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No respite for Bayern players with Leverkusen game looming

(AP Photo/Andreas Schaad, File)

By CIARÁN FAHEY

AP Sports Writer

BERLIN (AP) The international break provided little respite for Bayern Munich's struggling stars ahead of the team's high-stakes Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann welcomed Germany players Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry back to training on Wednesday after what proved to be a frustrating two games with the national team.

The rain they encountered in Munich matched the mood.

Bayern, after four games without a win in the Bundesliga, had been hoping that Germany's Nations League games against Hungary and England would help reinvigorate its players and restore confidence ahead of a busy schedule of domestic and Champions League games.

Instead, Bayern's players took their poor form to the Germany team, which lost 1-0 at home to Hungary, then drew 3-3 with England after throwing away a two-goal lead.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer and midfielder Leon Goretzka missed the Germany games due to coronavirus infections, but both were back on the training field for Nagelsmann on Tuesday.

Nagelsmann had said he was going to use the break to think "about everything" after Bayern ended its run of three draws with a loss in Augsburg, the team's first defeat of the season.

Only a convincing performance on Friday will ease the pressure on the coach, who seemed to be at a loss to explain his team's slump. Bayern next faces a visit to Borussia Dortmund for "der Klassiker" the following weekend.

Leverkusen also needs to make amends after its disappointing start. Gerardo Seoane's team is in crisis after just one win from seven league games so far.

"Both teams are in a similar situation - each at their own level. Both are dissatisfied with the results, but both also show many positive signs," Seoane said. "Bayern Munich had an incredible number of scoring chances in every game. We don't need to talk about quality."

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Updated September 29, 2022

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