'Craziest stories' - Bayern's search for Lewandowski back-up leads to Leverkusen outcast Kiessling

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The 33-year-old striker has been linked with a January move to the Allianz Arena and he's flattered by the attention

Potential Bayern Munich transfer target Stefan Kiessling is delighted to be linked with the Bundesliga champions as the club search for alternatives in the midst of striker struggles.

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller missed the 2-1 Champions League victory over Celtic through thigh injuries, with James Rodriguez disappointing in an unorthodox false nine position.

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Bayern are reportedly interested in signing 33-year-old Kiessling from Bayer Leverkusen in the winter transfer window as he would offer an alternative to Jupp Heynckes’ current attacking options.

Kiessling, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has only played 19 minutes in the Bundesliga in 2017-18 and is happy to be linked with the reigning league champions.

“In football, there are the craziest stories,” Kiessling, who has been with Leverkusen since 2006, told Bild. “It feels really good that my name is associated with Bayern. It’s a big appreciation for myself.”

Signing Kiessling would offer Bayern the opportunity of adding the former Germany international to their Champions League squad as Leverkusen have not qualified for any European competition this campaign.

However, there are doubts about Kiessling’s physical fitness as he has suffered from problems with his hip in the past, and Bayer Leverkusen coach Hiko Herrlich has been selecting Lucas Alario and Kevin Volland in attack instead this season.

“He gives everything in every training,” Herrlich told Bild. “It hurts every time I can’t nominate him, but for me other strikers are in front of him at the moment.”

Kiessling has worked together with Bayern coach Heynckes in the past as the 72-year-old was in charge of Leverkusen from 2009 to 2011.

Stefan Kiessling Jupp Heynckes 2010

In the two Bundesliga seasons under Heynckes, Kiessling found the back of the net 28 times. In total, the striker has scored 162 goals in 428 games for his current club.

And although Kiessling and Heynckes have a good relationship, reports suggest they have not been in contact for the past few months.

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Kiessling is not the only forward to have been linked with Bayern in recent weeks, with ex-player Mario Gomez (Wolfsburg) and in-form forward Bas Dost (Sporting) suggested as January transfer targets.

“We are looking around,” sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said, confirming that the club is thinking about signing a new striker in the winter transfer window.

Even Lewandowksi himself said that he would be happy if his club bring in another attacking option. 

“This season it's really hard for me,” the former Borussia Dortmund forward told SportBild ahead of the Celtic game. “I have played for Bayern and the national team every three days from the beginning.

"But no player can play 90 minutes in every game of a season. At this moment, there is no other option. We do not have a back-up in my position."

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