Harit: Schalke capable of cup upset

Schalke midfielder Amine Harit has talked up their chances of defeating Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.

Schalke have enjoyed a positive campaign in the Bundesliga and victory over Mainz on Sunday could move them within a point of the top four if results elsewhere go in their favour.

Their fine form in the league has been accompanied by a run in the DFB-Pokal as they look to lift the domestic cup for the first time since 2010-11.

Harit has been key to their success on all fronts this season, scoring seven and assisting seven in 23 appearances, and he will need to be on the top of his game to down Bayern at the VELTINS-Arena on March 3.

Bayern won the DFB-Pokal for a record 19th time last term and will be formidable opponents for Schalke in the last eight.

However, Harit is refusing to accept defeat before a ball has been kicked and feels they have a fantastic opportunity to go all the way.

Harit told Schalke’s official website: “Everything is possible. Two years ago we lost in the semi-final to Frankfurt, then they beat Bayern in the final. We’ll see what happens – we have nothing to lose.”

Should Schalke manage to find a way past the Bavarian giants, they wouldn’t fear too many others still involved in the cup.

Bayer Leverkusen, who sit one place and two points better off in the Bundesliga, would likely be the biggest threat to their hopes although they need to find a way past Union Berlin to earn a semi-final spot.

Liverpool take lead in Werner battle

Liverpool look to be leading the race to land in-demand striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig but could still face competition for his signature.

Werner signed a new deal with Leipzig last summer through to 2023 but is widely expected to move on when the transfer window reopens at the end of the season.

German giants Bayern Munich have been heavily linked with the forward and Werner himself has previously admitted he could be tempted by a move to the Allianz Arena.

Premier League rivals Chelsea have also been credited with an interest but reports have now claimed Liverpool are in talks with Leipzig and are prepared to pay the Germany international's reported €58million release clause to sign the striker as soon as the summer transfer window opens.

Werner has also confirmed a move to the Premier League would appeal as he feels it would be "fun playing" in England's top flight.

The 23-year-old joined Leipzig from Stuttgart in 2016 and during his time with the Red Bulls has predominately been used as an out-and-out centre forward and the focal point of their attack.

However, under Julien Nagelsmann this season, he has operated in a slightly deeper role and that may well be where Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp sees him fitting into his side going forward.

Werner hasn't scored in his last five games for Leipzig but has been in fine form this season regardless.

The hitman has 20 goals in 22 Bundesliga outings and has also managed three goals in six Champions League games, while he has 11 goals in 29 appearances in total for Germany since his debut in 2017.

Both Bayer and Chelsea may opt to launch rival moves if it becomes clear Werner is heading for a summer move, but for now it seems as if Liverpool are the favourites to get a deal over the line for the Leipzig star.

Milan striker Andre Silva relishing Bundesliga adventure

Milan striker Andre Silva has refused to rule out the possibility of staying in the Bundesliga when his loan stint at Eintracht Frankfurt comes to an end in the summer of 2021.

The 24-year-old is currently on a two-year loan at Frankfurt, having left Milan in 2019 after a disappointing run of form.

Silva earned his big-money move from Milan after scoring 17 goals in 41 matches for Porto between 2015 and 2017.

Milan fans hoped he was the answer to their forward woes, but Silva only scored two league goals in 25 games.

He was eventually loaned to Sevilla where he netted nine in 27, and he has already got four in 12 matches for the German giants.

Silva has had to overcome injuries this season but the Portugal international claims he is starting to find his best form, and he has refused to rule out a permanent stay in Germany.

He told the official Bundesliga website: "I think I'm going in the right direction again now, I'm feeling good, I'm working near to my best. Every day that passes feels better than the other days. So, I'm feeling very good.

"So, I think these adventures like in the Bundesliga and the other leagues that I play, it makes me a better player and a better human.

"I have a dream, of course. I'll try to be the best striker of all time, but it's too soon to speak about this. It's too soon to speak about that. I will try my best and let's see what happens."

Forsberg: 'All we can do is go on our path'

RB Leipzig winger Emil Forsberg says the Bundesliga high-flyers are paying no attention to their detractors as they aim for the league title this season.

The Sweden international has been a key figure in helping Leipzig produce a strong first half of the season, with the club just one point behind frontrunners Bayern Munich.

With drinks manufacturer Red Bull as the owners, some in Germany have held a grudge against Leipzig and how they have reached their success in a country where many clubs have major stakes from supporters.

Forsberg feels Leipzig are starting to win people over with their brand of football but knows they will never please everyone as they look to battle in the Bundesliga title race into the business end of the season.

"Everyone's going to have an opinion on every little thing," he told The Guardian. "All we can do is go on our path and, if people want to try and stand in our way, we're going to try and beat them - on the pitch, not off the pitch.

"We didn't come up being all cocky, saying: 'We're going to be the best team in Germany now, now, now.' We've taken it step by step; we have to stay humble and keep focused.

"I can feel that it's going in the right direction now. I think more and more people feel with us, and see we do the right thing here."

Leipzig will look to leapfrog Bayern this weekend when they host Werder Bremen at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

Klinsmann slammed for manner of his Hertha exit

Hertha Berlin investor Lars Windhorst has criticised Jurgen Klinsmann for the way he left his job as head coach.

The former USA boss Klinsmann shocked many after deciding to resign from the capital outfit, having only joined the Bundesliga club on November 27.

Klinsmann looked like he was the right choice to replace Ante Covic but seemingly out of the blue, the former Germany striker decided to walk away from the club, highlighting "trust" issues.

Windhorst has been left far from happy at the debacle and has slammed Klinsmann for his departure from The Old Lady.

"I'm sorry that we couldn't fix things to keep hold of him, because even in the short time he was here, we noticed the effect on sponsors, advertising and income that his name had, that it could have led to big financial gains for Hertha," said Windhorst, who is the founder and owner of the Tennor Holding investment company.

"Unfortunately, because of the way he departed, continued work with him on the supervisory board is no longer possible. The way he quit is so unacceptable from the club's point of view, that targeted and constructive work between him and everyone else cannot go on," Windhorst added. "Klinsmann lost a lot of his credibility here."

Hertha sit down in 14th place in the Bundesliga table with just 23 points from their first 21 games of the campaign.

Hertha are next in action on Saturday when they make the trip to Paderborn.

Coman not planning Bayern Munich exit

Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman's agent has revealed that the winger has no plans to leave the German giants at the end of the season.

It was recently reported that the 23-year-old France international star, who has just returned to fitness from a two-month knee injury absence, had switched agents.

Coman's father, Christian, who has been acting as his agent, hit out at claims that Colossal Sports Management would be taking care of the player's affairs moving forward, claiming "I alone, through Style Management, am responsible for my son’s career".

In addition to a reported switch in agencies, speculation heightened that Coman would also be looking to leave the Allianz Arena at the end of this current Bundesliga campaign.

However, Ward, from Colossal Sports Management, has broken his silence to state that he will not be looking to impinge on Coman's relationship with his father and also stressed that he has not intimated a future move is on the cards.

Ward told Bild: "I am here to help Kingsley, not to interfere in his or his father's affairs. As I understand it, he has no interest in leaving Bayern."

It appears that Coman's new agent will take care of marketing issues and not any transfer matters, which will continue to be taken care of by his father.

Coman has made over 140 appearances, scoring 29 goals since he moved to Bayern Munich on an initial loan spell from Italian giants Juventus in the summer of 2015.

Klinsmann resigns as Hertha Berlin head coach

Jurgen Klinsmann has announced that he has resigned from his role as head coach of Bundesliga relegation scrappers Hertha Berlin.

The 55-year-old, who has managed Germany and United States, has cited a lack of trust as the reason for his decision and he will return to an advisory role on the board.

Klinsmann took over from Ante Covic in November and won three of his 10 games in charge, guiding Hertha six points clear of the relegation zone.

The former Tottenham striker, whose final game was a 3-1 defeat to Mainz at the weekend, said in a statement on Facebook: "At the end of November, we met the wish of the club leadership with a highly competent team and helped it in a difficult time.

"We were on a very good way in the relatively short time, thanks to the support of many people, despite mostly difficult games, we now have six points distance from the relegation place.

"I am firmly convinced that Hertha will create the goal.

"As a head coach, however, I also need the trust of the people acting for this task, which is not yet done. Especially in the relegation fight, unity, cohesion and focus on the essentials are the most important elements.

"If they are not guaranteed, I can't take advantage of my potential as a trainer and can't live up to my responsibility either.

"That's why after a long thought, I came to put my position as head coach of Hertha and retreat myself back to my original long-term task as a supervisory board member."

Hertha later issued a statement on their website which revealed Klinsmann informed the club on Tuesday.

Sporting director Michael Preetz said: "We were surprised by this development in the morning. Especially after the trustful cooperation regarding personnel decisions in the winter transfer period, which is intensive for Hertha BSC, there were no signs of this.

"We will inform you about further developments in due course."

Bayern forward Muller unfazed by Germany snub

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller insists he is only focused on winning silverware with the Bavarians after being snubbed by Germany boss Joachim Low.

The 30-year-old has earned 100 caps for Germany, scoring 38 goals and winning the 2014 World Cup with Die Mannschaft.

However, Germany manager Low effectively ended the international career of the one-club man when revealing in March 2019 that Muller, along with Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, was no longer in his plans.

Much was made of the news at the time and it was seen as a reaction to Germany's woes at the 2018 World Cup.

Muller's goal production for the Bavarians has decreased in recent seasons and, having not hit double figures since the 2015-2016 campaign, he has notched just five from 21 Bundesliga outings this term.

However, the talented forward has enjoyed a resurgence in 2020, scoring in four consecutive games for his club prior to Sunday's goalless draw with RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena.

It had been suggested that Low might reconsider his stance but the Germany coach told Sky on Sunday: "The probability [of a recall] is relatively low if everyone is fit.

"Thomas has scored a few times in the second half of the season. I am pleased, but I said we would go with the young players."

When told about Low's words, Muller had little to say and made it clear that his thoughts are solely on club football now.

"I'm not interested in it at all. I care about this team and winning trophies with them, ideally three," he said.

Can: Dortmund need better game management

Loan signing Emre Can has urged Borussia Dortmund to be more savvy after they let a lead slip to lose 4-3 against Bayer Leverkusen.

BVB looked on course for the three points on Saturday as goals from Mats Hummels, Can and Rapheal Guerreiro gave them a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes of the Bundesliga encounter remaining.

However late goals from Leon Bailey and Lars Bender saw the hosts snatch the three points at the BayArena.

Having seen his side denied a chance to go level with rivals Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table Can, on loan for the rest of the season from Juventus, feels Dortmund must be cleverer when they have the lead going into the dying moments of games.

He told the club's official website: "The team has a lot of potential but needs to learn one thing: when you're in the lead, you have to be "dirtier" - to put it simply. Sometimes you need to commit fouls, defend better, all together.

"We play beautiful attacking football but we all need to be better defensively. We scored three goals again today but we let in four. You don't win games like that. It was a setback of course, but there is still a long way to go this season. Plenty can still happen. I believe in the team; I see the potential, even though I've only been here for a week."

Dortmund have a chance to bounce back on Friday night when they host Eintracht Frankfurt at Signal Iduna Park.

Kohfeldt determined to turn Bremen around

Werder Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt remains confident that he is the man to lead the club forward despite Saturday's defeat at home to Union Berlin.

Bremen claimed an impressive DFB Pokal win over Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday but were unable to follow up their cup heroics in the Bundesliga.

Werder went down 2-0 at home to Union Berlin and have now lost their last three games in the league.

The Weserstadion outfit sit in 17th place in the Bundesliga and are just one point clear of bottom club Paderborn, with Werder four points adrift of safety.

There has been speculation head coach Kohfeldt could be sacked but he believes he can guide his side away from danger.

"I'm still full of confidence in my work," he said, as reported by the club's official website. "I can only say that I will keep fighting and can only make my case through my performance. We are Werder Bremen, we have to stay in the Bundesliga. I’m not thinking about myself, my only concern is the club."

The Bremen squad appear united behind their boss and midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt says speculation over Kohfeldt's future is a "load of rubbish".

Perhaps most importantly, sporting director Frank Baumann has offered Kohfeldt his backing and he insists the club aren't looking to make a change.

He said: "We're fully behind Flo. We wouldn't be in a different situation with a different coach on the sidelines. We're confident that we can get out of this together."

RB Leipzig's Werner on Liverpool wishlist

Liverpool will reportedly focus their attention on securing a deal for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner in the off-season, having opted not to pursue the likes of Kai Havertz and Jadon Sancho.

The Athletic's Liverpool correspondent James Pearce claims Reds will be in the market for another forward in the summer, but they have ruled out Havertz and Sancho on financial grounds.

Werner, who has a 60m euros exit clause in his contract at RB Leipzig, is seen as the most likely addition to Jurgen Klopp's squad because he is available for much less.

The 23-year-old has been linked with the Reds on and off for the past two years now and he's certainly a player Klopp admires.

And the news that the Confederation of African Football has moved the 2021 African Cup of Nations back to its former mid-season slot has sharpened Liverpool's focus as they prepare to be without so many key players during that tournament next season.

Mo Salah, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip could all be missing, leaving Klopp shorn of three of his top attacking talents for a month or more.

Liverpool will address that problem in the summer although Bayer Leverkusen's 120m euros price-tag for Havertz, and the likelihood it could take even more to prise Sancho away from Dortmund, has reportedly taken them off the target list.

Werner has a fantastic goal return for Leipzig, hitting 86 in 143 games in all competitions, and has averaged a goal per game in the Bundesliga so far this season, with 20 strikes in 20 appearances in the German top flight.

The Athletic also state Liverpool's next transfer priority is recruiting a new left-back to provide cover and competition for Andy Robertson.

Coman return bolsters Bayern

Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick has revealed that winger Kingsley Coman will return from injury for Sunday's top of the table Bundesliga clash with RB Leipzig.

The French winger has been out of the side for the past two months after picking up a knee injury in mid-December but will return to the squad this weekend, although whether he will play is another matter, with a place on the bench more likely as he rebuilds his fitness.

“Kingsley Coman is back in the squad and we are really happy about it,” said interim coach Flick.

The match sees the top two in the Bundesliga come up against each other and the result could go a long way to deciding who will pick up the title at the end of the season.

The Bavarians took control of the league last weekend when they went back to the top of the table with a win in a seven-goal thriller against Hoffenheim that takes them to 42 points, one ahead of Leipzig.

Bayern are in a rich run of form after six straight wins, whilst Die Bullen have lost their last three in all competitions.

However, despite being the team in form, Flick refuses to accept they now have the upper hand in the race for the title.

“It is especially important for Bayern to show strength,’ Flick said. “For many Sunday’s game is a final but I do not want to hear any such talk.

“There are another 13 games after this so a lot can still happen.”

Salihamidzic: Bayern won't rush contract talks

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic says the club will remain calm when dealing with player contract negotiations.

The likes of Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Javi Martinez, David Alaba and Thiago Alcantara will all see their current deals at the Allianz Arena expire in June 2021.

Some of the quintet have already started attracting interest with Manchester United understood to be keeping a close eye on Muller, while Barcelona are keen on re-signing Thiago.

Despite some key figures in the Bayern squad closing in on the end of their contracts, Salihamidzic says the focus is on results on the field and deals will be arranged in due course.

"We will certainly have talks, but in the next few weeks we will concentrate on the competitions," Salihamidzic told reporters. "It's important that we are totally focused on the games in the upcoming weeks. That's where the focus lies."

Asked whether he was concerned about rival clubs potentially looking at the stars coming out of contract, Salihamidzic added: "No. Sure, this can happen with top players, but we have had good experience with concentrating on the competitions first and that's what we will do. But like I said before, we will have talks, the players know about it and there are no problems."

Bayern will be determined to avoid any kind of distractions as the Bundesliga leaders prepare to host second-place RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

Just a point separates the two teams and victory for the reigning champions this weekend would see them open up a noticeable lead for the first time in the league this season.

Klinsmann: Hertha focusing on survival first

Hertha Berlin head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he has big plans for the club but will prioritise Bundesliga survival.

The former Germany, USA and Bayern Munich manager was brought in by the Bundesliga outfit after the sacking of Ante Covic in November and has been tasked with helping the capital outfit climb up the table.

Hertha currently find themselves in 13th place in the Bundesliga with six points between themselves and third-from-bottom Werder Bremen.

Klinsmann has great plans for what can be achieved at Hertha, who are 11 points away from the top six, but the 55-year-old former striker knows there is plenty of work to be done this season to make sure they are playing Bundesliga football next term.

"The priority right now is really just avoiding relegation and climbing the table as fast as possible," he told bundesliga.com.

"After that we want to excite. To excite the players and give them a vision, give them a picture where they see themselves really excited to be part of the development."

Hertha are back in Bundesliga action on Saturday when they host a Mainz side that are currently in 15th place in the standings and just five points behind Klinsmann's men.

The Hertha boss does feel his side have been making progress since his arrival and it's a case of small steps going forward.

"We're now in a very different situation to the one we were in eight weeks ago when I started here," he added. "We've got more security and there's more flow to our game."

Torunarigha falls victim to alleged racist abuse

Schalke are investigating after Hertha Berlin defender Jordan Torunarigha was allegedly the target of racist abuse during their DFB-Pokal clash on Tuesday.

Schalke said they were taking "very seriously" the 22-year-old's complaints of "racist insults and noises" and were working with the Gelsenkirchen police to identify the culprits.

The Royal Blues said in a statement: "There is zero tolerance from the club for such behaviour. We will do everything we can to make sure we identify those responsible and enforce the consequences.

"Such behaviour not only breaches the stadium regulations, the principles and rules of FC Schalke 04, it also goes against all our values. We will react with sanctions and report the incidents accordingly."

Torunarigha, who was pictured during the game looking visibly upset, was sent off in extra-time of Hertha's 3-2 defeat at the Veltins Arena, receiving a second yellow card for throwing an empty drinks crate to the floor.

Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz said he told the referee and fourth official about the abuse before the start of extra-time and asked them to protect Torunarigha.

"We accept any sporting defeat, even if it was very difficult to cope with last night," he said on the club website. "But we strongly condemn all forms of racism.

"Racist insults are to be condemned in every stadium as in every other situation in life. Jordan Torunarigha was, as a player in our team, part of Hertha Berlin and a member of our community, racially abused. This incident has hit us all very badly and we stand behind our player.

"We all - players, clubs, associations and fans - have a duty to rid racism and discrimination of any kind from our society. Such cases must not be repeated. To do this we have to make greater use of the importance and power of football. That is our social responsibility.

"We at Hertha Berlin will continue to fight racism and would like to thank those responsible at FC Schalke 04 for the level-headed response after the game. We can only solve this problem together."

Bayern Munich dealt Ivan Perisic injury blow

Bayern Munich have been dealt a massive setback with the news midfielder Ivan Perisic is facing several weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

The Croatia winger suffered a fractured ankle during a challenge in Tuesday’s training session and will now be absent for at least four weeks.

He was challenged by new team-mate Alvaro Odriozola and had to be taken off the field on a golf cart.

Bayern are already suffering from a number of injury problems with the likes of Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman affected in recent weeks.

Speaking about the severity of the problem, interim boss Hans-Dieter Flick says the World Cup finalist will also need to undergo rehab following the initial four weeks out.

"Ivan has an ankle bone fracture. That means it will take four weeks until it fully heals. After that there also be rehabilitative training," he said. "It was initially a bit of a shock because he was good for us with his dynamism."

Signed on a season-long loan from Serie A outfit Inter Milan at the beginning of the season, the 31-year-old was brought in to bolster their attacking options.

He has scored five goals in 22 appearances across all competitions this season as the Bavarians currently top the table following their weekend win against Mainz.

Perisic has not won a top-flight title since his days at Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp, when they lifted the Bundesliga title in 2012 and has since played for Wolfsburg before four seasons with Inter.

His stint at the San Siro was a strong one, scoring 40 goals in 163 appearances, but he is now set to miss Bayern’s round of 16 Champions League tie against Chelsea as well as several important league games.

Bayern and Inter on red alert as Cancelo eyes Man City exit

Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo is reportedly preparing to depart the club at the end of the current campaign, with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan interested.

German giants Bayern were linked with a loan move for the Portugal international right-back during last month's January transfer window.

It's understood Inter are also keen on the defender who only arrived at City seven months ago from Juventus, in a £60m deal which sent Danilo in the opposite direction to the Serie A champions.

Cancelo was valued at £27m as part of that agreement, which is why the Citizens have placed such a high resale figure on his head.

The Manchester giants are continuing to hold transfer talks with Coritiba's 17-year-old right-back Yan Couto, dubbed the next Dani Alves in his homeland and also wanted at Barcelona.

The teenager was present with his agent Marcelo Robalinho to watch Pep Guardiola's ten-man outfit lose 2-0 away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

City are close to agreeing a deal worth around £15m for the Brazil under-17 starlet and will then send the player back on loan to Coritiba.

Club sources, however, have stated Couto could return to the Etihad at the end of the season and that Cancelo is already weighing up his options.

It's believed the former Valencia player has struggled to settle in his new surroundings and would jump at the chance of a move to another big club on the continent.

Cancelo has failed to dislodge England right-back Kyle Walker from his regular starting position, restricting him to just 10 appearances so far in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old has a young family and knows the jury is still out on him at the Etihad.

He is also aware Guardiola is planning a major clear out at the end of the season to finance a rebuild of his leaky rear-guard, having finally run out of patience.

John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Benjamin Mendy are all in the firing line, although it will be interesting to see if a club is willing to effectively hand City their money back on Cancelo.

Werner hints at potential Premier League move

Highly sought-after RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner has hinted that he may be eyeing a move to the Premier League in the near future.

The Germany international forward has been in majestic form for Julian Nagelsmann's side this season, scoring 25 goals in 28 matches in all competitions.

He is currently the second top scorer in the division, two goals adrift of Robert Lewandowski, and has consistently been in good form for Leipzig in his four years at the Red Bull Arena.

This season has seen speculation arise regarding his future at the club, with several big moves potentially spoken about.

A switch to Liverpool is allegedly high on the agenda, with Jurgen Klopp thought to be a big admirer of the pacy 23-year-old.

And the former Stuttgart forward has not exactly done much to quell any further links after admitting a move to the Premier League would be tempting at some point in the future.

The striker told reporters he could see himself playing outside Germany at some point during his career.

"I can generally imagine playing abroad one day although I don’t have any specific club where I want to be," he said.

"I am open to everything. I was over in America for a holiday recently and English football was on all of the time. That's an exclamation mark for the Premier League. But there are also big, famous clubs and it would certainly be fun playing there."

Werner penned a new contract at Leipzig at the beginning of the season, committing himself to the end of the 2022-23 season.

Reports afterwards suggested the deal included an "affordable" release clause although the exact amount was not disclosed.

Leipzig, who are aiming to win their first Bundesliga title this season, were knocked off top spot by Bayern Munich at the weekend after drawing at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Alaba: Bayern won't lose their focus

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba is confident Die Roten can keep going after recording a sixth consecutive win in the Bundesliga.

Following a tumultuous early part to the campaign, which saw Niko Kovac sacked, Alaba and co. started to find their feet before Christmas under interim boss Hansi Flick.

Flick was installed until the end of the season following Kovac's departure in November and appears to have settled things down in the dressing room.

FC Hollywood have been a team in transition in recent years and have seen their fair share of drama, with the old guard and the new school reportedly not getting on.

All appears to be going well now though, with Bayern climbing to the top of the Bundesliga following Saturday's 3-1 win at Mainz.

The victory extended their winning run to six games, the longest they have managed this season and they appear to be hitting their stride at just the right time.

Next up is Hoffenheim in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday before a potentially season-defining clash with second-place RB Leipzig next Sunday.

Despite his team's upturn in fortunes, Alaba is taking nothing for granted and says the focus is now on maintaining their form until the summer.

"There's still a long way to go," he told the Bayern website. "We want to take each game as it comes and win them.

"We want to be at the top in the end of course."

Bundesliga duo interested in Saints defender Danso

FC Augsburg defender Kevin Danso, currently on loan at Southampton, was reportedly the subject of interest from RB Leipzig and FC Koln in January.

Bild reports that two German clubs wanted to take the 21-year-old back to the Bundesliga in the winter transfer window, with not just Leipzig but struggling FC Koln also making enquiries.

Leipzig had a hectic transfer window as they sought to bring in reinforcements to aid their title tilt, losing out on Valentino Lazaro to Newcastle United and failing to pull off deals for Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Freiburg's Robin Koch and Benjamin Hennrichs.

They did agree personal terms with Hennrichs but refused to meet Monaco's valuation of the full-back.

Bild state their focus then shifted to Danso, but a deal to take the Austrian could not be finalised before the transfer window closed on Friday.

According to the newspaper, Danso is unhappy Southampton because of a lack of minutes on the pitch. Since November, he has only made two FA Cup appearances under coach Ralph Hasenhuttl and was on the bench at Anfield on Saturday.

The Austrian joined the Saints last summer in a season-long loan deal from Augsburg that was the very last deal to be announced on deadline day, hours after the window actually closed.

Speaking at the time, Hasenhuttl was delighted to get Danso on board, saying: "Kevin is another signing that fits our model of being a talented, young player who adds quality to our first-team squad.

"He will improve our defensive options, so this is an excellent way for us to finish our business."

However, it now looks like he was just a squad-filler and doubts have been cast over whether Saints will take up their buy option to bring him to the club on a permanent basis.

Having been unable to play in his preferred centre-back position, Danso has been used mainly as a right-back when called upon by Hasenhuttl.

The loan signing of Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham has increased competition for places in the Southampton defence in that area too.