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Will Sule benefit from Bayern move?

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Transfer Rater: Brandt to Liverpool

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Badstuber loan perfect for Bayern and City

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Bundesliga questions: Can Leipzig keep up? Will Bayern win the treble?

ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein makes the case for Bayern Munich losing out on the Bundesliga title this season.
Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Tuchel sits down with Raf Honigstein to talk about Christian Pulisic, injury woes and more.
Gab Marcotti sits down with Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti to discuss his transition to Germany, Arsene Wenger and more.

Friday night sees the return of the Bundesliga after a four-week break and, from top to bottom, it's very much game on.

Bayern Munich's three-point lead makes this the closest title race in five years, while half of the league's 18 teams have a shot at the Champions League places. Below them, no one is yet safe from the drop; not even blue-chips clubs such as Schalke 04, Wolfsburg or Borussia Monchengladbach.

Here are the five key questions for the drama that lies ahead.

Will RB Leipzig do "a Hoffenheim"?

In...

 By Mark Lovell

Xabi Alonso still has plenty to give Bayern Munich amid retirement talk

The FC crew have strong words of praise for Xabi Alonso after reports that the midfielder will retire at season's end.
Janusz Michallik reminisces on the career of Xabi Alonso after reports indicate the Bayern superstar will retire at the end of the season.
Xabi Alonso backs former manger Pep Guardiola to prove his critics wrong and tips former club Liverpool for a title push.
Arjen Robben was in a jovial mood after signing a new one-year extension with Bayern Munich.
Thomas Muller dials into his passport, Real Madrid continue their record streak and more in The Sweeper.

Bayern Munich's Xabi Alonso is reportedly planning to retire at the end of the season, with Sport Bild claiming the veteran midfielder has already informed the club's hierarchy of his decision.

But until Alonso reveals his intentions himself, it would be wise to consider all eventualities.

Even his trusted boss Carlo Ancelotti is still in the dark about Alonso's plans, confirming at Thursday's news conference that Alonso hasn't spoken with him yet.

"I have no news," the Italian coach said ahead...

Five things to watch as the Bundesliga returns from the winter break

ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein makes the case for Bayern Munich losing out on the Bundesliga title this season.

On Friday, the Bundesliga will resume from its 29-day break as Bayern Munich will look to stretch its lead to six points against Freiburg.

Here are five things to watch for in the second half of the season:

1. Are RB Leipzig the real deal?

For the first time in five seasons, Bayern's holiday-break lead at the top of the table is only three points. What's even more surprising: The team responsible for Bayern's narrow lead is RB Leipzig, perhaps Europe's most surprising story of the season's first...

 By Mark Lovell

Bayern wary of Freiburg trip as they return from month-long Winterpause

Arjen Robben believes things can only get better for Bayern Munich after the winter break.
Arjen Robben was in a jovial mood after signing a new one-year extension with Bayern Munich.
Janusz Michallik reminisces on the career of Xabi Alonso after reports indicate the Bayern superstar will retire at the end of the season.

Snow and ice have gripped Germany, but the Bundesliga's month-long hibernation finally comes to a much-anticipated end on Friday with league leaders Bayern Munich travelling to play SC Freiburg.

And the hosts have an excellent opportunity of catching Bayern cold and at their most vulnerable. We only have to go back a couple of years when a Kevin De Bruyne-inspired Wolfsburg took advantage of Bayern's winter slumber to hand Pep Guardiola's side an embarrassing 4-1 defeat on resumption after the...

Will Hoffenheim's Niklas Sule benefit from Bayern Munich move?

Thomas Muller dials into his passport, Real Madrid continue their record streak and more in The Sweeper.

It was announced this weekend that Hoffenheim centre-back Niklas Sule will move to Bayern Munich this summer, alongside teammate Sebastian Rudy. The 21-year-old is one of the most highly-rated young defenders in the game, but will he fulfil his potential at the German champions? Or be consigned to a scrapheap that includes such stars as Mario Gotze?

Here, two of ESPN FC's German experts explain the deal.

Sule has made a good move and will be star for Bayern -- Stephan Uersfeld

Sule was well-advised...

Thomas Tuchel relaxed but aware of rising pressure at Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Tuchel sits down with Raf Honigstein to talk about Christian Pulisic, injury woes and more.

MARBELLA, Spain -- For much of the winter training camp in Andalusia, Borussia Dortmund's worries seemed far away, somewhere beyond the horizon, invisible against the soothing sunlight.

Manager Thomas Tuchel, who'd cut a harried, unhappy figure before Christmas, was notably relaxed in his dealings with the players and the media in the semi-holiday atmosphere of Marbella -- joking a lot as he discussed his eating habits ("I'm tempted by rubbish food after wins") and the unenviable task of following...