Everything possible for Leipzig – Hasenhuttl

Ahead of facing league leaders Bayern Munich the manager of the Bundesliga’s surprise package has said that he thinks a perfect season is required to beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side

RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl believes his team are capable of anything in the Bundesliga as they prepare to face Bayern Munich.

This season’s surprise package are level on points with Bayern and nine clear of third-placed Hoffenheim ahead of Wednesday’s clash at the Allianz Arena.

Hasenhuttl feels his team can match what Leicester City did by stunningly winning the Premier League against the odds last season.

Hasenhuttl a potential Bayern coach – Hoeness 

“Ralf [Rangnick, RB Leipzig director of sports] said weeks ago that everything is possible,” he said.

“I think it’s a little bit more difficult in Germany because we play a sensational season. We have one loss and three draws and have the same points as Bayern, 10 points ahead of Dortmund, 20 points ahead of teams who still play Champions League.

“If you want to be in front of Bayern, you have to play a perfect season. The good thing is that we don’t have to measure us with them.

“We had a game last weekend which was more important when you look on the table. We won against third and now have a nine-point lead.

“Therefore the game on Wednesday is a bonus game for us and we can see what is missing. We want to see how far we are in our development and that is the exciting thing.

“The game won’t change our strategy in the second leg of the season.”

Hasenhuttl said he was excited to face Bayern to see just where his team are at almost midway through the season.

“I am looking forward to a very interesting task. Since today, we prepare for the game and what we have to look forward to,” he said.

“You can recognise what a task we have to face. It’s fun to look for solutions because Bayern are one of the best teams in the world.

“I know that everyone is eager to see how we will play against them.”

Shaqiri: Pep was special but demanding

The Stoke forward worked with the Manchester City boss at Bayern Munich, and was ultimately forced out by the Catalan as he slipped down the pecking order

Xherdan Shaqiri endured a testing period working under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, but admits the Catalan coach is “special, detailed and pretty demanding”.

The Switzerland international was on the books at the Bundesliga giants when the now Manchester City boss inherited the reins in the summer of 2013.

Ballsy Pep adapting to PL life

He was coming off the back of a productive debut campaign at the Allianz Arena which delivered major honours at home and abroad.

Shaqiri figured 39 times in all competitions throughout the 2012-13 season, as Bayern swept the board with Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League crowns.

He was, however, to slip down the pecking order under Guardiola and eventually moved on to Inter Milan in January 2015.

The 25-year-old – who is now at Stoke City – was disappointed to fall out of favour, but admits that the former Barcelona boss is among the best in the business.

Shaqiri told Spox: “My situation changed under Pep Guardiola, but I never had any problems with him.

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“Unfortunately I had some injury problems. But I got unhappy because I played a lot of games before and had my say in the treble season. But then players came from the bench before me even though they had a lower standing within the team. This was disappointing of course, though I’d say I never feared competition and wanted to show the coach why he was wrong.

“His training was special, detailed and pretty demanding – but absolutely ace. We did everything with the ball.

Image credit: Bongarts

“With [Jupp] Heynckes during preparation, we would run like scared rabbits three times a day. But that was so everyone was 100 percent fit.”

Shaqiri lasted just six months at Inter before moving on to Stoke.

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His signing was considered to be quite a coup for the Potters, with the Swiss star penning a five-year contract.

He has already matched his three-goal Premier League return from 2015-16 in 11 outings this season and helped Mark Hughes’ men to take in a run that has delivered just two defeats in their last 12 outings.

Ribery, Toure and Totti join Schweinsteiger among Dorival's ambitious Santos targets

The Brazilian club are thinking big ahead of the 2017 campaign, and their coach is determined to bring in a household name to Vila Belmiro

In addition to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dorival Junior has named Franck Ribery, Yaya Toure and Francesco Totti on an ambitious list of star-studded names he is interested in signing for Santos.

Dorival revealed last month that he recommended the club sign a big-name player and had suggested Manchester United outcast Schweinsteiger as a potential target.

While the finances of such a deal may be beyond Santos, the head coach hopes they can entice a player of the highest calibre to boost their international profile.

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Bayern Munich winger Ribery, Manchester City midfielder Toure, who has only recently been brought out of the wilderness by Pep Guardiola, and veteran Roma forward Totti are among those leading Dorival’s wishlist.

However, he suggested that such players would have to be willing to take a pay cut for a Santos switch to come to fruition.

“I work in reality, but I have to try and build the best team possible,” he said in an interview with Brazilian publication Lance!.

“I think of it as a marketing move, which can gain new members or a partner interested in the image of the player.

“This is the healthy side of football, wanting more and more. Then comes the board looking for a new name, a man who is down and wants to turn his career around.

“Ribery is one of these, who could be a name, and at Manchester City there is Yaya Toure. Totti is another that if he came would attract everyone’s attention.

“We are discussing some names. Sometimes the player himself is looking for a new place and is disposed to a new financial situation.”

Santos finished second in the Campeonato Brasileiro, thus securing a place in the 2017 Copa Libertadores.

Hasenhuttl a potential Bayern Munich coach – Hoeness

The RB Leipzig boss heads to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday and is being touted as a candidate to eventually take charge of the German giants

Uli Hoeness believes RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl could be a candidate to take charge at Bayern Munich in the future.

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Hasenhuttl led Ingolstadt to the 2. Bundesliga title in 2014-15 and ended an impressive debut season in the top flight with a 10th-place finish.

However, the Austrian moved to Leipzig ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and has helped launch a surprise bid to win the Bundesliga, with his team second to Bayern only due to an inferior goal difference.

Hasenhuttl takes his side to the Allianz Arena for their biggest match of the season on Wednesday, and Hoeness suggested the coach could one day be a regular feature in Munich.

“Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing well at RB Leipzig,” Hoeness said in an interview with Kicker.

“If we are to ever look for a German-speaking trainer, he is certainly one of the three candidates to think about.

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“[A new Bayern coach is] not at all a topic at the moment. It’s clear he must first gain experience as a coach and make the mistakes of youth.”

Hasenhuttl has a contract at Leipzig until 2019, the year in which Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti’s deal will expire.

The Austrian has also been linked as a potential replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

'Forget RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund are our rivals' – Neuer refuses to write off BVB

The German goalkeeper claims Thomas Tuchel’s men remain a force to be reckoned with, despite the underdogs’ early challenge to Die Roten

Manuel Neuer believes Borussia Dortmund remain Bayern Munich’s biggest rivals in the race for the Bundesliga title, although the goalkeeper respects the challenge of RB Leipzig following their sublime start to the season.

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The reigning champions are top of the Bundesliga table, level with Leipzig on 36 points heading into Wednesday’s clash with the promoted side, while Dortmund are already 10 points off the pace in fifth spot.

Nevertheless, Neuer is adamant Thomas Tuchel’s men should not be written off just yet.

“Leipzig have built on last year’s promotion and have made headlines with their start to the season. They deserve to be where they are,” Neuer told Kicker. “But I expect Dortmund to do better after the winter break than before it.

“I do not think RB Leipzig can already do what Dortmund have done in the past in the next three or four years or so. Dortmund remain our main rivals in the long term.

“I would like to win the Bundesliga title every season. The Bundesliga is our bread and butter, it is the most honest title.”

Leipzig take on Bayern at Allianz Arena in the final round of fixtures before the mid-season break, with the Bundesliga then due to resume from January 20.