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Flick seeking Kimmich replacement for Bayern half century

Berlin (AFP) – Hansi Flick needs to settle on a replacement for Bayern Munich’s injured midfield dynamo Joshua Kimmich ahead of his 50th game as head coach on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Kimmich is recovering from knee surgery after limping off in the 3-2 win at Dortmund a fortnight ago which kept Bayern top of the Bundesliga.

Bayern boss Flick was “relieved” that Kimmich should be able to return in January, but in the meantime must find a midfield replacement for Saturday’s match at Werder Bremen.

Veteran Javi Martinez, 32, is the prime candidate as Corentin Tolisso returned from France duty carrying a knock. 

Having taken over when Niko Kovac was sacked last November, Flick steered Bayern to the Champions League title last season as part of the treble.

The 55-year-old has the best record of any Bayern coach going into his 50th match in all competitions.

Under Flick, Bayern have won five titles by also lifting the Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Super Cup and German Super Cup as well as the Champions League.

They can add a sixth title in February at the FIFA Club World Cup in Doha.

His record of 45 wins, one draw and three defeats puts Flick ahead of former top Bayern coaches Pep Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes, who steered them to the 2013 treble.

Mid-table Bremen are unbeaten in their last six league games since losing to Hertha Berlin on the opening day of the season, but Bayern have won their last 19 league games against Bremen dating back to 2010.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has scored 19 times against Bremen and three more would see him reach the landmark of 250 Bundesliga goals.

Having climbed to second with a 3-0 win over Freiburg a fortnight ago, RB Leipzig are chasing a first win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

In their four seasons in Germany’s top flight, Leipzig have never won at Frankfurt, a statistic the visitor’s coach Julian Nagelsmann wants to fix.

“Leipzig have never played well there. We’re missing a win. It’s time to change that,” Nagelsmann said Thursday.

He praised the performance of Leipzig’s attacking midfielder Dani Olmo who was “the best player on the pitch” in Spain’s 6-0 trashing of Germany on Tuesday.

One to watch: Youssoufa Moukoko 

Bundesliga history could be made at Hertha Berlin on Saturday if Moukoko, who turns 16 on Friday, makes his league debut for Borussia Dortmund.

The teen has scored a mind-blowing 47 goals in 25 matches for Dortmund U19s over two seasons and has been training with the first team.

Dortmund have hinted he might play at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and therefore become the youngest player in the league’s history.

Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia says Moukoko’s goal-scoring feats in German youth football proves he is good enough to potentially make his senior bow. 

“He knows where the goal is, so his age is absolutely irrelevant,” Labbadia said Thursday.

“Whether you are 16 or 35 — if you can score goals, then there is a place for you.”

Key stats

27 – wins Hansi Flick has enjoyed in his first 31 German league games as Bayern head coach.

21 – the games Thomas Mueller has played for Bayern against Bremen and never lost.

13 – the goals Moukoko has scored in just four games this season for Dortmund Under-19s.

Fixtures (all times 1430 GMT unless stated)


Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Augsburg, Hoffenheim v Stuttgart, Schalke 04 v Wolfsburg, Arminia Bielefeld v Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig (1730), Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund (1930)


Freiburg v Mainz, Cologne v Union Berlin (1700)

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