Thomas Muller has suggested he would rather play with Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Muller was asked whether he would prefer to have Messi or Ronaldo as a colleague in a remote news conference on Wednesday.

The Bayern forward recognised his style of play would work better with Ronaldo than with Messi, yet he claimed Lewandowski would top both.

Former Germany international Muller has 18 assists in the Bundesliga this season, while Lewandowski has netted 29 times as Bayern march towards another title.

However, the World Cup winner did acknowledge Messi and Ronaldo are "outstanding" and cannot be compared to other players.

"Maybe in my past years I would like to play with Leo Messi, because in the first six or seven years of my career, I was more the receiving striker," Muller said.

"I got the ball in the box and tried to score. In the moment right now, in my very good shape at the moment, I assist many goals.

"Maybe now I need more a Cristiano Ronaldo to score the goals, but we at Bayern have Robert 'Lewan-goal-ski'! I think maybe right now he is the better option than Cristiano.

"I played against both [Messi and Ronaldo], I won against both, I lost against both.

"They are very, very good, they are special, they are not like normal very good players in the world of football. They are outstanding because they play always at the limit.

"Always, their whole 10 years, they score 50 goals each year. That's crazy.

"On my way to the World Cup, we won with Germany against both. On my way to several Champions League finals, we won against both.

"Every football player needs also the team, and that's why we love football so much."

Thiago Alcantara has returned to team training after missing three Bayern Munich matches through injury.

The midfielder sat out the Bundesliga victories over Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund and Fortuna Dusseldorf due to muscular problems.

The Spain international took part in the team session on Tuesday as the leaders prepared for Saturday's meeting with Bayer Leverkusen.

Lucas Hernandez, who suffered adductor problems in the 5-0 win over Dusseldorf, could only train individually, while long-term absentees Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho continued their fitness programmes.

A win for Bayern at the BayArena could be a crucial moment in this season's title race.

Hansi Flick's side are seven points clear of Dortmund at the top of the table with only five matches left, with the trip to Champions League-chasing Leverkusen likely to be the most challenging of their remaining games.

Philippe Coutinho is aiming to return to the Premier League, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.

Coutinho was a star at Liverpool, yet failed to establish himself at Barcelona following a €145million move in January 2018.

The Brazil playmaker subsequently joined Bayern Munich on loan in August 2019 and has scored eight goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances.

With Coutinho out injured, it does not seem likely Bayern will be extending his stay after electing not to take up a €120m purchase option, with a host of Premier League clubs, including Tottenham, Arsenal and former side Liverpool, reportedly interested.

Joorabchian, who also represents Coutinho's compatriots David Luiz and Willian, has now confirmed the 27-year-old has set a return to England in his sights.

"He has a desire to come back to the Premier League at some point," Joorabchian told Sky Sports.

"It may not happen this year, it may happen this year but we don't know. We really have not discussed anything for now."

However, Joorabchian insisted talks of Barca putting a £70million (€78m) price tag on Coutinho, or asking for a £9m (€10m) loan fee, are wide of the mark.

"I've never heard those figures, we've never discussed numbers, none of those figures have ever been discussed," he added.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez sent social media into overdrive with a cryptic tweet on Sunday.

Spain international Saul posted a graphic with the words: "New club. I'll announce it [in] three days."

Followers immediately thought an impending transfer was coming, but the 25-year-old has another six years left to run on a contract that includes a reported €150million release clause.

While reports in the Spanish media insist the tweet has nothing to do with Saul's future, it echoed Antoine Griezmann famously announcing his Atletico future in a documentary entitled 'La Decision' in 2018. Griezmann confirmed he would be remaining at the club, only to leave for Barcelona a year later.

It has also been claimed Saul is set to announce he has bought part of a club or even invested in an esports team.

So even though it is highly unlikely Saul will reveal he is leaving the Wanda Metropolitano just a week before LaLiga resumes following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, we look at who could be in the market for one of the world's best midfielders.

 

Manchester United

United have long been credited with an interest in the Atleti star, but they shelled out an initial £46.5m (€55m) on Bruno Fernandes in January. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Fernandes can form a formidable midfield partnership with Paul Pogba, but the Frenchman's future at Old Trafford remains a constant source speculation.

Manchester City

The Red Devils would face competition from local rivals City, though. Fernandinho is not getting any younger and spent much of the 2019-20 campaign at centre-back through necessity, and Pep Guardiola will be looking for a long-term successor who can anchor the club's midfield for the coming years.

Paris Saint-Germain

Any time an elite player is available, PSG will always be linked. The Ligue 1 champions have just completed the signing of Mauro Icardi for a reported €50m and having previously managed to get a UEFA investigation into their finances shut down, they will not be shy in splashing out further to improve their chances of getting their hands of the Champions League trophy.

Barcelona

With Ivan Rakitic expected to be on his way out, Barca's hunt for a new midfielder has reportedly had them looking in the direction of Juventus' Miralem Pjanic, though Arthur refused to be included as part of the deal. The Blaugrana have never been afraid to shell out huge amounts of money and LaLiga's defending champions would no doubt be in the race if Saul was available.

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer has signed a new deal at Bayern and David Alaba is set to follow soon, but Thiago Alcantara has reportedly hesitated over extending a contract that is set to expire at the end of next season. Hansi Flick could therefore be in the market for an elite midfielder and Saul would fit the bill. However, Bayern have long maintained they will not spend over €100m on a player.

Other options

If Pjanic is on his way to Barca, and with Adrien Rabiot's future at Juve shrouded in doubt, the Serie A champions would surely see Saul as an ideal candidate to slot into their midfield.

Maurizio Sarri coached Jorginho at Napoli and Chelsea, though, and the Italy international is said to be a target for the Bianconeri. Should he leave Stamford Bridge, the Blues could see Saul as a great replacement.

Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer has underlined his club's interest in Leroy Sane – stating every team in the world would like to have the Manchester City winger.

Germany international Sane has long been touted as a target for Bayern, with a move thought to be close last August before the 24-year-old suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage during City's Community Shield clash with Liverpool.

Sane has not played competitively since but Bayern's desire to bring the former Schalke man back to the Bundesliga does not appear to have waned.

"Leroy Sane is a good player that every team would like to have," Hainer told BR.

"It has been known for a year now that we have been interested. He is still under contract with Man City. We have to see how things develop."

Hainer's predecessor Uli Hoeness expressed hope that the deal can be done last weekend and there has been near constant noise from various prominent Bayern figures over Sane's future.

Not all of those have been positive, however, with former full-back Willy Sagnol expressing unspecified doubts over the character of a player who was surprisingly omitted from Germany's 2018 World Cup squad.

"Leroy Sane is certainly an interesting personality, above all because of his performance on the pitch," Hainer added.

"He is also a marketable player, especially for the young demographic."

One player who is certain to arrive at the Allianz Arena for next season is Alexander Nubel, with the goalkeeper's switch from Schalke already sealed.

Nubel will bring fresh competition for long-standing number one Manuel Neuer, who penned a contract extension until 2023 last month.

Former Bayern keeper and current board member Oliver Kahn insists this does not mean a loan move is in the offing for the 23-year-old.

"Nobody thinks about a loan here, we are all happy that Alex comes to us," he told Sky90. "There is nothing better than having two excellent goalkeepers.

"It was a sensible decision at the time, to get Nubel free of charge. It is a path he is taking - to accept the situation with Manuel Neuer and to line up behind Manuel Neuer, in his slipstream.

"[Nubel is to] gradually become number one."

There are some days in English football history that stand out as turning points.

On May 31, 1995 – a full 25 years ago – Chelsea agreed a deal to sign Ruud Gullit from Sampdoria. And the face of the game changed.

The fledgling Premier League had experienced a sprinkling of overseas talent already, with Eric Cantona making a staggering impact at Leeds United and Manchester United, and Jurgen Klinsmann coming off a season-long cameo at Tottenham.

Superstar Gullit's arrival at Stamford Bridge was the cue for a transfer-market melee, a spectacular flurry of deals that still take the breath away.

To this day, a host of players recruited in the wake of Gullit's arrival, many imported from overseas, are revered in the top bracket of talent that graced their clubs and the Premier League.

Dennis Bergkamp came to Arsenal with a lofty reputation. But David Ginola, Juninho and Georgi Kinkladze joined Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Manchester City as near-unknowns in England, destined to join the pantheon of club greats.

Euro 96 was on the horizon, lads and ladettes were supping Hooch and bathing in a summer of Britpop battles, and there was feverish optimism about the state of the nation.

Here is a look at the biggest deals of that heady few months.

RUUD GULLIT ​– SAMPDORIA TO CHELSEA

A world star, who was arguably the finest player on the planet at his peak, Gullit may not have been at the height of his career by the time he arrived in London on a free transfer, but there was no disguising the 32-year-old's star quality.

He rivalled Klinsmann as the most famous arrival since the Premier League launched in 1992, and was arguably in a higher bracket.

British television audiences had watched Gullit every week on Channel Four's popular Football Italia shows, firstly with Milan and then Sampdoria, and Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle was smitten.

Hoddle reportedly made two trips to Italy to meet Gullit before the stunning deal went through, and the Netherlands maverick was recruited to feature as a sweeper in the new high-culture Chelsea side.

"I am very fit and by playing sweeper I can control the speed of the game," said Gullit, quoted in the Independent the following day. "If you have possession of the ball you don't have to run around chasing after it."

The sweeper experiment was soon abandoned, however, Gullit moving into a better-suited midfield role where he proved predictably majestic, going on to succeed Hoddle as Chelsea manager in 1996.

DENNIS BERGKAMP ​– INTER TO ARSENAL (and David Platt – Sampdoria to Arsenal)

Bergkamp was a real eye-catcher, joining for a then British record fee of £7.5million, albeit with question marks over his suitability for the Gunners, particularly after a rocky season at Inter.

Platt had been captain of England, and was a guaranteed solid midfield presence, but new Arsenal boss Bruce Rioch appreciated he was perhaps getting something special when Bergkamp became the first signing of his reign.

That overwhelmingly proved to be the case, and although Rioch only lasted one full season at Highbury, he could always point to his nurturing of Bergkamp as being instrumental in shaping Arsenal's future.

The non-flying Dutchman played 423 games for the Gunners, scoring 120 goals and winning a hatful of medals. Today, a bronze statue of Bergkamp stands outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium home.

DAVID GINOLA ​– PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN TO NEWCASTLE (and Les Ferdinand – QPR to Newcastle)

Newcastle had surprisingly allowed Andy Cole to join Manchester United for £7m in January 1995, but Kevin Keegan's team went from strength to strength nonetheless.

The £2.5m arrival of Ginola proved a masterstroke, the French winger magnificent on the left wing while Keith Gillespie, a makeweight in the Cole deal, dazzled on the right.

Ferdinand was the ideal targetman and proved to be another exceptional buy, but Ginola was the fans' favourite, his trickery, pace and personality lighting up the league.

Newcastle were almost champions, Ginola at the heart of some of the most cavalier football of the decade.

GEORGI KINKLADZE ​– DINAMO TBILISI TO MANCHESTER CITY

City fans are accustomed to success nowadays, brought to them by a foreign legion featuring the likes of Pep Guardiola, Sheikh Mansour, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany.

But there will always be a special place for Kinkladze in the hearts of City fans who saw him play in the Maine Road era, when Franny Lee was chairman and Uwe Rosler the star imported striker.

City were relegated from the Premier League in Kinkladze's first season, and he left in 1998 after a second relegation into the third tier, but the Georgian was a bright spark in dark times, his dribbling skills and free-kick ability never to be forgotten. A particularly memorable solo strike came against Southampton, a lasting gift.

STAN COLLYMORE ​– NOTTINGHAM FOREST TO LIVERPOOL

The British transfer record was broken twice in June 1995, firstly with Arsenal's swoop for Bergkamp and then when Liverpool paid £8.5m for Nottingham Forest striker Collymore.

He and Robbie Fowler formed an often menacing partnership, particularly in Collymore's first season at Anfield, but the big-money recruit lasted just two seasons with Liverpool in the 'Spice Boys' era before moving to Aston Villa for £7m.

PAUL INCE ​– MANCHESTER UNITED TO INTER

Pipped to the 1994-95 Premier League title by Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United cleared the decks and allowed star men Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis to leave Old Trafford.

It was a stunning gamble by Alex Ferguson, with Hughes and Kanchelskis joining Premier League rivals Chelsea and Everton respectively, while midfield general Ince floated off to Italy with Inter for £7.5m.

But Ferguson knew his Class of 92 youngsters were pushing for a chance at first-team level, and with the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt emerging, the old guard were barely missed, United going on to win a league and cup double.

JUNINHO ​– SAO PAULO TO MIDDLESBROUGH

This £4.75m move went through slightly later in the year, in October 1995, back when clubs could strike autumn deals.

Bryan Robson would bring in Fabrizio Ravanelli in the following close-season, but none of the Middlesbrough manager's signings are remembered quite so fondly as Juninho.

The little Brazilian was a marvel of an attacker, a low centre of gravity helping him to ride the wildest of tackles from defenders who could not handle his dribbling ability.

On Teesside, they adored the Brazilian, who began brightly enough but truly dazzled in his second season, helping Boro to reach both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.

They lost both and suffered the pain of relegation. Juninho left too, but returned for two later spells with the club that loved him best of all, winning the 2004 League Cup.

...MEANWHILE, NORTH OF THE BORDER

PAUL GASCOIGNE ​– LAZIO TO RANGERS

Chelsea had reportedly wanted Gascoigne to join Gullit in west London, but it was Scottish champions Rangers who prised the England international from Lazio, a massive coup for the Ibrox club.

'Gazza' was adored on the blue side of Glasgow and scored a raft of dazzling goals as Rangers won their eighth and ninth successive league titles.

Forgiveness even came quickly after his stunning strike past club-mate Andy Goram for England against Scotland at Euro 96.

Bayern Munich have been warned Leroy Sane would be a poor fit for the club as the Bundesliga giants continue to be linked with the Germany winger.

The former Schalke player is coming towards the end of his fourth year at Manchester City.

He looked set for a switch to Bayern last year before suffering a major knee ligament injury in the Community Shield against Liverpool in August.

Having battled his way back to fitness, Bayern are again looking set for an attempt to land the 24-year-old.

Former Bayern defender Willy Sagnol says his old club would be better off chasing Bayer Leverkusen's 20-year-old rising star Kai Havertz, however, claiming Sane simply does not fit the bill.

"He doesn't match up at all to Bayern, in terms of character. He's an inconsistent player, who is very withdrawn," Sagnol told French radio station RMC.

"For me, he isn't made for this club.

"He's got lots of problems, at Manchester City and with the national team. We've said that he'd cost €80million. At a pinch, I'd prefer to put down €20m more and buy Havertz to be happy.

"With Havertz, it's the guarantee of a playmaker that you could play with Lewandowski without a problem. [Thomas] Muller won't last forever."

Former Bayern president Uli Hoeness said on Saturday he hoped the club could sign Havertz as well as Sane, but he cast doubt on whether financial realities would allow for that.

Robert Lewandowski finally completed the Bundesliga set on Saturday, registering a goal against Fortuna Dusseldorf at long last.

The prolific striker had tallied 25 unsuccessful shots in five previous meetings with Dusseldorf, making them the only current top-flight team he had failed to score against in his career.

However, Lewandowski's wait came to an end with his first attempt at the Allianz Arena - and it could not have been more straightforward.

Excellent build-up work by Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller set up the Poland international for a simple finish to make it 3-0 for the hosts just before half-time.

Lewandowski, who added another with a cheeky back-heeled finish after the break in Bayern's 5-0 victory, has now recorded a goal against all 18 Bundesliga clubs - including the one he currently plays for.

So, who suffers the most when coming up against him? Opta is able to provide the answer...

HUNGRY LIKE A WOLFSBURG

Poor Wolfsburg top the table of Lewandowski victims; he has scored 20 times against them in 18 appearances, though did draw a blank when they met in December.

Augsburg sit second on the list but at an even better strike-rate, having managed 19 goals in just 15 games.

Lewandowski has bolstered his tally against Schalke this season, grabbing a hat-trick in a 3-0 away triumph back in August before adding another in a 5-0 thrashing after the turn of the year. His exploits in 2019-20 has lifted his total to 17 in 20.

Mainz and Werder Bremen have both conceded 16 in 19 and 18 fixtures respectively when in opposition to the frontman, who sits third on the all-time Bundesliga scoring list.

FAMILIAR FACES MADE TO SUFFER

Before Bayern, there was Borussia Dortmund of course.

Lewandowski started his Bundesliga career at Signal Iduna Park, joining from Lech Poznan for a reported fee of €4.5million back in 2010. It was a bargain buy for Dortmund as they went on to win back-to-back league titles under Jurgen Klopp.

Now, though, BVB are often on the receiving end as the player they helped turn into a superstar shines for their rivals. Lewandowski left on a free to move to Munich in 2014 and has been making his former employers pay ever since.

In 12 league outings against his old club, he has 16 goals. That total includes notching twice in the last two league clashes at the Allianz Arena, games which Bayern have won by an aggregate score of 9-0.

LEW RATIO AGAINST CURRENT CLUB

In contrast to his exploits against Dortmund, Lewandowski found it tougher to score when coming up against the team he now plays for.

His eight Bundesliga contests when facing Bayern yielded a solitary goal - albeit that was the late winner in an April 2012 victory that proved pivotal in the title race.

The following month, he was once again the hero for Dortmund with a hat-trick in a resounding 5-2 triumph in the DFB-Pokal final against the same opposition, in the process completing a domestic double for Klopp's crop.

These days, it is Bayern fans who celebrate Lewandowski's goals - and there have been plenty of them to enjoy this season. With 43 to his name in all competitions, he has already equalled the most productive season of his career.

David Alaba suggested there could be movement on a possible contract extension at Bayern Munich in the coming weeks. 

After Manuel Neuer was recently tied down to fresh terms, Bayern boss Hansi Flick said on Monday he is keen to retain the services of Alaba. 

The versatile Austria international's existing deal is due to expire at the end of next season. 

According to reports, Bayern are willing to offer Alaba a contract until 2025, but the defender's salary demands have led to an impasse with talks more difficult to conduct during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Alaba confirmed he would be happy to stay at the Allianz Arena but is in no rush to get the situation sorted. 

"Look, I try to focus on the essentials, on the games," Alaba told Sky. "It is very good for me. That is where my focus is entirely. 

"We have no deadline. We will see in the coming weeks what will happen next. At the moment, everything is calm." 

The 27-year-old was speaking after Bayern thrashed Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday to move 10 points clear at the Bundesliga summit, though Borussia Dortmund could cut that back to seven by beating Paderborn on Sunday. 

An own goal from Mathias Jorgensen set them on their way after 15 minutes, with Benjamin Pavard and Robert Lewandowski also on target before half-time. 

Lewandowski added a second before Alphonso Davies rounded off the scoring two minutes later in an emphatic victory. 

"We are very, very ambitious. The mood in the team is really great," said Alaba. 

"We want to win every game, and you can see that too. We are keeping our foot on the gas." 

With converted winger Davies deployed at left-back, Alaba once again featured in the heart of defence. 

He launched a sweeping move that culminated in Lewandowski's first goal and, while he is happy to continue at centre-back, admitted he is still keen to play an attacking role for Bayern. 

"I try to help the team. It's fun to play on this team. I still have an urge to attack that I want to let happen," said Alaba. 

"[Davies] is a super boy. He always wants to learn, listens and enjoys developing himself further." 

Lucas Hernandez sustained an adductor problem during Bayern Munich's demolition of Fortuna Dusseldorf, Hansi Flick has confirmed.

In the only change from the Bayern side that beat title rivals Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on Tuesday, Hernandez replaced Jerome Boateng in the centre of defence.

It was the France international's second start in all competitions this year, having spent three months out with an ankle ligament injury he suffered in October.

Hernandez - an €80million signing from Atletico Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 season - was replaced by Michael Cuisance at half-time on Saturday as Bayern held a 3-0 lead, with Joshua Kimmich moving to centre-back.

Flick revealed the decision was a precautionary measure.

"He had an adductor problem. Considering the score, the risk was too high, we didn't want to take it," said Flick.

An eighth straight Bundesliga title now looks a certainty, while they are in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and have a 3-0 lead in their Champions League last-16 tie with Chelsea, and Flick praised the mentality of his players.

They took the lead via an own goal from Mathias Jorgensen and extended their advantage through Benjamin Pavard and Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski scored his second four minutes into the second half and Alphonso Davies rounded off the scoring in a comprehensive triumph soon after.

"We want to have a successful season but there is still a lot left to play," Flick told Sky.

"It was important to me that we didn't let up after the Dortmund game. I am very, very satisfied, we were very aggressive.

"We push each other in the team because the emotions don't come from the stands, you hear that a little more on the pitch."

Bayern Munich faced little resistance as they stormed to a 5-0 victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf to go 10 points clear at the Bundesliga summit.

A 1-0 win against Borussia Dortmund – who play their game in hand against Paderborn on Sunday – last Tuesday gave Bayern a seven-point cushion at the top and they took another step towards an eighth straight title at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Mathias Jorgensen bundled a shot from Benjamin Pavard into his own goal in the 15th minute and the World Cup-winning right-back headed home a Joshua Kimmich corner before the half-hour mark.

Robert Lewandowski finished off a sweeping team move two minutes before half-time and added a second within five minutes of the restart, with Alphonso Davies completing the rout two minutes later.

Dusseldorf were unable to keep Bayern out for long. Thomas Muller's delivery to the back post was centred by Serge Gnabry with a brilliant first touch and Pavard's attempt was diverted into the net by Jorgensen.

Goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier got down to his left to turn a volley from Muller behind, but he was unable to keep out Pavard's powerful header from the resulting corner in the 29th minute.

Bayern scored a brilliant third before half-time. Lewandowski's flick released Kimmich, who cut the ball back to Muller and he teed up the Poland striker to sweep into the net.

Lewandowski doubled his tally by instinctively using his trailing leg to steer Gnabry's driven cross home between the legs of Kastenmeier.

The onslaught continued when Davies dispossessed Kevin Stoger on the edge of the Dusseldorf box and slid a shot underneath Kastenmeier.

Andre Hoffman missed the target with a header and Niko Giesselmann was kept out by Manuel Neuer in rare chances for Dusseldorf, but they were able to stop Hansi Flick's side adding to the score as they continued what looks sure to be a march to glory.

 

What does it mean? Lewandowski completes the set

In his sixth Bundesliga game against Dusseldorf, Lewandowski finally scored his first goal in a meeting with them.

Although he was unable to complete his hat-trick from close range in the 70th minute, the prolific 31-year-old has now been on target against all 18 clubs playing in Germany's top flight this season.

Lewandowski has also scored 43 goals in 37 games in all competitions in 2019-20, equalling his personal best from 2016-17.

Delightful Davies

It was another exemplary display from converted left-back Davies. He used his incredible pace to halt a counter-attack ahead of Bayern's opener and made a last-ditch block to deny Kenan Karaman a goal in the 33rd minute, before helping put the game beyond doubt early in the second half.

Jorgensen has a day to forget

Things got off to a bad start for the Denmark international with an own goal and he continued to be ran ragged at the back. He failed to track Lewandowski on his first, was not quick enough to get across to stop the striker getting a second and failed to prevent Davies barrelling through when Bayern got their fifth.

What's next?

Bayern face a tricky trip to Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday, while Dusseldorf are at home to Hoffenheim on the same day.

Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness foresees "a new era" at the club as he hopes Kai Havertz could follow Leroy Sane in joining the Bundesliga leaders.

Bayern are widely expected to sign Manchester City winger Sane in the upcoming transfer window, having seen a previous move for the Germany international hindered by a long-term injury.

The Bavarian giants were seven points clear of nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund ahead of Saturday's match against Fortuna Dusseldorf as they close on an eighth straight title.

With that side potentially boosted by Sane's arrival, Hoeness - a member of Bayern's supervisory board after his presidency ended - is excited for the future.

"I believe that we are on the threshold of a relatively great generation," he told BR.

"When I think that we managed to extend with Manuel Neuer, and we have Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Robert Lewandowski and hopefully David Alaba and Thiago Alcantara [also agreeing contracts], and I also hope with Leroy Sane, with [Kingsley] Coman, [Serge] Gnabry, a young, developable team.

"I can imagine, if everything goes well, that a new era is just beginning at Bayern Munich."

Bayer Leverkusen sensation Havertz would appear to belong among such company, with predictable links to Bayern emerging amid a wonderful season in which he has produced 11 goals and five assists in 26 Bundesliga starts.

Hoeness made no secret of his desire to have Havertz join Bayern, yet he acknowledged the potential difficulties of another major signing amid the financial uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We would certainly like to have Kai Havertz," Hoeness added. "But at the moment, it is so that one does not know exactly what the economic future of all football is.

"I would like to see him in Munich from a sporting perspective, but as of today I honestly cannot imagine it, although I would like to see it."

Hansi Flick has told his Bayern Munich stars they must not relax after the victory at Borussia Dortmund that moved them to the brink of title glory.

A seven-point lead with six rounds remaining has given Bayern firm control of their Bundesliga destiny, and they could even afford a couple of slip-ups before the season ends.

However, Flick has drilled into his players the need to keep pushing, with a Champions League resumption to follow the domestic league and DFB-Pokal trophy hunt.

Fortuna Dusseldorf are Bayern's visitors on Saturday evening, and they have plenty to play for as they wage a battle to avoid relegation.

"I'm thinking about how to keep the tension high," said Flick on Friday.

"Dusseldorf are not easy to play against. We have to fully bring everything that we've shown in the recent games. I'm in good spirits."

Many teams have struggled to make home advantage count since the league resumed after its coronavirus interruption, but Bayern thumped Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 last weekend, an ideal warm-up for Tuesday's big clash at Dortmund.

After Joshua Kimmich's sublime chip delivered three priceless points at Signal Iduna Park, Flick wants to know what Bayern have for an encore.

"Of course, we also want to win against Dusseldorf, even if it will be difficult," he said. "We want to back up the big point from during the week."

Flick, who took charge barely six months ago, is revelling in the hectic run of games that Bayern have so far come through unscathed.

Midweek Bundesliga fixtures on top of weekend games are usually scarce in Germany and there is a particular term - Englische Woche (English week) - to describe such times, reflecting the heavier demands Premier League clubs face.

There will be more such weeks as the Bundesliga attempts to wrap up its season by the end of June.

"The schedule was relatively tight through the English week," Flick said. "The Dortmund game was on the level of a Champions League game, two top teams against each other.

"A lot was invested there. Now it is important to build on this, especially in the home game. Next week is a normal week and then there is another English week. So the workload is similar to that of the Champions League."

Regarding the actual Champions League, in which Bayern hold a 3-0 first-leg advantage over Chelsea in their last-16 tie, Flick is not yet looking in that direction.

He said: "The Bundesliga is my focus and then the cup semi-final against Frankfurt. What comes after June is still a long way off."

Hansi Flick is backing Robert Lewandowski to finally get off the mark against Fortuna Dusseldorf after years of trying.

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski ranks among the hottest strikers in Europe, having scored over 40 goals for a fifth successive season.

But he has never netted in the Bundesliga against Fortuna, going five games without scoring against the minnows, facing them three times with Bayern and twice with previous club Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern face Fortuna on Saturday evening and Flick would love to see the 31-year-old Pole break that duck.

"Robert knows exactly the statistic that he has not yet scored against Dusseldorf," said Flick.

"He always wants to score a goal. First of all, it is important to us that we stand up well and create chances. Then if we win and he scores, it would be all the better."

Bayern would go 10 points clear with a win over Fortuna, having beaten second-placed Borussia Dortmund in a huge clash on Tuesday.

Dortmund are not in action until Sunday, while third-placed RB Leipzig play on Monday.

The Bundesliga crown looks to be destined for Munich for an eighth straight season, and it would be Flick's first as a coach.

His dramatic impact, transforming the team's fortunes since replacing Niko Kovac in November, has seen comparisons with former Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes.

But Flick does not see himself in the same category as 75-year-old Heynckes, who also had spells with Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke, among a host of clubs.

"It's always good to stay true to yourself," Flick said in a news conference on Friday.

"You meet a lot of people who inspire you and Jupp Heynckes did that.

"He was my coach here and since that we've always had contact. It's nice that we always kept in touch. His manner is exemplary. I don't want to compare myself with Jupp Heynckes, he is on a completely different level.

"He was a very successful coach, he worked successfully for years and mastered ups and downs. I am only in this position at the beginning. Even if you like to read the comparisons."

Robert Lewandowski is out to end his disappointing goals return against Fortuna Dusseldorf as Bayern Munich look to close in on an eighth successive Bundesliga title.

The prolific Poland striker has scored 229 goals in the German top flight over the past decade, but he has never previously netted against Dusseldorf in five attempts.

Bayern head into this weekend's fixture sitting seven points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who need to quickly respond from their Klassiker defeat when they head to Paderborn.

Elsewhere, third-place RB Leipzig host Cologne on Monday in what will be the first Bundesliga match played in the month of June for 25 years.


FREIBURG V BAYER LEVERKUSEN

- Leverkusen have lost just one of their last nine league encounters with Freiburg and are unbeaten in each of the last five.

- However, Freiburg have not lost any of their last six home Bundesliga meetings with Leverkusen on home soil, with four of the last six finishing goalless.

- Freiburg have won only one of their last seven league games and could go four successive games without a win for the first time this season.


MAINZ V HOFFENHEIM

- Mainz have lost just one of their last seven Bundesliga home games against Hoffenheim, with three of those games ending all square.

- Four or more goals have been scored in eight of the last nine Bundesliga matches between these sides.

- Mainz have conceded a league-high 61 goals this season at a rate of 2.2 per game. They had never previously let in more than 57 across an entire Bundesliga campaign.


SCHALKE V WERDER BREMEN

- Bremen have won more Bundesliga games against Schalke than they have versus any other opponent, claiming victory in 43 of the previous 101 encounters.

- Schalke are winless in 10 Bundesliga games - not since the end of 1996-97, when going 11 games without victory, have they been on a longer-such run.

- Maximilian Eggestein has had a hand in five goals in six league games against Schalke. He has not been directly involved in more than two against any other Bundesliga side.


HERTHA BERLIN V AUGSBURG

- Hertha had gone nine games without defeat against Augsburg prior to their 4-0 loss in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

- However, the capital club are unbeaten in their seven Bundesliga home games with Augsburg - their longest unbeaten run at home in the top flight against one side.

- Hertha's Marvin Plattenhardt has assisted four goals in his last four league outings, which is more than he accumulated in his previous 31 matches combined (three).


WOLFSBURG V EINTRACHT FRANKFURT

- Wolfsburg have won five of their last seven Bundesliga games against Frankfurt, with the only defeat in that run coming in January 2018.

- Frankfurt average 0.83 points-per-game against Wolfsburg in the German top flight - only against Blau-Weiss 90 Berlin (0.5 after two games) do they have a lower return.

- Maximilian Arnold had a hand in three goals for Wolfsburg against Leverkusen in midweek. His 11 goal involvements this term is a personal best for him in a Bundesliga season.

 

A touch of class #Kimmich #BVBFCB #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/Xdgk5CHLSF

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) May 29, 2020 BAYERN MUNICH V FORTUNA DUSSELDORF

- Dusseldorf are winless in each of their last 11 Bundesliga meetings with Bayern - only against Hamburg (12 matches) have they endured a longer winless run in the division.

- Bayern have scored at least three goals in each of their last six league games against Dusseldorf, netting 24 in total at an average of four per game.

- Lewandowski has scored against 17 of the 18 current Bundesliga sides, the exception being Dusseldorf, having failed to score in his previous 381 minutes against them.


BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH V UNION BERLIN

- Gladbach have yet to beat Union, losing both previous competitive encounters, including a 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

- Marco Rose's side have tasted defeat in two of their last three league home games - twice as many losses as their previous 11 top-flight matches combined.

- Gladbach have lost only one of their last 19 top-flight home games against promoted sides - 2-1 versus Leipzig in 2016-17 - which is also their only home loss against a Bundesliga debutant this millennium.

 

PADERBORN V BORUSSIA DORTMUND

- Paderborn have failed to win any of their five previous competitive games against Dortmund, a run that includes a 7-1 away loss in the DFB-Pokal four seasons ago.

- However, Dortmund only have a lower win percentage against Bayern (25 per cent) in the entire Bundesliga than they do versus Paderborn (33 per cent).

- Dortmund fired a blank against Bayern are aiming to avoid going back-to-back matches without scoring a Bundesliga goal since March 2015.

 

COLOGNE V RB LEIPZIG

- Out of all the teams Cologne have faced at least twice in the Bundesliga, their loss percentage against Leipzig (60 per cent) is higher than against any other side.

- Cologne are without a win in their last four Bundesliga games - their longest wait for a victory under Markus Gisdol, with all four matches played behind closed doors.

- Leipzig are unbeaten in nine league matches either side of the two-month shutdown, though six of those games have ended in draws.

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