Scotland, scoring 48 goals in 88 appearances across all competitions for the Bhoys.

Dembele caught the attention of Europe's elite when he fired in a brace against Manchester City in 2016/17 UEFA Champions League campaign.

Despite a less than stellar previous season in hitting just 16 goals, BVB regard the France U21 international highly and are hopeful of bringing him to the Bundesliga.

He is valued at around 20 million pounds which is a much more affordable fee than the 50m the Blues reportedly want for Batshuayi.

At this stage it is unclear whether Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is willing to let his star performer go, though talks are ongoing between all the parties involved.

Hummels: We made it easy for Mexico

Germany defender Mats Hummels has conceded that Mexico were good value for their 1-0 victory over the world champions on Sunday.

A 35th minute Hirving Lozano goal gave Juan Carlos Osorio's side all three points in their opening Group F fixture at the Luzhniki Stadium.

"Now we have to go out and win the next two games [against Sweden and South Korea]," Bayern Munich's Hummels said, according to the DFB website.

"Mexico deserved to win because we made it too easy for them and they countered us ruthlessly," he continued. "I fully expect us to show a different side against Sweden and South Korea."

Hummels, 29, picked up the Bundesliga title with Bayern in 2017/18. He made 26 appearances in their successful campaign.

It was his fourth league crown, as he won with Borussia Dortmund in 2010/11 and 2011/12 before moving to Bayern in 2016 and winning back-to-back titles again.

He also featured in Germany's successful 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil. Now more than ever, his expertise is needed to help steer Die Mannschaft out of trouble.

Gunter extends contract with Freiburg

SC Freiburg left-back Christian Gunter has extended his contract with the club, and the player expressed delight at continuing his career at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. 
 
On Friday the outfit from Breisgau said they had renewed the contract of the talented defender well into the future, though no specifics were given about the length of the new deal.
 
The 25-year-old, who set a new record last season for the team as he appeared in every single Bundesliga match in 2017/18, has made 187 professional appearances for the Christian Streich-coached club.
 
The player was named captain after the retirement of previous incumbent Julian Schuster, and appears set for a bright future with Breisgau-Brasilianer.
 
Speaking to the official website, he said: "I feel at home here and extremely well, it fits with the team and the coaching team.
 
"We work together successfully and were able to stay in the division, that will be the target again next season." 
 
Sporting director Klemens Hartenbach also celebrated securing the longer term future of the Germany international, saying: "Christian Gunter made another big step forward in the past season and is a great support of our team, both athletically and personally." 

Boateng questions Rummenigge statement

Jerome Boateng has been left puzzled by comments from Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stating the defender is considering his future at the Allianz Arena.

The Germany international has enjoyed a successful seven-year spell in Munich, winning numerous trophies including six consecutive Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Boateng had returned to Germany in 2011 after making just 16 Premier League appearances for Manchester City during their 2010/11 title-winning campaign.

The 29-year-old admitted last month that he still harbours hopes of playing abroad, and Rummenigge has seemingly suggested Bayern are willing to listen to offers for him.

"I don't hide the fact that we have a financial threshold, but it won't be low for sure. But I know that Jerome is thinking about leaving," the 62-year-old told Sport Bild.

Those remarks have baffled Boateng, who is preparing for the Mannschaft's defence of their World Cup crown in Russia over the next month.

"That is not an issue right now. It's about the World Cup now. I do not know why these statements were made," he said at a news conference.

"We are here in the national team, there is a World Cup. Everything else is not an issue for me. I'll say it: I'm just concentrating on the World Cup."

Rummenigge: Lewandowski likely to stay put

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says he is confident that prolific striker Robert Lewandowski will remain at the club next season.

Lewandowski, who was the Bundesliga's leading scorer in the previous campaign with 29 goals, has been persistently linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Nonetheless, Rummenigge insists the Poland international is likely to stay put after nothing came of meetings with Los Blancos officials.

The 62-year-old met the Real board earlier this year when Bayern were beaten 4-3 by the Spanish giants over two legs in a UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

"I said weeks ago that I am taking bets on Lewandowski staying and I am still taking them today," Rummenigge told reporters.

'The two boards had lunch together at both games and Lewandowski wasn't a topic of conversation at either of the meals.

"In the past, we had a player that (Madrid president Florentino Perez) was highly interested in. But we closed the door on that, and from this episode, I know that he would be open about it.

"It wouldn't interest us anyway even if he did ask about Lewandowski. We as a club made a firm decision and that still applies."

Werder Bremen sign Beijmo on long term deal

Werder Bremen have confirmed the signing of right-back Felix Beijmo from Swedish top-flight side Djurgardens IF on a long-term deal, said to be worth close to three million euros.

Werder made the announcement on Tuesday night revealing that the 20-year-old former Sweden U19 international will ply his trade for Die Werderaner during the 2018/19 campaign.

The player was a regular for the Allsvenskan side last season and scored three goals. In addition, he managed five assists for the outfit from the Johanneshov district of Stockholm.

Bremen Chief Executive Officer Frank Baumann said of the deal on the club's official website: "Felix is ​​a young, very ambitious player, who should revive the competition on the right wing.

"We are very glad that we could convince him of Werder and our way here."

Meanwhile, manager Florian Kohfeldt also expressed his anticipation at securing the services of the talented young star. He added: "I am sure that Felix will integrate quickly and we will soon be able to see his qualities in the field.

"He is very fast, has a high precision in passing and stands for a very running-intensive game with well-timed attacking runs."

United to play Bayern in pre-season

Manchester United have revealed that they will play Bayern Munich in their final club friendly ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

The Red Devils, who finished their recently completed season as runners-up behind winners Manchester City, will face the runaway Bundesliga champions in Germany on August 5.

The clash will take place at the Allianz Arena at 22:15 local time.

Prior to heading to Germany, Jose Mourinho's side will face Club America, San Jose Earthquakes, AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid, all in the United States.

The two clubs had made the announcement while joking on Twitter, with United posting: "Available in early August to visit a big club in Germany for a final pre-season game of the summer. Any takers?"

Bayern responded with: "The only takers we’re interested in are for good penalties, and as an English club, you guys probably wouldn’t know about that... ????"

United cheekily responded by posting: "Just as well that we didn’t need them to beat you in the #UCL final back in 1999 then, isn’t it? ??"

But Bayern had the final say: "Looks like we hit a nerve there! How about this pre-season friendly in August, then? Let’s hope your football is better than your jokes..."

Meanwhile, Manchester United Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward, said: "The team are facing some of the world's toughest opponents over the course of pre-season, in top class stadiums which will allow a significant number of our supporters to get closer to the team they love.

"The competitive feel throughout the summer programme will provide a great platform for the squad, giving them the best possible preparation ahead of the new campaign."

Korkut handed Stuttgart extension

Stuttgart head coach Tayfun Korkut has signed a new two-year contract as reward for an outstanding start to his tenure at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Korkut succeeded Hannes Wolf at the helm in January with the Bundesliga newcomers languishing close to the relegation zone in 14th place after a poor run of results.

The 44-year-old quickly turned around the club's fortunes, guiding them to nine wins, four draws and just one defeat in 14 top-flight matches.

Korkut's side finished seventh in the table, just two points adrift of European football, and the Swabian outfit have recognised the "exceptional" job done by the coaching staff.

"We have an excellent coaching team, spear-headed by Tayfun Korkut, and we are very happy to have been able to extend the deals with him and his assistant coaches Ilija Aracic and Steven Cherundolo earlier than anticipated, until 2020," Reds sporting director Michael Reschke told the club's official website.

"The sporting success in recent months has been quite exceptional. But aside from that, the professionalism which the three have brought to the club, along with the harmony and ambitiousness within the team and amongst the staff, which they initiated, has proven equally important in our decision to continue our cooperation."

Gotze: Guardiola didn't show me much empathy

Mario Gotze has revealed that he endured an uneasy relationship with former boss Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, accusing him of lacking empathy.

Gotze controversially signed for Bayern from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2013, only to return to his old club after three years playing under Guardiola.

Although he had high praise for the current Manchester City boss's technical ability, he felt Guardiola could have related to him better.

"Pep Guardiola was technically one of the best coaches, a tremendous enrichment. But I had the feeling that he thinks only in the grid and leaves out the people and the outside," Gotze claimed during the DAZN documentary 'Being Mario Gotze'.

"The empathy was not that big. It was not easy for me, just because I came from Kloppo [Jurgen Klopp], who was like a footballing father.

"Pep was a complete difference. A world-class coach needs empathy, every athlete is also human and you should combine both."

In reflection, the attacking midfielder has mixed feelings about his transfer to Bayern.

"I did not think so far, on what it meant and how people react on it, he said."

"When I look back, it can be said that it was selfish, but in the end, it is also a competitive sport."

Guardiola defends Bayern legacy

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his failure to win the UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich does not damage his legacy.

Guardiola spent three seasons with the Bavarian giants and won the Bundesliga title on each occasion, as well as the DFB-Pokal in 2014 and 2016.

However, his Bayern side were eliminated at the semi-final stage of Europe's elite club competition by Real Madrid (2014), Barcelona (2015) and Atletico Madrid (2016).

Nonetheless, Guardiola takes the view that his record with the Reds is not tarnished by the inability to guide them to European glory.

Speaking to Catalunya Radio, the Spaniard said: "My time in Munich won't be judged on not having won the Champions League. Winning it is hard and defeats are part and parcel of the competition.

"Football always gives you another chance and people are surprised by the difficulty of the Champions League: with Bayern I got to three semi-finals and was knocked out in each.

"Bayern have won successive league titles - and the same goes for Juventus - so perhaps for them the Champions League seems more important.

"I'm happy that at Bayern and at City they've been able to play as we wanted. We won a lot, but I'm happier with how we played.

"It's tough being there (at Bayern), but I made a lot of friends and that makes up for it. We all wanted to win the trophy, but there are so many influencing factors."

Guardiola won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, in 2009 and 2011.

Juve make Costa deal permanent

Douglas Costa has ended his association with Bayern Munich after completing a permanent transfer to Juventus on a four-year contract.

The Brazil international spent a productive 2017/18 campaign on loan at Juve, where he won the domestic double, while registering four goals and 12 assists in 31 Serie A appearances.

The Bianconeri had an option to make the deal long lasting and they now done so, paying Bayern an initial €40 million to acquire Costa's signature until 2022.

"One year after joining Juventus on a temporary basis from Bayern Munich, the Brazilian now has a deal at the club lasting until 2022 after the Bianconeri took up the option to make his services permanent following an eye-catching first season in black and white," a statement from the Italian champions read.

The 27-year-old winger won back-to-back Bundesliga titles at the Allianz Arena before being deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti during the 2017 off-season.

Delaney swaps Bremen for Dortmund

New Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre has continued to rebuild his squad with the capture of Thomas Delaney from Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen.

Delaney is the third new arrival at Signal Iduna Park since Favre succeeded Peter Stoger at the helm last month, with deals already completed for Marwin Hitz and Mario Wolf.

The 26-year-old midfielder attracted interest from BVB after registering three goals and four assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances for the River Islanders this past season.

Dortmund fought off competition from clubs in the Premier League to sign Delaney on a four-year contract - just 18 months after he moved to Bremen from Copenhagen.

"It was always a big desire of mine to play in the Premier League, and I had offers. But when Borussia Dortmund were mentioned, I didn't have to think long," the Denmark international told his new club's official website.

"For me, BVB are one of the top 10 clubs in Europe and one of the top two in Germany - and the stadium is the best in Europe."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "Borussia Dortmund have always had a top-class experience with Denmark internationals.

"Thomas Delaney is a physically and mentally strong player. He will enrich our game with his physical presence."

Alaba: I'm not leaving Bayern

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba has revealed that he will stay at the Bundesliga champions despite talk of interest from Real Madrid.

The 25-year-old's father claimed last month that Los Blancos were targeting Alaba in the off-season, but he has quashed the speculation.

"I'll stay at Bayern," the Austria international told Bild. "I feel very comfortable in Munich, so there's nothing more to say about it."

Alaba has been at Die Roten his entire senior career, aside from a loan spell at Hoffenheim, and still has three years left on his current contract. He previously hinted that he may be looking for a fresh challenge elsewhere, but now looks set for at least another season in Bavaria.

Alaba has made 301 appearances for Bayern across all competitions and has scored 26 goals and provided 39 assists. He won the Champions League in 2013 and has bagged seven Bundesliga winners' medals.

Voller: Leno can leave, but on our terms

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller says they are ready to let go of Bernd Leno, but insists the goalkeeper will only leave on their terms.

Leno has been linked with a number of top teams in Europe and is said to be a top target for the Azzurri, along with Portugal international Rui Patricio.

The Serie A club are on the lookout for a new keeper after Pepe Reina left on a free transfer. They are also likely to reinforce their squad before the start of the new season following the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager.

And Voller told Bild: "Leno can leave but only on our terms. We are still in constant and open exchange with Bernd and his manager.

"Leno already had a concrete offer from Napoli in 2017, but we didn't have an equivalent back-up at the time.

'He had to stay and he did really well last season, but we thought Bernd's desire to leave would resurface so and so with the arrival of Lukas Hradecky we have a high quality successor."

Sokratis closing in on Arsenal move

Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos is in the process of completing a move to Arsenal, according to the player's father.

The 29-year-old Greece international was reportedly also a target of Manchester United but Arsenal appear to have snapped him up, which means he could be manager Unai Emery's first addition at the Emirates Stadium.

Sokratis' father, Charalambos Papastathopoulos, told Greek radio station 24/7: "There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them.

"United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.

"Arsenal had talked two years ago but I don't know why he didn't sign.

"He is going to a higher level, the world's most competitive league and I believe he will do very well.

"Sokratis is in his last year at Dortmund. This was a major reason [for completing the move]

"He is happy, he is in England at the moment and will be doing what he has to do, the typical things, everything will go well, he is happy, he is changing."

Sokratis made 30 Bundesliga appearances for the BVB this past season and scored two goals. He has been at the German club since 2013.

Schreuder: Real's interest in Nagelsmann makes sense

Real Madrid's reported interest in Julian Nagelsmann is unsurprising to former Hoffenheim assistant manager Alfred Schreuder.

The 30-year-old manager of Hoffenheim has been linked with a number of top European clubs after overachieving with the German side. He led them to fourth and third-place finishes in the Bundesliga over the last two campaigns, which is their best placings to date.

In the wake of Zinedine Zidane's sudden departure as Los Merengues boss, Nagelsmann has now also been linked with the back-to-back-to-back Champions League winners and Schreuder believes the link is well-deserved.

"I'm not surprised that Real asked," Schreuder told Bild. "All the top clubs in Europe know what he does and keep an eye on him. That's only logical for me.

"He would be 100 per cent be able to deal with [Madrid's superstars]. If he speaks and explains something, they immediately feel that he is a special trainer. That he knows [what he is doing] and is a winner.

"Julian is the best, I've never seen someone that has so much quality."

Vidal to make decision on Bayern future

Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has revealed that he will make a decision regarding his future at the Bundesliga champions in the off-season.

The 31-year-old has been linked with a move back to the Serie A, where Napoli and Inter are reportedly keen on adding him to their respective squads. Vidal played for Juventus between 2011 and 2015.

The Chile international only has a year left on his contract with Die Roten and has stated that he will consider a move elsewhere, after winning three consecutive Bundesliga titles.

"When my vacation has finished, my agent and I will sit down and evaluate everything," he said on Fox Sports Argentina.

"He'll tell me what he can do, then we’ll choose, see and decide whether to continue with Bayern Munich.

"Right now, the only thing that concerns me is recovering from the knee injury."