Wacker: Ronaldo deal wouldn't have suited Bayern

Bayern Munich marketing director Jorg Wacker has said that Cristiano Ronaldo would not have been an ideal signing for them, as no player is bigger than the club.

Juventus signed Ronaldo from Real Madrid during the off-season for a reported fee of around €100 million.

Despite the Portuguese forward being a five-time winner of the Ballon d'Or, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said they would never spend so much money on a 33-year-old.

Wacker has added his voice to criticism of the Ronaldo transfer, with CalcioMercato quoting him as saying: "His purchase, in terms of marketing, would not have worked with us; perhaps in other clubs yes but not us because we believe that the brand of a player cannot be superior to the club."

First Juventus and then Bayern were eliminated in last season's Champions League by Real, with the eventual champions knocking Juve out in the quarter-finals and toppling the Reds in the semis.

Muller: We need Lewandowski and Boateng

Thomas Muller has insisted that Bayern Munich need to keep Robert Lewandowski and Jerome Boateng, who have both been linked with moves away from the club.

Lewandowski has been a source of concern for Bayern since his agent admitted that he would welcome a new challenge.

However, the Polish striker proved his commitment and worth to the Reds on Sunday, netting a hat-trick as they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 to claim the DFL-Supercup.

"That was a great response from him to the criticism," Muller was quoted as saying by Goal. "He showed his quality again, although he does not have to prove his class to anyone.

"We have to see that he is at 100 per cent, and then he is enormously important to us. And that's why the club are not letting him go."

The Bavarian giants appear confident of keeping Lewandowski, but the future of Boateng looks less certain. The defender missed the game against Frankfurt as rumours of a move to Paris Saint-Germain continue to swirl.

"We need Jerome," Muller said. "He is a very important player. If he is fit, there are very few defenders who have his quality."

Bayern will begin their Bundesliga title defence at home to Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena on August 24.

Bayern allay Alaba injury fears

Bayern Munich don't expect David Alaba to be sidelined for too long after confirming he only sustained a bruised knee in the DFL-Supercup on Sunday.

New Bayern head coach Niko Kovac kicked off his tenure with a trophy as the Bavarian giants thrashed his former employers Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 at the Commerzbank-Arena.

Alaba limped off in the 75th minute after being caught high in a challenge from Eagles defender Danny da Costa, and the Reds had to finish the match with 10 men due to Kovac having already made his three substitutions.

There were fears that the Austria international had suffered ligament damage, but scans on Monday revealed only bad bruising - much to the relief of the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal champions.

"Alaba suffered a badly bruised knee in last night's Supercup win, and has not sustained any ligament damage," Bayern announced on Twitter.

The 26-year-old defender is unlikely to recover in time for his team's league opener against Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena on August 24.

Tuchel unsure if Kehrer will join PSG

Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel says he doesn't know if Schalke 04 defender Thilo Kehrer will be signing for the Ligue 1 giants.

Speaking after PSG's 3-0 win over Caen in their league opener on Sunday, Tuchel told the press that he is not certain if Kehrer will be joining his team.

The former Borussia Dortmund boss said: "I can't confirm [for Kehrer to come at PSG].

"We are in touch with the player but I'm not sure if it's a definitive move. You have to ask the sport director [Antero Henrique]."

The Parisians fielded a new-look attack against Caen due to the absence of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. Neymar was asked to lead the line for PSG and did so with aplomb as he scored the opening goal in the 10th minute.

Tuchel told the press: "It was a possibility for him [Neymar] to start the game from the beginning and play some minutes up front," Tuchel said. "It's not the same intensity than on a wing.

"But Cavani will be back and Timothy also is playing some games. It was a tough decision for Timothy because he played every game since the last five weeks. But it is necessary for Neymar to play, because for him and for the other players who came back lately, it's still a preparation time.

"This time starts now for them but, at the same time, the season is starting. That's why it's a difficult moment. That's why we decided Neymar to play as a number nine."

Kovac: Lewandowski showed his class

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac praised Robert Lewandowski after he scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFL-Supercup on Sunday.

Kovac, who left Frankfurt to take over from Jupp Heynckes at Bayern, was delighted with Lewandowski's performance and also credited Heynckes for the team he left behind after retiring.

"We don't have to talk that much about Robert. He is a very good and world class striker, who proved this today," Kovac said via DAZN.

"It's not easy to score three goals in 70 minutes. And I have to mention that the reason why we played today is because of Eintracht Frankfurt and Jupp Heynckes, who won the championship last year.

"Thanks to him to leave me this strong team. To work with this squad, that's fun. I hope that we continue to be so successful."

Asked about the game itself, Kovac added: "We managed to let the ball circulate well. We actually did not allow any big scoring chances. I imagined that as well.

"The first 20 minutes were not easy, because Frankfurt were compact. Through a strong action on the right side by [Joshua] Kimmich and Lewandowski, the game gets easier for us. Then of course it plays in our cards. Maybe you could have expected one or two goals less.

"I am satisfied and I hope that this title will strengthen us in the future. Of course I wish my Eintracht all the best and that the season is as successful as the last one."

Effenberg advises Boateng to move to PSG

Former Bayern Munich captain Stefan Effenberg has admitted that if he were Jerome Boateng's advisor, he would tell the defender to move to Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Manchester City player was linked with a move to Manchester United before the English transfer window closed on 9 August.

However, rumours of a potential exit for Boateng continue to swirl, and Effenberg has admitted that he would be a major loss for the German champions.

"Personally, I can't understand giving up such a great, experienced player. There can't be any sporting reasons," he told Bild am Sonntag.

"There was no commitment from the club for him. Despite his injury problems, for me, he's one of the best in the league.

"If I were his advisor, I would advise him to move to Paris, where he's welcome and would be able to win the Champions League."

Effenberg has also admitted that Bayern are taking a chance by fighting tooth and nail to hold onto Robert Lewandowski even though his agent has said that he wants a new challenge.

"If a player desperately wants to go, you have to let him," said the former midfielder.

"Taking a dissatisfied player into the new season is risky."

Rebic pens new Frankfurt contract

Eintracht Frankfurt have secured their prized asset Ante Rebic on a new four-year contract after the forward was heavily linked with a move away.

The 24-year-old Croatia international impressed at the 2018 World Cup, which caught the attention of Manchester United and Bayern Munich, but he has opted to commit himself to Die Adler.

"Ante was certainly one of the most positive stars of the World Cup and we do not have to hide the fact that he awakened interest," Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic told the club's official website.

"It speaks for Eintracht Frankfurt that we have managed to keep such a strong player, who can certainly be described as a high flyer.

"Ante was wooed by some of the top clubs and had one or two better overseas offers, but staying with us shows that he has the Eagles in his heart and that we are on the right path with our plans, that we have taken another step forward in terms of cost-effectiveness and can keep top players.

"With his dynamism and speed, he fits perfectly into the system of our coach Adi Hutter. It was important for us to keep his qualities in our ranks.

"For many Eintracht fans, Ante is a figure of honour - not least because of his two beautiful goals in the DFB-Pokal final - and will have been keeping their fingers crossed to hear this great news."

Schurrle: Some Dortmund fans were 'jealous'

New Fulham signing Andre Schurrle has revealed that the poor relationship he had with a section of the Borussia Dortmund fans led to his departure.

The 27-year-old winger has joined the newly-promoted Cottagers on a two-year loan deal after enduring a difficult two seasons at Signal Iduna Park.

Schurrle, who won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2015, was not a regular starter for Dortmund and scored only three Bundesliga goals in 33 appearances for the German club.

A section of BVB supporters targeted Schurrle with ironic chants of "we'll drink until Schurrle scores", and the Germany international admits it was a challenging time.

"We had a difficult last two years when I was in Dortmund," Schurrle told the Sun.

"It was not easy, the relationship between fans and players. It's a big jealousy thing in Germany that you have from fans - not the hardcore fans, because they always stand behind their team.

"It's not easy, especially for a German national team player who did great things in the past and maybe is struggling. That's why I think most of the German national team play abroad because if you don't play for Bayern Munich and you don't always win, it's difficult."

Agent: Witsel chose Dortmund over United

Axel Witsel's agent claims the midfielder snubbed Manchester United in order to join Borussia Dortmund, after an 18-month spell in China with Tianjin Quanjian.

The Belgium international, who impressed during his country's run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, reached an agreement with Dortmund on Monday after they met his £18 million release clause.

Witsel agreed a four-year contract at Signal Iduna Park and is due to be unveiled later this week. However, Paul Stefani has revealed that his client had other suitors and rejected the advances of United and Napoli.

Speaking to Belgian outlet HLN, Stefani said: "We chatted for a moment, Axel says, 'Maybe I want to leave China'. I say to him laughing, 'Axel, I promise that I will come up with something really great!'

"I remembered that a few months earlier I had been to Dortmund, where I met someone from the club. I call that man and he brings me into contact with the management.

"Sports director Michael Zorc and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke invited me to come and talk at a time when Axel was at the World Cup in Russia. There I heard that Dortmund were looking for a player like Witsel.

"I explained to them that the Portuguese lawyer of Witsel has negotiated a buyout clause of €20m with Tianjin. That sounded like music to them, because they thought that Tianjin would ask for an amount of around €60m for Axel.

"When the transfer later started rolling, the Chinese still tried to get out of that buyout clause, but it was conclusive.

"There were other candidates. Manchester United wanted him, Napoli too. But I told Axel, 'At Dortmund you are the number one, at Manchester you are one of the many... and at Napoli too'."

Kovac: Lewandowski has accepted he will stay

Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac says he has informed Robert Lewandowski that there is no way the club will sell him before the season starts.

The Poland international has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for months and also stated that he is looking for "a change and a new challenge in his career".

Meanwhile, Kovac has made it clear the Bavarian giants have no intention of parting ways with their prized asset, who still has three years left on his contract at the Allianz Arena.

"It's true that Robert and I had a conversation last week," Kovac told Sport Bild. "Robert knows how I think about him and what I think of him.

"The whole club knows the qualities he has. He is certainly among the top three strikers in his position worldwide. We certainly will not give him up.

"That's the statement I gave him. Robert accepted that. I really enjoyed that."

Kehl: Gotze heading into a 'crucial season'

Borussia Dortmund fans can expect big things from midfielder Mario Gotze this season, according to the new head of the player division Sebastian Kehl.

Gotze endured two difficult years at the BVB after returning from Bayern Munich in 2016 and failed to make the Germany squad for the 2018 World Cup.

However, Kehl, who is a former Dortmund captain, is confident that the 26-year-old can rediscover the form of 2012/13 when he bagged 10 goals and made 12 assists for the BVB in the Bundesliga.

"I have good access to Mario, not only because we've been teammates," Kehl told Sport Bild. "He knows that I highly rate him. But, like with everyone else, performance is at the centre of the thinking."

He added: "He's heading into a crucial season, and he has set himself high goals. After the first couple of weeks of preseason, I am confident that we will see more of the Mario who enthused BVB and its fans so often in the past. And that we'll see more consistency."

Ba-Muaka Simakala leaves Gladbach

Ba-Muaka Simakala and Borussia Monchengladbach have parted ways after a seven-year spell.

The 21-year-old, who joined the Foals' academy in 2011 from Alemannia Aachen, has signed for Roda JC Kerkrade in the Jupiler League until 2020.

Roda were relegated from the Eredivisie last season in the play-offs.

The former Germany under 18 international broke into the first side at Gladbach in 2016 but played just one Bundesliga game, in January 2017.

He scored 14 goals in 51 league games for the Regionalliga under 23 team.

A brief statement from the club read: "Everyone at Borussia wishes him the best of luck in his sporting career!"

Rummenigge: Bayern still have too many midfielders

Even after offloading Arturo Vidal to Barcelona, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has admitted there are still too many midfielders at the club.

With the transfer window still in full swing, Rummenigge said that if some of them want to leave the Allianz Arena, he would consider offers.

Speaking on 100% Bundesliga, he said: "It's normal that there are a lot of rumours coming in during the transfer season and it is well known that we have nine midfielders and a maximum of three to four positions.

"That's a lot - actually too much. Both we and the coach are of the opinion that if one player or the other wants to leave, we will deal with it seriously."

Bayern are heading into a new era under head coach Niko Kovac, who has replaced Jupp Heynckes.

Star striker Robert Lewandowski has been linked with an exit, but Rummenigge has insisted that Kovac will have him at his disposal.

"Lewandowski has world-class quality and has averaged 30 goals in recent years," he said.

"I'm convinced that he will soon surpass 30 goals. I trust him. You have to deal with pressure at FC Bayern - that's our daily routine.

"It's a bit of a new journey for us, but I think Niko (Kovac) has an exciting, good career behind him. The most important thing is he has our complete confidence and approaches the job with zeal."

Leverkusen loan Thelin from Anderlecht

Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen have added Sweden international Isaac Kiese Thelin to their squad on a loan deal from Belgian giants Anderlecht.

The 26-year-old striker joins Leverkusen on a one-year loan, although they have an option to make the deal permanent in the future.

Thelin joined Anderlecht from French club Bordeaux in August 2017 and was immediately loaned out to Waasland-Beveren, where he impressed with 16 goals in 27 Jupiler Pro League appearances.

"He has developed excellently in the Belgian league," Leverkusen head coach Heiko Herrlich told the media.

"Isaac is an additional option for our offensive play. It will make us even more variable in attack."

Thelin has made 24 international appearances for Sweden, scoring two goals. He also featured in four of his country's 2018 World Cup games in Russia.

Ribery: Vidal is a big loss, I hope Boateng stays

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has lamented Arturo Vidal's exit and also stated that he hopes Jerome Boateng will stay at the Bundesliga champions.

Vidal has left Die Roten after spending the last three years at the club, helping them to three consecutive Bundesliga titles, and Ribery believes it's a big blow for Bayern.

"This is a difficult situation for us, Arturo was a really great player and also a good person, he has always been positive, has brought a lot of fun, it is a pity. We have to wish him and his family good luck," said Ribery, according to ESPN FC.

Meanwhile, there is also doubt surrounding the future of Bayern centre-back Jerome Boateng. The Germany international has been linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, but Ribery hopes he will stay.

He continued: "I hope he stays with us because he is very important with his presence, and for me he is one of the best center-backs in the world.

The France international also spoke about new Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac, adding: "He brings discipline to the team, loves his job and has a lot of energy, he's a motivator.

"It works well with him because he knows when we have to work very hard on the pitch and when we need to be free."

Dortmund reach agreement with Witsel

Axel Witsel has attained his goal of returning to Europe after Borussia Dortmund agreed to pay the release clause in his contract at Tianjin Quanjian.

Reports in Germany last week claimed that Dortmund were set to activate his €20 million release after the Belgium international impressed during his country's run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

Quanjian manager Paulo Sousa was hoping to keep hold of Witsel until the end of the year as the Chinese transfer window had already closed last month.

But BVB appear to have followed in the footsteps of Barcelona, who acquired the services of Paulinho in August 2017 after triggering his release clause at Guangzhou Evergrande.

Witsel has reached an agreement on a four-year deal with the Bundesliga giants and is looking forward to playing in one of the best leagues in the world.

"After the World Cup, I was determined to transfer back to Europe. I am really happy and also proud that I will soon be able to play for BVB," the 29-year-old midfielder told the club's official website.

"I didn't have to think about it for very long after our first discussion because Borussia Dortmund is one of the best clubs on the continent in my opinion. I honestly cannot wait to run out in front of 81.000 people."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "We have been very interested in bringing Axel to the club for a number of months now and are really happy that he has opted for Borussia Dortmund.

"Axel is a player of great international experience who brings all the qualities required to make a mark on the BVB midfield: tactical awareness, strength when challenging for the ball, pace, creativity, and mentality."

Witsel is expected to finalise his move to Signal Iduna Park this week, but has already linked up with Lucien Favre's squad for their pre-season training camp in Switzerland.

Bailey: I have a few clubs chasing me

Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey has confirmed there is definite interest in his services from a few clubs, but he remains focused on his job.

The 20-year-old Jamaican has reportedly attracted the interest of Chelsea and Roma, but insists the speculation won't distract him from his work, as he aims to continue his development.

Despite his age, Bailey is already well-traveled having spent time in Austria, Slovakia and Belgium before moving to Germany.

"There's concrete interest," he told Kicker. "What I can say is that my full focus is on developing myself as a young player, and that's what I'll focus on.

"If a club wants me, my management and Bayer 04 will take care of it."

Bailey signed for Leverkusen from Genk in January 2017 and impressed in the Bundesliga last season with nine goals and six assists in 30 appearances.

Kovac: Boateng's future still undecided

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac says there is nothing new to report regarding defender Jerome Boateng's future, with Manchester United reportedly interested.

The 29-year-old has been at the Allianz Arena for seven years and has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles. Boateng has stated that he is considering taking on a new challenge this season and has already been linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain and now United as well. 

However, when Kovac was asked about Boateng's future, he stated that there are no new developments and that he is happy to have the Germany international at the club.

"Regarding Jerome, there's nothing new," Kovac told reporters after Bayern's 1-0 win over United in a friendly on Sunday.

"Jerome has played a really good match today when he came in.

"I am happy about him being with us again. Not only him but also the others."

Perisic: Bayern know where to find me

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic has insisted he is happy at his current club, but also hinted that he would not mind a move to Bayern Munich.

New Bayern head coach Niko Kovac was in charge of the Croatia national team between 2013 and 2015, and Perisic has fond memories of his country's former manager.

"He had very big influence on me, I played great for Croatia under him and I congratulate him on everything he has done in Germany and signing for Bayern," the 29-year-old told Sportske Novosti.

Perisic has also been heavily linked with Manchester United, and on the possibility of a move away, he said: "Last year I signed new five-year deal with Inter, I enjoy great status at the club.

"It is true Inter has not had the results it should have since 2010, there were some problems, bad decisions, but somehow I feel we are on the right way to return to old glory.

"I heard some clubs want me but they have to talk to my club and only after that could I join the negotiations and decide. If I was to change club, it could only be to a top league and top club."

Although he singled out England and Spain as countries which he would like to test himself in, Perisic suggested that Bayern have a chance of acquiring his services too.

On the possibility of reuniting with Kovac at the Allianz Arena, he said: "Me? If they want me, they know where to find me!"

Perisic picked up 11 goals and nine assists during the 2017/18 Serie A campaign before shining for his country in their run to the World Cup final in Russia.

Reus named new Dortmund captain

Marco Reus has been named Borussia Dortmund’s new captain after Marcel Schmelzer decided to step down from the role.

Reus has led out the Dortmund side during pre-season after wearing the armband on five occasions during the second half of last season.

Defender Schmelzer announced in May that he wanted to pass the armband on to someone else and new boss Lucien Favre has now confirmed that Reus will lead his hometown club on a permanent basis.

"The coach told me today that I will be the new captain. That is a huge honor and makes me very proud,” said Reus.

Reus returned from a long-term absence through knee ligament damage in the second half of last season and forced his way into the Germany World Cup squad as a result.

Favre said: "He is a role model. He has a lot of experience and has been at the club a long time. It is the logical choice."