Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah hopes Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz remain at the club beyond this season.

The duo have been linked with moves away from the BayArena, with the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus all mooted as potential destinations for Brandt.

Meanwhile, Bayern and Arsenal have been touted as candidates to sign Havertz, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions in a fine season.

"Of course, [Brandt] and Kai are players for key moments," Tah told Omnisport.

"During games, they can play the decisive pass. Or the way Kai scored that penalty [in a 4-2 loss to RB Leipzig last Saturday], so calmly, those are the moments in which you really need them and in which they can make a difference with their qualities.

"They've showed many times in the past they can really help us and that we need them. I hope it'll continue like this.

"I get along with [Brandt] very well, he's a good friend of mine and I've known him for many years now.

"I also played for many years with him. I value him as a person and as a player. I'd be very happy if I could continue playing with him, but that's not up to me, I don't have anything to do with that.

"Kai is an amazing player. He's really in the limelight at the moment, everyone seems to want him. I really get that, but I'd love to continue playing with him and as I said before, we really need him."

Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz was appointed as the replacement for Heiko Herrlich in December and Tah is enjoying a new approach at centre-back.

"I think due to the new coach things have changed a bit for me. The playing style is different, which is good for me," he explained.

"To defend positively, a little more offensive, and the fact that we play more football together is good for me. But there are still some improvements to be made; my personal performances, the way I act on the pitch.

"And in the national team, I think there's an open competition between all the players in my position.

"Of course, I want to perform well for the club but obviously use these performances to push for the national team and once I'm there, I want to perform."

Budding Jamaica-born Bundesliga star Leon Bailey scored a sensational free-kick but witnessed Bayer Leverkusen’s Champions League hopes take a big hit following a 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen.

The 21-year-old winger dragged Leverkusen back into the game with a fierce 75th-minute strike, which fizzed over the wall before flying past Bremen goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecky.

Earlier, Bremen had stormed into the lead on the back of goals from Max Kruse and Milot Raschida.  Kruse, however, returned to finish off the job when he struck in time added on.  Ironically, the fluid counter-attacking move came after the Jamaican looked in line for another special moment.  After ghosting past four defenders on the right flank, Bailey was, however, disposed, with Leverkusen officially killing the game off on the resulting counter-attack.

A few weeks ago a surging Leverkusen had pulled into the Champions League places (fourth spot).  Now, however, having lost two of their last five matches the team sits in sixth position on 42 points, two points behind Eintracht and five places outside of the Champions League spots.  Borussia Monchengladbach are currently in the fourth and final qualification spot.  The goal was Bailey’s 6th of the season.

  

Jamaica-born Bayer Leverkusen budding star Leon Bailey has tipped the team to make a strong push for qualification to next season’s Champion’s League.

The young winger has experienced a revival of fortunes under new coach Peter Bosz, after struggling for playing time under Heiko Herrlich in the first half of the season.  The club has itself seen an uptick in form after somewhat of an indifferent start. 

Leverkusen found themselves in 9th position at the halfway point of the campaign, but with a 2-0 over Freiburg last weekend, the team moved to within four points of the Champions League places.

“In the second half of the season, you see a different team than the first part of the season. I believe that if we can continue like this with the confidence and our style of play, our individual quality will come out by itself and show at the perfect time. So far, it’s been working and I think if we continue like this we can reach the Champions League. That’s where we want to be at the end of the season,” Bailey said in an interview with Bundesliga.com.

The Jamaican winger has certainly played his part after scoring three times in his last five Bundesliga games and admits he is enjoying life under Bosz so far.

“I’d say Peter Bosz being here is a big thing for me because he has a different style of play, and I didn't feature much in the first part of the season. It’s perfect for me because he likes my style of play and I like how he wants us to play. I think it’s going to help the team a lot and it’s also going to help the way I play. My qualities can come out more.”

Borussia Dortmund returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga with a 3-2 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen, making it an unhappy return to Signal Iduna Park for Peter Bosz.

Dutchman Bosz was Dortmund coach for the first half of the 2017-18 campaign before being sacked, and although his new team looked promising at times on Sunday, the hosts were slightly more ruthless in attack.

Jadon Sancho was the key man in the first half for Dortmund, setting up Dan-Axel Zagadou and scoring his eighth goal of the season either side of Kevin Volland's strike.

Mario Gotze scored what proved to be the vital goal in the second half, with Jonathan Tah's late header ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback as Dortmund ended a run of three successive draws to restore their three-point lead over Bayern Munich.

Leverkusen looked the brighter of the two sides for much of the first half but found themselves trailing in the 30th minute as Zagadou swept home from Sancho's corner.

The away side hit back soon after through Volland, the forward finding the bottom-right corner with his left foot from about 25 yards.

But they only remained level for a minute – Sancho producing an exquisite volley from an Abdou Diallo left-wing cross.

Gotze got Dortmund's third with an hour played, finding the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area after a cross kindly deflected into his path.

Leverkusen made things tense late on when Tah guided Julian Brandt's deep free-kick in despite Roman Burki getting a hand to it, but it proved to be too little, too late, as Dortmund held on.

Borussia Dortmund will again be without both Marco Reus and Lukasz Piszczek for Sunday's Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen, head coach Lucien Favre has confirmed.

Reus, struggling with a thigh issue, has been out since the defeat to Werder Bremen on penalties in the DFB-Pokal, while Piszczek has missed the last three games with a heel problem.

Dortmund’s season has threatened to derail in their absence, with three consecutive Bundesliga draws cutting their lead at the top to just three points, while Favre's men lost their Champions League last-16 first leg 3-0 at Tottenham.

And neither Reus nor Piszczek will be back to feature against Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park.

"Both will not play on Sunday," Favre told a pre-match news conference.

Marius Wolf and Thomas Delaney are also doubts, having not trained with the rest of the team on Friday, but Manuel Akanji is close to full fitness.

Leverkusen are coached by former Dortmund boss Peter Bosz, with BVB sporting director Michael Zorc acknowledging: "When we play against Leverkusen, both clubs know each other very well.

"There are few secrets. This match will depend on which team performs their game the best."

Borussia Dortmund have been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal, the Bundesliga leaders losing a penalty shoot-out to Werder Bremen following a thrilling 3-3 draw in which Marco Reus was substituted with a suspected injury.

Reus' free-kick shortly before half-time ensured Dortmund went into the break in Tuesday's last-16 tie level after Milot Rashica gave the visitors a fifth-minute lead at Signal Iduna Park.

The Dortmund captain was substituted at the break, with Paco Alcacer replacing him, but there were no further goals and the tie went to extra-time.

Christian Pulisic put Dortmund ahead in a frantic additional 30 minutes that saw 40-year-old Claudio Pizarro level before Achraf Hakimi made it 3-2 with a goal Werder felt should have been disallowed for a handball in the build-up.

Florian Kohfeldt's side battled back, though, and they sent the game to penalties after Dortmund's debutant goalkeeper Eric Oelschlagel made a poor attempt to keep out Martin Harnik's header in the 119th minute.

Werder goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka dived to his left to deny both Alcacer and Maximilian Philipp from Dortmund's first two efforts, with captain Max Kruse stepping up to beat Oelschlagel and secure a 4-2 shoot-out success and a quarter-final berth.

Dortmund, though, may be more concerned about Reus' fitness ahead of a Champions League clash with Premier League side Tottenham on February 13.

Elsewhere in Tuesday's DFB-Pokal ties, Bayer Leverkusen came back down to earth with a bump after their weekend win in the Bundesliga against Bayern Munich by crashing out at second-tier side Heidenheim, who came from behind to win 2-1.

Berkay Ozcan's goal was enough to earn Hamburg a 1-0 win at home to Nurnberg and Paderborn bounced back from falling behind to win 3-1 away to Duisburg to seal their place in the quarter-finals.

Niko Kovac felt Bayern Munich were hard done by in their 3-1 defeat at Bayern Leverkusen as his side lost further ground on leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race.

Leon Goretzka gave Bayern a half-time lead, but goals after the interval from Leon Bailey, Kevin Volland and substitute Lucas Alario means the champions were unable to capitalise on rivals Dortmund being held to a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speaking to Sky after the match, Kovac was left to lament a VAR offside call going against Robert Lewandowski when the striker thought he had doubled Bayern's advantage during first-half stoppage time.

"The result does not show what was happened on the field," Kovac said. 

"We played well in the first half and the decisive scene against us was certainly the offside decision [for] 2-0.

"[If that goal stood] we would not have to lose this match. In my opinion, a draw would have been a fair result. Leverkusen shot four times and scored three goals."

The call against Lewandowski was marginal, while a similarly tight decision fell in Leverkusen's favour when replays of the build-up to Alario's 87th-minute goal were reviewed.

"It's difficult. If we make the 2-0, there's nothing else happening," Kovac added. "Things ran against us with the referee's decisions.

"The only positive is that Dortmund did not score three points, so not much has changed, even though seven points are a lot."

Dortmund had their former boss Peter Bosz to thank after Leverkusen produced a vibrant display.

"I'm proud of this team," he told reporters. "This was a very important win, also for our confidence, but it's only three points.

"We're on a good path, but we still have a long way to go. We still need more points.

"Maybe we didn't play our best match but we still got the win. I think it was a great match for the fans. Both teams wanted to win and played attacking football."

Leon Bailey called on previous success against Sven Ulreich to spark Bayern Leverkusen's superb 3-1 win over Bayern Munich. 

Bayer Leverkusen came from behind to beat Bayern Munich 3-1 and land another damaging blow against the champions' Bundesliga title defence.

Ex-Borussia Dortmund head coach Peter Bosz did his former club a huge favour despite Leon Goretzka giving Bayern a 41st-minute lead.

Leon Bailey launched a fabulous free-kick into the top-left corner before Kevin Volland and substitute Lucas Alario sealed victory for a vibrant Leverkusen, who move up to seventh in the table.

Instead of being punished for their 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, Dortmund's lead over Bayern at the summit edges up to seven points.

Mats Hummels survived an early penalty shout for handball when he blocked Volland's shot at close quarters.

Leverkusen centre-back Sven Bender required treatment after a pair of brave challenges to deny Robert Lewandowski, but his team fell behind shortly before the interval.

Kingsley Coman made the most of the hosts' high line to charge in on goal. Lukas Hradecky saved but Thomas Muller sent the ball back into the box from the right for Goretzka to head home.

Lewandowski thought he had made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time, but a VAR review confirmed he was fractionally offside before stylishly converting Coman's pass.

Bosz's men made the most of that let-off by restarting on the front foot and Bailey's wonderful strike brought them level after Coman tripped Volland.

Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich scampered towards the same corner to claw Julian Brandt's 60th-minute volley behind.

Coman continued to lead a flagging Bayern challenge and they were clinically sliced apart as Karim Bellarabi crossed for Volland to slot past the advancing Ulreich.

James Rodriguez had a close-range header blocked but a late Bayern onslaught never truly materialised before Alario dispatched Brandt's low cross in the 87th minute.

What does it mean?

Attacking verve, a relentless tempo and a perilously high defensive line – the year Bosz spent contemplating his Dortmund exit has not shaken his principles on the evidence of this thrilling Leverkusen display. Bayern must now make up seven points over the remaining 14 games, with the Bundesliga title slipping a little more from their once-firm gasp.

Brilliant Bailey back in the groove

Leverkusen winger Bailey established himself as one of the most sought-after young talents in Europe last season. His absence from January transfer gossip was indicative of a hard slog this term and the 21-year-old had one goal from 25 appearances in all competitions heading into the Bayern match. Hopefully a picture-book goal proves a catalyst as he adapts to an expansive style under Bosz that should suit his talents.

Sule fooled on winner

Bayern's defence regularly appeared ill at ease with Leverkusen's livewire forward line and centre-back Niklas Sule erred badly on the winning goal. His decision to leave Volland and launch a desperate lunge on Bellarabi in full flight was flawed in both conception and execution. The Germany international will also not look back on Alario's goal with any fondness.

What's next?

Bayern travel to Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, 24 hours after Leverkusen take on Heidenheim of 2.Bundesliga in the same competition.

Bayern Munich have called off their January pursuit of Chelsea's teenage winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Bundesliga giants have been heavily linked with a move for the 18-year-old after he reportedly became frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Chelsea.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed their interest in Hudson-Odoi earlier in January, with club legend Michael Ballack also talking up his abilities.

Hudson-Odoi has largely remained quiet on the rumours, while Chelsea's fans have consistently sung pleas for him to stay at Stamford Bridge.

Maurizio Sarri called on the youngster to remain at the club that developed him, and it appears Bayern have ended their interest for the time being.

"We will no longer be active in the transfer market," head coach Nico Kovac told a media conference on deadline day.

"The teams do not want to let their players leave. We have a good and big squad. I have to leave one or two at home again this weekend."

Bayern will look to stay in touch with leaders Borussia Dortmund, who hold a six-point advantage over Kovac's side, when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Thiago Alcantara is expected to be fit for the trip, but Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will both be missing.

"They [Leverkusen] are a really, really good team," he added. "We are expecting a real fight at the weekend."

 

Craig Butler, agent and guardian of Bayer Leverkusen budding star Leon Bailey, believes the player is set to benefit greatly from a change of coach at the Bundesliga club.

The 21-year-old player was a standout performer last season, when he made his debut for the club, scoring nine goals and providing six assists.  Bailey’s exploits got the attention of several of Europe’s top clubs with the chance of a move away from the German club seeming a distinct possibility.

Following a tumultuous period and a dip in form, however, the player fell out of coach Heiko Herrlich’s plans and managed only eight starts for the new term.  After a slow start, Herrlich was replaced by Peter Bosz just ahead of the winter break.  Butler is convinced the change of coach will lead to a revival of fortunes.

"I am very happy that this change has come about. Leon did not develop under Heiko Herrlich," Butler told SportBild.

"For Leon, it is very important that he enjoys football, he lives alone in Germany, the family is in Jamaica, and if Leon does not have fun, it kills him,” he added.

"Top clubs have come forward, Real and Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Roma, and in recent months they have been surprised that Leon plays so seldom, wondering why a top league player like him is suddenly sitting on the bench."

Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed that former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund boss Peter Bosz has been appointed as the Bundesliga club's next coach.

Leverkusen sit ninth in the Bundesliga table heading into the winter break and, despite securing a third win in four league games by beating Hertha Berlin on Saturday, Heiko Herrlich has been relieved of his duties.

And the club have revealed that Bosz, whose successful 2016-17 campaign with Ajax led to a short-lived stint at Dortmund, which came to an end in December 2017, will take over in the new year, having signed a contract until 2020.

"Heiko Herrlich gave our team an important boost last year after a very difficult season," Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller said in a statement.

"Until the end we had the conviction and the will to make it with him as head coach. Unfortunately, a stagnation in the development of the team is no longer deniable."

Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes added: "Bosz stands for offensive, fast-paced and inspiring football.

"He has always shown a special passion for working with young players, that's why he fits in very well with us."

Bosz took charge of Ajax in July 2016, and guided the Eredivisie club to the Europa League final – where they were beaten 2-0 by Jose Mourinho's Manchester United – and a second-placed finish in the Dutch top flight, before taking over at Dortmund.

A seven-match unbeaten run in the league saw Dortmund flying at the start of the campaign, but an eight-game winless streak and no victories in the Champions League group stage resulted in Bosz losing his job at Signal Iduna Park.

Chelsea will face Malmo in the last-32 of the Europa League, while Premier League counterparts Arsenal take on BATE.

Maurizio Sarri's men and Unai Emery's side both progressed to the knockout stages as group winners so will play their first legs away from home.

Five-time winners Sevilla face a plum tie against Lazio and four of their former players Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa, Martin Caceres and Ciro Immobile.

Napoli are among the favourites for the trophy, having missed out at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool in a tightly contested Champions League section, and take on Zurich.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic face a daunting task against Valencia, who drop down from a Champions League group from which Manchester United and Juventus progressed.

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Jonas Boldt says teenage talent Kai Havertz will be staying at the club despite reported interest from Bayern Munich.

Havertz is considered one of the best young players in the Bundesliga and made his full Germany debut in a 3-0 friendly win against Russia this week.

Bayern have been linked with the 19-year-old as they aim to add midfield depth, with experienced options like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery heading towards the end of their careers.

And Havertz's Germany team-mate Joshua Kimmich added to the speculation by saying: "I cannot buy him, but Kai Havertz is a player who would suit us well."

Havertz has started all 11 games for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this season, scoring three goals with his side in the bottom half of the table.

And Boldt feels Havertz will be staying with the club for the foreseeable future despite Bayern being linked with a move for the teenager.

"There is no reason to be uneasy," he told Sport1. "His future lies in Leverkusen, where Kai has an environment where he can excellently develop.

"It's nice to see the boy progressing from month to month, and of course we're pleased that he has done so well on his [full] national debut, confirming our path in Leverkusen.

"Club, player and everyone has agreed that Leverkusen is the right club, so logically there were no requests."

Kai Havertz would suit Bayern Munich as a potential signing, according to Joshua Kimmich.

Havertz made his full Germany debut in a friendly against Russia on Thursday, setting up Serge Gnabry's goal in a 3-0 win for Joachim Low's side.

The Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder has been linked with a move to Bayern, who are thought to be keen to freshen up their side, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery approaching retirement.

And Bayern defender Kimmich feels 19-year-old Havertz would be a solid addition for the Bundesliga champions.

"I cannot buy him, but Kai Havertz is a player who would suit us well," Kimmich told reporters.

Havertz's performance also caught the eye of Germany coach Low.

"He impressed me," said Low. "He is very secure on the ball and has good positioning going forward.

"When he gets the ball, he always tries to bring the ball forward. You can see that in training as well."

Germany are back in Nations League action on Monday when they host Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen.

They will be relegated unless they win but will drop into League B regardless if Ronald Koeman's men beat world champions France on Friday.

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