Leverkusen rubbish Leno to Bayern reports

Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voeller denounced as “gibberish” media reports on Monday that their Germany international goalkeeper Bernd Leno is set to join Bayern Munich in January.

“That is gibberish,” said Voeller of any move for Leno, who has more than two years left on his Bayer contract.

Bayern, who are dealing with a goalkeeper injury crisis, also rubbished the reports, and in a statement on their website threatened legal action against outlets who claimed they are chasing Leno.

“This is a total dead duck,” said Bayern’s director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic. 

“We are very satisfied with our goalkeepers.”

Bayern have the most star-studded squad in the German top flight, but they have had serious shot-stopper woes this season.

A fractured foot has sidelined first-choice Manuel Neuer since September, and under-study Sven Ulreich pulled out of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt after straining his groin in the warm-up.

Third-choice 36-year-old Tom Starke, who Bayern plucked out of retirement in September when injury-hit Neuer, stepped in at short-notice to keep a clean sheet in Frankfurt.

Bayern’s under-19 shotstopper Ron Thorben Hoffmann, 18, was hastily named on the bench.

Ulreich is set to return for Wednesday’s home Bundesliga clash against bottom side Cologne.

With Germany captain Neuer not expected back in training until January at the earliest, Ulreich has proved to be a worthy understudy.

He has put in a string of strong performances recently as Bayern have moved eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and into the knock-out stages of the Champions League, in which they were drawn against Besiktas in the last 16 on Monday.

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