Bayern demolished by AC Milan

Bayern Munich were thrashed 4-0 by Italian giants AC Milan in Saturday's International Champions Cup encounter at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre in China.

Franck Kessie opened the scoring for Milan in the 14th minute, and Patrick Cutrone netted a brace before the half-time interval with strikes in the 25th and 43rd minutes.

After the restart the men from Munich were in control of possession for long periods but failed to find the back of the net. The Bavarians best chance of the game came when Robert Lewandowski set up Corentin Tolisso in the 70th minute, but the club's new signing hit the side-netting.

The bleeding continued for the German champions in the closing stages, when Hakan Calhanoglu added his name to the scoresheet with a crashing drive past Christian Fruchtl in the 85th minute.

Despite the humiliating defeat, which is the Carlo Ancelotti-coached team's second of the ICC after an earlier loss to Arsenal, Milan's pre-season preparations are at an advanced stage as they begin their Europa League campaign on 27 July against Romania's CS Universitatea Craiova.

Meanwhile, Bayern will take on English champions Chelsea in their next game in the tournament. The action will take place at the National Stadium in Singapore on 25 July.  

Stuttgart delighted by huge fan support

VfB Stuttgart head of marketing and business Jochen Rottgermann says he is delighted the club set a new record after selling 31, 000 season tickets for 2017/18.

The Reds were one of the best supported teams in Europe last season despite campaigning in the Bundesliga's second tier. VfB's average of 50, 692 eclipsed the attendances of Chelsea (41, 631), Monaco (9, 104) and Juventus (39, 500) as well.

As such, the newly-promoted outfit are optimistic of a good season ahead, and are pleased to have beaten the previous club record for home attendance of 30,500 at Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Rottgermann told the Bundeslia's official website, "It's truly impressive that we’ve been able to maintain the support of the Stuttgart fans after the record attendance figures of last season.

"They'll be present for us at every home game to support us, and we're looking forward to the start of the season and hoping that the Mercedes-Benz Arena will be sold out for our opening match (vs. Mainz on Matchday 2)."

Darida extends Hertha contract

Hertha Berlin has signed Vladimir Darida to a new long-term contract that will see the influential midfielder remain at the Olympiastadion until 2021.

Darida, who joined the Berlin club from Freiburg in 2015 and quickly became a permanent fixture in the starting lineup, was one of the team's key players in an impressive 2016/17 league campaign that saw them qualify for the Europa League.

The versatile midfielder, who can play in a holding, central and attacking role has played a total of 110 Bundesliga matches for Hertha, scoring 16 goals and assisting in a further 12.

"Vladi is an incredibly important player for us. We’re pleased that he is going to continue to play a key role in our midfield for the next few years," general manager Michael Preetz told reporters.

The 26-year old player also expressed his delight at securing his long-term future with his club.

"The talks went very well because all parties had one goal," he told the media. "I’ve had two enjoyable years here so far and have developed both as a footballer and as a person.

"Now I’m looking forward to the next challenges with Hertha BSC."

Howedes: Schalke need to 'make up for last season'

Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes is approaching full recovery from groin surgery and hopes that the club can improve on last season's disappointing performance.

Howedes, who is yet to return to training but has accompanied his team-mates on their pre-season trip to China, spoke to the Bundesliga website about his road to fitness and the club's objectives for the upcoming season.

"I'm not yet particularly fit," the 29-year old said when asked about his physical condition. "I couldn’t do too much over the break - I had to get over my injury after all.

"Almost two weeks ago I got back to training and prepared myself accordingly. So far though I haven’t been able to take part in any work on the pitch – I’m missing that of course. That’s how you get fully match fit," he added.

"I’m really looking forward to it [full fitness] because the lads have already been talking about how interesting the training was, how enthusiastically the new coach has handled them and the energy he has brought to the team," he continued, referring to Domenico Tedesco who took over the reins at the Veltins-Arena in June.

"They are full of anticipation and enthusiastic about the training and the tactical ideas. We hope we can put them in place. We have to make up for last season," the defender added.

Asked about the club's objective for the upcoming season, Howedes made a lighthearted reference to the club's disappointing 2016/17 campaign.

"Anything better than 10th place," he said. "You’re always determined to play on an international level as well. That would mean finishing in sixth place at least.

"But we also know that we have major competition in the Bundesliga. It’s becoming more even in the middle of the table. Behind Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and probably RB Leipzig, there are several teams that can be a surprise package and hurt the biggest sides.

"That would be desirable for the Bundesliga. And why should that not be Schalke?"

Poulson: Tough season ahead for Leipzig

Yusuf Poulson admits that Leipzig never expected the impact that they made on the Bundesliga last season, and ascribed their success to a winning mentality.

The 23-year old striker made a telling contribution to the club's remarkable debut Bundesliga campaign, scoring five goals and providing four assists in 29 appearances to help his side qualify for the 2017/18 Champions League.

Speaking to the Bundesliga official website about his side's fairytale introduction to the German top-flight, the Denmark international highlighted the tactics which he felt made the most significant contribution to their success and also acknowledged that a repeat of last season's heroics will be very challenging.

"Our greatest strength last season was our mentality, our will to win," Poulson stated. "This team spirit was fed by our promotion to the Bundesliga and then the fact we proved we were able to stay near the top for the entire campaign. Our mind-set often decided tight games for us."

"This'll be a very difficult season for us," he continued. "But I believe we can be even stronger than last year. Last season, we didn't have much possession and scored most of our goals on the counter-attack.

"In the second half of the season we were more successful against teams in the bottom half of the table due to our build-up play. This shows how quickly we've developed.

"Now we're in the Champions League we must up our game again."

Bobic relieved after completing Willems deal

Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic admitted he's a relieved man after the Bundesliga side finally confirmed a deal for Jetro Willems.

The Netherlands international left-back arrives from PSV with immense reputation as an experienced European defender with two Eredivisie titles and 21 caps for the Oranje.

After announcing the deal on Monday, the move hit a slight snag with a problem during the course of his medical - but the German outfit concluded the £4.25m deal on Friday.

"What's important is that Jetro is now with us," Bobic told the Bundesliga website. "He's a young and very ambitious player who will strengthen our team."

The 24-year-old who made his senior national team debut at the age of 18 was delighted to finally be part of Die Adler. And cited his decision to opt for the club due to the lure of first-team football in the next stage of his football development.

"I really wanted to move to a club that offered me a good outlook and where I could play regularly," he told the club's website.

"I had very good discussions with the club management and the head coach so I'm convinced that I can take the next step in my career with Eintracht Frankfurt."

Koln sign Mere from Gijon

Koln have confirmed the signing of Spain youth international defender Jorge Mere from Sporting Gijon on a five-year contract ahead of the new season.

Mere, 20, was said to be close to landing deals with Sampdoria and Malaga but the Bundesliga side won the race with a reported €7million deal.

The Rojiblancos academy graduate admitted he's looking forward to featuring in the upcoming season's Europa League with the German top-flight side.

"I'm really looking forward to Cologne and proving myself in the Bundesliga and the Europa League," he told the club’s official website.

"It's a club where young players can develop themselves. There were plenty of rumours, but my aim was always to join Koln."

Mere featured 31 times in defence last season as Sporting were relegated from the Spanish Primera League.

Hammers: Terms agreed for Hernandez

Javier Hernandez is closing in on a return to the Premier League after West Ham announced they had agreed a deal for the Bayer Leverkusen striker.

'Chicharito' previously spent five years in England with Manchester United from 2010 to 2015, and enjoyed initial success after winning two league titles at Old Trafford.

But the Mexico international became surplus to requirement under former United boss Louis van Gaal and was loaned out to Real Madrid for the 2014/15 campaign before securing a permanent move to Leverkusen.

Hernandez rediscovered his touch with the Bundesliga club, scoring 28 goals league goals in his two seasons at the BayArena, which tempted the Hammers into making a move.

The 29-year-old striker is due to undergo a medical in London before finalising personal terms on a deal reportedly worth £13 million.

"West Ham United and Bayer Leverkusen have agreed terms for the transfer of Javier Hernandez to London Stadium," read a statement on the English club's official website.

"The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker will fly to London in the coming days to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical with the Hammers."

BVB confident of cover for Schmelzer

Borussia Dortmund have been hit by a raft of injuries although club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says Marcel Schmelzer's recent knock isn't a major concern.

The 29-year-old left-back suffered ankle ligament damage during training on MOnday in Guangzhou, China, as a part of the club's pre-season preparations.

The extent of the problem was only fully diagnosed on his recent return to Germany. Schmelzer is expected to be out for up to four weeks, meaning he could miss Dortmund's Bundesliga opener away to Wolfsburg on August 19.

Nonetheless, Watzke feels there is cover, saying: "We have Erik Durm and Felix Passlack who can play in this position, there's also Dan-Axel Zagadou."

BVB are currently without Julian Weigl, Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro with ankle, knee and foot injuries respectively.

Klose has high hopes for Sule and Rudy

Germany legend Miroslav Klose believes that recent Bayern Munich signings Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule can add a lot of value to the team.

The pair joined the Bundesliga champions after impressing for Hoffenheim, while they were part of Die Mannschaft squad that won the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

As such, Klose reckons the duo have plenty to offer Carlo Ancelotti's side in the coming campaign.

"Sebastien is always underrated a bit but that also has its advantages. He doesn't stand out but he's always in the right spot," the former Bayern striker told the club's official website.

"He's incredibly good on the ball and has good timing for positional play. He's a very, very good player and joining Bayern is right for him.

"Niklas is big, strong and yet mobile and quick, which you wouldn't necessarily expect of him.

"Both will have a lot of competition and they'll have to battle for a place. But they'll get their chances as they're both very good players."