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Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham all competing for Konrad Laimer; FC Barcelona closing in on Bayern prospect; Chelsea’s Kai Havertz knows he’s not Robert Lewandowski; Douglas Costa doing what he does; and MORE!

Was Berni in Ibiza, too?

Atalanta v RB Leipzig: Quarter Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Bayern, BVB, LFC, Spurs in the race for Laimer (kicker via @iMiaSanMia)

According to a report from kicker, Bayern Munich is still in the hunt for RB Leipzig ball-winning midfielder Konrad Laimer after the scorching hot rumors cooled off a bit over the past week.

The Bavarians, however, are not alone.

Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur are all in the mix for Laimer.

While I understand why Bayern Munich wants Laimer, I am not sure I understand why Laimer would want Bayern Munich from a logistics standpoint. Sure, like Marcel Sabitzer, Laimer would be better positioned to win trophies in Bavaria, but at what expense for his career? Will he play enough to satisfy his urge to be on the pitch? Would he be able to usurp a starting role from Joshua Kimmich or Leon Goretzka?

If I was Laimer (and I am sure he is thankful every day that this is not the case), I’d strongly consider Borussia Dortmund if my focus was being on the pitch.

The move to be a big club is always great in theory, until you end up on the bench for 34 of the season. Dortmund could offer him playing time, European football, and maybe a shot at contention in the Bundesliga next season.

Havertz says he is not Lewy (Football London)

Chelsea FC star and Germany international Kai Havertz was known mostly for his role as an attacking midfielder with Bayer Leverkusen, but is not being asked to play much more like a prototypical striker these days in London.

Recently, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel spoke about that and why he might not ever play the position in a traditional manner:

Chelsea forward Kai Havertz has admitted that he doesn’t ‘play like’ Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as the Blues’ attacking conundrum continues ahead of the Premier League trip to Everton.

Havertz, 22, as well as having 19 goal contributions and counting in all competitions for the Blues this term, has already won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup since completing his £70million plus move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2020. However in recent games, alongside the rest of the Chelsea attack, he has faltered when having opportunities to add to his ever-growing goal contributions list with the Man United draw a prime example of the development he still has in his game if he is to reach the elite level.

“I think many players can look up to the quality, attitude and career of Ronaldo,” Tuchel said in his post-match press conference regarding his number 29 potentially looking up to Cristiano Ronaldo as a role model. He went on to add on the decisive edge issue for the whole team: “That is the target to which we work. It’s also for them to adapt, there is still a time of adaptation to the rhythm and schedule. The schedule is ruthless for us and still, it’s the moment that they have to adapt to the league, the physicality, the rhythm, the demands. The boys are still young: Mason (Mount) is still young, Timo is still young, Kai is still young. It will come., they will learn because they are good guys and have the right attitude. It’s not always easy to arrive fully composed and with the biggest ease because we demand a lot off the counter-pressing, attacking with the first line when the opponents wants to play out. So they have a bit of credit.”

At 22, the sky is still the limit for Chelsea’s attacking talismanic figure who has had to shoulder a lot of the responsibility for scoring goals this term due to Romelu Lukaku’s deficiencies, but there are still questions as to if the Champions League final goalscorer is the long-term option in the number 9 role.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Postgame Show — Mainz 3-1 Bayern Munich (Bavarian Football Works)

Sometimes, that post-title hangover can hit a team hard. Bayern Munich were sleepwalking on the pitch against Mainz today and paid dearly for it, although the scoreline is nowhere near as bad as it could’ve been. Even allowing for the fact that team captain Manuel Neuer and vice captain Thomas Muller did not start in the XI, this was an unacceptably poor performance from Bayern, characterized by a strong lack of effort and leadership. Unfortunately, since the game comes after we’ve already won the title, it doesn’t make sense to overanalyze every single thing.

Here are our talking points from the game:

  • How Julian Nagelsmann didn’t go far enough with experimenting with the lineup.
  • Why Alphonso Davies’ positioning in the hybrid back-three/four system compromises his defending.
  • Marcel Sabitzer may have sealed his future with this game.
  • Bayern Munich’s mentality problem under Nagelsmann — an inability to deal with adversity.

Barca making contingency plans (The Hard Tackle)

FC Barcelona could be speeding up its back-up plans to find a striker. With Robert Lewandowski no sure thing to leave Bayern Munich, Barca was linked to Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku in yesterday’s Schmankerl — and now could go to Brazil to find another center-forward:

La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are reportedly weighing up the prospect of signing 25-year-old Brazilian international Gabigol from Flamengo in the summer.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Gabigol is the subject of interest from Barcelona over a possible move in the summer transfer window. The Brazilian international, who has emerged as a possible Robert Lewandowski alternative, is valued at around €30 million by Flamengo.

Gabriel Barbosa, better known as Gabigol, has resurrected his stuttering career since joining Flamengo from Inter Milan. The 25-year-old initially returned to Brazil on a season-long loan deal until the end of the 2019 season before moving to Flamengo permanently in January 2020. And he has not looked back since.

While Lewandowski is open to joining Barcelona, Bayern Munich will not entertain any offers for the Polish international, prompting the Blaugrana to identify alternatives. Several players have thus emerged on Barcelona’s radar, with Gabigol the latest striker to be linked with the La Liga heavyweights.

Signing the Brazilian international will not set Barcelona back by much either, with Flamengo likely to demand around €30 million for him. The price tag should fall within Barcelona’s budget, and it will be interesting to see if they are ready to table a €30 million bid to prise Gabigol away from Flamengo in the summer transfer window.

Jumping the gun a bit on Haller-to-Bayern (Football Espana)

This seems to be way too sure of a report that Sebastien Haller will be “the one” to replace Robert Lewandowski:

Bayern Munich have chosen a Robert Lewandowski replacement. Barcelona are keen on signing the Polish striker this summer transfer window and so the Bavarian giants will need to bring in another number nine should that eventuality come to pass.

That man, according to Diario AS, is Ajax’s Sebastien Haller. Haller, 27, has scored 33 goals for Ajax so far this season and has already been contacted by Bayern. Their official position is that they want to keep Lewandowski but behind the scenes they’re yet to meaningfully move to extend his deal, which expires in 2023.

Lewandowski is thought to be annoyed about this. Haller isn’t the only Ajax player Bayern have their eye on. Also connected with moves to the Bundesliga champions are midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and full-back Noussair Mazraoui.

Haller, an Ivory Coast international, was born in France and came through the youth system with Auxerre. He left for the Netherlands and Utrecht in 2015 before a two-year spell in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt. He then spent two seasons in the Premier League with West Ham United before joining Ajax in the summer of 2021 and enjoying real success.

Costa still gives zero F’s (@MattDoyle76)

Douglas Costa has been stealing money for years in Germany and Italy, but now he’s doing it in MLS:

Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 1, Episode 47 (Bavarian Football Works)

In the wake of Bayern Munich’s 10th consecutive Bundesliga title being clinched, some fans felt a little bitter thinking about what might have been for this season. While that might be natural, take a little time from thinking about what didn’t happen and focus on what did.

Winning ten straight league crowns is no joke!

On this episode, we tackle that topic and a whole lot more. This is what we have on tap:

  • A look at Bayern Munich’s title run and why it’s okay to just celebrate the accomplishment even if you feel like this squad should have done more.
  • The latest on Robert Lewandowski contract talks and where things might be headed.
  • Erling Haaland spent “hours” talking to Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic at the sporting director’s home...what does that mean?
  • Bayern Munich’s others option at striker should Lewandowski bolt.
  • Why that story about Bayern Munich’s last ditch effort to get Nico Schlotterbeck might be true.

Yildiz to Barca getting closer to happening (Barca Universal)

FC Barcelona appears to be closing in on its much-rumored deal for Bayern Munich youngster Kenan Yildiz:

According to a recent report from Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are among the clubs in contention to sign Kenan Yildiz in the upcoming summer transfer window.

An attacking midfielder by trade, the Yildiz is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the Bayern Munich academy. He currently plies his trade with the club’s U-19 setup, but many expect him to make the jump to professional football in the years to come.

The German Rekordmeister have shown the desire to tie Yildiz down to a long-term contract. But the youngster appears to be a bit apprehensive about penning a new deal amid worries over his place in the club’s youth setup.

The teenage youth prospect is upset over the recent signing of Lovro Zvonarek. The young Croat has joined the Bundesliga giants for a fee of around €1.8 million and plays in the same position as Yildiz.