5th October, 16:30 GMT
The Bay Arena welcomes Bayern Munich for a feast of football this weekend in the Bundesliga. The 30,210 capacity stadium looks to be full, to watch Pep Guardiola’s men take on Sami Hyypia’s team in a top of the table clash. Bayern Munich, lie equal on points with league leaders Borussia Dortmund, but they are second on inferior goal difference. Leverkusen sit third in the table having dropped points in just one game this season so far.
Team News And Tactical Brief
Sami Hyypia’s men have had a good start of their own to the season and would look to keep Bayern at bay at the BayArena. Leverkusen lie third in the Bundesliga table thanks to their offensive play this season. They have scored 17 goals this season in 7 matches with Steffan Kiessling and Sidney Sam each scoring five goals apiece so far. Nine of these goals have come in the last three games alone so Leverkusen would be confident of getting past the Bayern defence, which has been rock solid so far.
Bayer Leverkusen’s home form is particularly impressive with them having won all their home games this year except for the 1-2 defeat to Bayern in March, this being the only time they have lost in their last five home meetings with the Bavarians. It is up to Leverkusen to get a result as they look to make this season’s title challenge a three horse race between Dortmund, Bayern and themselves. A victory here would take them top of the table momentarily and would increase the gap between them and the teams lying fourth and below.
Leverkusen beat Real Sociedad the same night Bayern disposed off City and Sami Hyypia would hope to continue the winning habit. The game comes for Leverkusen at a good time when they are feeling very confident about themselves. Gonzalo Castro is the only concern for Sami Hyypia as he looks to climb over their rivals in the league table.
Probable Starting Line Up: Leno; Hilbert, Wollscheid, Toprak, Boenisch; Bender, Reinartz, Rolfes; Sam, Kiessling, Son
The Bavarians sit second in the league with 14 goals scored and two conceded in seven matches. They sit with 19 points in the league, and will look to create a gap between second and third position with a victory in North Rhine. Pep Guardiola’s men have performed admirably given the managerial reshuffle prior to the season and look a settled side.
Overall Guardiola’s men have scored 17 goals and conceded 2 in all competitions in the last six games. This is certainly an impressive run. However, recent record between the two clubs has been pretty even. Bayer have won four of the last ten meetings between the two clubs with Leverkusen winning three. Bayern would look to play their possession football again and would look to break open the Leverkusen defence. Bayern’s defence itself has been very solid this season, having not conceded a goal in their last three games in the Bundesliga, and would look forward to this test with relish.
The Bavarians are on the back of an impressive 3-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League and Guardiola wouldn’t want to tinker much with the winning combination. Long term absentees Thiago Alcantara and Holger Badstuber look set to miss out again with knee injuries. However Javi Martinez could make the squad following his groin surgery. Mario Gotze could have a role to play from the substitute’s bench like against Manchester City, as he continues to be eased into first team football following his ankle injury.
Probable Starting Line up: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Muller; Robben, Ribery, Mandzukic
Player to watch out for
The Frenchman has been in good nick ahead of the game against Leverkusen. He scored the opener against Manchester City midweek in the Champions League which set the tone for Bayern to dominate the game. Ribery was at his trickery best, outthinking Micah Richards at ease in that game and making passes for his teammates to play. He linked up well with David Alaba on the left and ran rings roud the City defence. The 2012-13 European Footballer of the Year has already got three goals in the Bundesliga so far this season and would hope to continue his form in the weekend game.
We look back at Ribery’s performance in the 2011-12 encounter between the two clubs at the Allianz Arena where Bayern were 3-0 winners.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Bayern Munich