Category: German Bundesliga

Liverpool told to pay extra to hasten signing of Naby Keita

Liverpool FC will attempt to bring forward the signing of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig to this month despite the Bundesliga club asking the Reds to increase their offer by €20m in order to do so.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp would be keen to add the Guinea international to his squad for the second half of the season following the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to FC Barcelona, and is hopeful Leipzig could be persuaded to allow the 22-year-old to leave five months earlier than planned.

An agreement has been reached between Liverpool and Leipzig for the  purchase Keita with his £48m release clause this summer. This was settled last August, with Liverpool also expected to pay a premium of around £6m to complete the central midfielder’s move to Anfield.

RB Leipzig are currently fifth in the Bundesliga table before the resumption of the league programme this weekend, but would prefer to keep Keïta until the end of the season as they attempt to qualify for the UEFA Champions League once more.

They will also be facing off against Napoli in the last 32 of the Europa League next month, although reports in Germany have suggested the player signed from Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg in 2016 has been pushing for an early move to Anfield.

Keita will meet Leipzig officials before the weekend to discuss his situation, although the coach, Ralph Hasenhuttl, insisted on Thursday he does not expect his star player to leave the club this month.

“Nothing has changed,” he said. “We don’t have reason to sell before the summer. I think Naby wants to finish the season in a good way in Leipzig. There’s no reason to let Keita go now, and that’s the end of it.”

With Liverpool also desiring to maintain good relations with Leipzig and if sporting director Ralf Rangnick sticks to his stance that Keita will stay put until the summer then the current agreement will be respected.

Jupp Heynckes yet to sign new deal with Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has indicated he is yet to pen a new deal with the defending Bundesliga champions.

Heynckes, 72, returned for his fourth spell in charge of Bayern in what was supposed to be a short-term deal that will expire at the end of the season after Paris Saint-Germain had inflicted a 3-0 Champions League defeat on Bayern, then still under Carlo Ancelotti’s leadership.

Besides lacklustre performances in Europe, Bayern also flopped domestically — they were third in the Bundesliga, trailing behind then leaders Borussia Dortmund by three points.

However, since the Bayern board sacked Ancelotti and appointed Heynckes, Bayern have won nine out of 11 matches in all competitions —  only dropping points against Borussia Monchengladbach, and drawing with RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal before advancing on penalties.

The Bavarians even top the league table by six points and have booked their place in the Champions League knockout stages, and the streak would have been cause for many to assume that Heynckes would be re-appointed on a permanent basis.

But despite the progress made under Heynckes he remains without an official contract with the club, though — as Heynckes puts it —  it was because he hasn’t found the opportunity to put pen to paper.

Speaking to fan club Rollwagerl 93 on Sunday, he said: “We don’t have a contract yet. Mr Dreesen [Bayern’s finance CEO] always urges me to come around to sign my contract. But I haven’t had time so far.”

Bayern would play Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League mid-week; though the fixture would be a largely inconsequential one as both teams had already made it into the knockout stages, Bayern could look to avenge their earlier humiliation and assert their European credentials while Paris looks to end the group stage with a 100% performance for the first time.

RB Leipzig rally to deny Dortmund 100% record in Bundesliga

RB Leipzig came from behind to win 3-2 and deny Borussia Dortmund an unbeaten start to their Bundesliga season, with both sides having a man sent off in the second half.

The entertaining match at Westfalenstadion also marked an end to Dortmund’s 41-game unbeaten streak at home in the Bundesliga, and began with a goal from the German top flight’s current top scorer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang after just four minutes.

The Gabon international stole the ball off Stefan Ilsanker for break, and had no trouble in slotting it into the far corner for his first goal. However, Leipzig struck back through Marcel Sabitzer, and Yussuf Poulsen  gave Leipzig the Bulls lead before half-time.

Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos was then sent off shortly after the break and Jean-Kevin Augustin extended Leipzig’s lead from the penalty spot, before the visitors also went down to ten-men after Stefan Ilsanker received a second yellow card in the 56th minute.

Nonetheless, while Aubameyang managed to pull a goal back for Dortmund shortly afterwards by converting a VAR-approved penalty, the skipper could not find the net again even as Dortmund threw everything at the visitors in the closing stages in an attempt to preserve their unbeaten run.

Although Peter Bosz’s team would remain top of the table following the first breach of the Yellow Wall since April 2015 —when Jurgen Klopp was still in charge — their lead was now cut to two points by Bayern Munich, who thrashed Freiburg 5-0 in Jupp Heynckes’ first game in charge as manager.

It was also clear that Bosz was not happy with his team’s performance.

“We played too many backwards balls — that is not our game — and we defended badly,” the Dutchman said after the match. “We had a lot of trouble with Leipzig’s pressing, particularly in the first half. We tried to change that in the second half but then we went 3-1 behind and the red card happened.”

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig — runners up to Bayern last season — move up to third in the table, three points off top spot.