Leipzig star Werner dreams of ‘big team’ future

BERLIN (AFP) – Ahead of what is the most important home game in the club’s brief history, RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner believes he has the “potential to play for a big team”.

Leipzig welcome Tottenham to the Red Bull Arena tomorrow in the Champions League last 16.

They are favoured to go through to the quarter-finals, holding a 1-0 advantage after winning in London thanks to a 58th-minute Werner penalty.

Speaking as part of an interview for Sky TV Germany’s The Timo Werner Special, to be aired before the game, he said, “I have the potential to play for a big team.”

While the quote may have appeared to be a slight dig against his current side, Werner suggested his attitude reflects his desire to improve rather than simply a wish to move on.

“I believe it would be different (at a bigger club) because the pressure would be much greater.”

Werner, who turned 24 last Friday, said he needed to improve his consistency to a point where he “shows Timo Werner exists in 30 out of 30 games, not 28 out of 30”.

“For me, having (consistency) in mind is one thing I still have to learn. To be there 100 per cent every game, to know every game, to understand that each game is about the championship.

“At the end of the day you need to become a champion – that’s always the case with big clubs.”

Werner, who has been heavily linked to Liverpool as well as fellow Bundesliga title hopefuls Bayern Munich, has scored 21 times in 25 league games this season – second only to the man who may keep him out at Munich, Robert Lewandowski with 25.

Werner was subbed on in the 60th minute in his side’s 0-0 draw away at Wolfsburg at the weekend after overcoming a muscle injury but was unable to snatch a valuable goal for his side.

The Stuttgart-born Werner will be front and centre for Germany in this year’s European Championships, having locked down the role with some strong performances for club and country after a disappointing World Cup in 2018.

But while Werner may have one eye on this summer’s competition, he’s been unable to hide his admiration for another Stuttgart-born hero of German football – Jurgen Klopp.

Speaking to Sky in late February, Werner said the current European champions were the “best team in the world at the moment” and he was “honoured to be linked with them”.

“Klopp is the best coach in the world at the moment. There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit it there,” said Werner.

Never one to engage in transfer speculation, the German manager was coy when asked if Liverpool planned to chase Werner to join a front-line including Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane amid reports the German’s release clause stood at a relatively low EUR51 million.

“From my point of view, it’s obviously nice (that he wants to come here) but that’s all I can say about it,” said Klopp.