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Daily Schmankerl: Niko Kovac comments on Kai Havertz; Douglas Costa being shopped again; Raphael Varane linked to Bayern Munich; and MORE!

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It’s GAME DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Kovac comments on Havertz (Football Espana)

ESPN FC asked Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac about Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz and the 47-year-old did not hold back any praise. Football Espana captured Kovac’s response to the question:

He’s an absolute talent, a great player. Sooner or later, he will certainly leave Leverkusen. There’s no doubt we are discussing a future top player.

That will surely go over well with Rudi Voller.

Costa on the move again? (Daily Mail)

Former Bayern man and current Juventus winger Douglas Costa could be packing his bags once again. Tottenham Hotspur is considered one of the front runners to procure the Brazilian talent.

Tottenham are among five clubs interested in signing Douglas Costa during the summer transfer window with the Brazilian keen on taking up a new challenge. Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have also previously been linked with a move for Costa but now Tottenham have entered the running for his signature.

Reus praises Ozil, acknowledges the player has “taken a step back” (Goal)

Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus has a great admiration for the way Arsenal stalwart and former Germany international Mesut Ozil plays the game. At the same time, Reus said the “best player he has played with” has had some recent struggles. As told to Copa 90 and captured by Goal, Reus can see the positives that Ozil brings to the pitch:

Mesut Ozil. The way he creates goals... he’s a player with a really good eye for his teammates. He has so many assists in the Premier League and with the national team. He’s just an intelligent player and you can see that right away with a first glance. I always enjoyed playing with him and that’s why it’s a pity he’s taken a step back. I hope he’ll get back to form and return to playing regularly for Arsenal.

Varane linked to Bayern (Münchner Merkur)

Could Real Madrid star Raphael Varane be on his way to Bayern? I doubt it, but here we go:

Varane is without question one of the best defenders in the world, a possible transfer calls all the top clubs on the plan. Marca explicitly mentions Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich.

Maybe Kovac’s secret plan is an “all center back” lineup?

Lothar does not think at least one Hazard is good enough for Bayern (Spox)

Lothar Matthaus is never short on opinions and when Spox asked him about Borussia Monchengladbach’s Thorgan Hazard potentially making a move to Bayern, he gave a somewhat surprising take:

Hazard is a good player, but I do not know if he is good enough to help Bayern Munich. The second half does not necessarily speak for it.

M’Gladbach sacks Hecking (@borussia_en)

Until its recent plunge, Borussia Monchengladbach had looked very formidable under Dieter Hecking. Unfortunately for the 54-year-old coach, the recent slump for Die Fohlen has cost him his job as the coach and club will part ways this summer.

ICYMI: A preview for the DFB-Pokal match between Bayern and Heidenheim (Bavarian Football Works)

This little preview by Berni15 was tucked away in his piece on Mats Hummels. Give it a read:

In an interview with Bild, the former German international explained the reason for his in-depth knowledge of the South German club.

I actually watch them relatively often. Especially because a good friend of mine is a big Heidenheim fan. We keep in touch often.

This friendship might just pay dividends for Niko Kovac’s defense, as Hummels expressed an intimate knowledge of their attacking qualities.

They’re a team that plays well – especially up front: Schnatterer, legendary. Dovedan is also a very good player. Then they have a certain heading power in Glatzel. They’re a really good bunch!

Hummels isn’t wrong with his diagnosis either. Marc Schnaterrer is truly a club legend. At 33-years-old, the winger has played a pivotal role in Heidenheim’s improbable rise from the Regionalliga Süd to the 3.Liga in 2009 and the 2.Bundesliga in 2014. With nine goals and eight assists in 21 appearances in the second division this season, the German right midfielder has served as the engine of the Heidenheim attack.

The strike partnership of Nikola Dovedan and Robert Glatzel aren’t too shabby themselves, contributing six goals and four assists and 12 goals and one assist respectively in league play. Kovac should also be wary of Denis Thomalla on the left wing who has bagged a balanced six goals and four assists.

In addition to a potent attack, Bayern can look forward to a reunion with former youth starlet, Niklas Dorsch. The 20-year-old talent has pulled the strings in the midfield for the South German challengers in his first campaign as a senior player.

This attacking quartet, coupled with a more than capable midfield and relatively solid defense has helped drive the overachieving club to sixth in the 2.Bundesliga table—within striking distance of the promotion playoff—just behind former-Bundesliga competitors FC St. Pauli and Paderborn.