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Daily Schmankerl: Has Timo Werner officially joined the Dark Side — and not the one he’s already with; Mario Mandzukic to Qatar or MLS?; Zlatan or Nihad?; Callum Hudson-Odoi expected to sign with Chelsea any day now; and MORE!

On to Red Star Belgrade!

Buducnost Voli Podgorica v FC Bayern Munich - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Photo by Savo Prelevic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Mandzukic making a move to Al-Gharafa SC or MLS? (Transfer Market Web)

The agent for Juventus outcast Mario Mandzukic is reportedly going to meet with officials from Al-Gharafa SC in the Qatar Stars League. It feels like Mandzukic still has something to offer big clubs, so this would be sort of disappointing to see the 33-year-old settle for a stint in a lesser league:

According to Tuttosport, Ivan Cvjetkovic, agent of former Croatian international striker Mario Mandzukic (33), fallen out of grace at Juventus in the aftermath of Bianconeri change of team-running, after four successful seasons, is meeting Al-Gharafa top brass tomorrow. Mandzukic is going to agree on a 6 million euros annual salary, while Serie A defending champions are cashing in a sum included between 10 and 15 million euros.

Another report, however, refutes the Qatari destination and thinks that Mandzukic might be looking at a stint with Los Angeles Football Club — which would pit him against the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic next season (should Zlatan stay in MLS another year) in El Tráfico. Per kicker:

After all, the big transfer window is closed and a switch to Al-Gharafa in Qatar is not an issue according to “Gazzetta dello Sport”. Expert Gianluca Di Marzio now talks about Los Angeles FC having their eye on Mandzukic from the MLS. And the former Wolfsburg, Munich and Atletico professional is not disinclined. If the change were to take place, the striker would be the next star in the Californian metropolis. A certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic (37) kicks next door at L.A. Galaxy.

Hudson-Odoi closing in on signing new deal (kicker)

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea are inching closer to getting a new deal finalized (as expected):

According to an English media report, Callum Hudson-Odoi is about to sign a new five-year contract with Chelsea. Months ago, FC Bayern Munich had extended feelers to the 18-year-old and the player submitted an official transfer application to the Blues. But it was clear for some time that Chelsea would not let the youngster, who is currently recovering from an Achilles tendon tear, pull away. This would also mean that a free transfer exit next summer is off the table.

You did this Brazzo (@RBLeipzig_EN)

Do you know what happens when you prevent a move by Timo Werner to Bayern Munich, Brazzo (Picture Walter Sobchak and The Dude sitting on a couch in Brazzo’s office saying this)? Yup, that’s right, you turn him right to the dark side:

This is the second Star Wars reference in the past two weeks. Remember this tweet with Darth Neuer?

Anyway, Michael Ballack indicated that he thinks “Werner-to-Bayern” will become a theme again next summer (per tz):

He has expressed his gratitude to Leipzig with his contract extension. But I think it could be hot again next year with a change to Bayern.

Here’s an admission as well...I still haven’t watched The Last Jedi yet. I have been putting it off for almost two years because I wasn’t super-happy with The Force Awakens (frankly, it felt too contrived and unoriginal to me). I did thoroughly enjoy Rogue One (the best of the “new” movies) and thought Solo was good — not great.

An observation: Will #KovacOut be deafening soon? (Bavarian Football Works)

I’ve supported giving Niko Kovac time to get ingrained in Bayern Munich as coach and to give him the opportunity to make things work — or fail — on his own volition. To this point in the season, Bayern Munich is undefeated (albeit with two draws), but things do not appear to be running smoothly on the pitch.

The injury to David Alaba — while it hurt the team — might actually force Kovac to move Joshua Kimmich back to his former home at right-back. Kimmich has performed extremely well in a defensive midfield role, but Bayern has a wealth of depth in the midfield (especially if Kovac sticks to a 4-3-3) that could offset his return to the defensive flank. Benjamin Pavard is capable at right-back, but not nearly as impactful offensively as Kimmich. Overall, the team just loses a bit of its offensive aggression when Kimmich is not bombing down the right side causing havoc.

Regardless, the longer the team appears to scuffle and the formation does not settle, a large segment of the Bayern fanbase is going to get more vocal with its calls for #KovacOut. While I’ve been defending him for over a year, it will be extremely tough to keep up this stance if Kovac can’t start to figure out how to make the best use of his roster.

The season is young, for sure, but the patience level for many is wearing thin.

Looking to catch-up on the Bundesliga action from the weekend? I’ve got you covered (The Barrel)

For a capsule-style recap of the Bundesliga’s weekend fixtures and some other fun stuff? Just click here.

Yes, you are reading this correctly (@FCBayern)

How about SC Freiburg and its mad genius of a coach Christian Streich sitting in third place?

Nihad or Zlatan? (@FCBayernUS)

It’s great to see Nihad Đedović and FC Bayern basketball have a little fun with how much he looks like LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

Speaking of Zlatan, he had a big night on Sunday:

Havertz making a strong impression on teammates (@bayer04_en)

Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz is on the verge of a huge breakout and everyone can see it:

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